Thursday, November 20, 2014

2-5-2008 spiritual warfare Part 2 part 5: commentary 2, cross referencing Mark Driscoll's policy about who can be friends with Grace to the narratives in Real Marriage

Real Marriage: the truth about sex, friendship and life together
Mark and Grace Driscoll
Thomas Nelson
copyright (c) 2012 by On Mission, LLC
ISBN 978-1-4041-8352-0

page 123
One night, Mark and I were casually talking about past relationships and situations in our lives when I found myself describing sexual abuse that had occurred in my past as if I were explaining how I did the laundry yesterday--no emotion, seemingly no pain, no pause for tears or reflection on my words. Mark was crying as I finished the story, and when I asked what was wrong, he informed me that I had just explained abuse.  What? I had so much shame and had stuffed it for so long that I didn't even know it was abuse until Mark told me it more than fit the definition.
page 124
I had described to Mark a relationship I was in before he and I ever met, with a guy who was a little older than me and who came from a rough family life. I met the guy in church, and I was an emotionally needy, naive girl who didn't have brothers and wasn't informed about boys or protected from the bad ones--admittedly not a good combination. We voluntarily slept together, and I lost my virginity to him. Over time the guy became controlling, telling me what clothes I couldn't wear in public, because he was very jealous. He controlled when I went out with my friends and who I could hang out with (which basically was rarely and few). He determined my schedule and free time, having me stay with him at his work much of the time. He even organized his life to follow me around and keep an eye on me. It was like having an invisible fence around me, getting stung when going outside the boundaries, and I was ruled by my fears. [emphases added]

Sadly, I thought all this was him taking care of me and saw myself as increasingly unable to make my own decisions. At one point his jealousy turned to rage, and he ran after me, caught me, and threw me up against a wall. I grew more and more afraid of him, too afraid to tell him to leave me alone. Like many other girls, I didn't see this as abuse and thought he would change, but it continued for too long. I was filled with my own guilt from fornicating and told myself if I married him it would cover my sin somehow. So that was my plan until he confessed he had been sleeping with another girl. Somehow that was the one thing that took my fear away long enough to end the relationship, which I now see as my "way of escape" given by God. If in that moment I had chosen to continue being abused, my life would look completely different.

The first and possibly most striking part of the chapter 7 narrative is one of its earliest claims, that Grace Driscoll simply could not identify what had happened to her so many years ago as sexual abuse until Mark Driscoll said it was.  This is ... possible ... and yet it raises a question of just how compartmentalized Grace Driscoll's thought life might have been if she'd been familiar with Dan Allender's work since at least six years (or more) before the story she recounted to her husband (which Mark Driscoll has at a couple of occasions placed in the zone of 2006).  After all ...

Grace Driscoll
Occupation: Mom
Spouse: Mark
Children: Ashley, Zachariah
Education: B.A. in Public Relations/Communications, with a minor in Technical English

Favorite author: Ken Gire, Dan Allender, Donald S. Whitney, Jerry Bridges, the Apostle Paul (Romans)

After that, it is noteworthy about the earlier man is that he came from a rough family background.  Driscoll has long emphasized his blue-collar, lived-by-a-strip-club, son-of-a-union-drywaller past.  It's worth noting that Mark Driscoll himself, could be described as having lived in a rough neighborhood, and that the prevailing tendencies of the Driscoll clan were toward violence and alcohol-abuse.  His parents left North Dakota to remove their family from that influence.

Real Marriage: the truth about sex, friendship and life together
Mark and Grace Driscoll
Thomas Nelson
copyright (c) 2012 by On Mission, LLC
ISBN 978-1-4041-8352-0

page 5
The men on my father's side [Mark Driscoll] included uneducated alcoholics, mental patients, and women beaters. This includes an uncle who died of gangren and his sons, roughly my age, who have been in prison for beating women and were supposedly on the television show Cops. One of the main reasons my parents moved from North Dakota to Seattle was to get away from some family members when I was a very young boy.

The next thing that is particularly noteworthy from chapter 7 of Real Marriage is Grace describing the degree to which the abusive boyfriend controlled her social life and how she appeared. 

One of the more remarked-upon anecdotes from the Driscoll marriage has been the "mom haircut" story, which can be quoted as a comparison point to the anonymous former boyfriend of Grace Driscoll.

Real Marriage
page 11
Our marriage was functional but not much fun. As we approached the launch of the church, Grace was pregnant with our first child and suffering from painful stress-related issues caused by her public relations job, which culminated in me apologizing for not bearing the entire financial burden for our family. ...

In this season we shifted into ministry-and-family mode, neglecting our intimacy and falling ot work through our issues. This became apparent to me when my pregnant wife came home from a hair appointment with her previously long hair (that I loved) chopped off and replaced with a short, mommish haircut. She asked what I thought, and could tell from the look on my face. She had put a mom's need for convenience before being a wife. She wept.

So far as controlling who did and didn't get to be friends with Grace Driscoll it is at this point, especially, that the way Mark Driscoll described his gatekeeping activity on behalf of his wife as at least potentially controlling:

February 5, 2008
Pastor Mark Driscoll
Part 2: The Devil

  I'll tell you, in the history of Mars Hill, I mean, I have had to put up a firewall, a moat, guard dogs, and a high wall with barbed wire on the top, and snipers behind it, around my wife. There are certain women who, they just need to know what Grace is doing and they are determined, they say things like, uh, "Hey, we need to have dinner with your family." [slight chuckle] No you don't. "Hey, we need to have coffee." No you don't.  "Hey, phone number." What? Nope. "Email." Nope.  Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope.

