Saturday, February 08, 2014

Real Marriage and Confessions of a Reformission Rev, two vivid nightmares in two accounts

Regular readers know that we have not established a cut-off time for a review of Real Marriage.  Most of the blog posts here have specifically discussed just chapter 7 of the book.  Having established that there was a striking overlap in concepts and terms between "Grace and Disgrace" in the Driscoll book and chapter 9 of Dan Allender's The Wounded Heart, we've also discussed how a large chunk of chapter 7 of the Driscoll book seems to focus more attention on the emergence of the nascent Re:Lit line of books than on what happened to Grace.  And Grace Driscoll has no reason to feel a need to be detailed about what happened to her.  We're basically done with chapter 7, probably.

However, there's been something about chapter 1 that has gnawed at my memory for a while and I've been able to establish what it is.  I've written about how the revelations in the 2012 book were depressing to me because of the light they cast retroactively on the history of the Driscolls and Mars Hill. 

Assuming the account of Mark Driscoll's nightmare prior to Ashley's birth happened precisely as related it means that there may have been at least two nightmares in which Mark Driscoll, by his account, woke up, threw up, and stayed up in reaction to a nightmare in which he vividly saw someone sinning and/or being sinned against.  First we'll get to the account in the bestseller and then we'll get to the account in Confessions of a Reformission Rev from 2006.

THE FIRST NIGHTMARE (chronologically speaking) IN THE NEWER BOOK

As famously recounted by Mark Driscoll in his NYT bestselling book, as he approached the birth of his first child, Ashley, and the launch of Mars Hill Church, he had a dream that shook him to his core.

Real Marriage
Mark and Grace Driscoll
Thomas Nelson

(c) 2012 by On Mission, LLC
ISBN 978-1-4002-0383-3
ISBN 978-1-4041-8352-0


page 11-12

... One night, as we approached the birth of our first child, Ashley, and the launch of our church, I had a dream in which I saw some things that shook me to my core. I saw in painful detail Grace sinning sexually during a senior trip she took after high school when we had just started dating. It was so clear it was like watching a film--something I cannot really explain but the kind of revelation I sometimes receive.  I woke up, threw up and spent the rest of the night sitting on the couch, praying, hoping it was untrue, and waiting for her to wake up so I could ask her. I asked her if it was true, fearing the answer.  Yes, she confessed, it was. [emphasis added] Grace started weeping and trying to apologize for lying to me, but I honestly don't remember the details of the conversation, as I was shell-shocked. Had I known about this sin, I would not have married her. But God told me to marry Grace, I loved her, I had married her as a Christian, we were pregnant, and I was a pastor with a church-plant with young people who were depending on me.

So this nightmare predated the birth of Ashley. 

THE SECOND NIGHTMARE (chronologically speaking) IN THE OLDER BOOK

However, the nightmare he mentions in Confessions of a Reformission Rev seems to have taken place a few years after Ashley was born and was a nightmare he considered to be a satanic attack.  It's not possible to know how many nightmares Mark Driscoll has had over the years but since the nightmare about Grace mentioned in Real Marriage was explicitly described as prior to Ashley's birth the nightmare mentioned in Confessions of a Reformission Rev would have to have been about a different person and a different event.  Or so it would seem.  Let's see what the account is for the lead-up to this dream.

Confessions of a Reformission Rev
Mark Driscoll, Zondervan 2006
ISBN-13: 978-0-310-27016-4
ISBN-10:0-310-27016-2

page 122-123
My family also started coming under spiritual attack. At one point, my daughter Ashley, who was only a few years old, started having a really bad attitude. [emphasis added] Despite days of repeated discipline her behavior did not improve, and I was befuddled as to why.  Late one night I went in to check on her, and she was still awake. I asked her why she was not sleeping, and she began to cry but refused to tell me. I prayed over her, and eventually she told me that for days she had not slept because "bad angels" kept showing up in her room, saying bad things about Jesus and pulling her hair when she tried to sleep.  They scared her by saying that if she told me, they would kill me.  She had been acting up for a few days because she was sleep deprived, and I had been disciplining her sternly because I was worn out and on edge.  I broke down and wept openly for the first time I can remember in my adult life and held my daughter, praying over her and repenting to God for allowing the Enemy to drive a wedge between my daughter and me. 

... During this difficult season, I was burned-out, overworked, out of shape, stressed, and had picked up a nervous twitch in my eye along with ongoing acid reflux and high blood pressure. I was not sleeping much, and my sleep was often interrupted due to stress that kept me awake, thinking. I would also often wake up after a prophetic dream or spiritual attack to pray strategically, which only contributed to the fatigue.  [emphasis added] But thanks to growing insights on how to win spiritual battles, I was optimistic that we would weather the storm and that the church would survive.

So during this period a few years after Ashley's birth Mark Driscoll was run ragged physically and emotionally.  The church had been booted from its older location and was essentially being run from the Driscoll house for about two years in a row.  This is mentioned, perhaps, in the fundraising film God's Work, Our Witness.  That's the set-up of physical and mental limits.  This would have been well before the Earl building or getting what has now become the Ballard campus.  So by Mark Driscoll's account his health was at a low ebb during this period when he and Grace were hosting the church from their house. All of that background leads up to ... :

from page 122-123 (continued)

Then I had the worst experience of my whole life.

I went to bed one night hoping to get caught up on sleep. In the middle of the night, I had a prophetic type of dream that was like other prophetic dreams I had previously except it did not include Scripture that clarified its meaning, because it was from Satan. I cannot go into great detail about the dream because it would impugn the character of someone else. Something horrendous happened to this person that I was not present to witness. But my dream was the equivalent of a horrifying film that showed me every gruesome detail of the worst day of their life. I was not present for the sin they committed, but I told them about my dream later and they confirmed the very graphic details that I saw.

The dream was so vivid that I felt sick and woke up just in time to run into the bathroom and throw up in the toilet. I went downstairs and spent the rest of the night sitting on the couch, staring blankly into the dark and asking God to allow me to do anything but be a pastor. I just wanted to be done with ministry and do something, anything, that would not kill me before I turned thirty. [emphasis added]

For weeks, I watched the mental film every night as I tried to sleep. I knew it was an accusation but could not get it to stop, and so the torment continued night after night (Rev 12:10b). Not knowing what to do, I withdrew from God and my wife and threw myself into  my work to keep my mind occupied with something else.  I sometimes worked all night just so that I would not have to go to bed and watch the nightmare yet again. 

So in both cases the nightmare was vivid and when Mark Driscoll woke up he threw up and stayed awake the rest of the night sitting on the couch.  In both cases Driscoll found the dream terrible and was also able to corroborate all the details of the dream were of an event that really occurred by directly consulting the person who was the subject of the nightmare. This dream in Confessions, however, clearly happened a few years after Ashley was born when she, too, was having significant sleeping trouble and Mark Driscolly, by his own account, was not in good physical or emotional health and since this was during the period in which he lived in a house he couldn't afford that was given to him on a lease-to-own setting because he was "too broke to qualify to buy anything beyond an outhouse" (Confessions, page 119).  This was evidently a low ebb for Mark Driscoll physically, emotionally and financially since even this house was one where three single guys were renting extra rooms.  It sounds like nightmares were almost "normal" for Driscoll during this stage of his life. 

What is most striking about this post-Ashley-birth dream is that Driscoll stated unequivocally it was a satanic, accusatory dream.  Nonetheless, he was able to confirm with the person whom the dream was about that all the graphic details in the dream were true.  To back up a bit, Driscoll got to this narrative by saying "Then I had the worst experience of my whole life" and yet went on to describe nothing that happened to him personally but a nightmare about someone else sinning and having a horrendous experience along the way.  So if the dream of the worst day of another person's life was the worst experience in Driscoll's life it's difficult to know for certain why Mark having a nightmare about someone else would be traumatic since there's no way to know who the subject of the dream was.  Since in Confessions Driscoll wrote that he could not share the nature of the dream because sharing the dream would impugn someone else we don't have reason to suppose Mark Driscoll's going to share that dream or its contents now.  To do so would impugn their character.

Which, well, does Mark Driscoll really have a history of refusing to impugn the character of others after 17 years in ministry?  Was he afraid to impugn the character of people he disagreed with as William Wallace II on the old unmoderated Midrash?  This reticence on Driscoll's part in the 2006 book seems mysterious.

By contrast, in the Real Marriage account, Driscoll seems to display no hesitation at all in explicating what the nightmare was, why it was crushing for him, and how it impacted his marriage.  The Real Marriage account is short, blunt and to the point.  It even culminates in Driscoll stating that "Had I known about this sin, I would not have married her."  So the differences between the two accounts are as striking as the similarities.  Mark Driscoll's account of a dream he had years after Ashley's birth and Mark's account of the dream he had before her birth could be two completely separate incidents but both nightmares caused him to wake up, throw up, and not be able to sleep for a whole night.  In both cases Driscoll was able to verify the details of the nightmare directly with the subject of the nightmare. 

