Saturday, December 06, 2014

Throckmorton: Dave Bruskas/Mark Driscoll email MH elders in May 2012 said "we really need your help" in light of layoffs, days after the Driscolls bought their million-dollar home in Woodway

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2014/12/06/dave-bruskas-and-mark-driscoll-to-mars-hill-church-elders-in-may-2012-we-really-need-your-help/

Today Warren Throckmorton has published something old that is a must-read.  Wenatchee The Hatchet does not customarily frame an issue in those terms but the date of a missive from Dave Bruskas, described as sent from Bruskas to other MH leaders on The City, has a date on it that in itself makes it a must read for the history of Mars Hill. Whether this was the formal publication date of the content to The City or the date it was received via email is not necessarily important by itself.



We Really Need Your Help
From Pastor David Bruskas:
From Pastor Dave:

As the final days of putting together a budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 are here, some Lead Pastors are wrestling with the reality of letting a few good people go at the local church level. And some of you have had recent conversations with your Lead Pastor regarding upcoming transitions that have been painful. I understand firsthand how hard it is to let a productive staff member go whom your church loves. I also know how hard it is for the people who have been served well to let staff go without a fight. So that makes Lead Pastors twice as vulnerable. They must face the disappointment of the departing staff member and the disappointment of the church. And much like I would expect any good leader to do, many Lead Pastors are fighting hard to keep staff and avoid cuts creatively and boldly. But we need to let go of that fight at this point. Here are a couple of reasons why.

First, we have, in reality, a single budget for all of our 14 churches. So this means for every cent in exceptions that once church receives above the $10 per adult compensation and ministry operation allotment, another church loses the same amount. So the only way for one church to win is for another church to lose. Second, the cost numbers per adult that Pastor Sutton and the Finance Team have given for targets aren’t arbitrary nor merely guidelines. They are hard targets that have been carefully researched and must be met. And if we don’t live within our means, we won’t just face the loss of future expansion opportunities, we will have to scale back our current ministry services significantly. And in the most dire circumstances, shut down a few of our churches. As of today, we are paying extra fees in financing the costs of existing buildings because of our unattractive financial condition to potential lenders. This must change for us even to be good stewards of what we already have. [emphasis added]

A couple of final thoughts. First, we know this isn’t your fault, but the result of past decisions and practices. And while we will provide you a new and helpful global narrative soon to communicate this really tough news to our members, to be critical of the past means that we have to say things publicly that might hurt good leaders with great intentions who served Mars Hill well. Some of whom are still faithfully serving along side us today. And that to us seems like a losing proposition. We also know that this process has had some starts and stops along with some conflicting information. Please forgive us for that. We are continually receiving new financial information that has caused some hiccups along the way.

Second, these are decisions the Executive Elders are making in unity. We have spent countless hours discussing together both the state of our finances and our present staffing model through face to face meetings, emails, texts and phone calls. We have worked through each of your staff rosters in an attitude of prayer thinking through every angle we could imagine to keep as many people as possible. [emphasis added] We grieve the fact that this cut is deep and results in letting go of some very good people who are performing well and helping the church. We have done the same thing with our central team reducing our costs 40%. It is super painful and we are very sympathetic towards you, your team and your church.

And more than anything, we hurt for those who have lost jobs. We would request that you abide by our spending targets per person. Please respect these decisions by not coming to us individually in the hope that they may be changed. Pastor Sutton and I are happy to clarify anything that is confusing. But we can’t devote any more time to hearing appeals.

We love you all very much and appreciate your devotion to Jesus and His church in this tough season. We do feel loved and supported by you and hope you feel the same from your Executive Elders.

