Friday, June 08, 2012

Mars Hill 50th street property listing on city-data.com

http://www.city-data.com/king-county/N/NW-50th-Street-14.html

1401 NW 50th Street

     Seattle, WA 98107
Find on map >>
 Owner: MARS HILL FELLOWSHIP
 Building value: $1,000
 Land value: $1,745,000
 Total value for property: $1,746,000
 Assessments for tax year: 2010

Number of stories in the building: 1
 Living area: 23,288 square feet
 Year property was built: 1975
 Property type: Commercial
 Lot size: 26,847 square feet
 Water system: Water District
 Sewer system: Public
 Access: Public
 Street surface: Paved
 Parking: Adequate

Sales:
 • Sale date: 09/21/1984
 Price: $0
 Seller: JOE $ER WAGNER
 Buyer: JOE $T WAGNER
 Sale instrument: Quit Claim Deed
 Sale reason: Estate Settlement

 • Sale date: 08/26/2004
 Price: $0
 Seller: DEANNE S & JACK G TALLMAN
 Buyer: DEANNE S & JACK TALLMAN TRUST
 Sale instrument: Quit Claim Deed
 Sale reason: Correction (Refiling)

 • Sale date: 03/24/2005
 Price: $1,700,000
 Seller: MAMCO QAF MANUFACTURING INC
 Buyer: MARS HILL PROPERTIES
 Sale instrument: Statutory Warranty Deed

 • Sale date: 06/03/2005
 Price: $1,500,000
 Seller: JOE WAGNER
 Buyer: MARS HILL PROPERTIES - 49TH LLC
 Sale instrument: Statutory Warranty Deed

 • Sale date: 06/15/2005
 Price: $0
 Seller: DEANNE S & JACK G TALLMAN
 Buyer: JOE WAGNER
 Sale instrument: Quit Claim Deed
 Sale reason: Trust

 • Sale date: 12/25/2005
 Price: $0
 Seller: MARS HILL PROPERTIES - 49TH LLC
 Buyer: MARS HILL FELLOWSHIP
 Sale instrument: Quit Claim Deed
 Sale reason: Other



Read more: http://www.city-data.com/king-county/N/NW-50th-Street-14.html#ixzz1xGHeImUn

Number of stories in the building: 1
 Living area: 23,288 square feet
 Year property was built: 1975
 Property type: Commercial
 Lot size: 26,847 square feet
 Water system: Water District
 Sewer system: Public
 Access: Public
 Street surface: Paved
 Parking: Adequate

Sales:
 • Sale date: 09/21/1984
 Price: $0
 Seller: JOE $ER WAGNER
 Buyer: JOE $T WAGNER
 Sale instrument: Quit Claim Deed
 Sale reason: Estate Settlement

 • Sale date: 08/26/2004
 Price: $0
 Seller: DEANNE S & JACK G TALLMAN
 Buyer: DEANNE S & JACK TALLMAN TRUST
 Sale instrument: Quit Claim Deed
 Sale reason: Correction (Refiling)

 • Sale date: 03/24/2005
 Price: $1,700,000
 Seller: MAMCO QAF MANUFACTURING INC
 Buyer: MARS HILL PROPERTIES
 Sale instrument: Statutory Warranty Deed

 • Sale date: 06/03/2005
 Price: $1,500,000
 Seller: JOE WAGNER
 Buyer: MARS HILL PROPERTIES - 49TH LLC
 Sale instrument: Statutory Warranty Deed

 • Sale date: 06/15/2005
 Price: $0
 Seller: DEANNE S & JACK G TALLMAN
 Buyer: JOE WAGNER
 Sale instrument: Quit Claim Deed
 Sale reason: Trust

 • Sale date: 12/25/2005
 Price: $0
 Seller: MARS HILL PROPERTIES - 49TH LLC
 Buyer: MARS HILL FELLOWSHIP
 Sale instrument: Quit Claim Deed
 Sale reason: Other



http://www.city-data.com/king-county/N/NW-50th-Street-14.html

1401 NW 50th Street
     Seattle, WA 98107
Find on map >>
 Owner: MARS HILL FELLOWSHIP
 Land value: $2,190,600
 Total value for property: $2,190,600
 Assessments for tax year: 2010

...

Property type: Commercial
 Lot size: 33,703 square feet
 Water system: Water District
 Sewer system: Public
 Access: Public
 Street surface: Paved
 Parking: Adequate

Sales:
 • Sale date: 03/24/2005
 Price: $1,700,000
 Seller: MAMCO QAF MANUFACTURING INC
 Buyer: MARS HILL PROPERTIES
 Sale instrument: Statutory Warranty Deed

 • Sale date: 06/03/2005
 Price: $1,500,000
 Seller: JOE WAGNER
 Buyer: MARS HILL PROPERTIES - 49TH LLC
 Sale instrument: Statutory Warranty Deed

 • Sale date: 12/25/2005
 Price: $0
 Seller: MARS HILL PROPERTIES - 50TH LLC
 Buyer: MARS HILL FELLOWSHIP
 Sale instrument: Quit Claim Deed


Read more: http://www.city-data.com/king-county/N/NW-50th-Street-14.html#ixzz1xG9PXGtW

By now I don't need to rehearse the references Mark Driscoll made to this property in Confessions of a Reformission Rev.  I'm going to assume you read that material earlier in this series in the discussion of how Mars Hill acquired the West Seattle campus.

However, perhaps educated people can enlighten me as to what this stuff actually means.

Mars Hill Albuquerque, moving beyond Washington state





http://marshill.com/2010/10/07/when-mars-hill-became-multi-campus-church-2006-present

October 10, 2007
by Pastor A. J. Hamilton
...
At the same time that Federal Way launched MHC, did something new and not entirely included in our grand plan for strategic expansion: We launched an out-of-state campus in New Mexico. MH Albuquerque celebrated its one-year anniversary on September 19 [emphasis added], one week after celebrating our joy in the Holy Spirit with 13 baptisms and nearly 30 testimonies across the three services located in the historic Lobo Theater on the old Route 66. The makeup of these campuses is diverse. Then, less than three weeks ago, the U-District campus because our biggest campus launch ever: In just two Sundays, they went from 350 to 800 attendees at two services, saw 30 baptisms, and had held two dance parties. They'll be at three services by the end of the month. It is difficult to recall all that Jesus has done in the last four years, events have transpired so quickly and seemingly on top of one another. What is clear in my mind how good God has been to us and continues to be. 


Pastor AJ is in charge of operations at the Albuquerque campus, and has been on staff for almost a decade. He wrote for the blog last week about why God called MH to New Mexico for its first out-of-state campus.For more, check out a clip from Pastor Mark from the Trial series about multi-site church in 60 A.D

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2012619231_marshill14m.html

Published Friday, August 13, 2010 at 10pm
By Janet I Tu
Seattle Times Staff reporter




Last year, the church opened its first out-of-state campus in Albuquerque, N.M. The pastor there — who was familiar to Mars Hill's leaders — already had started a church, but thought he could reach more people by partnering with Mars Hill.


It's all part of the church's hope to create 100 campuses, with 50,000 members, by 2019.

This campus caught blogger Mike DeLong by surprise, if I read this entry correctly.

http://halfabridge.wordpress.com/2010/10/31/mars-hill-albuquerque/

You can read all of Mike DeLong's posts about Mars Hill Albuquerque over at his blog.

This one is short and worth quoting, though.

http://halfabridge.wordpress.com/2011/08/16/a-quick-note-about-dave-bruskas/
a quick note about Dave Bruskas


August 16, 2011


Mike DeLong


Yes, Dave Bruskas, now-former pastor of City On A Hill (now Mars Hill Albuquerque) has apparently [link] left Mars Hill Albuquerque for a position in the Seattle area [link]. The transition was apparently an amicable one [link], although I have not seen an official announcement for those of us outside the Mars Hill Church circle of light, etc. We wish the Bruskas family all the best in their new situation.

http://marshill.com/albuquerque

Pastor A. J. Hamilton is now listed as lead pastor at the Albuquerque site.

The site also got a new home in November 2011

http://pastormark.tv/2011/11/26/whats-next-for-me

Sunday, December 11 – Mars Hill Albuquerque 

I will preach at the grand opening of the new home of Mars Hill Church Albuquerque, which is under the leadership of Pastor A.J. Hamilton, who many years ago was my executive assistant. This is our fastest-growing church, with the highest percentage of conversions. I’m praying for at least 1,200 people on this Sunday.

Time: 9 a.m., 11:15 a.m., & 5 p.m.

Location:  4700 San Mateo Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109

For more on Mars Hill Albuquerque, see albuquerque.marshill.com.