At the risk of putting this in terms only a student of biblical literature might even think of, this "may" be construed as a potential "synoptic" problem or the two accounts may just be that and have no connection..  Precisely why the post-Ashley dream was a satanic accusatory dream even though all the details of events in the dream were confirmed is something we simply can't enquire into.  Perhaps it's possible that the post-Ashley nightmare has no connection to the pre-Ashley nightmare.  In Real Marriage Mark Driscoll's account states that the dream as "the kind of revelation I sometimes receive".  It would seem we're implicitly supposed to trust the revelation was a divine revelation but in light of the 2006 statement in Confessions we have a precedent from none other than Mark Driscoll himself that a revelatory dream that reveals true events from the past does not have to be construed as divine.  The similarities and dissimilarities between the Confessions of a Reformission Rev nightmare story and the Real Marriage nightmare story are disturbing.  Given the frequency with which, by Mark Driscoll's account, he was having nightmares he considered spiritual attacks, nobody but possibly Mark Driscoll could know whether these different accounts refer to a single recurring nightmare or if nightmares of these sorts are distinct but recurring for Mark Driscoll. 

We can, however, at least consider these two narratives from Confessions and Real Marriage with Mark and Grace Driscoll's Real Marriage simulcast event coming up at the end of the month.  Whether this is a case of two completely unrelated incidents in which Mark Driscoll had nightmares about different people, both of whom he knew intimately enough to corroborate dream details with; or whether this may constitute what may be called a "synoptic problem" is impossible to establish. But this disturbing similarity and dissimilarity in narrative is another detail that's been gnawing at me that no reviews of Real Marriage even touched upon when the book was first released.

Mark Driscoll in 2009, "I didn't start a side company ... for my book writing". 2011 starts On Mission to manage profits of book sales

SETTING THE STAGE, DRISCOLL ON SELFISH GAIN AND SIDE COMPANIES FOR PUBLISHING PASTORS' BOOKS

Now as discussed earlier at Wenatchee The Hatchet, On Misson, LLC, is the entity that owns the copyright for Real Marriage.

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2013/12/on-mission-llc-entity-that-owns.html

Also noted were the changes made in the persons and locations of On Mission, LLC, which went from listing Mark Driscoll to listing two LLCs as the persons in the LLC.  Documented here:

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2014/01/wheres-on-mission-llc-located-these.html

That an LLC would have two more LLCs as persons when before the person had been Mark Driscoll is curious.  Now back in 2009 in the midst of the Trial: 8 Witnesses from 1 & 2 Peter series there was a sermon that, in a highly unusual case, was never transcribed.  Normally Mark Driscoll sermons get transcribed for any and all to read.  Well, not this one, and so one would have to listen to the sermon up to about 40:30 in to begin hearing this comment Mark Driscoll made about the danger of pastors being motivated by greed and, along the way, addressing a concern he'd gotten asked about by some people.

http://marshill.com/media/trial/humble-pastors/prophets-priests-and-kings#downloads

Prophets, Priests and Kings
 Trial: 8 witnesses from 1 & 2 Peter
May 3, 2009
1 Peter 5:1-5

... So in all of this, as well, I've had people ask, "So what about the book sales?"  Here's how it works, I didn't start a separate company. One of the ways that guys work this, they become a leader in a church and they have a company on the side and they use the church to funnel business into their side company and I didn't start a side company (like a lot of guys do) for my book writing. Instead I publish under Mars Hill.


So the way it works, I don't get all the money. Mars Hill gets a huge take. Mars Hill gets all the marketing dollars, they get paid by the publishers. Mars Hill gets half of all the royalties so the books that I publish, about 75% of the revenue goes to Mars Hill Church, not me. Not me.  Because I'm worried about this issue, greed, shameful gain. Just using Mars Hill as a platform so I can start a business to rake in massive dollars. I don't think it's a sin for a pastor to get a salary but we're now at the point where the books and the marketing, that a huge portion of my salary is covered by income that I generate.  And, I'll be honest with you, I hope one of my books pops or I get enough books on the shelf, titles in print , I'd love to see the day where I'm basically working for free and that the book sales and royalties and such let me generate enough money for Mars Hill that I can work free of charge. That's my hope and my goal. I don't know if we'll get there but that's what I'm trying to do.

But what's striking about this is that Mark Driscoll has, for years, made a point of working and writing from his residential address rather than in the church office or using church resources.  This might have the advantage of ensuring that Mark Driscoll can stake a legitimate claim to not doing any of his writing in a work-for-hire relationship to Mars Hill Church.  Mark Driscoll's works have been copyrighted to Mark Driscoll and not Mars Hill Church, so it's a bit difficult to see in what sense he published "under" Mars Hill even back in 2009.  As to what level of royalties MH got paid for the books, they can probably produce those documents at some point or Crossway and other publishers could explain that if they choose to.

Driscoll was explicit in his hope that over time he'd love to be able to make so much money off his books he could preach free of any remuneration from Mars Hill.  That sounds altruistic if you're a non-profit religious organization but that could be construed as a double-edged sword, the pastor who is financially independent of the organization he is legally president of could end up having zero internal or external accountability that means anything if he's able to live entirely off the royalties of book sales.

And the paradoxical problem with developing that situation is that that would only seem possible by ... setting up a company on the side for profit.  So when the NYT bestseller that Real Marriage turned out to be listed an LLC rather than Mark Driscoll as the copyright owner this would seem like a big 180 turnaround from the sort of thing Mark Driscoll was saying in 2009. 

FOR PROFIT COMPANY #1, ON MISSION, LLC

When we look up On Mission in the Washington state corporation search we get this:

http://www.sos.wa.gov/corps/search_detail.aspx?ubi=603258287
ON MISSION, LLC
UBI Number                 603258287
Category                       LLC
Active/Inactive             Active
State Of Incorporation  CO
WA Filing Date            12/06/2012
Expiration Date            12/31/2014
Inactive Date 
Duration Perpetual

Registered Agent Information
Agent Name              C T CORPORATION SYSTEM
Address                     505 UNION AVE SE STE 120
City                           OLYMPIA 
State                          WA
ZIP                            98501 
Governing Persons
Title Name Address
Member
OMCRU INVESTMENTS LLC
23632 HWY 99 STE F441
EDMONDS, WA 98026 

Member
LASTING LEGACY LLC
23632 HWY 99 STE F441
EDMONDS, WA 98026 

The governing persons were formally Mark Driscoll but the state of incorporation was Colorado, with a registered agent of William Moritz back in 2011. 

http://www.sos.state.co.us/biz/ViewImage.do?fileId=20111058965&masterFileId=20111058965
This was e-filed January 28, 2011 at 1:44pm
ID# 20111058965
doc# 2011058965

According to the articles of organization

Article I
The name of the Limited Liability Company is On Mission, LLC

Article II
The term for which this Limited Liability Company is to exist is 50 years

Article III
The Limited Liability Company is organized for profit and the nature of its business or purposes is:

A. To manage book royalties, printing and publishing and all related and derivative activities and
B. To engage in any lawful act or activities for which corporations may be organized under the Colorado Limited Liability Company Act.

Article IV mentions the registered agent in charge is V William Moritz

Article V. lists that the name and mailing address of the manager and organizer of the LLC is as follows:

Mark Driscoll
4570 Hilton Parkway Ste 203
Colorado Springs, CO 80907


Article XI states

Neither the members of the Limited Liability Company nor the manager or officers of the Limited Liability Company are liable under a judgment, decree or order of a court, or in any other manner, for debt, obligation or liability of the Limited Liability Company.


So way back in 2011 Mark Driscoll set up a limited liability company in Colorado explicitly for the purpose of managing the royalties and sales of books.

What about OMCRU Investments, LLC?

http://www.sos.state.co.us/biz/BusinessEntityDetail.do?quitButtonDestination=BusinessEntityResults&fileId=20111552249&masterFileId=20111552249&srchTyp=ENTITY&entityId2=20111552249&nameTyp=ENT
OMCRU Investments, LLC

This would be a document to consult
http://www.sos.state.co.us/biz/ViewImage.do?fileId=20111552249&masterFileId=20111552249
Filed 9-30-2011

Not dissimilar to On Mission, LLC but the articles are worth consulting.

ARTICLE III
The Limited Liability Company is organized for profit and the nature of its business or purposes to be conducted or promoted is:

A. To manage property and investments.
B. To engage in any lawful act or activities for which corporations may be organized under the Colorado Limited Liability Company Act


What property was this company going to be owning?  What investments?  Well, we'd have to see who the manager and organizer of the LLC is and what does Article V say?

Article V
... The name and mailing address of the manager and organizer of the Limited Liability Company is as follows:
Mark Driscoll
1722 North 122nd St
Seattle, WA 98122
[but obviously no longer]

Thus ...
On Mission, LLC
4570 Hilton Parkway, Ste 203
Colorado Springs, CO 80907
Registered Agent Bill Moritz

None of this looks like Mark Driscoll publishing under Mars Hill Church and it looks a lot like Mark Driscoll set up a side company for a book to manage profits from a book that turned out to be a bestseller on the NYT bestseller list.  As to what property OMCRU Investments, LLC might have ended up owning, well, who knows?  But it was interesting to observe that by May 2012 Future Hope Revocable Living Trust had paid for a house in Woodway.  The only reason the Seattle address is getting mentioned here is because it ISN'T where the Driscoll family currently lives.  But what it does establish was that at one point in 2011 Mark Driscoll set up what could be construed as a side company.  Now setting up a side company to manage sales of books is just fine, actually, and it's only because Mark Driscoll rhetorically declared the custom as the sort of thing that greedy pastors do that makes any of this seem a bit puzzling.