From Pastor Mark:

These are tough seasons. Personally we love our staff. Pastorally we are concerned for our staff. Practically we grieve for our staff. Professionally we don’t have a choice but to reduce our staff. We simply have to live within our means. If we reduce staff now we can provide lead time for people to find an option while receiving severance. Had we not done this we would have had to reduce staff without severance this summer. We know this is hard but it is better than the alternative. The various leaders making these decisions across four states have prayed and labored over these tough calls. Your Exec Elders have cut first and deepest. Central is reduced 40% and working double time. We are vacating our offices reducing our staff and in contact nearly every hour every day pulling together and seeking Jesus’ wisdom. Your Executive Pastor Sutton is up at 4am everyday praying for our church. Now is a time for everyone to pray and love a lot. Lastly, without being improper we’ve frankly been through tougher times and deeper cuts before. After 15 years i can say this is not the worst storm we’ve weathered. We will get through it together by Gods grace. Trust me on this fact.


Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2014/12/06/dave-bruskas-and-mark-driscoll-to-mars-hill-church-elders-in-may-2012-we-really-need-your-help/#ixzz3L9UFjiT9

There is a great deal of Mars Hill history that has to be borne in mind in light of this communication quoted above.

In April 2012 Driscoll was broaching the question of "is your church interested in becoming part of Mars Hill?"
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/04/is-your-church-interested-in-becoming.html

If Mars Hill was privately in a financial strait dire enough that a large-scale layoff was being finessed in May 2012 what did Mark Driscoll think was a reason to write to the public as though wanting to assimilate into what may have been a less than fiscally stable Mars Hill was a good idea?  To be sure Chris Rosebrough has provided an explanation for how he thinks the church growth paradigm depends on leverageable debt to catalyze more growth ... but if we assume for sake of conversation the average church target of Driscoll wouldn't know this why would Driscoll have assumed it was reasonable to encourage churches to give their assets to Mars Hill if internally he was aware that Sutton Turner considered the financial situation of Mars Hill to be precarious?

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2014/09/10/sutton-turner-in-2012-on-mars-hill-churchs-financial-situation-we-are-in-a-big-mess/

Now people may understandably not recall that in April 2012 Sutton Turner had a post about how "we serve a king, not a sheikh"  The page is 404 gone now but Wenatchee The Hatchet preserved at least some of its content:

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/04/sutton-turner-explains-we-serve-king.html
http://marshill.com/2012/04/13/we-serve-the-king-not-a-sheikh
Working for a church, my salary is no longer what it used to be, nor is my job. I’m analyzing $4.90 lattes and scrutinizing nearly every dollar that goes out the door to ensure that our staff stewards the church’s resources well. It gets tedious at times, but the little stuff matters to me, because it matters to Jesus.
We could plant hundreds of churches. We could see thousands more people meet Jesus. We could see cities transformed by the gospel. As a collective body of believers, God has given us the money we need. The question is, what will we do with it?

For those who don't recall what was getting tossed off but excited mention, March 2012 was around the time Driscoll mentioned "we even rented the city of Ephesus for a day".
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/03/mars-hill-rents-city-of-ephesus-for-day.html
http://pastormark.tv/2012/03/28/what-is-next-for-me

Sutton Turner did seem to say "we're in a big mess" back in March 2012. By May 2012 the campaign to get Real Marriage on the NYT bestseller list had come and gone but not without doubts expressed internally about whether or not the campaign was going to benefit Driscoll in a way that might be bad for the welfare of Mars Hill Church as a whole.
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2014/09/22/realmarriagememo/

So in light of all that, there's another detail about the unity of the Mars Hill executive elders. 

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/05/update-on-mars-hill-orange-county.html

All the elders at the executive level would have had to have known about the eviction situation at Orange County, correct? If Bruskas' missive was sent on or before May 25, 2012 that was about the time the eviction notice was inescapable for Orange County. 

https://marshill.com/files/2012/08/05/20120805_jesus-gave-us-communion_en_transcript.pdf
Part 7 of Jesus Loves His Church
Pastor Mark Driscoll
August 5,2012