Some reference to Albuquerque is made by Driscoll in the following entry:

http://pastormark.tv/2011/11/29/jesus-loves-church-mergers-and-so-should-you
by Pastor Mark Driscoll on November 29, 2011


Mars Hill Albuquerque

In 2009, Pastor Dave Bruskas, planter and lead pastor of City on a Hill in Albuquerque, New Mexico, began talks with us on merging the church he’d pastored for over 10 years with Mars Hill Church and becoming our first out of state church. [emphasis added]

At the time, City on a Hill was running over a 275 people, healthy, and doing good ministry in their city. There was lots of discussion as to whether the merger was the right move, but as Pastor Dave relates, “One question rose above all the others as most important: ‘Would more people meet Jesus if we went through with this?’ After months of deliberation, the leaders of both churches unanimously answered that question with a resounding ‘Yes!’”

The driving force behind the merger between Mars Hill Church and City on a Hill was one of shared mission. Our desire was to see as many people as possible in the city of Albuquerque meet Jesus, and we both felt strongly that this could be accomplished better together than apart.

God has been gracious to us. Today, Mars Hill Albuquerque has over 800 people meeting to worship together and serve their community each week. And we thank God that 250 people have met Jesus and been baptized at Mars Hill Albuquerque since the merger in 2009. Today, the church has outgrown its building and is officially replanting in a new larger building on December 11. Pastor Dave is now an executive elder at Mars Hill, the #2 ranking pastor in all of Mars Hill, and a tremendous gift to our church. [emphasis added]

Some description of the new location can be found here:

http://marshill.com/2011/12/08/big-mars-hill-albuquerque-replant-this-sunday



Early last year, the Albuquerque elders started seeking out a new location that could accommodate more growth, give more space for the children's area and ministries, and allow the church to become a regional hub in the Southwest for training and church planting. As the leaders began to look into the former Gold’s Gym near the corner of San Mateo and Montgomery, "perfect" was the only word that could be used. It was as if God built us a home decades ago that we are just now moving into. The new building will allow the Albuquerque church to seat over 550 people in the auditorium, including over 3,500 square feet in children’s space.

On February 7, 2012 Mark Driscoll wrote a letter to Acts 29 members and made the following announcement.

http://www.acts29network.org/acts-29-blog/dear-acts-29-members/
February 7, 2012
...


The following are three changes that will take place on the A29 board.

1. The Board of Acts 29 will be myself, Pastor Matt Chandler, Pastor Darrin Patrick, and Pastor Dave Bruskas. Each man has been able to hand off their network to full-time staff, thereby freeing them up to go to the next level of leadership and help me work across all of Acts 29 and serve all of the networks that comprise the A29.


http://www.christianpost.com/news/no-vision-shift-after-mark-driscoll-leaves-acts-29-leadership-73047/

Christian Post
April 11, 2012
article by Alex Murashko, Christian Post Reporter

... Mars Hill Church Pastor Mark Driscoll announced that he was stepping down from the reins of Acts 29 late last month to make room for Chandler, the lead pastor at The Village Church in Highland Village in Texas. Driscoll remains on the organization's current three-member board which also includes The Journey's (St. Louis, Mo.) lead pastor, Darrin Patrick. The group's headquarters will move from Seattle to Dallas.



Driscoll to Acts 29 members on Scott Thomas' Gospel Coach

http://www.acts29network.org/acts-29-blog/dear-acts-29-members/

From Mark Driscoll's February 6, 2012 letter to Acts 29 members

We are not changing our approval process—networks will continue to host boot camps and assess planters as we have. We are not changing coaching—Gospel Coach, created by Pastor Scott Thomas, will continue to be used to help ensure our pastors and their families are holy and healthy.

The book is now available as of May 2012

http://engagingchurchblog.com/2012/05/17/interview-with-scott-thomas-and-a-giveaway/#more-2914

Scott is the author of the new book, Gospel Coach: Shepherding Leaders to Glorify God, along with Tom Wood. He has also served as president and network director of Acts 29 Network and as an elder at Mars Hill Church.

http://www.acts29network.org/resources/acts-29-publications/

Gospel Coach is listed as one of Scott Thomas' books available in Acts 29 publications as a resource for church planters.

http://www.acts29network.org/about/leadership/

Looks like Thomas is still listed as being on the board of directors today.  They might want to update that if that's inaccurate. If it's accurate then I'm not sure why Engaging Church Blog would describe Thomas role as network director of Acts 29 Network in the past tense.

Still no indication that anyone in leadership at Mars Hill has read anything at Joyful Exiles.  I don't know if pastors have or haven't read the content at Joyful Exiles but I can't help wonder why Scott Thomas told Matt Chandler he felt released from leading Acts 29 the weekend after Joyful Exiles went up.  I would suggest that people who consider using Thomas's materials at least read all the emails and documents with Thomas' name mentioned at Joyful Exiles.  It may provide a fuller portrait of the man.  I don't really know  for sure why Scott Thomas is no longer employed by either Mars Hill or Acts 29 Network these days but his disappearance from leadership in both institutions certainly is worth noting, as I have noted a few times by now.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

HT Phoenix Preacher's LInkathon: Is the Brain Hardwired for God?

http://bigthink.com/think-tank/is-the-brain-hardwired-for-religion

I'd comment but simply linking will do at this point.

HT Pilgrim comment at Phoenix Preacher: James MacDonald's double standards on ministry criticism

http://phoenixpreacher.net/?p=12499#comment-105525

http://bloodstainedink.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/harvest-bible-chapel-these-are-not-the-droids-youre-looking-for/

It's not as cool a title for a blog post as a reference to "These are not the droids you're looking for."  I know.

The post speaks well enough for itself that I'm just linking to it.

I will add this, the problem with reasoning that only those invested monetarily and particpationally in a ministry criticizing a pastoral decision or church direction is that even if you do that and it somehow qualifies you to make a criticism or voice a concern the simple act of doing that can get you fired and declared unfit to say anything.

Go read Joyful Exiles for a bit if you want an in depth case study.  MacDonald's case falls apart not just on the basis of the two specious levels of argument but also because there's a third, who's to say that even if a critic did things MacDonald's way he'd pay any attention to them any more than Driscoll paid attention to concerns about Article VIII?

The pay and work of Bill Clem and Lief Moi circa 2007 at Mars Hill, part 2



http://joyfulexiles.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/elders-response-to-questions-11-9-07.pdf

Page 7 of 145


A letter from Pastor Lief Moi


November 9, 2007


Dear Mars Hill Members


The following is a brief account and explanation of what has transpired with me and Mars Hill Church over the past few months. I hope this gives comfort and answers to those of you who have been concerned.


In June of this year I was asked to step down from the executive team and the role of campus pastor at Ballard.  The primary reason, and I believe a valid one, was that I do not have the administrative skills to run a campus the size of Ballard. Although I agreed with the assessment of my lack of Kingly skills, I felt that I was being removed from a role that God had called me to and as a result I resigned from the elder board. There were many elders who spoke with me and asked me to reconsider, but at the time my heart was hard and I was not interested. After much contemplation, prayer and speaking with Pastor Mark, I asked to be reinstated as an elder and the vote was unanimous with one abstention to reinstate me.




Because of a major role change and the re-org, it was determined that my salary was to be cut by almost 40%. At that time I told Pastor Jamie that I would not be able to stay on full time would consider a part time position so I could work on other means of providing for my family.




So as of today I am working 20 hours a week in Ballard counseling on Sundays and Wednesday evenings. I need you all to know and I ask your forgiveness for times during this process that I have not thought about the gospel first but considered my feelings most important and therefore have sinned. This has been one of the most difficult times of my life but am now looking to the future with my hope in Jesus and trust in the elders of Mars Hill to leada us into what Jesus would have us do and be. And it is this that I would ask you to do as well. These men love Jesus and they love you. We might not always agree on the method but we can always agree on Jesus.




Blessings
Pastor Lief




From Appendix B (page 115 of 145) 


Mars Hill Re-organization document, previously sent to emmbers on June 23, 2007


...Initially, Pastor Lief Moi was uncomfortable with the transition plans and uncertain that his conscience would allow him to continue as an Elder of Mars Hill Church. This precipitated several tense and difficult meetings for us as an Elder team, striving for unity but also the most effective way to organize and lead our church. After a few weeks off with his family to think and pray, Lief Moi resigned from his position on staff as well as his office as Elder of Mars hill Church. Loving our brother and unwilling to olet this matter go without every possbile effort for reconciliation Pastor Mark, and Pastor Bill Clem spent hours laboring over Lief's concerns and frustrations. Following the extremely fruitful meeting with Pastors Mark and Bill, Lief sought reconciliation with several pastors who felt they had been wronged in the matter by him, and submitted himself humbly for restoration as an Elder of the church. The Elders assembled, discussed the matter soberly, and after much prayer and discussion voted to restore Lief as an Elder of Mars Hill Church and a member of the Ballard Campus team. Lief will continue to employ his unique gifts, which many of our members have been blessed by for years, to strength faith, fortify marriages, and equip the saints for acts of service as we love our city with Jesus.  This process put many of our men's faith, endurance, constitution, and their trust in Jesus to the test.  It drove many men deep into God's Word for wisdom, seeking His discernment and leading through prayer.  Despite sleepless nights and frayed nerves, we are a truly a stronger Elder body because of this incredible labor God has shepherded us through. In His wisdom, He has made us bear this weighty issue as we move to a structure that distributes and delegates authority and mandates more trust and confidence in one another. Praying together as 24 men united by our love of Jesus and His great commission, it is evident He has uniquely tempered us for the coming season as a lovingly unified yet honest and effective team. 

