Thursday, June 21, 2012

some context for "a call for reconciliation", "there's a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus"

Andrew's disciplinary case within Mars Hill made headlines at the start of 2012.  The subsequent blogging and coverage eventually inspired Mars Hill to publish this.

Mars Hill has not reported how many (if any) people took up that call for reconciliation or if Mars Hill conceded that they had done or said anything harmful.  Many people interpreted the Call for Reconciliation as a desire to get people to stop going public with stories that make the church look bad.   The same weekend that the "Call" went up Driscontinuity went down, not exactly the most encouraging coincidence even if it is quite likely it was just a coincidence.

If there are people at Mars Hill who sincerely want reconciliation that's nice, really, but the institution has been purging information and excising anecdotes from Driscoll sermons that have been points of controversy in 2012.  You're not going to find that woodchipper anecdote Driscoll shared about an executive elder from the September 2007 sermon "the Man" over at Acts 29.  It's tough for Mars Hill to look like their primary goal is reconciliation if they're purging their audio archives of asides and comments Driscoll has made from various pulpits that make him sound bad.  It's tough for Mars Hill to be taken seriously about reconciliation when they've been purging anything that makes the president of Mars Hill sound bad.  Despite all the talk over the years of the "kingly gifts" of men like Jamie Munson or Sutton Turner in terms of a legal statement of presidency, Driscoll is the real king, the real president.

Or at least someone told the Secretary of State of Washington State that Mark Driscoll is president (so much for talk of Sutton Turner's "kingly gifts" seeing as he's listed as treasurer and secretary):

If Mars Hill tells the public and its members that Sutton Turner has "kingly gifts" and has a kingly role then how does that fit with Driscoll being the president in the eyes of Washington state?  Doesn't this seem like a discrepancy?

Could there be a discrepancy between what is publicly stated by Mars Hill leadership about disagreements and what has privately been shared with the in group? It may be so, to put it mildly. This week Chris Rosebrough at Fighting for the Faith posted this:

Not that former members and attendees don't already know this is how things went, they got thrown off the bus or were run over by the bus already.  If Driscoll could joke that there's a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus and that by God's grace it will be a mountain by the time they're done; if the options are get on the bus or get run over by the bus; then Mars Hill leadership can't feign ignorance of how many people were thrown off the bus or run over by the bus.  Joking about a pile of dead bodies becoming a mountain "by God's grace" may give us an alarming insight into what god and by whose grace the bus may be driving. It could suggest that the president of Mars Hill is in the driver's seat and was not necessarily interested in sharing the steering wheel.

But the president of Mars Hill's chuckle also suggests something else, something that Mars Hill leaders are probably either all too aware of or cannot concede.  The chuckle sounds like a warning that in Mark Driscoll no real or sincere interest in reconciliation may have ever existed.  The truth is no one may  know beyond all doubt if that's the case but that chuckle and those words don't provide encouragement to anyone who has been thrown off of or under the Mars Hill bus.  

A call for reconciliation that does not concede just how many people were thrown off of the bus and under the bus is not an attempt at reconciliation at all.  A call for reconciliation that does not concede that the chuckle happened is not a call for reconciliation, is it? At one point I had hoped a shot at reconciliation was actually possible.  Hearing the "Mars Hill bus" audio I realize it may be that no real opportunity for reconciliation ever existed. If that audio was really the day after Meyer and Petry were fired there's no sound in Driscoll's voice that suggests there was any possibility of reconciliation.  The finality with which Driscoll said " ... now they're unemployed" seems to predate by more than a week the words of Scott Thomas to a member saying a "conciliatory process" had just been completed with Petry and Meyer.  That sounds like a firing that was never going to be undone.