... Before I get into the details, let me just say, we have just completed the greatest year in the history of Mars Hill Church, any single way you measure it: number of people, number of baptisms, number of Community Groups, number of people in Community Groups, number of Redemption Groups, number of people in Redemption Groups, number of weddings, number of children, number of services, number of locations. Whatever variable you would take a look at, it’s the highest it’s ever been.
In the fifteen years of Mars Hill Church, we’ve just completed the greatest year we’ve ever had, and I can say with full confidence, it’s firstfruits and there’s much, much more to come. So, I want to start by saying thank you, Lord Jesus, for loving Mars Hill Church. And I want to thank you who love Mars Hill Church, and some of Jesus’ love is coming through you as you give, as you serve, as you pray, as you care.
So by August 2012 Driscoll was saying they'd completed the greatest year they'd ever had.  That didn't quite add up (literally or figuratively) in light of the systemic deficits Driscoll had been explaining were part and parcel of the Mars Hill financial model in the preceeding months.
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/09/mark-driscoll-fy2012-has-been-best-year.html
But, somehow, against all financial realities, Driscoll interpreted the fiscal year as the best year in the history of Mars Hill.  What Dave Bruskas was explaining, apparently, behind the scenes in May 2012 was not a summation of how it was the best year ever for Mars Hill on the financial side.  And that was just before the eviction at Orange County became an unavoidable headline.

For a bit more reading from the time.
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2012/07/martian-budgets-past-present-and-future.html

What is even more striking, if we bear in mind that Sutton Turner's memo on the financial mess of Mars Hill was as of March 17, 2012, is this, that Mark Driscoll was explaining on March  2012 to Mars Hill "we are not a wealthy church".  This was discussed on March 18, 2012 at Wenatchee The Hatchet.

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2013/03/apparently-mark-driscoll-now-says-of.html

So we've got a Mars Hill in May 2012 that was about to face the Orange County eviction, had rigged a spot on the NYT best seller list for Mark and Grace Driscoll, and was internally getting word at the highest levels that the financial situation was bad.  Driscoll, in the wake of all this, opted to tell Mars Hill Church "we're not a wealthy church".

But, incredibly, that's not the whole story here.  We need to bear in mind that in 2012 Driscoll made somewhere in the zone of 500k and that it was advocated that Driscoll get a raise to 650k a year and also have a 200k housing allowance stay where it was. Driscoll cut (or let be cut) his salary to about 480k some time in FY2012, which was itself also presented as a reason to raise the compensation.  Details available in the memo published over here (for those who haven't already seen that):
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2014/10/sutton-turner-memo-recommended-raise.html

Dave Bruskas' March 25, 2012 communication can't just be seen in light of the fiscal crisis of Mars Hill as a whole but needs to be seen in light of a specific real estate purchase, one that had been finalized just days earlier.

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2013/09/mars-hill-church-in-may-and-june-of.html

Now if you'd like to read more about the history of the acquisition of the house in light of the Real Marriage arrangements you can read the series of tagged posts on the matter over here. The permitting for renovating the house in Woodway started getting clearance some time in the summer of 2012.

The Driscolls had finalized the purchase of a roughly one-million dollar home in Woodway mere days before Dave Bruskas was telling leaders within Mars Hill "we really need your help".  So while at the executive level there was some awareness that Mars Hill was "in a big mess" over finances this was handled by what seems to have been a mass layoff and a temporary compensation cut for Driscoll that was leveraged as evidence for Driscoll to get paid even more and amidst all this in 2012 Mark and Grace Driscoll bought a million-dollar home in Snohomish county in a year in which Mark Driscoll was telling Mars Hill "we're not a wealthy church". 














Friday, December 05, 2014

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

a linkathon on the themes of music and cartoons and expectations

Willa Paskin discusses pop culture obsessions and why it's usually not the most popular thing at a given moment. 

We may become obsessed more frequently than before, but our obsessions are narrower. Water-cooler subjects of decades past had far more reach than the water-cooler subjects of today. One hundred forty million people watched the miniseries Roots. Eighty-three million watched the conclusion of Dallas’s “Who Shot J.R.?” storyline. Thirty-five million people watched the first episode of Twin Peaks. Just 3.5 million people watched the finale of True Detective the night it aired. Fewer than 1 million people tuned in for the Season 1 premiere of Girls. Only 200 to 250 cronuts go on sale each day. The bar for what constitutes something “everyone” cares about is a lot lower than it once was.

