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?