That Mark Driscoll could chuckle as he talked about the pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus no one at Mars Hill should be so naive as to think that people who have been thrown off and under the bus, who have been villified as being divisive, were only ever people who couldn't respect spiritual authority.  Some of the people who were thrown off the bus said those same kinds of things about other people before them. You don't know, Mars Hill reader, whether you might get thrown off or under the bus this year yourself. All it takes is not being on mission, whatever that may be, and you can be off and under the bus, too.  You don't know what may happen. All it takes is yet another ceiling of complexity and you, too, may be out of a job or be told you lack the kingly gifts to move Jesus' church to the next level.  There may be a painful period of pruning but you have to take it. It would seem that in October 2007 Driscoll made things clear, you're either on the bus or get run over by the bus.

Piles of dead bodies emerge after slaughter and conquest.  Piles of dead bodies also appear outside temples where sacrifices are made to gods.  If Jesus really offered Himself as a sacrifice so no more sacrifices needed to be made exactly why does there need to be a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus?  Why does it need to grow into a mountain?  If Driscoll chuckled talking about a pile of dead bodies why should Mars Hill be surprised that people who have been run over by the bus doubt the sincerity of the call for reconciliation?


Anonymous said...

And when it's one's children who are in that pile of dead bodies with completely disillusioned faith while the bus driver purports to love Jesus... Well... What a mockery of the gospel...

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

Seeing people whose faith has been broken who used to be there has been discouraging and heartbreaking. No doubt about it.

Sergio Martinez said...

Thanks for this post! So many people wonder why an old clip from Mark Driscoll matters, but as you noted; it shows his motives. Out of the overflow oft he heart the mouth speaks. If this is what Mark Driscoll is saying, then I wonder what is in his heart?

Anonymous said...

"So many people wonder why an old clip from Mark Driscoll matters..."

Has he ever apologized to those he hurt and asked forgiveness for his words and actions? For hurting those he threw under the bus? Has he restored those who have been hurt? Then there has been no repentance, and it can only have gotten worse, not better - while he has infected many impressionable church planters with the same virus.

juniper said...

I think this clip matters because it appesrs more people may have been thrown under the bus since then --though with less fanfare than pastors Petry snd Meyer.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post!

Driscoll's chuckle clearly shows that he has no remorse and no desire for reconciliation.

There are many bodies under the bus because of the threat that "being off mission" is to MH himself. There are many bodies under the bus after that left after realizing that the church they supported actually didn't exist any more.

Reconciliation would have to require some sense of remorse that the bus ran over the bodies. Some sort of acknowledgement of the pain and harm done. Say nothing of a sense of sin or even mistake on the part of the bus driver.

That is why no reconciliation will come. To get a tyrant like Mark Driscoll to reconcile with his victims would require him to do something he is not capable of doing.

He would have to throw himself under the bus.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know about "the call" and it was a coincidence. Would you like for Driscontinuity to return?

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

I thought it might have been just a coincidence but coincidences are ripe for being filtered through narratives. I just wrapped up reading Thinking Fast and Slow and, heh, the brain is indeed a machine for jumping to conclusions.

I'd be interested in a return of Driscontinuity. I'm not sure about whether others would like it back but some other bloggers I know where wondering what happened and why the blog went down and I told them i had no idea what was up. If it comes back, cool, and if not then at least establishing that the suspension was purely coincidental is still helpful to know.

Anonymous said...

Mars Hill's dogma is simple:

Mark Driscoll is a god, and a god can do no wrong.

Just like the scene in Apocalypto, the bodies of sacrifices pile up below the steps of the pyramid.

Rebecca Kvenvolden said...

The first time i heard this on Rosebrough's show, i was floored and disturbed and horrified. I still am. I can't get over the evil in that "chuckle" We left Mars Hill for the 2nd time in March and it breaks my heart to see the friends i love so entrenched in the teachings of this wolf. The problem, in addition to the motives of Driscoll, which are clearly disturbing, are that his teachings are easily 90% truth, and the rest is so persuasively presented that its SO HARD to know what is true and what isn't. I've tried speaking out and no one seems to get it- NO one. I'll keep praying. And i'll try to just brush it off when i'm accused of gossiping or worse. Thank you so much for speaking out and standing up for the truth and in the process for Christ.

Rebecca <--- who refuses to be anonymous.