Moving along to another quote from Paskin:

Having to “find” these objects is part of their appeal. You could adore Dallas, but with 83 million people watching it, you could not imagine that adoring Dallas was somehow particular to you, somehow a marker of your unusually good taste—your grandmother and your mother and your brother and Time magazine were nuts about it, too. But the things we obsess over now are things that we at least believe we have sussed out of the vast cultural morass. And if you have done the requisite cool-hunting to find these objects, then so has everyone else who loves them. Obsessions don’t just mark us as individuals with stellar taste; they signify our belonging to a particularly sophisticated cohort.

And that might single-handedly explain why over on places like Browbeat and TV Club over at Slate have round tables and blog posts about Archer rather than My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic or Avatar: The Last Airbender.  Why should Slate writers discuss cartoons that get watched by waves and waves of kids if they can talk about something kids probably shouldn't watch just yet?  Not that Wenatchee The Hatchet hasn't enjoyed all three shows, mind you, and things may well get written here about all three shows, but Slate ... ?  As Willa Paskin was saying ... .

As Archer goes ... this article attempts to frame the show in the history of Cartoon Network in general and Adult Swim in particular.

http://harpers.org/archive/2013/03/rakes-progress/
http://harpers.org/archive/2013/03/rakes-progress/2/
http://harpers.org/archive/2013/03/rakes-progress/3/
http://harpers.org/archive/2013/03/rakes-progress/4/
...
During his more than decade at Adult Swim, Reed wrote several episodes of Sealab 2021 taut enough to serve as models for aspiring screen- and comedy writers; more often, though, he was happy to bang a joke pretty damn hard with his own rake, and his oeuvre betrayed a writer too in love with confounding expectations, too eager to abandon his heroes and follow some secondary (more likely tertiary) character, one he knew viewers actively disliked — as if he were taunting the audience, as if the joke were really on you. Archer certainly employs a number of now de rigueur alt-comedy tropes: a fondness for delayed payoffs, punch lines that serve as trapdoors or springboards to other jokes, recurring in-jokes that reward dedicated viewers. But Reed has finally — or at least mostly — embraced a basic and unavoidable truth: No matter how funny you are as a writer, if you continually abandon characters and digress from a plot, you thin a story until it is vapor, leaving only the combustible cleverness and a match for your story’s self-immolation.

But to some degree an idea that could be overlooked in the evolution of animation in the United States as a subversive medium that could have gotten some mention was that cartoons have generally been seen as 1) for children and 2) for instilling a set of ethics or ethos.  Think of long-ago odes to Optimus Prime in Wired and "cold war moral clarity".  Using animated narratives and characters to subvert or question the kinds of cartoon moralism that cartoons have been expected or required to hand down to a presumed-prepubescent audience is part of the subversive fun.  A matter that could be potentially missed in the matter of subversion by one or two conservatives (and those who may not realize how much animation has changed in the US in the last thirty years) is that part of liking something "ironically" is not necessarily in the liking of a thing itself.  Over the years I have told people that I have always enjoyed animation, hoped to work in it (but realized I didn't have the eyes or steady hand for it), and that by contrast ... well let's consider what the opposite of kids' shows really is, "adult" entertainment? 

If anything the more time goes by the less certain it seems that the things children and adults ultimately hope for in life are as fundamentally different as some adults say. 

Watching, enjoying and analyzing cartoons has been fun, and it is fun.  One of the many things that makes it fun to write about cartoons is observing that in American culture the cartoon tends to be the medium through which grown-ups tell children stories that demonstrate or encourage those values that grown-ups most wish children to learn.  We can learn the most about what values are sacrosanct in various strata of American culture by looking at what characters and narratives are presented as "safe" for children to observe.  With the emergence of shows like The Simpsons, or Beavis & Butthead, or Aeon Flux, South Park, or any number of shows you could pick from Adult Swim, half of what is subversive about any of these shows is working in the medium of animation to begin with.  It shouldn't be in itself but American academia and cultural punditry is never likely to catch up to this particular reality about pop culture.  Why look down on cartoons as a medium if a cartoonish boiled-down narrative is what the grown-ups keep resorting to in the op-ed pages of political magazines?