FOR PROFIT COMPANY #2, RESURGENCE PUBLISHING INC

And for that matter, it's worth noting that not all for-profit companies that have emerged in the Martian orbit were even helmed by Mark Driscoll.  Consider none other than Resurgence Publishing.

http://www.sos.wa.gov/corps/search_detail.aspx?ubi=603207560
RESURGENCE PUBLISHING, INC.
UBI Number                 603207560
Category                       REG
Profit/Nonprofit            Profit
Active/Inactive             Active
State Of Incorporation  WA
WA Filing Date            05/17/2012
Expiration Date            05/31/2014
Inactive Date 
Duration                       Perpetual

Registered Agent Information
Agent Name                 JOHN SUTTON TURNER 
Address                        1411 NW 50TH STREET
City                              SEATTLE
State                             WA
ZIP                               98107
Governing Persons
Title Name Address
President,Secretary,Treasurer,Chairman 
TURNER, SUTTON 
1411 NW 50TH ST
SEATTLE, WA 98107 

Director
BUSKAS, DAVID  [sic]
1411 NW 50TH ST
SEATTLE, WA 98107 

Director
HOLCOMB, JUSTIN
1411 NW 50TH ST
SEATTLE, WA 98107 

All governing persons at the corporate headquarters of Mars Hill Church. 

[UPDATE 10.10pm 2-8-2014: Holcomb has not been at Mars Hill for a while now and this state listing as it appears is bound to be inaccurate.  The Washington Secretary of State listing has not yet updated is listings as of the date of this post but I expect this to get rectified soon and that Justin Holcomb's name will no longer be listed in the directors of Resurgence Publishing, LLC.  In other words:

While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of this information, portions may be incorrect or not current. Any person or entity who relies on information obtained from the System does so at his or her own risk.  It happens that WtH knows that the Holcomb listing is no longer accurate.]

So back in 2012 Mars Hill Church had a sermon series through Mark and Grace Driscoll's book Real Marriage for the first few months of the year

Then in 2013 for the first months of the year there was the Ephesians study which featured Driscoll's book Who Do You Think You Are? If you'd like to purchase the study guide for the series on James here at the start of 2014 ...

http://store.theresurgence.com/products/james-study-guide

Available at The Resurgence store. 

Along with Sutton Turner's book.  If in 2009 Mark Driscoll was of the opinion that setting up companies on the side was a bad thing then having not one but two for-profit companies that make it their business to manage the royalties of books published by Mars Hill staff might seem like an about face.  Or maybe it's not, because setting up separate companies alongside MH to turn a profit was the only way Mark Driscoll would be able to get to a point of not collecting a salary.  The idea that after all this time and a bestseller that Driscoll would not draw a salary from Mars Hill Church seems, to put it nicely, improbable.  And that Mark Driscoll's managed to sell books alongside sermon series at the start of each year is fascinating.

Let's close with a story, when Radical Reformission came out way back in 2004 (which was published with a copyright to Mars Hill Church and not Mark Driscoll) I asked a friend if I should pick up the book.  "Nah," my friend replied, "all it is is the sermons he's preached over the last eight years in a book format.  There's nothing new."  But if the books are sold before the preaching series starts then eager beavers can now buy the book and read ahead and then eagerly await what Pastor Mark might have to say that's not already in the book.  And depending on which book it is, On Mission, LLC is there to manage the royalties earned from the sale of books to people who could just download the sermons and listen to all this content for free. 

And for folks who want to invest in the mission of Mars Hill Church because they're on mission, Sutton Turner's book represents a new era in the history of Mars Hill publishing.  Precisely how Mars Hill, as a non-profit, can be identifiably separate from Resurgence Publishing, the explicitly for-proft company or On Mission, LLC, Mark Driscoll's for-profit company that has ownership in copyrights of Real Marriage and A Call to Resurgence, one wonders what people who may have attended Mars Hill Church since hearing Mark Driscoll's May 3, 2009 sermon where he talked about greed and about pastors setting up side companies to funnel business into the side company from the church might be thinking now. 

Mark Driscoll's cinematic discernment--Jake Sully is an antichrist, Jack Bauer is a Christ-type

In a tossed off line from his sermon "Jesus and Demons"
February 14, 2010
http://marshill.com/media/luke/jesus-and-demons

http://download.marshill.com/files/2010/02/14/20100214_jesus-and-demons_en_transcript.pdf

... Now Jesus is having one of those Jack Bauer days. All right, he’s preached, cast out a demon, healed a woman. ...

And if you don’t believe me, go see Avatar, the most demonic, satanic film I’ve ever seen. That any Christian could watch that without seeing the overt demonism is beyond me. I logged on to christianitytoday.com and the review was reflective of Christianity today, very disappointing. See, in that movie, it is a completely false ideology, it’s a sermon preached. It’s the most popular movie ever made, and it tells you that the creation mandate, the cultural mandate is bad, that we shouldn’t, we shouldn’t develop culture, that’s a bad thing. Primitive is good and advanced is bad and that we’re not sinners, we’re just disconnected from the divine life force, just classic, classic, classic paganism, that human beings are to connect, literally, with trees and animals and beasts and birds and that there’s this spiritual connection that we’re all a part of, that we’re all a part of the divine. It presents a false mediator with a witch. It presents false worship of created things rather than Creator God in absolute antithesis to Romans 1:25, which gives that as the essence of paganism. It has a false incarnation where a man comes in to be among a people group and to assume their identity. It’s a false Jesus. We have a false resurrection. We have a false savior. We have a false heaven. The whole thing is new age, satanic, demonic paganism, and people are just stunned by the visuals. Well, the visuals are amazing because Satan wants you to emotionally connect with a lie.
What stories and characters people connect to can be striking and informative.  The most well-known emotional connection Driscoll had to a film was Braveheart.

Confessions of a Reformission Rev
Mark Driscoll, Zondervan 2006
ISBN-13: 978-0-310-27016-4
ISBN-10:0-310-27016-2

PAGE 129
At this time, our church also started an unmoderated discussion board on our websit, called Midrash, and it was being inundated withpostings by emerging-church-type feminists and liberals.  I went onto the site and posted as William Wallace II, after the great Scottish man portrayed in the movie Braveheart, and attacked those who were posting. It got insane, and thousands of posts were being made each day until it was discovered that it was me raging like a madman under the guise of a movie character. One guy got so mad that he actually showed up at my house to fight me one night around 3:00 am.

Unfortunately, turns out even Mel Gibson himself eventually said his depiction of William Wallace was bogus, that the man was a berserker monster and then this, too, got corrected by some Scots as the other swing of the pendulum in mythologizing Wallace.

http://www.theweek.co.uk/entertainment/18943/mel-gibson-admits-braveheart-was-bogus

But let's grant that people identify with characters.  Let's ask what may have inspired Mark Driscoll to conclude Avatar was demonic?  People are emotionally connecting to a lie?  That depends on what is meant by "lie".  Atheists would say the entirety of Christianity is a lie and that can't be how Driscoll means "connecting to a lie".  Since Driscoll found in himself a great affinity for Mel Gibson's portrayal of William Wallace and Gibson himself went on to say it was a falsehood in 2009 that may not be quite what "a lie" is in Driscoll's parlance.   The lie, as we'll see, probably isn't even that a narrative bears some cosmetic resemblance to a gospel narrative. 

We live in an era in which Campbell's monomyth is taken for granted by many. The hero with a thousand faces and all that.  We all know works of fiction when we see them.  People know what is going on when they go to watch a sci-fi/fantasy film or read a novel or read poetry.  We don't assume that when we read a poem we're getting nuts and bolts practical insights into the daily operations of a relationship, we don't read a poem with the idea that it will explicitly instruct us how to ... well, never mind, Mark Driscoll clearly does handle poetry at that sort of level where it must impart both propositionally true statements and also endorse particular acts in practical settings.  Never mind.

But what's simplest to observe about Mark Driscoll's denunciation of James Cameron's film is that the denunciation is based on Jake Sully having to be a false savior in a false heaven that promotes new age, satanic, demonic paganism.  It's not the lie of the fiction itself but the ideals he considers the fiction to promote to be false.  He finds it more pernicious, it seems, that the Cameron film leverages a savior narrative for what he considers to be the wrong ideals.