Which pastors? Given that two men were fired because Jamie Munson claimed to have been disrespected by them, Munson's a possibility.  Munson took umbrage at older guys not respecting his spiritual authority with Bent Meyer and Paul Petry.  It wouldn't be a huge leap to at least suggest that Lief Moi, as an older man and a co-founding elder, could have had some doubts about Munson being the executive elder and lead pastor.  If it was Munson who scouted out what had become the 50th street property it is now sufficiently documented that that purchase turned out to be a boondoggle.  The property is still valuable, of course, but the grand vision Driscoll outlined for it in Reformission Rev is a bust.

We don't get to find out from these documents which elders felt offended by Lief Moi  but this does establish that both Driscoll and Clem were involved in the case that Moi was told he had to step down. This sheds some light on Driscoll's subsequent comment that when Clem was ready he was transitioned into leadership of Mars Hill Ballard.

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/05/how-mars-hill-acquired-west-seattle.html 
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/06/mars-hill-west-seattle-campus-and.html 
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/06/how-mars-hill-acquired-west-seattle.html 
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/06/pay-and-work-of-bill-clem-and-lief-moi.html 

Summary notes for those who won't follow the links.  Clem and Noriega (former felon and remarried man) were approached by Mark Driscoll to let Mars Hill have use of Doxa.  While Noriega got voted on to the Board of Directors in 2007 Moi had been talked out of being lead pastor at Ballard.  He resigned and was talked into returning to eldership and given a nearly 40 percent pay cut.  He ended up working just half time.

But here's something else that is available in the 145 document that you should know about. During the period in which Moi announced he'd been given a nearly 40% pay cut he was also in very poor health.  How do we know this?  Because Mark Driscoll himself confirmed it here.

http://joyfulexiles.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/elders-response-to-questions-11-9-07.pdf

page 23-24/145


This is from the section Pulpit and Preaching 
responses submitted by Pastor Mark Driscoll


Q. Will we get to hear Pastor Lief preach again some time soon?  I haven't heard him preach since the Mother's Day sermon and while I can understand why that sermon got pulled I hope he gets to preach some more in teh future if he's in better health (I read the prayer request that said he was in bad shape and his wife was not in good health, either). My hope is that we get to hear at least a little preaching from all our pastors at some point. I haven't heard a sermon from Pastor Tim Smith in a while or from Pastor Bubba at all and Pastor Bill's sermons on Jude were fantastic.


A. First, please do pray for the health of my friend and brother Pastor Lief. He has had very painful back problems for many years and he still stuffers from constant pain. ... 

So while Clem was given months off at a time on full salary Moi had his pay cut by nearly forty percent.  This persisted despite the fact that Mark Driscoll knew co-founding elder Lief Moi had back problems and was in constant pain.

Just a few days before this document was released Mark Driscoll preached "The Rebel's Guide to Joy in Humility" where he touted the virtues of James Noriega.  No mention of Noriega's felonies, his second marriage, just a mention of how Driscoll approached Noriega and Clem about giving Mars Hill the Doxa property because that was what would be best for Jesus.  Noriega agreed with Driscoll that giving Doxa to Mars Hill was best for Jesus. So Noriega, the felon and remarried man was promoted to the Board of Directors and put in charge of recovery groups by November 2007 and Driscoll could ask people to pray for Lief Moi, whose salary had been cut by almost forty percent and who was struggling with constant back pain. By November 2008 there was no mention of Moi at all, he was no longer an elder. Driscoll knew Moi had a forty percent pay cut and knew Moi's back was in terrible shape and his stance was to ask members to pray for the guy.

And a few days later Driscoll would go on to preach his infamous November 18, 2007 sermon in Edinburgh on the good bits in the Song of Songs.

These are not things you'll find in Driscoll's interview with Justin Taylor about why so many people left Mars Hill in early 2008.  You can put together by now that those people weren't leaving because the doctrinal requirements were ramped up.

Mars Hill Downtown and the not quite secret shopper



The history of Mars Hill going multisite has been presented to us by Mars Hill as what has been for Jesus' fame.  We got tales of amazing gifts of real estate that land in the lap of Mars Hill in Driscoll sermons in 2006 and 2007.  Driscoll specifically mentioned the West Seattle property and a sweet rent-free deal to use CRISTA Ministries' Schirmer Auditorium.

By contrast, the late 2007 acquisition of what is now Mars Hill Downtown was a quiet affair.  In contrast to the $1.5 million capital campaign of 2005 the nearly $4 million purchase of Tabella was not discussed much until after the purchase had been made..  In fact The Stranger was the first publication to document that a bid was even being made in September 2007, a month before the purchase was announced.  At least some Mars Hill members were left blindsided by the realization that the Mars Hill hating newspaper The Stranger appeared to be more informed about Mars Hill property acquisitions than they were.

In order to understand the potential significance for this purchase we'll have to take a digression into Mars Hill bylaws circa mid-2007, before the firings of 2007 went down.  They may shed some light on how to understand the property purchase.

But first let's begin with the initial coverage of The Stranger.


http://slog.thestranger.com/2007/09/tabella_being_sold
Jonah Spangenthal-Lee
09-21-2007



According to a source, Mars Hill Church is buying…TABELLA. Yes, Tabella, recently caught up in Mayor Nickel’s nightlife holocaust, could end up as a new Mars Hill venue—much like the old Paradox—or as a new Belltown rock-a-church.


According to the King County assessor’s website, there hasn’t been a sale. We’ve got calls out to Mars Hill and Tabella and we’ll update soon.

The first update is so meaningless I won't bother citing the non-statement from Tim Gaydos.  update 2, however, is worth noting.

Update x2:

Tabella’s owner, Kauser Pasha, says Tabella hasn’t been sold yet, but he’s is in talks with Mars Hill Church and several other potential buyers.



It's noteworthy because, obviously, Mars Hill bought the property which has since become Mars Hill Downtown.

http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/Mars-Hill-Church-to-buy-troubled-Belltown-1253246.php

The above Aubrey Cohe article published at 10:00 pm on Monday October 22, 2007 by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer established that Tabella Restaurant and Lounge at 2333 Western Avenue was up for sale.  Mars Hill agreed to pay $3.95 million for the site.


http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003967178_webtabellas22m.html

October 22, 2007
Sanjay Bhatt, a Seattle Times staff reporter, also confirm3ed Mars Hill was buying the property.

http://slog.thestranger.com/2007/10/invaders_from_mars

And on the same day Jonah Spangenthal-Lee reminded readers of The Stranger that they had speculated that Mars Hill was going to buy the property and that this turned out to be correct.

http://slog.thestranger.com/2007/10/mars_hill_comes_downtown

In their ever tasteful approach to coverage this was followed up by Dan Savage's commentary on October 23, 2007. Not for the squeamish. You can probably skip the commentary from Savage if you have any doubts and it's Savage ranting about Seattle Times coverage of gays, which has little to do with a discussion of Mars Hill real estate acquisitions.

The main point is that this this was news.  In fact it was bigger news to some Mars Hill members than to staff at The Stranger, The Seattle Post-Inteligencer or the Seattle Times because the newspaper outlets verified the bid and purchase before members even heard anything.


http://joyfulexiles.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/elders-11-04-2007-ask-elders-anything-latest-2-sunday-2399.pdf

from page 3
Trevor Kapralos
November 1, 2007
Ask Your Elders Anything thread


Hi-


Like the others who have posted earlier, thanks for the chance to pose a question.


... One additional, unrelated question, I recently read n the newspaper that our church has purchased/is purchasing a nightclub in downtown Seattle for the downtown campus. Of course it is no secret that we want to start a downtown church. Upon reading it in teh newspaper, I searched the Members site for mention of the intent to purchase the property, but I could not find any information on it. (Perhaps I missed it). My question is, would the elders consider finding a way (either on the website or some other appropriate means) to notify the members of the church when it makes public final decisions like buying property? It seemed strange to read about our church making the purchase in the newspaper, and not being able to find any information about it on the Members Site. I think the church should consider notifying members before we read about it in the newspaper.

So we've established that Mars Hill made a bid to buy a piece of property for $3.95 million.  The Stranger learned of this by September 21 2007.  It was confirmed a month later.