OVer at NPR and The Atlantic there are a couple of interesting links about the changing measurments and metrics of what music gets listened to vs what companies can measure in terms of sales.
http://www.npr.org/blogs/therecord/2014/11/25/366542943/commerce-vs-consumption-a-revolutionary-rethink-of-billboards-album-chart

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/12/the-shazam-effect/382237/?single_page=true

Radio stations, meanwhile, are pushing the boundaries of repetitiveness to new levels. According to a subsidiary of iHeartMedia, Top 40 stations last year played the 10 biggest songs almost twice as much as they did a decade ago. Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” the most played song of 2013, aired 70 percent more than the most played song from 2003, “When I’m Gone,” by 3 Doors Down. Even the fifth-most-played song of 2013, “Ho Hey,” by the Lumineers, was on the radio 30 percent more than any song from 10 years prior.

Wenatchee The Hatchet was kind of busy in 2012 writing about Mars Hill and Batman cartoons and "Blurred Lines" was never on the radar.  What's interesting about that specific song is ...

Marvin Gaye’s family wins first round against Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams in ‘Blurred Lines’ lawsuit

To get back to the earlier Atlantic article:

And not only are we hearing the same hits with greater frequency, but the hits themselves sound increasingly alike. As labels have gotten more adept at recognizing what’s selling, they’ve been quicker than ever to invest in copycats. People I spoke with in the music industry told me they worried that the reliance on data was leading to a “clustering” of styles and genres, promoting a dispiriting sameness in pop music.

In 2012, the Spanish National Research Council released a report that delighted music cranks around the world. Pop, it seemed, was growing increasingly bland, loud, and predictable, recycling the same few chord progressions over and over. The study, which looked at 464,411 popular recordings around the world between 1955 and 2010, found that the most-played music of the new millennium demonstrates “less variety in pitch transitions” than that of any preceding decade. The researchers concluded that old songs could be made to sound “novel and fashionable” just by freshening up the instrumentation and increasing “the average loudness.”

I think that last thing is called "dynamic range compression" within the music world and it's the bane of many a new song!

As for songs and singing ... another bit from The Atlantic on why actresses sometimes opt to become folksingers. Reinventing yourself as a singer shifts the focus to your voice rather than your look and in an image-mindful milleu such as cinema the image can be an unforgiving medium. 

Maybe the reason so many people may harken to the pop and rock of old is not necessarily because it's all better so much as because rock/pop has developed its own canon and there's a sense in which if we're going to get stuck hearing the same four or five chords strummed rhythmically across the board we could try to go back to the songs that defined the clich├ęs rather than repeat them.  You can listen to "Blurred Lines" if you want ... or you can listen to Marvin Gaye.

Norah Berlatsky, who's got a book on Wonder Woman that's coming out soon, writes about the futility of the school-ish advice to "find your voice" as a writer when, in the real world, nobody wants to buy YOUR voice so much as your ability to assimilate the voice of someone else.

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/11/finding-your-voice-as-a-writer-overrated/382946/?single_page=true

As for some pending/ongoing projects. the transcription/analysis of the 2008 spiritual warfare session is taking some down-time.  One can only handle so many hours of circa 2008 Mark Driscoll talking at length about spiritual warfare.  There's musical stuff incubating for probably 2015 and stuff about cartoons that may also just have to wait until 2015.  But the blog's on a semi-hiatus for some of its ... "expected" topics. 

However, a nod in closing to Phoenix Preacher
http://michaelnewnham.com/?p=19955
6. If you choose to live in a theological echo chamber you have willfully chosen to only learn what you already know. 