But if the cinema on the large or small screen is something Driscoll already likes or considers to be promoting ideas or ideals he already endorses he sings an obviously different tune.  The tip-off in the sermon where Driscoll denounced Avatar is in that little phrase about Jesus having that "Jack Bauer day.".  So a central character is a false savior if Driscoll decides the film is promoting ideas he disagrees with.  What if he's discussing a show he already enjoys?

http://web.archive.org/web/20061116040056/http://theresurgence.com/md_blog_2006-06-03_jack_bauer

With the fifth and arguably best season of the hit television show 24 now concluded, Jack Bauer can take a much needed shower, get something to eat, and power up his cell phone battery which magically lasts forever. At the risk of sounding blasphemous, I would like to offer the suggestion that perhaps 24 is incredibly popular because Jack Bauer is a lot like Jesus, as the following correlations indicate:
  • Jack and Jesus are both dudes who worked in construction.
  • Jack and Jesus have disciples and Jack’s disciples have names like Chloe, Michelle, Bill, and Tony.
  • Jack and Jesus do not lie and can be trusted to accomplish whatever they promise.
  • Jack and Jesus both oppose evil and seek to bring forth a glorious shalom world, free of tyranny and evildoers.
  • Jack and Jesus were both betrayed by a close friend who ended up dying as a result of his sin.
  • Jack and Jesus are both saviors willing to lay down their life for those they love.
  • Jack and Jesus were both resurrected from death; Jack was essentially put to death to fool the Chinese government and then resuscitated.
24 is easily the best show on television despite the many reasons it conceivably should not be. First, the show is long, lasting an hour a week. Second, the show is complicated and unless you rent the DVDs and begin in season one and work your way up through season five, the storyline really makes no sense. Third, it is just the type of kill-the-bad-guys, do-whatever-it-takes-to-defeat-evil, macho, alpha-male, action-hero kind of show that our less than manly culture would see as too violent, too intense, and too dudely.

But the show works for the same reasons it could have failed. And it is also a great case for expository Bible teaching. While that may sound like a leap, think about it. Expository Bible teaching requires going through a book of the Bible to tell its story over the course of many, many weeks so that characters, setting, theme and such are established just like 24. Expository Bible teaching requires a masculine dude named Jesus to be presented each week as the hero/savior who is willing to risk His own life to defeat evil and rescue those He loves. And expository Bible teaching should be long—say an hour—and take the time to show the horrors and complications of life on the earth under the curse with wildly unpredictable storylines that God inspired to be told.

Driscoll blogged about Jack Bauer as Christ type in June 2006 and then revisited the motif later:
http://web.archive.org/web/20061116040718/http://theresurgence.com/md_blog_2006-11-01_jack_bauer_aslan_and_penal_substitutionary_atonement

Curiously, some people on the more left-leaning side of our dysfunctional Christian family are backing away from the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement. Those in the more established liberal churches along with their emergent offspring are routinely decrying the concept that Jesus paid the penalty for our sin (death) in our place on the cross. They say it is too gory, too scary, too bloody, too masculine, and too violent. Furthermore, they say that in our tender little world of kindness such teachings won’t help further the kingdom of meek and mild Jesus.

...
Furthermore, the sixth season of the greatest television show in the history of the world (just ahead of Dog the Bounty Hunter and Ultimate Fighting) is back in January. That show? 24, of course. The trailer for the upcoming season has been released.

...
In it you will see that, like I described in an earlier blog, the show is a hit because Jack Bauer is a "type-ish" of Jesus. The trailer repeatedly says that Jack "must be sacrificed" to save the multitudes who will supposedly be given life through his substitionary death. Does this sound like anyone you know? A young, healthy, innocent guy dies for a whole bunch of people and willingly lays down his life as a sacrifice for them?

How in the world can we drop the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement when the big movies and the big television shows are under God’s sovereign hand serving as reformed theological illustrations? Next thing you know Bauer will start reading the Puritans to help solidify his courage to lay down his life for many and grow a little beard in tribute to Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
For both of you reading this from some backwoods fundamentalist church who have not watched 24, there is still time for you to repent. The first seasons are on DVD and you have time to catch up by the season premiere in January. But, be warned, you will be up all night like a crack addict wanting another fix and the odds are good that your entire Christmas break will be spent in your jammies staring at your television to finish up before season six commences.

So Jake Sully's an antichrist while Jack Bauer is a Christ-type and the popularity of 24 is proof to Mark Driscoll that penal substitutionary atonement should be more popular with liberal and mainline Protestants.  If Driscoll's second-favorite show was Dog The Bounty Hunter that might be a tip-off that the level of narrative analysis and nuance he's willing to bring to something might have an exceptionally low bar.  :) 

Or perhaps, even more to the point, we might be seeing in Mark Driscoll someone who's perfectly content to run with a merely cosmetic narrative resemblance between the life of Jesus and a character on a show he likes as sufficient reason for a Christ typology and pontificating about pet doctrines.  If he doesn't connect to the story and the characters in some crucial way or sees that cosmetic resemblance between character A and Jesus being used to promote ideas he already dislikes that may or may not have any actual connection to paganism, it's satanic.

So the narrative resemblance of a Jack Sully or a Jack Bauer to a Christ type leads Driscoll to denounce one and endorse the other depending on what that cosmetically similar narrative to Jesus points toward.  One can't help but wonder what Mark Driscoll might have to say about the South Park episode "Margaritaville". 

Warren Throckmorton blogs more about John Catanzaro and associations real and not

It looks like over at Warren Throckmorton's blog there's been some continuing posting about John Catanzaro, who in the past was a guest contributor at The Resurgence and touted by Mark Driscoll as a helpful naturopath.  A brief synopsis of the posts, posts by post:

John Catanzaro has response about cancer vaccines

Claims of Resurgence Ex-Author and Naturopath Questioned by Esteemed Cancer Institute

Dana Farber Cancer Institute requests John Catanzaro cease all unauthorized use of their name

So there's that.  For those who may not have noticed there's more than one John Catanzaro LinkedIn profile for someone in the Bothell area:

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/dr-john-catanzaro/6/357/b67
Founder And Ceo
HWIFC Cancer Treatment and Research Group 
January 1996 – Present (18 years 2 months)

...

Bastyr University
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine,  Oncology and Cancer Biology 
Integrative Oncology


Bethany Divinity Seminary
Doctor of Theology,  Theology/Theological Studies 
Concentraton on theology science and medical ethics


That "concentraton" is in the original.  Here's a second John Catanzaro profile.

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/dr-john-catanzaro/6/357/b67
Founder and Co-Developer
HealthCoach7 
2012 – Present (2 years)


Founder
Health and Wellness Institute Cancer Research Group 
January 2007 – Present (7 years 2 months) Bothell, WA


Owner
Health and Wellness Institute 
January 1997 – Present (17 years 2 months)


Education is

Bastyr University
1989 – 1995


Now check out interests here:

Alternative Medicine, Integrative Medicine, Cancer Research, Organic Food, Wellness
Groups and Associations:American Association of Integrative Medicine logo 
American Association of Integrative Medicine

Barnett Educational Services
Deepak Chopra
Insight Pharma Reports
Insight Pharma Reports - Biomarker Development
Lung Cancer (Localised and Metastatic)
Naturopathic Doctors (ND)


Did we just see Deepok Chopra?  This can't be the same John Catanzaro who has been Mark Driscoll's naturopath, can it?  Becausee Deepak Chopra was on the opposite side of Mark Driscoll in a debate about whether Satan exists ... wasn't he?

http://theresurgence.com/2009/03/26/watch-abc-nightline-debate-now

It's worth noting that there is no evidence available to indicate John Catanzaro was ever a contracted member of Mars Hill Church.  There's a few concerns raised about the legitimacy and veracity of Catanzaro's ethics and claims.  Catanzaro still has time to appeal his suspension.  Wenatchee The Hatchet has other interests that are more favored that blogging about the follow-up of the John Catanzaro situation but was Throckmorton has noted he has received a threat from someone in the wake of his blogging about Catanzaro's credentials and ethics. 

So if a John Catanzaro has an interest in Deepak Chopra, the Deepak Chopra against him Mark Driscoll participated in a debate about the existence of Satan a year before Driscoll would refer to James Cameron's Avatar as the most demonic film he's seen. [February 14, 2010 in Jesus & Demons]

It's interesting to note that in the sermon Mark Driscoll says:

Now Jesus is having one of those Jack Bauer days. All right, he’s preached, cast out a demon, healed a woman.

We'll get back to that Jack Bauer reference in another post. For those who heard the 2008 spiritual warfare series the mother who levitates off the ground while she's nursing her baby will sound familiar.  Let's get to the quote that people are most likely to actually remember:

And if you don’t believe me, go see Avatar, the most demonic, satanic film I’ve ever seen. That any Christian could watch that without seeing the overt demonism is beyond me. I logged on to christianitytoday.com and the review was reflective of Christianity today, very disappointing. See, in that movie, it is a completely false ideology, it’s a sermon preached. It’s the most popular movie ever made, and it tells you that the creation mandate, the cultural mandate is bad, that we shouldn’t, we shouldn’t develop culture, that’s a bad thing. Primitive is good and advanced is bad and that we’re not sinners, we’re just disconnected from the divine life force, just classic, classic, classic paganism, that human beings are to connect, literally, with trees and animals and beasts and birds and that there’s this spiritual connection that we’re all a part of, that we’re all a part of the divine. It presents a false mediator with a witch. It presents false worship of created things rather than Creator God in absolute antithesis to Romans 1:25, which gives that as the essence of paganism. It has a false incarnation where a man comes in to be among a people group and to assume their identity. It’s a false Jesus. We have a false resurrection. We have a false savior. We have a false heaven. The whole thing is new age, satanic, demonic paganism, and people are just stunned by the visuals. Well, the visuals are amazing because Satan wants you to emotionally connect with a lie.

