Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2-5-2008 spiritual warfare Part 3 part 4 commentary 3 on the details and the trends of recovered memories and other fads

It's one thing to note in general how much Driscoll leveraged recovered memory tropes, 1980s era occult dedication folklore, and other somewhat infamous Reagan-era fads that have largely been debunked by psychological research and to a lesser degree even theological discussions.

It's another to get some sense of the practical implications of such a web of counseling approaches in the context of a church as a social/political system.  Think of it this way, Driscoll described how in these demon trials he'd learn the worst individual and family dirt about individual members.  That's not exactly no leverage should a day ever come in which one might contest a policy decision, is it?

It's also hard to overstate the significance of one of the most obvious points, that unless Driscoll or other pastors conducting demon trials were to eventually conclude otherwise, the people who would go to see counseling for demonic issues would be identified as Christians.

Wenatchee The Hatchet here suggests that a secular psychologist "might" propose that the recurring pattern Driscoll describes even in the anecdotes transcribed earlier in this series would revolve around the individual grappling with some part of themselves they can't integrate into their sense of self.  In Driscoll's accounts these predominantly circles around sexuality, sexual history, or drug use as a coping mechanism for other types of trauma. 

It's getting a bit late in the evening so Wenatchee The Hatchet isn't going to linger too long on the particulars of the stories. Instead it seems worth noting how slippery some of the accounts can sometimes feel in terms of voice.  When Driscoll uses generic plural pronouns was he referencing the counselee as the subject, the alleged demon(s) speaking through the counselee, both or all the above? 

In light of Driscoll's own accounts of how most of the time demonization for the Christian comes about because of unrepented of footholds involving sins (like, say, bitterness) this further highlights a question of whether Driscoll himself has ever been the counselee in a demon trial such as he described in his February 2008 session.  For as often as he has insisted that everyone be completely honest about all the worst things about their individual lives and family histories, Mark Driscoll himself has been pretty general in describing his personal history and the history of his family.  It's as though when the shoe is on the other foot the less said the better. 

It's one thing to say rather generally the Driscoll line is full of alcoholics and physically violent men and another to address anything more particular.  Since Driscoll had gone so far as to say that whole families can be literally and figuratively demonized by besetting generational sins this would seem like something that would have come up more than it ever has in the history of Mars Hill so far as Wenatchee The Hatchet can recall.  Not that that's an invitation for people to comment here, in case people are wondering.  There can be good reasons family histories are kept undiscussed in many settings.

But it's not untoward to suggest after so many years as a public figure in ministry who has required that counselees tell him everything that Driscoll himself keep in mind that one day there may be an accounting of his life and times.

There are about 15 more minutes left to transcribe, which may finally get transcribed later in the week.  Wenatchee's hoping to knock that out by the end of this upcoming weekend if time and resources permit.  The idea at the moment is to get into 2015 and have the warfare series largely be a wrap on discussing the history of Mars Hill at this blog.  And if the leaders past and present would just stop, you know, trying to reinvent themselves as though the last three to seven years didn't happen, that would make it so much easier.

A rather hasty summation, between the figurative and literal demonization of opposition or doubt about the executive leadership on the one hand, and a propensity to leverage largely debunked pop psychology tropes from the 1980s with individual counselees on the other, it would seem that using spiritual warfare as a narrative in which to quell dissent was not a particularly creative method but one that may well have gotten the job done.  Rather than attempt to stick to discussing the theology as theology (though the problems with it are, well, legion) Wenatchee The Hatchet will try to defer to folks with a bit more formal theological expertise to explain that if they like.  What we've tried to have available for people to read is a way to understand the historical and potential political significance of the 2008 seminar. 

For instance, secular readers could just imagine what a powerful priming effect this teaching could have on people, and Christians could appreciate this as well.  Wouldn't it be possible for someone who had never before experienced anything that could be construed as a significant spiritual attack until after the February 2008 spiritual warfare material been discussed?  Driscoll's discussion was lengthy and yet largely short on truly practical considerations and littered with some vivid anecdotes that did not necessarily spell out much that was truly "practical".  If anything by sharing a few stories about how members or attenders learned in counseling sessions with Driscoll how people who may often have not been part of Mars Hill had some role in harming them demonically that could prime members or attenders to see Mars Hill as a refuge from the threat of people who might be family who had not, in fact, actually harmed them in the way pastors at Mars Hill may have proposed took place. 

One can only guess as to the long-term impact saturating a biblical counseling department or leadership culture like Mars Hill with Driscoll's teaching could have had on how pastors handled church discipline or counseling.  If Driscoll was suggesting the leaders were going a bit too easy on members and not accounting enough for the influence of Satan then, well ...

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