In light of the self-congratulatory impulses left and right about Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill it seems necessary to point out that half a decade or more of the Pyromaniacs crew blathering on about Driscoll accomplished absolutely nothing in much the same way that the Salon/HuffPo crew went on for at least a decade to no effect at all.  What changed the game, if we have to call it a game, was that things happened and got discussed across the boundaries of the usual echo-chambers of the theological/political "left" and "right" respectively. 




Tim Challies publishes a post with a subtext that gets hinted at by D. G. Hart at Old Life and explicated by a Mad Hungarian

http://www.challies.com/articles/5-ugly-qualities-of-the-anti-elder

Summarily the bullet points are:

The anti-elder is a dictator.
The anti-elder is short-fused.
The anti-elder is an addict.
The anti-elder is a bully.
The anti-elder is greedy.

Over at Old Life ...
For a second or so Challies had me worried. Was he thinking (all) about me? But since blogging was not on his list, the editors of Old Life must qualify as godly elders.

and courtesy of the Mad Hungarian, the surmised subtext ...
http://oldlife.org/2014/12/anti-elder/#comment-186609
Typical eeeeeevanjellyfish dog-piling (does that qualify as a mixed metaphor?), once Driscoll has been exposed and is down and out it is now permissible to jump on the anti-Driscoll bandwagon. Where was this post a year ago? Two years ago? Three? you get the drift.

Challies post about Driscoll focused on “character” — and this post is written long the same lines as the earlier post from August — if you don’t have a biblical form of church government (ie Presbyterian) then you have to hope that your pastors have good character. We now know that Driscoll was playing the tyrant for years thanks to poor church government and his YRR celebrity buddies.

The entire CEO-pastor phenomenon is based on a low view of sin and a high view of popular personality. If one takes stock of the reality of our sinfulness and of the tendency of power to corrupt, then one would want a system whereby the pastor is really accountable and church members have a right not only to trial, but also to appeal.

If the subtext was Driscoll it's just a case of someone appropriating the term evanjellyfish turning out to be one.  Doug Wilson may only have been safe from Driscoll's downward spiral by dint of not being important enough to anyone beyond Idaho to have garnered the same kind of acclaim. 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

a brief observation about the March 7, 2014 statement by the Mars Hill Board of Advisors & Accountability that presupposed conflict of interest as characteristic of MH governance

asdgasg

https://marshill.com/2014/03/07/a-note-from-our-board-of-advisors-accountability
Changes to Governance

For many years Mars Hill Church was led by a board of Elders, most of whom were in a vocational relationship with the church and thus not able to provide optimal objectivity. To eliminate conflicts of interest and set the church’s future on the best possible model of governance, a Board of Advisors and Accountability (BOAA) was established [emphasis added] to set compensation, conduct performance reviews, approve the annual budget, and hold the newly formed Executive Elders accountable in all areas of local church leadership. This model is consistent with the best practices for governance established in the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability standards. Mars Hill Church joined and has been a member in good standing with the ECFA since September of 2012.

http://theresurgence.com/2008/04/07/question-and-answer-with-mark-driscoll-video
http://www.theresurgence.com/mark_driscoll_2008-02-27_video_tnc_qa
http://www.acts29network.org/sermon/qa-with-mark-driscoll/
(starts at 00:31:52)
Q. How do you lead staff who are your best friends?Do you want the honest answer or should I punt?

... You can't. ... you can't.

I hate to tell you that. ... Deep down in your gut you know if you're best friends and someone works for you that changes the relationship. Right? Because you can fire them. Of course you want to be friends with your elders and the people you work with. I mean, we're a church. I mean you wanna, you NEED to love the people you work with. But one of the hardest things, and only the lead guy gets this. Nobody else on staff even understands what I'm talking about. When you're the lead guy you wear multiple hats. Say it's someone who works with you and they're a good friend. You wear the "Hey, we're buddies" hat. We're friends. We go on vacation. We hang out. We do
dinner. We're friends.