Now here's some bylaws trivia about Mars Hill property purchases in light of the by-laws in effect at the time.

http://joyfulexiles.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/bylaws-prior-to-10-29-2007-official-mars-hill-church-bylaws-2-11-06-rev.pdf


By-Laws of Mars Hill Fellowship
A Nonprofit Corporation Without Members


Article VI
The Executive Elder Team


Section E


Except for those powers and duties reserved for the full Council of Elders under Article VII, Section A and RCW 24.03.112 or similar statute, the following issues are reserved for determination by the executive elder team and may not be decided by a Departmental, Site, or Ad Hoc Elder Team:

  • Establishing the overall vision for the entire church
  • Purchase, sale, or rental of real estate
  • Approving new services and venues
  • Comprehensive operational budget line items
  • Capital expenditures budget
  • Hiring and firing of elders who are also employees (the employment status of an employee who is also an elder may be determined by the executive elder team, but such person's status as an elder is reserved to the full Council of Elders)
  • Issues delegated or reserved to the executive elder team by resolution of the full Council of Elders



Section F
For an issue to meet the approval of the executive elder team it must receive a unanimous vote (abstention permitted). 


Okay, so the bylaws indicate that only executive elders could purchase or sell real estate.  Elsewhere in the bylaws it indicates that there could be no fewer than four and no more than seven executive elders.  All right, then, so in September 2007 who were the Executive Elders?

http://joyfulexiles.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/10-01-2007-email-to-exec-elders.pdf

Mark Driscoll, Jamie Munson, Bubba Jennings and Scott Thomas as of October 1, 2007.


Tim Beltz was not an executive elder yet in September 2007.  Go read this if you want the background on that.

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/06/mars-hill-shoreline-and-pastor-tim.html

What this means for the sake of discussing Mars Hill Downtown is that Beltz could have been involved in the purchase by October 2007 after he was ordained and instantly an executive elder but  in September 2007 (when the bid was made) he wasn't even an elder yet, let alone an executive elder.  So the four parties we can consider are Driscoll, Munson, Jennings, and Scott Thomas.  Let's take them in reverse order.

In October 2007 Scott Thomas was an executive elder but he was also in Acts 29.  He was, most notably, involved in fielding questions about the firings of Paul Petry and Bent Meyer while overseeing what seemed to be a kangaroo court to ensure that the charges Jamie Munson made against Meyer and Petry would stick well enough to get the men fired. Driscoll preached a notorious sermon in late September saying that if he weren't going to end up on CNN he'd go Old Testament on some guys, even some elders in the church. Driscoll, however, bureaucratically insulated himself from the actual firing process.  Munson appointed Thomas to handle the firing process.  You can see a sample of Scott Thomas' role below.

http://joyfulexiles.com/timeline/
http://joyfulexiles.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/10-01-2007-termination-ltr-jamie-munson.pdf
http://joyfulexiles.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/scott-thomas-10-10-2007-no-show-for-trial.pdf
http://joyfulexiles.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/scott-thomas-10-11-2007-email.pdf
http://joyfulexiles.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/10-16-2007-statement-of-the-elders.pdf

Now Bubba Jennings was appointed campus pastor over Ballard at this point if memory serves.  He was managing things until, as Mark Driscoll would later put it, Bill Clem was ready to take over leadership of the Ballard campus.  So in October 2007 while Scott Thomas was making sure Meyer and Petry got fired, and Bubba Jennings was managing the Mars Hill Ballard campus, who was left to close the deal on Tabella?  Who was in a position to have bid in September 2007 and have followed that bid through in October?  Obviously Driscoll and Munson are the two guys left.

Munson was credited by Mark Driscoll with finding what is now the 50th street property in Confessions of a Reformission Rev (more on this later in this series).  It's possible that Driscoll and Munson handed off the firing process to Scott Thomas in part to politically insulate themselves from the charge that firing Petry and Meyer over their opposition to the bylaws revisions was purely a political move.  But it's also possible that not being directly involved in the firing process itself gave Driscoll and/or Munson time to focus their attention on getting more support for the revised bylaws; getting Tim Beltz installed as an executive elder (without running anything by the congregation per the Bylaws requirements of the old bylaws, it seems); and, perhaps most importantly, closing the deal on Tabella.

http://joyfulexiles.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/10-01-2007-email-from-jmunson.pdf

from Pastor Jamie Munson to the elders of Mars Hill Church on September 30, 2007

Some might conclude this is a political move to gain more support for the bylaws as Paul and bent were outspoken critics of the current direction. [emphasis added] This is not the case, the executive team wants to conduct itself in a way that is full of integrity, walking in the light, under full disclosure and in a decisive manner that best serves Jesus and His church through Mars Hill.  If the bylaws don't pass, so be it, we didn't want to wait on what we had determined were necessary and inevitable firings until after the bylaws had been voted into approval because that would have been deceptive. [emphasis added] We made the decision to terminate them now and givem them the option to resign or undergo the full investigation. We have a higher value of being men of integrity than playing politics to swing a vote in our favor. 

So it would be deceptive to have fired Petry and Meyer after a vote on the bylaws but not before?  If Petry and Meyer weren't fired until after the vote then their votes against the new bylaws could have been counted.  Their votes might conceivably have invited further discussion and debate about the bylaws (or not).

If the firings weren't a political move Munson comes across like an idiot, yes, I said it that bluntly.  Repeatedly members were told Meyer and Petry were fired over the bylaws and for disrespecting spiritual authority.  You see that shows that it still comes off like a purely political move whether the firings predated or postdated a vote on the bylaws.  If Munson levelled charges against Meyer and Petry after the vote went through it looks like a political move because it would be retaliation for their votes.  But if the firing is done ahead of the vote it still comes off as a political move because only the two elders who expressed disagreement with the bylaws got fired.  Since Munson was drafting bylaws at the time then it comes across like a purely political gambit in any event because Munson comes across as deciding to press charges against two elders who weren't on board with what he was drafting.

Munson's charges against Meyer and Petry were handed off for Scott Thomas to establish.  It looks curiously like Thomas just railroaded the process and lied to at least one Mars Hill member about what was really going on.  If the Mars Hill executive elders were really walking in the light about all this stuff why is Scott Thomas no longer employed by either Mars Hill Church or by the Acts 29 Network?  Munson wanted the process to be above reproach and walking in the light.  Well, it looks like the firing process was involved in a lot of darkness and in Scott Thomas' case involved outright deceit. Does Munson want to field questions about that now?

So Munson was not involved in the firing process in any observable way other than coming up with charges.  He had time to tackle the purchase of Mars Hill Downtown.  What was Munson doing in the month of October 2007 while the deal to purchase Tabella went down? Was he closing the deal on Tabella?

As for Mark Driscoll, his fascination with real estate and eagerness to discuss it circa 2006-2007 is easy enough to establish.  We know from a 2006 sermon that Driscoll was paying close attention to real estate.

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/05/how-mars-hill-acquired-west-seattle.html
http://marshill.com/media/1st-corinthians/spiritual-gifts-part-ii#transcript

We also know Munson could have been involved since Munson was credited in Confessions of a Reformission Rev with finding what is now the Mars Hill 50th street property (more on that later for those who care to keep reading this series).

The two most likely candidates for making that bid in September 2007 for Tabella seem to be Mark Driscoll and Jamie Munson.  They were the only executive elders who had formal distance from the firing process of early October 2007.  Jennings was doing campus stuff, if memory serves, and Thomas was running the kangaroo court.  Beltz wasn't on the team in early October that means if an executive elder (the only kind able to authorize property purchases and such purchases had to be decided on unanimously) then all it would have taken would be for just Mark Driscoll and Jamie Munson to have agreed on something in September 2007 and the purchase could be approved.  Munson was one of the earliest converts under Driscoll's teaching and if you've ever seen photos of the two men together you'll appreciate why Munson eventually got a nickname of "mini-Mark".

As it happens, Jonna Petry's testimony is that Driscoll urged all executive elders except Munson to step down in the spring of 2007.

http://joyfulexiles.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/jonna-mhc-story-29.pdf

Many drastic changes occurred in the spring of 2007. Mark pressured all the elected executive elders [with the exception of Jamie Munson] to resign their posts, saying a new structure was necessary. Mark also decided that Lief would no longer function as the pastor of the Ballard campus Othe primary and largest campus where Mark taught mostly in person) and as a result the two of them had a horrible falling out.  This was an ominous sign for me because Mark had often spoken about his love and appreciation for Lief's willingness to go "toe-to-toe" with him and how this was vital for the health of the church. 

By process of elimination, right?  However, the old bylaws required that there be no less than four and no more than seven executive elders.  Those remaining positions were filled by Jennings and Thomas by September 2007 and it seems that this was a formality to ensure that the executive team had just enough people to comply with the letter of the bylaws. Jennings was running Ballard and Thomas was quelling dissenting elders and firing them on behalf of Driscoll and Munson and Beltz was apparently not yet in a position to have bid on Tabella.  That means by process of elimination, at every level, Driscoll and Munson are the two people who could have made that late September 2007 bid.

Driscoll and Munson got the property they wanted.  Beltz, who was Chief Operations Officer for CRISTA Ministries in 2006 and may have lined up a rent-free two year deal for Mars Hill to use Schirmer Auditorium, was ordained in October 2007 as an instant executive elder. It looked like things  were going to whatever plan Driscoll and Munson had in the works.