Okay, so that quote.  February 14, 2010.  Driscoll mentioned a film being the most demonic, satanic film he'd ever seen.  Everyone's entitled to their opinion, but let's bear in mind that this was the year after Mark Driscoll debated the existence of Satan/the devil with Deepak Chopra and who's on the list of interests for at least one John Catanzaro? 

Bear in mind, I love the films of Hayao Miyazaki while not endorsing the ideas of pantheism in any fashion.  But at the risk of stating the obvious, regular readers of Wenatchee The Hatchet know very well I can read or listen to people with views I strenuously disagree with while being able to grant a few positives here and there.  The question I'm asking at this point is manifold:

1) Has Mark Driscoll shown himself to be capable of nuanced agreement with someone he fundamentally differs with?
2) Given Driscoll's history of publicly denouncing as satanic things he doesn't appreciate how thoroughly did he check out whether or not his naturopath may have had an interest in Chopra's work before letting him guest write most of his 18 guest articles for The Resurgence in the year of 2009?

Don't believe it?  Observe:

http://web.archive.org/web/20130425211223/https://theresurgence.com/authors/john-catanzaro

Dr. John Catanzaro is a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine. His alma mater is Bastyr University, a leading medical university specializing in integrative and
alternative medicine. He is also affiliate clinical faculty of Bastyr University
and trains medical students.

Dr. Catanzaro is CEO of the Health and Wellness Institute and practices
integrative oncology. He is also medical director of HWIFC Cancer Research Group,
a not-for-profit, where he provides vision and leadership in developing innovative
vaccine immune strategies to treat cancer.

He is the author of numerous articles and two books, namely Cancer: An Integrative
Approach and Complete by the Master's Touch. He has been featured on radio and
media broadcasts including Consumer Magazine, KCIS Living Christian, and Campus
Crusade for Christ radio. He was nominated best naturopathic physician by Seattle
Magazine. He is a professional member of the American Association for Cancer
Research, Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians, Association of Clinical
Research Professionals, Academy of Physicians in Clinical Research and a
registered Principle Investigator with the National Institutes of Health.
He is married to Annamaria and has five children and three grandchildren.

You can find Dr. John on Facebook and Twitter.
You'll find that nearly every article Catanzaro guest wrote for The Resurgence was in 2009, the year that Mark Driscoll debated Deepak Chopra about the existence of the devil.  So "if" the John Catanzaro who has an interest in Deepak Chopra is the same one that has been Mark Driscoll's naturopath up until, well, quite possibly recently (as in January 2014 given what Mark Driscoll told Drew Dyck in an interview about consulting first one and then a second naturopath)  was Mark Driscoll aware of this interest? 

Catanzaro was suspended at the end of January 2014 for allegedly tricking cancer patients into using an unapproved experimental vaccine.  There's still time for Catanzaro to make an appeal, or to establish that he did not trick patients into accept an unapproved experimental vaccine. 

We live in a period in which, as Dahlia Lithwick recently put it about the controversy surrounding Woody Allen, that the court of public opinion take express outrage by way of appropriating legal terminology and jargon in a way that both divests that jargon of any meaningful content on the one hand and which rhetorically reinforces foregone conclusions on the other.  To quote her:

But recognize that these are opinions and inferences, not “evidence.” They are not “cases,” and we are not adjudicating this mess in any kind of court. Recognize that dressing your personal opinions up in fancy talk of “burdens of proof” and “presumptions of innocence” helps clarify almost nothing and confuses a great deal. Mob justice often has all the trappings of an unbiased search for truth, but it’s actually just an (understandable) outpouring of rage and blame. We have statutes of limitation, not to punish complaining witnesses but because the legal system recognizes that memories and evidence are degraded over time, even as umbrage on both side burns brighter than ever.

Investigative journalism is one thing. But the Court of Public Opinion is what we used to call villagers with flaming torches. It has no rules, no arbiter, no mechanism at all for separating truth from lies. It allows everything into evidence and has no mechanism to separate facts about the case from the experiences and political leanings of the millions of us who are all acting as witnesses, judges, and jurors. So go ahead and tweet your truth or publicly shame someone who is tweeting hers, but don’t believe for an instant that this is how complicated factual disputes get resolved or that this will change hearts and minds about our woefully anti-woman, anti-victim culture.

It's also worth suggesting that in the court of public opinion one person's quest for justice and the facts can inexorably slip into another person being attacked, harassed, and belittled for not sharing precisely the same sense of outrage.  As a little aside, various anonymous visitors over the last few years have expressed frustration that Wenatchee The Hatchet doesn't come to their obvious conclusion.  Driscoll can't imagine, it seems, why anyone would come to a conclusion other than his.  That alone should persuade you why this blog is not a blog dedicated to jumping to a specific conclusion.  Wenatchee The Hatchet does not have a clear-cut "positive" agenda but there is a clear-cut "negative" agenda of wishing to avoid being yet another bullhorn for the Court of Public Opinion when it may be possible to encourage people who actually know what they're talking about to share something on record if they feel up to it.  This is why even one comment from JSuffering counts for more than five anonymous comments from people who can only muster up "Mark's Hill". 

Catanzaro may be permanently suspended.  He may be a quack, or he may be able to prove that he was forthcoming enough with his patients to clear his name.  We should not be so committed to a foregone conclusion about a self-proclaimed gigachurch pastor that burning anyone associated with him at the stake becomes convenient.  Now this is not to be construed as a defense of Catanzaro but people on the internet are lazy enough at reading that someone's bound to jump to that conclusion no matter what. 

The question about Catanzaro's interest in Chopra in light of Driscoll's scorched earth, guilt-by-association approach to yoga but not martial arts where Eastern practice is concerned still seems like a legitimate question.  How credibly can we now take Driscoll's claim to spiritual discernment (if we ever took him seriously on that point to begin with?) if it has turned out that the year Mark Driscoll debated Deepak Chopra on the existence of the devil Mark's own naturopath may have had an interest in Chopra's work? 

Thursday, February 06, 2014

various things for reading

How 'When Harry Met Sally' explains increasing income inequality. When more people go to college in an economy where unskilled labor has withered on the vine or been outsourced, and when nobody wants to "marry down", so this article proposes, you get systemic income inequality.

From Ruth Graham at Slate:

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/family/2014/02/what_s_it_really_like_to_be_a_parent_please_don_t_tell_me.2.html
... But the cumulative effect of a Doocified world is that the Web is now flooded with “honest” anecdotes, and “brave” confessions about less-than-perfect parenting. Is it really “brave” when honesty is what’s getting the book deals these days?

Then there’s the fact that the parents writing these stories are, almost without exception, very capable women. These are not the “worst moms ever”; they are competent, loving parents who occasionally feel overwhelmed. They are parents who think and read and write about parenting. Almost by definition, they are doing just fine. Yet, culturally, we applaud their “bad” parenting while becoming less and less tolerant of actual bad parents. This is a country that is increasingly willing to prosecute pregnant women and young mothers for their mistakes with drugs, or for leaving their children home alone in moments of desperation. In a middle-class parenting subculture in which self-acceptance is a bedrock virtue, it’s impossible not to notice a disconnect.

How, in Hollywood accounting, Return of the Jedi made no money and why the guy who played Darth Vader never got paid for his work in it.

Staying on the arts motif and Atlantic Monthly:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/02/what-great-artists-need-solitude/283585/
... You know the cliché: You're out on the town, you're doing drugs, you're drinking, you're running on the walls, you're pissing on the fireplace. It’s a cliché. Often you run into artists who live that life—and at one point, you find out that they're not actually producing that much art. They're living the life of the artist without the work.

A polemical quote about how all writers under 40 are not writing as individual voices but as spokespersons for a collective.

One of the things I noticed some Christians seriously propose as controversy about Mark Driscoll and plagiarism emerged was to propose that intellectual property, i.e. copyright, is not a truly Christian thing.  Well, there's probably no arguing with those sorts of Christians but it's possible to propose that the application of copyright and intellectual property may have other applications than just dealing with plagiarism or fraud and (in the thinking of some) somehow being theft in and of itself.  Copyright has also been proposed as the basis from which people can mount a legally actionable case against revenge porn.   Send a naked selfie to someone who, after breaking up with you, posts it on a revenge porn site, and what are the options?  If there's no defensible thing as intellectual property then you're stuck.  Now granted the Christians who would argue against copyright altogether might also argue you're not supposed to ever take naked selfies on mobile devices (and that does sound remarkably foolhardy, personally) but haven't there been studies showing that when people fall in love parts of their brains shut down?  Anyway, thought I'd suggest that the range of applications for copyright get interesting because there are so many often conflicting directions it can go, conflicting directions that are obviously expressions of our own frequently conflicted impulses.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

so much for Alastair Roberts' sabbatical from blogging ... Hear Me Out ...