"Oh, come on." Nope.
"But I thought you were our pastor."
I am and my first lesson is to tell you you're Satanic.
"Oh, come on, in our last church the pastor's wife [sob] she was my best friend and I got to talk to her all the time."

Well, she was Satanic, too.  Give me her number, I'll call her and tell her. We'll help her out.

A person could be forgiven for wondering if the distinction between the anonymous boyfriend and the behaviors and actions undertaken by Mark Driscoll to look after and protect his woman might not be considered a distinction without a difference.

Consider that while Grace described the anonymous boyfriend she lost her virginity to as re-ordering his whole life to keep track of her, Mark Driscoll shared from the pulpit in the 2008 Peasant Princess series the lengths to which he would go if Grace so much as forgot to call him one day.  While Driscoll explained the catalyzing incident, that Grace was assigned to a mens' dormitory, it's striking how far he was willing to go (literally) and the actions he was willing to take to ensure that Grace was, in his estimation, going to be safe.
the pertinent anecdotes start at about 33:40
... and this is an ENORMOUS part of my relationship with Grace.  I mean I still remember when I first started seeing her she, uh, she went off to college, I was still in high school and they ran out of housing so they put her in a guys' dorm. And I was like, "What!?" so I got in the car and I drove to the university and I knocked on all the doors of all the guys on her floor. "Hi. My name is Mark. I love this woman. Anyone talks to her, touches her,  thinks about talking about touching her I will beat them. Literally I threatened twenty guys. Just knocked on every door. No way she's gonna get messed with. No way.

Later on when she transferred to another university, WSU, she's five hours away. And she moved out there and her phone wasn't hooked up yet and we didn't have cell phones. And I told her, "When you get there, go to a pay phone. Call me. Let me know you got there safe."  Well she ... didn't call so I got in the car and I drove there. Five hours.  The day I had to work. And I knocked on the door. She answered it and I said, "Whu, you didn't call." She said, "I forgot." I said, "Are you okay?" She said, "I'm okay." So, okay, good, I got in the car and I drove home. Just checking. Six hundred miles.  Who cares? It's Grace.

... even emotionally, people send her nasty emails, text messages, talk trash about me, leave the church and want to take parting shots at her. She has nothing to do with any of it. So I even put a white/black list on her email and some people so some people can email her and the rest come to me. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. So that she doesn't have to feel bad because people are taking shots at her. That's my girl. No shots. That's the rule.

And if that doesn't work (or didn't work) try finding the audio courtesy of ...

The first two anecdotes could be construed as the efforts of someone who could have trusted that his girlfriend was going to be okay and that forgetting to make a phone call did not require driving five hours one way. 

The third anecdote, dating as it does from 2008, may be another case of a form of protecting Grace that post-dated the controversial 2007 re-org, terminations, and trials.  As much as Mark Driscoll has leaned on protecting Grace as the nature of what he's done, let's not forget that Grace has said things recounted by Driscoll or others that suggest she wasn't exactly a shrinking violet.
March 6, 2008
Thor Tolo

When the Lord isn’t talking to this man, kiddingly called a short-fused drama queen by his wife, his critics are blogging about him. Some of the sharper barbs make it difficult for Driscoll to hide the hurt.

Were any of the barbs ultimately as sharp or as prescient as the Elimelech assessment credited to none other than Grace Driscoll?
[roughly one hour in]

...Elimelech is the guy--everything falls apart. It looks dark, it looks bad. He takes a poll he makes a plan. He decides Moab has a lower cost of living. Moab has more vocational opportunity. Moab has food on the table. I will make a plan, I will be the sovereign. I will take care of everything. Trust me. I know what I'm doing. He leads well. He plans well. He tries to be the sovereign (they're all going to die anyways). I am Elimelech.

I asked my wife, "Which one am I?" ... She didn't even breath, didn't even take a breath, "Oh, you're Elimelech." And his name means what? MY GOD IS KING! That was me. If you asked me, Jesus, sovereign, lord, king, God! And if I ever need Him I'll call him but I don't think I do because I've got all this taken care of.

And by Driscoll's own account, he seemed to agree that she was right.

Those words could be considered inadvertently prophetic in light of the pending death of the corporation known as Mars Hill Church. Centralizing and tightening the circle of influence and power into a smaller and more powerful executive branch was considered the necessary thing to have a "nimble" organization that could pick up real estate and make key decisions more efficiently and seven years later that leadership decision catalyzed a trajectory that has led to the death of the corporation, so it would seem. Perhaps it was necessary for Grace to describe her husband as Elimelech and it seems in the long-run he went on being Elimelech anyway.  It was he who said it, after all.
About a year later, during the February 5, 2008 spiritual warfare session Mark Driscoll was explaining how he screened out women from being friends with Grace because of how many were demonic gossips; and how he threatened twenty guys with assault years earlier if they touched her; and how he deleted emails and screened her emails so that she'd never see "nasty emails" about him; then it would seem that the actual gap between one boyfriend and the other could be hard for an outside observer to notice, in light of the sum of public statements the Driscolls have made together.

For all of the years that Mark Driscoll's defenders have insisted he protects women others could legitimately ask whether his idea of protecting a woman doesn't look suspiciously like controlling women.  Taken as a whole Mark Driscoll's statements as a pastor and public figure about the lengths to which he's shielded his wife from what he considered threats can sure "seem" to be in the same basic range of actions that Grace Driscoll described as abusive and controlling on the part of her long-ago anonymous boyfriend mentioned in chapter 7 of Real Marriage.