But by December 2007 word was getting around that Mars Hill was facing financial woes.  A lot of people opted not to renew their memberships upon discovering that Paul Petry and Bent Meyer were fired for their disagreement with the bylaws Jamie Munson had been drafting.  They also weren't thrilling to the prospect that the 50th street building was not working out as planned two years after the $1.5 million purchase.  Some people were obviously troubled by the realization that The Stranger had a clearer grasp of Mars Hill's real estate investments than members did.   Many people opted to not renew.

So in December 2007 The Stranger noted that there was a deep deficit.

http://slog.thestranger.com/2007/12/mars_hill_financial_woes


West Seattle Blog spotted *this* under “Pastor Prayers” on a Mars Hill blog…


Multiple pastors request prayers for our financial state. With the deep deficit, it is a test for all the staff to choose Jesus over anxiety when ministry funds are cut short and the possibility of lay-offs and additional budget cuts is on the horizon. Please pray for repentance by those who are disobeying God in their giving …


Yes, let’s pray for all of those that are “disobeying God in their giving.” Christ, that sounds dark, huh? It makes it sound like Mark “Go Old Testament On Their Asses” Driscoll is going to start kneecapping people. West Seattle Blog points out that the “disobeying God” line was later dropped from the post and new language substituted, but WSB found it again through the miracle of Google caching. Here’s the new, slightly less mobbed-up language…


Please pray for those who are struggling with their financial stewardship, and pray for Jesus to make generous and thankful hearts of our body. Please join us in thanking Jesus for our faithful members who continually give and serve with their time, talent and treasure.


Yeah, that’s nicer. The original language was more revealing, however. More here.


UPDATE: There’s a call for prayers for the Mars Hill’s new downtown location.


Pastor Tim Gaydos requests prayers for the leaders, families and servants who will be part of the launch team for the Downtown Campus—that Jesus would bind all their hearts together in unity for the sake of the Gospel and that they would be protected from attacks of the evil one as they march into the heart of the city.


On behalf of the evil one, Mars Hill, welcome to the neighborhood. Please, no marching about after 9 PM. Folks live in Belltown for the peace and quiet and wide selection of houses of worship. Those interested in worshipping Mark Driscoll will quickly find their way to your video arcade.


And, finally, there’s a call for prayers for one of the family of one of the Mars Hill pastors. His wife is dying of cancer. If you’re the praying kind, pray for ‘em.

http://voxpopnetwork.com/pastorsprayers/2007/12/10/is-it-too-late-to-pray/

The above is obviously dead link and the voxpopnetwork.com site is described as no longer archived by The WayBack Machine, account suspended.

http://westseattleblog.com/2007/12/mars-hill-money-trouble
Decenber 10, 2007

Let's follow the history of this campus a bit, shall we?


http://www.city-data.com/king-county/W/Western-Avenue-32.html

2333 Western Avenue
     Seattle, WA 98121
Find on map >>
 Owner: MARS HILL FELLOWSHIP
 Building value: $800,700
 Land value: $1,488,300
 Total value for property: $2,289,000
 Assessments for tax year: 2010


Number of stories in the building: 1
 Living area: 14,900 square feet
 Year property was built: 1949
 Property type: Commercial
 Lot size: 14,400 square feet
 Water system: Water District
 Sewer system: Public
 Access: Public
 Street surface: Paved
 Parking: Adequate


Sales:
 • Sale date: 08/05/2002
 Price: $0
 Seller: FOSSMAC COMPANY
 Buyer: FOSSMAC LLC
 Sale instrument: Warranty Deed
 Sale reason: Other

 • Sale date: 03/13/2007
 Price: $3,000,000
 Seller: FOSSMAC LLC
 Buyer: ROCKET ENTERPRISES INC
 Sale instrument: Statutory Warranty Deed

 • Sale date: 10/25/2007
 Price: $3,950,000
 Seller: ROCKET ENTERPRISES INC
 Buyer: MARS HILL FELLOWSHIP
 Sale instrument: Statutory Warranty Deed


Notice something here?  The property was sold in late October 2007. It was valued at $2.3 million. It was sold for $3.95 million dollars.  By 2010 the value estimate for the property altogether was $2.28 milliion. In 2008 the value of the real estate nosedived by 1 million dollars.  After all that work to seal the deal on Tabella the property bubble hit and what Mars Hill bought for nearly $4 milliion was valued at $1.37 million.  There isn't even a listing for the value history of the building for that year that I could dig up.

Let's remember that according to Driscoll Munson found the 50th street property.  That was purchased in 2005 and it turned out it was impossible to zone and permit the facility for the purposes announced by Driscoll in Reformission Rev. Munson gets credit for finding the place, though. Who scouted out Tabella on behalf of Mars Hill?  If only Driscoll and Munson were the steady executive elders in 2007 and only executive elders could make property purchases it had to have been one of those two guys, right?  Who else was an executive elder in September 2007 who could have made the bid?

Was it Munson who scouted Tabella or Driscoll?  Or someone else? The main take-away for me is that the property value sank by a million in the year after the purchase was made.  We all know the real estate bubble hit in 2008. This will become a point of consideration when I get to blogging about the Generous campaign. For now I'll close with the following set of links.

In late 2011 the following tip-off was reported by The Stranger.

http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/sources-say/Content?oid=10128488

September 27, 2011

• The Mars Hill Church congregation may soon be packing their Bibles and leaving Belltown. Sources say that aside from rocking out, condemning the gays, and putting women in their place, Seattle's bigoted hipster misogynist church is in talks to land-swap its downtown building in exchange for a Seattle Athletic Club in Northgate. Mars Hill hasn't replied to requests for comment.


Of some note for September 2011

http://marshill.com/2011/09/06/important-letters-from-pastors

Jamie Munson resigned.  He's reportedly co-president of Storyville Coffee company now.

UPDATE 06-15-2012
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/06/joy-in-anxiety-driscolls-gloss-on.html

Driscoll seemed to make reference to the Downtown campus as the Belltown campus in the sermon "Joy in Anxiety" from the Rebel's Guide to Joy series on Phillipians in December 2007. He also makes reference not just to some "maybe" cases that include the Belltown campus but also to someone taking a paycut and a worship team leader getting demoted in favor of someone else and to people getting upset and blogging about stuff and sending press releases to The Stranger and the like.  The transcript excerpt of the sermon is at the link above with documentation of possible candidate events that may have been alluded to in the sermon.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Cinemagogue: Fear from Alien to Prometheus

http://cinemagogue.com/2012/06/05/fear-from-alien-to-prometheus/

It may be useful to point out that in early drafts of the script for Alien Ripely was a male role.. Harleman sees the themes in the 1979 sci-fi/horror classic related to unwanted pregnancy, childbirth, and reads an abortive subtext in the various metaphors of the film.

But I think that O'Bannon's comments suggest that we can read Alien as an inversion of the viscitudes of the kinds of exploitation films that were common in the 1970s.

There are a few extra places we could go if we wanted to dive into allusions to Joseph Conrad but I'll spare you those details because you may be yet another person who doesn't like Joseph Conrad's work.  So I'm not going to bore you as I have bored other people in real life by even discussing Conrad's work. :-) There, you can thank me now.
.
I recall reading some interesting comments from O'Bannon to the effect that he wanted to see men and not women sitting in theaters with their legs crossed and squirming at the stuff shown on the film.  It's true the film can be read as a horror film about things related to childbirth, pregnancy, and the like but the motif of bodily violation is more prominent throughout the film.  The 1979 sci-fi horror classic is many things but subtlety of subtext is not one of them.

It's true that horror films generally traffic in anxiety about sex but horror films also traffic in anxiety about how benign or (more usually) malevolent the universe we are in appears to be.  Distilled down to its most material and materialist concern it could be summed up by Alan Moore's Walter Kovacs who says that it is not q god who foists all this miserable and pitiless cruelty and death upon us, it's us, and only us.  Our mixture of frailty and cruelty is a horror that we can never truly get over or get around.  Depending on who you ask the big mystery is not why there is evil in the human species but why there isn't more of it.



Tuesday, June 05, 2012

The pay and work of Bill Clem and Lief Moi circa 2007-2008



Part 26: One Body, Many parts
1 Corinthians 12:12-26
Pastor Mark Driscoll
July 30, 2006

… In the meantime, we also picked up another miracle. This is West Seattle. This is on 35th at the top of the hill in West Seattle as you head toward White Center. I grew up in this neighborhood. This is a church building that is an absolute miracle. I’ll tell you the story on this space. I tried to launch Mars Hill Church in that building ten years ago, and we were rejected, and I’ve always wanted to be in there since. And what happened was, is we were growing. I went to Pastor Bill Clem, who was leading that congregation. He planted it for Acts 29 Church Planning Network [emphasis added], him and James Noriega, who is the other elder there and I said, “We’re maxed out. You got a fat building, 50,000 square feet, 1,000 seats.:” It’s a bigger building and the one you’re sitting in right now. I said, “Is there any way we to use it?” They said, “Well, we wanna reach as many people in West Seattle as possible. How about if we give it to you and work together?” we prayed about it for a second and said, “Yes.”