But, hey, he's back, at least for a little while before returning his blog to dormancy.

http://alastairadversaria.wordpress.com/2014/02/04/hear-me-out-on-sitting-through-sermons/

an extensive quote for consideration:

... When we attend a church service and hear a sermon, we may often leave with the impression that we haven’t learnt anything. Without the ‘spark’ of new information or a sense of ‘connection’ we may wonder why we are bothering in the first place. The feeling that we are wasting our time may be compounded when, in addition to feeling that we haven’t learnt anything and have no frisson of ‘connection’ to God, we find the practice of sitting through a sermon burdensome and exhausting. Some of these issues may be particularly pronounced for those with academic theological education who doubt that there is anything a regular church sermon could teach them that they don’t already know.

However, determining whether or not we are learning isn’t straightforward: the feeling that we aren’t learning isn’t always a reliable indicator. Often this sense can be nothing more than our failure to appreciate the sorts of lessons that we are learning and how they are being learnt. People who focus upon receiving new information from every sermon will often leave disappointed. This doesn’t mean that they haven’t learnt anything, though: learning isn’t merely about information. ...

It may well be like this in all sorts of domains.  As a composer and a musician it's not the case every time I hear a piece of music that I am startled with the wonder of music as an art form, for instance.  There are many drastically different ways of listening to music because there are different ways of perceiving music within the perceiving mind.  Anyone who wants to get some vague idea of how it was Beethoven was able to keep composing so much music long after he had gone deaf needs to get their minds around the idea that there is the music of the mind.  And, on that tangential line of thought, Music of My Mind by Stevie Wonder is a pretty good album.

Matt Redmond: The hollow feeling of doing well

http://mattbredmond.com/2014/02/04/the-hollow-feeling-of-doing-well/

An intriguing, thought-provoking piece from Matt this week.  For a bit of additional context, literary and otherwise, perhaps reading this entry from the previous week that he wrote will help.

http://mattbredmond.com/2014/01/26/learning-as-a-banker-what-i-did-not-know-as-a-pastor/

for those who keep track of these things: City of God blog has a new domain name

http://www.cityofgodblog.com/

So a whole posse of links I've linked to in the past are now thoroughly dead.  But you probably weren't reading all those, were you, dear reader?  Well, anyway, be advised. 

Anton Diabelli's complete Op. 29 Guitar Sonatas, recordings by Glise and Giuliani

Anthony Glise
Diabelli: Guitar Sonatas Op. 29 (complete)
http://www.naxosmusiclibrary.com/preview/catalogueinfo.asp?catID=DIS-80113&path=2
Diabelli: Complete Guitar Sonatas, Claudio Giuliani
http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=974981


Now of course we've discussed Diabelli's guitar sonatas generally and their relationship to the guitar sonatas of Sor and Giuliani in the past.  None other than Anthony Glise assembled the edition of those sonatas Mel Bay published at one point.  That book is severely out of print and is not picked up on the cheap! 

Glise's recording is out of print and this means that Claudio Giuliani's June 2013 release might well be the only game in town if you want to get a still in-print recording of Diabelli's three Op. 29 guitar sonatas.  Fortunately the interpretations seem fairly persuasive.  For those who have heard both recordings by now I might say briefly that while Glise's tempi are livelier and his interpretations of the sonatas 1 and 2 in C major and A major respectively do more to win me over a special advantage Giuliani's recording has (beyond actually being in print) is that while his tempi are slower and his performance more measured than lively his performance also seems to work from the score rather than including the cadenzas Glise composed and recorded on his older CD.  Mind you, I enjoyed those solos and I commend both the Glise and Giuliani CDs to you if you can dig them up, but it's the Giuliani recording that is, to be particular, a recording of what you can see from Glise's published book is the unadorned score. 

What's interesting comparing these two recordings is that both guitarists do their best playing, in my opinion, on what looks to be the most dastardly of the three sonatas, the third of the OP. 29 sonatas in F major.  Yes, F major.  I suppose I could try to go into detail about the three separate sonatas but at this point I'm running out of steam for that stuff.  The sonatas run from C to A to F major and generally move from hard to harder to hardest.  Diabelli seems to have had a trajectory of physical and conceptual difficulty in mind that you won't be able to fully appreciate if you're not yourself a guitarist.  For that matter many guitarists simply don't appreciate Diabelli's guitar sonatas at all but in my highly, highly biased opinion if you compare Diabelli's sonatas to Carulli's you're going to hear something that's worth hearing more than merely getting half-way through the first movement.  Full disclosure, I find Carulli's guitar sonatas pretty loathesome and like Diabelli's sonatas, as sonatas, far more than those of Sor or even Giuliani (though Giuliani's a charmer).  In the last year or so I've been a bit more fond of Matiegka's guitar sonatas than all the above but I may have to amble toward writing about those sonatas later. 

Some more (relatively brief) thoughts on what some call watchblogging

I wrote a very long post last year about what some folks call watchblogging.  In light of Phoenix Preacher noting that bloggers have 1st amendment rights comparable to those of journalists I've been wanting to write for some time now about the importance of seeing blogging on controversial people and institutions in light of the 9th District ruling (which could get overturned by the Supremes at some point) ... .

I wrote last year that this blog is not attempting to persuade but to inform and educate.  It is also not in any formal or "mission" sense about just one thing.  I have at times gotten some questions about what my heart is.  In Christianese questions about "heart motive" can often seem to be a question about whether the reason for doing something is really a godly reason in the opinion of the enquirer.

Longtime readers may have noticed Wenatchee The Hatchet has this habit (bad or good depending on your disposition) of refusing to make simple what doesn't seem to be simple.  This is how I've managed to get flamed far more often by critics of Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill in a variety of online settings than I ever have been by people in Mars Hill, whether members or leadership.  While Mars Hill members and even some leaders over the last three to four years were sending jobs along and financial support Wenatchee The Hatchet was getting flamed at The Wartburg Watch as someone attempting to appease the powers that be at a church I haven't attended in years. 

A recent post (on the history of the history of The Paradox) and a helpful comment in response to it (Jsuffering) has helped me realize it might be good to clear the ground a bit about what I do and don't think a watchblog (if that's how people will inevitably pigeonhole Wenatchee The hatchet at this point) ought to be pursued.

The first and foremost thing is that you have to blog as a journalistic activity.  You have to be willing to slog through a lot of mundane details that really, truly, don't mean a whole lot.  A lot of what can pass for watchblogging on a controversial figure like Mark Driscoll can be smelling a fart in an elevator and trying to scramble as fast as possible to assign blame to the one who is assumed to have dealt it.  This leads to "he who smelt it thine own self dealt it" (can't resist the Space Ghost: Coast to Coast reference there).  The circle of suspicion continues.

What hit me this last week or so is that it's very easy for readers to read a post thinking there's a specific goal in mind and a good chunk of the time there may not be.  When you come to Wenatchee The Hatchet you're going to be dealing with the rambling writings of a process-oriented writer.  When goal-oriented readers are going through the work of a process-oriented writer and don't find he or she has reached the conclusion they wanted they sometimes complain.

Let's put it this way for effect, Wenatchee The Hatchet doesn't differ from Mars Hill Church or Mark Driscoll by not being some kind of evangelical Protestant.  In terms of professed Christian doctrines I never stopped being what just about any of the elders would have considered a very good fit for Mars Hill as an evangelical church.  Where we eventually came to differ was, well, probably ethos, to borrow a term jsuffering shared.  The ethos of Wenatchee The Hatchet as a blog is considerably different both by temperament and design from the ethos of other blogs that have attempted to take up watchblogging of Mars Hill at various times.  If the goal of other watchblogs has been to, well, you may have seen that stuff already, the goal of Wenatchee The Hatchet is to encourage research and clarification of what has happened.

It might be a hyperbole to say that other blogs that attempt to be watchblogs on the subject of Mars Hill are goal-oriented in aim and procedure while Wenatchee The Hatchet is more process-focused.  I am hooked on the creative process itself.  I have more musical and writing projects on the table than I think could realistically be achieved but there's a reason and a method for that.  If I never can finish all the things I've sketched out as things to do then there's never a point where the creative process itself has to stop because I don't have enough ideas.  A side effect of this always overflowing the list of potential projects is that the ones I actually get done are the ones I can assure myself were worth finishing.  In a rare endorsement of John Lennon on the creative process there's a point where when something gets too tough you drop it until you can come back to it and it feels easy again. 

But the handful of anonymous commenters who may come to Wenatchee The Hatchet wanting a blog post to get to the point or to reach a foregone conclusion are bound to be disappointed.  Frankly, most of the time they deserve to be disappointed. This isn't a path to a bold, declarative propositional statement.  Who, what, where, when and why are pursued as a process.  This is a blog that, when it deals with the orbit of topics related to the history of Mars Hill, is much less interested in reaching a set of conclusions or judgments than encouraging people to realize that there is a vast sea of narrative and events to enquire into. 

I was encouraged one night to hear someone ask a friend of mine what on earth Wenatchee The Hatchet was.  To the person who asked if it was a watchblog the friend replied that it was more like a blog devoted to church history and then with a laugh remarked that this meant a very recent very regionally specific slice of church history.  Yes, that's closer to what I'd like the blog to be thought of than as some "watchblog". 

