Monday, July 14, 2014

on David and Joab in the book of Samuel, planning the death of Uriah the Hittite--a potential application to watchblogging

Thanks to biblioblogger Jim West, Wenatchee The Hatchet has spotted Jacob Wright's book David, King of Israel, and Caleb in Biblical Memory.  Something interesting about Wright's discussion of the Bathsheba affair is to point out how much the narrative sets up a condemnation of David before the "official" sin has even begun.  In the times when kings go off to war, as the text is generally rendered, tips us off as readers that what is about to happen is going to happen because David has dispatched his armies to go fight a battle while he kicks back at the palace at home.  We know about the official scandal but it can be easily forgotten that David and Joab have an exchange or two about how Uriah is to be sent off to his death. 

What Jacob Wright points out is that however literary all this account is it conveys something about the insider correspondence that was involved in David's plan to make sure Uriah died rather than be found out in his sin.  What analogy might we be able to come up with for this sort of thing?  It's like the Bible lets us read the confidential email correspondence between two Judean warlords who are planning on killing off one of their best and most loyal non-Judean proselyte soldiers, if you will.  An evangelical might note here that it's as though God the Holy Spirit inspired people to write down the private and top-secret correspondence of the leaders who arranged for the death of a righteous man. 

That "might" have some potential applications to what some would call watchblogging.  If the folks over at Mars Hill are as Calvinist as they have said in the past then it's "possible" that piles of correspondence dispatched by leaders via The City could have ended up being read by outsiders and this might not merely be because some people shared stuff that Mars Hill top brass hadn't realized they might have wanted to say was top secret, but because, if Mars Hill is really being managed by Calvinists who believe in divine sovereignty and so forth, God foreordained a ream or two of content from The City to be leaked to outsiders for some reason we cannot necessarily immediately discern. 

But there is, strictly speaking, no need to invoke divine providence for any of this stuff. Mars Hill was so utterly committed to distributing its brand and name through broadcast and social media since its foundation that it was only gong to be a matter of time before the media saturation Driscoll and Mars Hill had was going to include content they have since decided they wish no one to currently or presently see.  It's too late for all that.  The reason it is interesting to mention how the Bible includes narratives that feature top secret discussions disclosed to the reader is because Mars Hill generally and Mark Driscoll in particular, has so often of late found ways to transform the Bible into a de facto narrative about his own life and times.  Not that Wenatchee The Hatchet is particularly interested in that sort of self-aggrandizing eisegesis but if Wenatchee The Hatchet wished to, it would not be hugely difficult to suggest that the pile of content leaked from The City to Wenatchee The Hatchet in the last two years could have some divine providence behind it and that there would even be a "biblical" precedent for it in the sense that we've been made privy to the exchanges between David and Joab about how to ensure Uriah the Hittite's death thanks to the scriptures. 

No doubt Mars Hill will find even the possibility of such a thing rather unpleasant.  If Mark Driscoll has been permitted by his executive elder team to transform Acts 6 into the basis for sermons about mistakes are not necessarily sins and that there are alpha wolves then why couldn't Wenatchee The Hatchet consider that in light of the narrative about David arranging for the death of Uriah the Hittite that God could not providentially once again permit insider correspondence and statements to get leaked to the outside world to show that maybe some leaders among some people of faith need to publicly deal with some things they have tried to keep "private" on a social media system that has no less than 22,000 people participating on it. 

By the way, Wright's book is fascinating and will likely become the basis for some more blogging down the road.

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