  
Mars Hill West Seattle

Mars Hill West Seattle was a result of conversations I had with Pastor Bill Clem, who now leads our Ballard church. Bill planted Doxa Fellowship in West Seattle after having served as the North American Director for Sonlife Ministries, a national discipleship ministry. The church was part of the Acts 29 network and running under 100 people when Bill and I began talking.

At the time, Bill’s wife was diagnosed with cancer, from which she eventually passed away. I called up Bill to offer support for the tough battle he and his wife were facing, and I also asked if he’d be open to letting us use Doxa’s building on Sunday mornings, as Doxa was only meeting on Sunday nights. [emphasis added]

Eventually, as our church met in his building in the mornings, as we talked more and more, and as Bill’s wife faced a continuing and difficult battle with cancer, Doxa decided to merge with Mars Hill and become part of our church. We gave Bill many months off, paid him a full salary, and let him care for his dying wife and get a break from the exhausting work he’d undertaken in planting a church with an often bedridden wife. Her funeral was held in the church building that Pastor Bill had been given, and once he was ready, he started working for Mars Hill and is now our lead pastor at our biggest church, Mars Hill Ballard. Additionally, he has published the book Discipleship for us, and is the Northwest regional director for Acts 29. [emphasis added]

The old church building we inherited needed a lot of work. So, the people of Mars Hill generously gave $1.8 million in one massive special offering to renovate it. It’s been a great transition over the last five years or so, with the church growing from less than 100 people to now well over 700 people coming together to worship Jesus and serve the West Seattle area, many of whom are new believers who’ve met Jesus and been baptized at Mars Hill West Seattle. Not only that, Mars Hill West Seattle has gone from being a church plant to planting churches, having planted Mars Hill Federal Way in 2009.


Page 7 of 145
A letter from Pastor Lief Moi

November 9, 2007

Dear Mars Hill Members


The following is a brief account and explanation of what has transpired with me and Mars Hill Church over the past few months. I hope this gives comfort and answers to those of you who have been concerned.

In June of this year I was asked to step down from the executive team and the role of campus pastor at Ballard.  The primary reason, and I believe a valid one, was that I do not have the administrative skills to run a campus the size of Ballard. [emphasis added] Although I agreed with the assessment of my lack of Kingly skills, I felt that I was being removed from a role that God had called me to and as a result I resigned from the elder board. There were many elders who spoke with me and asked me to reconsider, but at the time my heart was hard and I was not interested. After much contemplation, prayer and speaking with Pastor Mark, I asked to be reinstated as an elder and the vote was unanimous with one abstention to reinstate me.

Because of a major role change and the re-org, it was determined that my salary was to be cut by almost 40%.[emphasis added]  At that time I told Pastor Jamie that I would not be able to stay on full time would consider a part time position so I could work on other means of providing for my family.

So as of today I am working 20 hours a week in Ballard counseling on Sundays and Wednesday evenings. I need you all to know and I ask your forgiveness for times during this process that I have not thought about the gospel first but considered my feelings most important and therefore have sinned. This has been one of the most difficult times of my life but am now looking to the future with my hope in Jesus and trust in the elders of Mars Hill to leada us into what Jesus would have us do and be. And it is this that I would ask you to do as well. These men love Jesus and they love you. We might not always agree on the method but we can always agree on Jesus.


Blessings
Pastor Lief


Monday, June 04, 2012

Internet Monk: Flying through the flame of creativity

http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/flying-through-the-flame-of-creativity

Jeff Dunn posted a lecture transcript of a talk given by Dr. Peter Van Lorn about art and creativity.  Van Lorn opened with the warning that he was going to try to dissuade you from becoming an artist. He said that if he could not dissuade people from a life spent in the arts he could at least warn them of what such a life would entail.

Van Lorn went on to explain that a life in the arts is a vocation and not necessarily a career. He noted that creativity is both a grace and a curse.  I suppopse it could be said to be so but I am not quite sure I agree.  I am going to pick something that expresses this concept, as I understand it in Van Lorn's lecture in less spiritual and in more economic terms.

Creativity and the impulse to create is something that can arguably be found in every human. How this impulse to create emerges and is executed varies drastically from person to person.  A parent brainstorming creative ways to cook and plan meals around a child's food allergies is exercising a fantastic level of creativity that may not be appreciated as "art".  Yet it is both an art and a science.  The modern era has separated the professional from the amateur in ways that are not always good.  Different musicians in the 20th century had different thoughts about the gap between the professional musician and the amateur.  Shostakovich discouraged one of his wives from doing too much music because he felt it was best left to professionals.  Hindemith, by contrast, wrote an entire string quartet to play with his wife Gertrud because she decided to take up the cello.  Bach legendarily wrote and dedicated any number of works to his wife and children. Of course Bach was a professional musician the likes of which we may never see again but he clearly had no problem writing for both professionals and amateurs.

But creativity as a grace and a curse seems a bit extreme to me in terms of expression.  What it has in poetry it lacks, I humbly suggest, in a certain precision. Pursuing creativity in the arts has what may be called a "curse" but also what may be called opportunity costs.  Pursuing a life in the arts will often mean not pursuing a life in other things.  Pursuing a life in other things, which so very many people do, often entails not truly pursuing activity in the arts.  I have met a few people who have devoted themselves to marriage and parenting and these are wonderful vocations. These vocations often, however, preclude a pursuit of the arts.  More accurately, if you have a good relationship with your spouse and children and are not already in the arts vocationally then you may benefit from spending more time with your spouse and raising your children than trying to immerse yourself in the arts too far and too much.

A life in the arts is not really a lonely life as such (though it can be) but it is a life in which you are at times forced to confront the reality of the opportunity costs you have to deal with.  I have noticed this in my absence of a dating life (though chronic underemployment plays a substantial role there, too).

Van Lorn attributes Bach's generally joyful music to the external circumstance of the Christian faith.  Musicologists have not always been eager to stress Bach's interest in Christian doctrine or practice.  As Hindemith noted in his short lecture on Bach the fact that only four of Bach's twenty children survived into adulthood and only three of those kept what we would now call sanity; and given that Bach's first wife died it would be difficult to say that Bach's life was particularly joyful in circumstances.  There was a lot of success in Bach's life but there was also plenty of suffering.   I don't think a parent could just shake off the loss of sixteen children and a wife.

I do, however, agree with Van Lorn's suggestion, which he does not spell out in philosophical terms as such, that the artist has a vocation in which art can become a kind of meta-teleological study.  If there any composer of whom we may propose that this took the form of a conscious vocation J. S. Bach might be the best candidate in Western music.

The observation that nothing is less real than realism may be worth discussing at some length.  I have been writing about the DC animated universe fashioned by Paul Dini, Bruce Timm, Allen Burnett, Dwayne McDuffie and others over at Mockingbird for a bit more than a year.  Eve Tushnet remarked that "realism" is a term that presupposes one's view of the world is realistic and that the rest of us must settle for genre. Critics who lament the prevalence of superhero films and like more "realistic" stories don't always seem to register that realistic stories are not always realistic.  The tropes of the superhero story are no less etched in stone than those of the romantic comedy.  I would venture to say that it makes more sense why Commissioner Gordon doesn't just arrest Bruce Wayne several weeks after Batman begins his war on crime than to explain why Kate Hudson or Meg Ryan end up with the men they end up with by the end of their films.  A guy who dresses like a bat and beats the crap out of people obviously has emotional issues, right?  Mike Nelson of Mystery Science Theater 3000 once observed that if actions X, Y and Z are depicted by Harry Connick Jr. toward a woman in a film that film is a thriller or a horror.  If the same actions are depicted as being done by a woman who is played by Meg Ryan it's considered cute and we're supposed to root for her.

I have often heard it said that the path of the artist is to defy convention and question things and discover the truth.  Artists don't really do this so much, do they?  I mean if it's true that artists are supposed to question the conventions of society why are there so many cliches?  The line between art and commerce has never been as clear-cut as ideologues and idealists would like.  It's true that boy bands tend to be lame and that boy bands tend to be silly, ephemeral assemblages of young guys who want to be celebrities.  Sure, sure, I know ... but didn't the Beatles basically start out as a boy band that eventually transcended the limitations of their idiom?  Weren't they mop tops until George Martin and Brian Epstein and others pushed the Fab Four to be more than they were content to be up to that point in their career?

When I was in high school (how long ago that seems to me now!) I was in art classes.  This was twenty years and two major eye surgeries ago. I drew inspiration from a combination of Salvador Dali's general approach to surrealism and Rembrandt's approach to light and color.  Eventually I'd take an interest in the photography of Margaret Bourke-White and Richard Avedon and, of course, I never really completely lost my interest in comics and was a Bill Watterson fan.  Other students saw some of the work I did and asked me, "So, like, do you drop acid?"

"No." I replied.

"Do you get high?"  The student would ask.

"No."

"You don't do mushrooms or smoke weed?" asked the fellow student, still unsure if I was serious or not.

"No, I don't do any of that stuff." I replied.

"So how do you come up with your ideas?" the student asked without further delay.