Seen as a journalistic blogging experiment the "goal" of this blog is to share various parts of the story of the community known as Mars Hill in a way that, perhaps, can encourage more and more people to share their stories and to share those stories on record in public ways.  If people choose not to, that's their call. 

A word about comments.  Comments have hardly ever happened in the history of the blog.  For a time this seemed unfortunate but on the whole comments are neither especially needed or desired.  IF you do comment, anonymous comments are permitted but weigh what you're about to say as though you might one day have to go on record with your real name.  If there's anything the history of Mars Hill Church has shown over the last three to five years it's that no matter how thoroughly people try to scrub away history from the internet, the internet has this weird, implacable capacity to have it sitting around somewhere.  You'll want to try avoiding making comments you can't live with for the rest of your life.  We all say stuff we regret, though. 

Tonight's content, if I was going to post at all, was supposed to be comparing the recordings Anthony Glise and Claudio Giuliani did of Diabelli's guitar sonatas (subject for some lengthy overview here).  Sigh ... well ... maybe another day for that.  This blog seems overdue for one of those deliberate phases of killing readership traffic on the subject of Mars Hill in exchange for a new chamber music week series of posts. 

Sunday, February 02, 2014

music blogging

Yeah, hasn't happened so much in the last year as was planned.  It's not that there's been no plans to blog about music but life happens.

Blogging about Matiegka's Grand Sonatas is still a goal, though.  It's just that sometimes a person has a day job and things to do.  Sometimes watching My Little Pony with nieces (and a nephew who's putting up with it for the sake of getting to watch Transformers Prime later) needs to be done.  Sometimes actually, you know, writing music and playing guitar should happen from time to time. 

To the great joy of some and the dismay of others there are a few little projects and activities that may lead to a dial-down of certain kinds of blogging topics here at Wenatchee The Hatchet.  I have, in fact, deliberately killed traffic to this blog in the past.  There have been times where when not writing about Mars Hill history caused readership to die off because when they came to see stuff about Mars Hill they may have seen a lengthy essay about a specific piece by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, or maybe something about the sonatas for clarinet and guitar by Austrian composer Ferdinand Rebay, or maybe they came across a bunch of writing I did about the anime known in the United States as Eureka Seven and how it explores the theme of child abuse.  In other words, despite what the blog seems to have by way of reputation, this blog has never been a strictly "on mission" kind of blog. 

And yes, dear readers, that South Park episode called "The Hobbit" is another toon-related thing that is meant to become a post.  It was a fantastic, funny and thought-provoking episode.  But there's such a thing as doing other things.  Humanity most assuredly does not live by blogging alone. :)   So if there's a bit less blogging here it will be what it will be.  It's not like Wenatchee stopped having a pile of material to write about a great cartoon for Mockingbird, after all. 

Exploring the history of the history of the Paradox

http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2014/january/survivor.html

[Mark Driscoll] When we planted the church, I didn't get paid by the congregation for about three years. We were broke as a joke. We were meeting just at night in the cheapest room we could find. By the time I got paid by the church, we had two kids. So I was doing side jobs and some outside speaking to bring in money. Nothing big, just a college retreat here and there, trying to make ends meet. Then as the church started to grow, quite frankly, I didn't know how to run an organization. And the next thing you know, we got a building given to us, and we start adding some staff. But I was the only pastor until we had 800 people.

Remember, folks, Mark Driscoll planted the church in 1996 whether he gives credit to co-founding pastors Mike Gunn and Lief Moi these days or not.  Driscoll says he wasn't paid by the congregation for about three years, which means that he didn't start getting paid by MH until about 1999.
Let's keep in mind that at one point Zondervan had the following to say about Mark Driscoll:

http://www.zondervan.com/driscollm
http://zondervan.com/driscollm
Mark Driscoll is one of the 50 most influential pastors in America, and the founder of Mars Hill Church in Seattle (www.marshillchurch.org), the Paradox Theater, and the Acts 29 Network which has planted scores of churches. Mark is the author of The Radical Reformission: Reaching Out Without Selling Out. He speaks extensively around the country, has lectured at a number of seminaries, and has had wide media exposure ranging from NPR’s All Things Considered to the 700 Club, and from Leadership journal to Mother Jones magazine. He’s a staff religion writer for the Seattle Times. Along with his wife and children, Mark lives in Seattle.

Write to Zondervan authors or their estates in care of Zondervan. Your mail will be forwarded as soon as possible, but please note that the author might not be able to respond personally. Email zauthor@zondervan.com or send postal mail to:
Mark Driscoll
c/o Zondervan
 ATTN: Author Care
 5300 Patterson SE
 Grand Rapids, MI 49530


But that bio has been dead for a little bit.  It reappears here:
http://www.harpercollins.ca/authors/90000662/Mark_Driscoll/index.aspx

Mark Driscoll is one of the 50 most influential pastors in America, and the founder of Mars Hill Church in Seattle (www.marshillchurch.org), the Paradox Theater, and the Acts 29 Network which has planted scores of churches. Mark is the author of The Radical Reformission: Reaching Out Without Selling Out. He speaks extensively around the country, has lectured at a number of seminaries, and has had wide media exposure ranging from NPRÆs All Things Considered to the 700 Club, and from Leadership journal to Mother Jones magazine. HeÆs a staff religion writer for the Seattle Times. Along with his wife and children, Mark lives in Seattle.

But local coverage established clearly that Driscoll didn't found The Paradox. 

http://dailyuw.com/archive/2003/01/30/imported/paradox-theatre-waves-goodbye
The Paradox Theatre waves goodbye

January 30, 2003 at 12:00 AM | Elliot Strong

The Paradox Theatre, home of all-ages concerts and events for the past three years, will permanently close its doors Feb. 2
.
Brainchild of Lief Moi, a pastor at Mars Hill Fellowship Church, The Paradox opened in 1999 after Moi discovered a loophole in the city of Seattle's Teen Dance Ordinance (TDO). He found the normal rules didn't apply to events held at locations owned by non-profit organizations, making it possible to give Seattle its first true all-ages venue since the passing of the TDO in 1987. The TDO is a response to some nasty incidents at some local dance clubs. [emphasis added]

Moi wanted to create a meeting place for local artists and musicians of all ages. His plan both expanded and materialized when he bought the building in 1998 and remodeled it as a music venue. Mars Hill subsidized the effort in its years of operation because, according to Moi, "[they] value the art community as a church."

The Paradox boasts only one fight in its three years of operation, a superb safety record during a time when many other clubs and concert venues in Seattle suffered high-profile shootouts and violent scuffles. Moi feels the very existence of The Paradox and its superb safety record provide an example of how well things can go for an all-ages venue if people were given a chance.

Now that the TDO has been effectively replaced with the All-Ages Dance Ordinance, more and more venues are able to host all-ages shows. One of the more significant changes includes the lifting of stringent security restrictions that required normal venues to hire off-duty police officers for all-ages events. Moi thinks the Paradox served its purpose and it is time for him to let go and move on.
Jet City Improv will lease the building; the spirit of The Paradox will live on in the form of the Artists Reformation Project (ARP) and Paradox Productions. The company will produce shows at various locations around Seattle. Other clubs such as Graceland and the Showbox will be hosting all-ages shows of their own.

The last show at The Paradox will start at 7 p.m. on Feb. 1. The bands Gatsby's American Dream, Rocky Votolato, Suffering and the Hideous Thieves, 14 Days of Terror and the Sweet Science will perform alongside spoken word by Mark Brubeck and piano interludes by Jefre Scott.

So now that Mark Driscoll is saying he wasn't paid a salary by the congregation for the first three years and since by this time the Driscolls were parents who did have the money to buy, renovate, and relaunch real estate in the city of Seattle as an all-ages venue? 

Well ...  let's plug in the address 5510 university way ne seattle, wa 98105 and see what they may tell us
http://info.kingcounty.gov/Assessor/eRealProperty/Detail.aspx?ParcelNbr=8714600070
Parcel 871460-0070
SALES HISTORY
excise number             1651048 
recording number       199811191477  
document date            11/9/1998 
sale price                    $285,000.00
seller name                 DENAULT BRIAN G
buyer name                MOI LIEF+TONYA F
instrument                  Statutory Warranty Deed
sale reason                 None

excise number           2193442 
recording number      20060320000334 
document date           3/16/2006 
sale price                   $550,000.00
seller name                MOI LIEF+TONYA M
buyer name               FRONT ROW PROPERTIES L L C
instrument                 Bargain and Sales Deed
sale reason                None


So if the real estate at 5510 University Way NE was purchased in 1998 for $285,000 according to King County records this was well within the first three years during which, according to Mark Driscoll, the congregation of Mars Hill Church wasn't paying him.  Driscoll couldn't have founded The Paradox if he wasn't even drawing a salary.  And yet he and Grace Driscoll were clearly having children.  Driscoll had to have had a revenue stream of some kind from roughly 1995-1999.  What was it? 