"I think them up.  I juse use the brain I have and think of stuff and if I like an idea I go with it."

There was a pregnant pause of about a second and a half and the fellow student said, "Wow, that's messed up."..

That has intrigued me for twenty some years.  It's messed up that I could come up with ideas as an artist without resorting to any drugs of any kind?  It's messed up that I didn't use drugs to create an altered state of mine to come up with surrealistic pictures?  I would think that an artist would want to rely as little as possible on things that alter brain chemistry.  It may be true that drugs eliminate the inhibitions people have about coming up with ideas and that the suspension of inhibitions and self-editing tend toward creativity.

But a balanced approach to artistic activity is a constant synergistic relationship between brainstorming and revision and rejection and extrapolation.  The medievals and ancients were probably far more right than Romantics and some moderns in considering music as an applied science and not merely an art.  I would suggest here that failing to see the arts as applied science at level has two significant costs.

The first cost is that separating any sense of science from aesthetics means that aesthetics becomes arbitrary by necessity. The benefit of such a divorce is that anything goes in theory but the sheer limitations of physics and the extent of the practical has physically limited the arts in ways that I would consider beneficial.  Some of the most beautiful music ever written has been unaccompanied choral music and if you ever want to find out what the most draconian limitations on the musically practical are attempt to write even some basic chorales for unaccompanied chorus.  Either you will eventually discover why Stravinsky said he was most free when he worked within stringent limitations or you'll give up in a furious fit of frustration. If you fail to grasp the connection between the conceptual and the actual then you lose a beautiful way of seeing how and why art (whether commercial or non-commercial) can have a real world connection to living people. That is the practical point.

The second cost of failing to see the arts as applied science is to live life imagining that the utility of art is not an issue because art and science are separated by a breach that should not be crossed.  This seems like a recent and bad innovation.  By "recent" I mean in the last two centuries and I have already intimated as to why I think it is a bad one. I believe the more we study the human mind, cognitive development, social patterns, and the history of music the more we may continue to discover that all of the arts depend on a process of associative memory.  It is known that beauty is in the eye of the beholder but even a blind person can grasp that something is beautiful to taste, touch, hear and smell.  We can assume, as some do, that standards of beauty are culturally defined and that culture is just wrong.

The more research gets done into the the sciences of biology and health the less certain I think this claim can be.  That societies discriminate against those who are considered less beautiful is an injustice but the injustice may not prove that those who are not considered beautiful are beautiful simply because we are reflexively responding to an injustice.  The ugly man does not become less ugly because he is not favored as much as the handsome man.  After all, charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised. Kindness makes a man attractive.  The ancients understood more readily than we that beauty does not last forever.  After all, they had to deal with much higher infant mortality rates and with the reality of dying sooner than us during many periods of human history.

What Van Lorn seems to call the curse side of the arts I don't agree with unless I take it as circumlocution for other concerns. In many cases people say that art is predicated upon talent.  I have met people who say that talent and quality in the arts is arbitrary and subjective whereas skill can be objectively measured or quantified.  This isn't really the case.  You can objectively establish whether this or that guitarist can play something faster than another but not establish whether or not that is a task worth doing.  Frank Zappa once remarked of John McLaughin that you'd have to be a moron not to appreciate his technique but that he didn't see the aesthetic value of making the guitar sound like a machine gun.  I'm inclined to agree with Zappa's sentiment and believed that McLaughlin's best work was with Miles Davis.  It definitely wasn't McLaughlin's tedious guitar concerto, I'm sorry to say.

While the old adage has it that beauty is in the eye of the beholder the more we learn about cognitive processes and social patterns the more it seems this old proverb is more accurately rendered now as saying "beauty is in the mind of the beholder."  Yet beauty is not just in the mind of the beholder but also within what the  beholder beholds.  Controversially this plays itself out in evolutionary psychologists and others proposing that what is considered sexually desirable has a basis not merely in cultural assumptions about beauty but in some actual physiological realities about the human body and its perception that may turn out to transcend cultural variables.  Some cultures prize bigger women over skinny women but marks of financial and physical stability can remain steady.  Closer adherence to the Golden ratio and to a higher degree of body symmetry can be considered indicators of health and beauty alike among men and women.  Does this seem like something culturally conditioned?  It doesn't seem likely.  It is true there are many unrealistic expectations put forth about beauty and status but it would be as mistaken to assume these are not based in some limited way on physics and biology as it would be to assume it is all culture.

The trouble is that the beholder is plural as well as singular and that the plurality and singularity invariably inform each other.  We know this because cults of beauty exist.  Some people prize Marilyn Monroe, others prize Audrey Hepburn. Others prize Julie Newmar.  Others prize James Dean.  Others prize Brad Pitt or early career Marlon Brando (as opposed to old fat Marlon Brando).  Elizabeth Taylor, anyone? I trust the point gets across.

There is a long history of Christians having a suspicion of the arts.  Early Christians often associated the arts with sexual immorality.  Acting was a terrible profession.  Even the ancient Greeks made a distinction between music as a philosophical or abstract enterprise of the mind and the practical musician, the theoritician could be held in high esteem while the actual performers were considered disreputable. I think it was Guido d'Arezzo who declared that singers were the silliest people on the planet.  He invented the solfeggio system of score-reading because he got sick of stupid and lazy singers not coming in on time and getting notes wrong during performances.  Jokes about the stupidity and horniness of tenors and sopranos have not abated over millenia, have they? Bach got embroiled in controversies over allegations that musicians were basically immoral and stupid sorts.  Puritans had a few words of warning about the arts.  The response by artists of various sorts has been, in my estimation, comparably stupid.

If Christian moralists object to this or that in the arts then artists do themselves and the arts no favors by pretending that the role of the artist is to question the mores and conventions of society.  This pretends to an elevated status the arts have never consistently had.  I give you boy bands.  Preted that that is commerce and not art all you want but the boy band has a song that uses the same major and minor chords and melodic turns you may hear in other more "legitimate" styles of music.  Attempting to differentiate between the "high" and the "low" is a cultural game that I propose may fail on further analysis.  The gap between one style and another is in the mind and the conceptual framework through which we perceive something not merely as music but as an expression of culture.  I'll risk a simplification and put it this way, the gap between blues and country as folk music and popular music wasn't so big in the first half of the twentieth century as it became in the decades after which the commercial recording industry realized they could sell millions of records  if they catered to and defined markets.  Now "new country" just sounds like "old rock" to me.  Sometimes I'm in the mood for that but it's not often and I admit it.

In other words if artists are so important to questioning everything in society why have we had so many millenia of the same stuff getting done over and over again?  Why so many love songs?  Why so many cliches in music?  Why so many stories of starcrossed lovers and corrupt kings? How on earth did Joseph Campbell ever manage to propose the hero's journey if artists were really shaking things up? Even the indie scene is full of its own cliches.  The avant garde ends up sounding the same after a while.  I've tried listening to Elliott Carter and he's not quite my thing.  Boulez is a fantastic conductor but his original compositions have never really interested me.  Edgar Varese has written some fantastic stuff.  Stockhausen has a couple of nice things but in a way these are all people who are spinning out new variations of things that were started by Stravinsky or Schoenberg.  Nobody creates in a vacuum, everyone creates in the context of a shared social life, even the most hermitly hermit around. It was in exile on the island of Patmos that John the Revelator wrote the Apocalypse, the book that deals with the end of what we might lazily called space and time and physical matter as people had been used to knowing those things.

I've rambled on these subjects often enough.  I would agree with Van Lorn that unless you're willing to shoulder the opportunity costs you probably don't want to pursue a life in the arts.  On the other hand there's no reason you can't make the arts a hobby.


Sunday, June 03, 2012

Matt Redmond on the Ultimate Bait and Switch

http://mattbredmond.blogspot.com/2012/05/ultimate-bait-and-switch.html

I hate the bait and switch. Inside the church and outside. I don't like any kind of tricks of the trade. And I love Paul's statement to the people of Corinth -

"But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God."
The strategy/attitude of many believers, especially leaders - vocational and otherwise - is this:

Woo the unbeliever through acts of kindness and winsome discussion. Listen to their concerns. Take their arguments and concerns and past hurts seriously. Or at least pretend to. Go the extra mile. Concede non-germane points. Find common ground. Make no issue of their theological disagreements.

And then when you have them, when they finally convert - tell them what they should be doing. No need to really listen anymore. It is their turn now to listen. Their arguments and concerns are now crowded out by the plain fact of ecclesiastical authority and their need to submit to that authority.

Now we can start yelling at you from the pulpit.

This is what you bought. This is what you get.

Forget the invite to a pizza party for young people which is really an evangelistic service, this is the ultimate bait and switch. 