Well, actually, it seems he told us who quite some time ago:


http://web.archive.org/web/20001210191200/http://www.marshill.fm/who/our_history.htm

In the second season, Grace and I began attending Antioch Bible Church in Kirkland, where we volunteered our time working with their college ministry. We then located in Seattle to be closer to students and after a few months I was brought on staff as a part-time intern to oversee the college group. I served in that position for nearly two years and learned a great deal in my first position of ministry leadership in a church. At that time I met Mike Gunn who had moved from a pastorate in Southern California to begin a ministry to athletes at the University of Washington. I also met Lief Moi, a local radio show host, who came in to teach a class for us. These two men and their wives and children became like family [WtH: but now Driscoll's recently claimed that at the start of MH there was no childrens' ministry because there weren't any kids] and together we began dreaming about the possibility of planting an urban church for an emerging postmodern generation in one of the least churched cities in the U.S. We began praying, studying the scriptures, reading a great deal on postmodernity, and dialoging together to formulate a philosophy of ministry appropriate for our context. Helping us formulate our launch plan was Dr. Greg Kappas, who graciously mentored us and provided wise insight and counsel.

In the third season, we began a small Bible study in graciously loaned space from Emmanuel Bible Church in Seattle. The original small core of about a dozen people was a Bible study comprised largely of twenty-somethings from the college group, the Gunn and Moi families, and Chris Knutzen who had joined the Campus Crusade for Christ staff at the U.W. We began meeting weekly in an extremely hot upstairs youth room, and after a few months outgrew the space and began meeting in the sanctuary. It was during this season that the rest of our current elders - the Browns, Currahs and Schlemleins [but Mark was the only pastor on stuff, huh?] - and some singles and families joined us. It was also during this season that Pastor Ken Hutcherson and our friends at Antioch Bible Church began their generous financial support to cover my salary to ensure that I would not be a financial strain on the young church. [emphasis added]

In the fourth season, we launched the church in October 1996 at 6pm with an attendance around 200 [emphasis added], which included many friends and supporters. The attendance leveled off shortly thereafter, somewhere around 100 adults, and we continued meeting until the Christmas season.

Ah, so by Mark Driscoll's own publicly available account, even before Mars Hill Church launched in October 1996 Ken Hutcherson's Antioch Bible Church began their generous financial support to cover Driscoll's salary to ensure he would not be a financial strain on the young church.  If he didn't have a salary paid by the congregation in the first three years of the church this doesn't mean he wasn't being paid a salary. One can't help but wonder if Mark Driscoll attended the memorial service that was given for Hutcherson a few weeks ago.  Let's move along to ... :

Whenever this was written it had to have been before Lief Moi reopened the theater in 1999 and here Mark Driscoll refers to The Paradox as a dream shared by other people, one of whom is named Lief Moi.  The "ninth season" was starting roughly early 1999 and Driscoll moved along in "Seasons of Grace" to say the following:

We are now upon our eleventh season as we begin to realize a dream we have been praying for over the past three years. One of our elders, Lief Moi, purchased an old theater on 55th and University Way (walking distance to the University of Washington) that we are currently renovating. The 200-seat theater is now host to a 7pm Sunday night church plant, a Wednesday night church service run by interns preparing to plant churches, and the only all-ages concert venue in the city of Seattle. Lief is also building out a broadcast booth for the national radio show, Street Talk, that we host on Saturday nights from 9 to midnight. Live bands will be performing while we broadcast the show around the U.S. and dialogue with people in their teens and twenties about the Gospel.

In our twelfth season, we are seeking to press forward with church planting in hopes of planting 1000 churches in conjunction with the Acts 29 Network. Pastor Bill Keogh launched Harbor Fellowship in Kirkland at 6pm Sunday, September 19. We launched our 7pm University District church on Sunday, November 7. Pastor Rick McKinley will launch his Portland church on Easter 2000, and we hope to launch our Sunday morning Ballard church in the spring of 2000.

So by Driscoll's account some time in 1999 he began to get a salary from Antioch Bible Church.  Where did it go? What amount was it?  Because in Confessions of a Reformission Rev from 2006 Driscoll wrote about a young couple leaving the church in its earliest phase and mentioned:

page 81:

My wife and I were both working other jobs because the church could not pay me and were volunteering more than forty hours a week to the church. Being rejected by friends felt like a punch in the gut.

Confessions of a Reformission Rev
Mark Driscoll, Zondervan 2006
ISBN-13: 978-0-310-27016-4
ISBN-10: 0-310-27016-2

Did Antioch Bible Church stop paying Mark Driscoll's salary after the 1996 launch?  Driscoll did have some kind of job.  C Stirling Bartholomew blogged a few times about Driscoll.

http://alternate-readings.blogspot.com/2009/04/who-does-mark-driscoll-hate-most.html

When I first met Driscoll he was clerking in a bookstore in Greenwood (North Seattle). I had heard about him. He makes a lot of noise. I knew his father-in-law very well when I was in my teens and 20s but I was long gone when Mark became a regular visitor in that household. When Driscoll came back from college and started doing "street talk" on the radio I would tune in now and then and listen. I noted right away that Driscoll was a generation bigot. He hated 'hippies' with a passion. I suppose this has something to do with growing up blue collar in Seattle which is a northern clone of San Francisco. The war between the hard hats and the flower generation was still in progress when Driscoll was born into the world of hard hats. In the end the hard hats lost the war. The flower children and the neo-pagans took over the culture and nowhere is that more evident than in Seattle. So Driscoll hates what he calls 'hippies' because his people lost the war and now he would like to put the culture back where it was in 1955 and it just isn't going to happen. 
By contrast, the blogger notes:
http://alternate-readings.blogspot.com/2009/04/howlers-driscolls-on-gender-roles.html
I have it on very good authority that Grace Ann Driscoll is an intelligent and highly capable person who was on her way to a stellar career in the secular job market when she decided to say home and be a mom. So when I listened to the opening remarks in this clip from the Stay at Home Dads Q&A session, I was suffering some cognative dissonance when she made an allusion to 1Tim. 5:8 to support the Driscoll view on gender roles.
Who that authority might be is not 100% clear but this is a possible clue:
http://alternate-readings.blogspot.com/2009/04/personal-public-virtue-in-titus.html
Driscoll's message is offensive both in content and style of delivery. It isn't how he says it that bothers me. It is what he is saying, the subtext of contempt for christians that disagree with his worldview. I am a pacifist. I didn't go to Vietnam. I was a CO and did two years of alternate service in a residential drug rehab center which was established and ruled by Driscoll's father-in-law in the late '60s. When I listen to Mark Driscoll talk, I hear a constant subtext of hatred directed at my generation and what we stood for in the late 60s. I have every reason to be annoyed at Driscoll's arrogant presumption that he has a corner on the market when it comes to biblical truth. To my ears, he sounds like a deputy sheriff from Alabama during the race riots in the early '60s. 
http://alternate-readings.blogspot.com/2010/12/william-dembski-end-of-christianity.html

Eons later, in the early 90s, I was chatting with a sales clerk in Norman Baggs'  book store out on 85th & Greenwood (Seattle) — this young man was a voracious reader, working two jobs to support his young family and involved with some innovative street ministry in Seattle — some how we got talking about The problem of evil.  I told him to read John Frame's chapter on it in Apologetics to the Glory of God. The next time I saw him in the book store he told me he had read Frame but considered his treatment of  The problem of evil  "a cop out". Meanwhile, he had laid hands on a copy of A. Plantinga's book and was reading it and was impressed with Plantinga's argument. I had read some of Plantinga but wasn't excited about it. I think I had perhaps two more discussions with the young man before he became unreachable[1] .
...


 [1] the young man's name was Mark Driscoll, currently "one of the pastors at Mars Hill Church" Seattle.

So some time in the early 1990s someone got the understanding Mark Driscoll was working two jobs to support his young family.  By Mark Driscoll's account Antioch Bible Church was supplying him with a salary even before the launch of Mars Hill Church.  By Mark Driscoll's account in Real Marriage Grace was working up to the birth of Ashley, their first child:

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. She gladly came home from work, and we lived on a very small income from outside jobs and support, because the church plant could not afford to pay me during the first few years.

...

One night, as we approached the birth of our first child, Ashley, and the launch of our church  ...
page 11


Real Marriage
Mark and Grace Driscoll
(c) 2012 Thomas Nelson
ISBN 978-1-4041-8352-0

So Driscoll was, at least possibly, working two jobs to support his young family (according to at least one blogger identifying as C. Stirling Bartholomew) but also getting support (which by Mark Driscoll's account at marshill.fm around 1999 was from Antioch Bible Church).  There's simply no way this young aspiring pastor and recent father was going to have money to spare to buy, renovate, and relaunch real estate at 5510 University Way NE in Seattle, Washington 98105 after purchasing the real estate in 1998.  But Lief and Tonya Moi did, and King County records have established that.  So while Mark Driscoll's account about money being tight and his jobs not being particularly lucrative at the time while he and Grace were beginning a family basically seems to check out, this makes it all the more impossible for Mark Driscoll to have been the founder of The Paradox per his author profile that was listed at Zondervan.

So who at Zondervan got the idea that Mark Driscoll founded The Paradox when so much publicly available information proved otherwise?  Antioch Bible Church people would seem to be in a good position to establish whether or not they paid a salary to Mark Driscoll and what that amount was, if they made any point of keeping records.  More to the point, if what Driscoll's been saying about his salary is true it makes it impossible for him to have ever been founder of The Paradox.