Amen.

index/synopsis of posts on real estate and Mars Hill

On April 10, 2012, Mark Driscoll posted "Is Your Church Interested in Becoming a part of Mars Hill?"

http://marshill.com/2012/04/10/is-your-church-interested-in-becoming-a-part-of-mars-hill

Regular readers will recall I wrote a long blog post about this post of Driscoll's at the Mars Hill website. I encouraged pastors considering giving their assets, people, and real estate over to Mars Hill to ask questions about a number of things.  Realizing that many pastors will not know what to ask or where to look I have taken it upon myself to document, as best I can where pastors considering the invitation by Driscoll for them to ask if their church can become part of Mars Hill can start their own line of study and research.

Along the way I have realized that my own investigation led me to a discovery, Mark Driscoll has habitually neglected to mention in his touting West Seattle as an example of a great church merger the fact that Driscoll had been wanting the property that has become Mars Hill West Seattle since as far back as 1996.  Wanting a piece of property for Mars Hill for a decade is a long time. During 2002 when Bill Clem planted Doxa as a church plant in partnership with Acts 29 and Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll was the Church Planting Scout for Acts 29.

In 2006 when Bill Clem's wife Jeannie was diagnosed with cancer Driscoll approached Clem and Doxa pastor James Noriega about making use of the Doxa facilities to help Mars Hill deal with steady expansion and a failure of earlier real estate development plans to succeed.  The transfer/gift/sale of the Doxa property to Mars Hill is still a bit murky but what is evident is that the transaction was definitely a boon for all parties involved and the property was something Driscoll had wanted for ten years.  He was rejected from being able to plant Mars Hill at that property back in 1996.

To casually read the description of how Mars Hill became multisite since 2006 you might think there was an actual plan in place.  Well, there was sort of a plan in place but in order to understand how and why Mars Hill grew into a multisite it is necessary to understand the essential failure of the 2005 purchase of the 50th street building, the building which Mark Driscoll wrote was going to be the second Ballard campus in the book Confessions of a Reformission Rev. While the multisite model seems to be effective it should not be overlooked that the impetus for the multisite model Mars Hill has been embracing since 2006 was predicated on a collosal failure of judgment in assessing the real estate situation within the city of Seattle.

This failure (which could have been averted by more diligent investigation of land use and permit restrictions) required a swift and practical response and the two earliest responses were the assimilation of Acts 29 church plant Doxa into Mars Hill on the one hand, and the foundation of what has become Mars Hill Shoreline on the other.  That the Chief Operations Officer of CRISTA Ministries, Tim Beltz, was attending Mars Hill since approximately 2004 may have benefited Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll in getting a couple of years of rent free use of Schirmer Auditorium. Tim Beltz would eventually nominate himself to eldership and get ordained as a pastor at Mars Hill in October 2007.

Did Bill Clem, James Noriega, and Tim Beltz play significant roles in getting real estate into the hands of Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll, who in 2006 was apparently the legal president, senior employee, lead pastor, and head of the elder board? Does it not occur to anyone else that it looks like after Clem, Noriega, and Beltz got real estate into the hands of Mars Hill they were accepted into eldership with what seem to be fantastic options?  Tim Beltz was ordained in October 2007 and it seems he immediately became an Executive Elder. Beltz was Chief Operations Officer at CRISTA where, as Mark Driscoll pointed out in a July 30, 2006 sermon, Mars Hill was given completely free access to Schirmer Auditorium. Would the Chief Operations Officer (i.e. Tim Beltz, who'd been attending Mars Hill since about 2004) have been the person to have brokered such an arrangement?

Driscoll has recounted how he approached Clem and Noriega to partner together.  Clem and Noriega would give Mars Hill property Driscoll had wanted for Mars Hill since 1996.  There was no primise, Driscoll has said, of any job or power or influence.  But Clem and Noriega were voted onto the elder team.  Bill Clem was given a full salary and months of time off to care for his dying wife.  That sounds altruistic enough at a personal level but at an institutional level it means a man who was basically not doing any real work was on full salary and had played a significant role in gifting to Mark Driscoll a property Mark Driscoll has publicly stated he'd wanted for a decade.

James Noriega, despite having a publicly documented divorce and remarriage with a history of felonies in articles published by the Seattle Post-Intellgicencer in 2004, nevertheless made the cut as a pastor both inside the Acts 29 church Doxa and in Mars Hill alike. By 2007 he'd been promoted to the Board of Directors and was in charge of recovery groups.  He would go on to co-lead Redemption Groups and play an important role in transforming the Grace Groups established by Bent Meyer into the Redemption Groups that Mike Wilkerson and Noriega were tasked with working on.  By Mike Wilkerson's account a key task in making what are now the Redemption Groups was ensuring that recovery and counseling theology did not contradict pulpit theology.  Noriega seems to have helped contribute to that process in 2008 and 2009.  It's not clear, however, that Noriega (who is no longer employed by Mars Hill) had demonstrated sufficient qualifications to be a pastor in charge of dealing with addiction issues just because he was himself at one point a meth addict and had some experience in a Union Gospel Mission ministry.

What is clear is that the three men (Clem, Noriega, and at least possibly Beltz) managed to bring some fantastic real estate and property options to Mars Hill in 2006 and by 2007 had some impressive jobs and benefits. Exactly what that means I'm not sure I want to speculate about on some blog.  I have, however, compiled the research I've done, such as it is, to explain in detail what I have summarized above.

So if you're a pastor thinking about giving your church, flock, and assets to Mars Hill make sure you read all this stuff.  I quote from primary sources, namely Driscoll himself, from pastors involved in acquisitions, and also refer to coverage in local media independent of Mars Hill. This blog post is the short overview.  These posts are where I document the details as carefully as I could manage given on record resources. If you're just curious you've read this summary and it's enough. If you're thinking of giving your church that God's given to you to Mars Hill make a point of reading all the material below.

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/04/is-your-church-interested-in-becoming.html
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/05/how-mars-hill-acquired-west-seattle.html
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/06/mars-hill-west-seattle-campus-and.html
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/06/how-mars-hill-acquired-west-seattle.html
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/06/pay-and-work-of-bill-clem-and-lief-moi.html
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/06/mars-hill-shoreline-and-pastor-tim.html
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/05/update-on-mars-hill-orange-county.html
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/06/pay-and-work-of-bill-clem-and-lief-moi_07.html
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/06/mars-hill-downtown-bought-for-395-mil.html
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/06/mars-hill-albuquerque-moving-beyond.html
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/06/mars-hill-50th-street-property-listing.html
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/06/regrouping-for-jesus-fame-explanation.html
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/06/joy-in-anxiety-driscolls-gloss-on.html
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/06/mars-hill-fellowship-whats-that.html
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/06/mars-hill-church-incorporated-12221995.html

Time permitting I hope to discuss Downtown, Lake City, and Albequrque as well as other campuses.

UPDATE: 06.05.2012
10:00PM

I've added the May 2012 link that first summarized how Mars Hill acquired the West Seattle campus.  I've also added to the index a newer post providing a comparison between the salary and hours worked by Bill Clem after Doxa was added to Mars Hill and co-founding elder Lief Moi's salary and hours after he was approached in June 2007 and asked to step down from being lead pastor at Ballard.  The contrast between Moi working half time with a nearly 40% salary cut while Clem was given a full salary and didn't how to show up for work for a period of months is startling enough that it seems to merit inclusion in this series.

UPDATE 06.07.2012
3.45PM

New posts discuss the pay and work of Bill Clem and Lief Moi circa 2007, as well as the acquisition of the Mars Hill Downtown Campus.  These posts discuss how Moi's back problems left him in constant pain, according to Mark Driscoll's response to a member in the 145 document published in November 2007.

The discussion of the Downtown campus looks at how a property purchased for nearly $4 million in October 2007 would have been purchased by executive elders and that the most likely candidates for the purchase were Driscoll and Munson. In 2008 the housing bubble meant that what was purchased for nearly $4 million lost a million dollars of value in the real estate bubble.  In contrast to the public mention of West Seattle and the rent free deal at Shoreline Mars Hill Downtown was a purchase shrouded in secrecy within the church.  It was covered by secular newspapers like The Stranger, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Seattle Times before Mars Hill members (and probably many pastors) knew what was going on.

UPDATE 06.08.2012

A bare bones overview of Mars Hill Albuquerque is up as well as an inquisitive post about sale listings in 2005 related to what is now the 50th street property owned by Mars Hill.

UPDATE 06.17.2012

A few more links.  One post surveys the "Joy in Anxiety" sermon with a comparison of Driscoll's "maybe" statements to what may have been actual controversies within the church at the time the sermon was preached.

Another establishes that according to the Secretary of State of Washington listings Mark Driscoll is the President of Mars Hill Church, which was incorporated on 12/22/1995, about ten months before the church was ever even planted.

Whoever John J. Houlihan Jr. is he seems to have played a significant role in the corporations that were used to purchase Mars Hill real estate at different points.

Another post "Regrouping for Jesus' Fame" raises the question of whether the bylaws Munson seemed to draft in 2007 substantially addressed making Mars Hill a network of campuses.  It's not clear that the bylaws did that but perhaps people more informed about these things than I am could elucidate that.

UPDATE 05-19-2013

There's more in the material now than linked to here.  Things are now tagged when they show up in the series, at least.