But you also wear the "I'm your boss" hat "You need to do your job or I might have to fire you" hat, and you also wear the "I'm your pastor. I love you, care for you, and I'm looking out for your well-being" hat. Those three hats are in absolute collision. Because how do you fire your friend and then pastor them through it? Right? I mean that is very complicated. I love you, you're fired, can I pray for you? That is a very .. what are we doing? I think if you're going to have your best friends working with you they need to be somewhere else on the team but not under you or the friendship really needs to change.

And what happens is when people are your friend ... I don't think that many do this intentionally but they want you to wear whatever hat is at their best interest at the time. So they didn't do their job, they're falling down on their responsibility, and you talk to them and say, "Look, you're not getting this done." They put on the "hey buddy. Yeah, I've been kinda sick lately and my wife and I are going through a hard time." and they want the friend hat on. And as a friend you're like, "Oh, I'm so sorry, dude." But then you put your boss hat back on and you're like "Yeah, but we pay you and we need you to get the job done."

And then they want you to put the friend hat back on and keep sympathizing.
And you're totally conflicted. ...


I have very good friends in this church. I have elders that are very dear friends, but when you have to do their performance review, when you have to decide what their wage is, when you have to decide whether they get promoted, demoted or terminated it's impossible to do that because you can't wear all three hats at the same time.

First guy I fired, he was a dear friend. A godly man, no moral or doctrinal sin whatsoever, he just wasn't keeping up with what we needed him to do. And it wasn't `cause he didn't try and wasn't working hard. And he had a wonderful wife and a great family and to this day I think the world of this guy.  And if my sons grew up to be like him, I'd be proud. And I'm not critical of this man at all.
But I remember sitting down at that first termination. First I put on the friend hat. I said, "I love you, I appreciate you. I value you." Then I put on the boss hat, "I'm gonna have to let you go. Here's why." And then I put on the pastor hat, "How are you feeling? How are you doing?" And he was really gracious with me and he said, "This is just the weirdest conversation I've ever had." And I said, "Me too, `cause I'm not sure what hat I'm supposed to wear."

Does that make any sense? The best thing is if you have a best friend maybe the best thing to do is not have them work with you.  Or if they do have them work under someone else. And to also pursue good friendships with people outside of your church. Some of my dearest friends today are not at Mars Hill, they're also pastors of other churches. Darrin Patrick is here, Vice-President of Acts 29. I love him. He's a brother. He's the guy I call. ... He's a pastor to me, you know?  Matt Chandler is here. I count as a friend. By God's Grace, C. J. Mahaney, I count as a friend. ...

Jamie Munson is head of the elder board. Jamie Munson is executive pastor. He is legal president of the organization. And for me, to be honest, it was the most freeing, liberating thing I could have dreamed of because now I don't have all that conflict of interest. I can be friends with someone but I don't have to fire them, do their performance review, and decide how much they get paid. It's just too conflicting for me."  [emphasis added]

So the question is never going to be "if" there were conflicts of interest in the history of the governance of Mars Hill because the BoAA and Mark Driscoll himself have simply conceded conflicts of interest existed in their own words.  The question is "what" those conflicts of interest actually were and whether or not the by-laws drafted and amended some time in later 2011 successfully dealt with whatever those conflicts of interest may have been. 

This may be all the more worth considering and investigating for those who are interested in this with the corporation formally dissolving at the end of this month.

a small vacation and a preview of hoped-for coming attractions.

While the spiritual warfare session Driscoll gave in 2008 is not fully transcribed or analyzed there's such a thing as taking breaks and the Thanksgiving holiday was, thankfully, such an occasion to take a break.  Longtime readers of the blog will probably even remember that analyzing and discussing and preserving the history of Mars Hill and the public ministry role of Mark Driscoll wasn't even originally intended to be the main focus of this blog.  It was intended to be more about animation and classical guitar music written by composers not-from-Spain.

Well, I managed to pick up the scores for all of the Ferdinand Rebay solo guitar sonatas and one of the new goals is to blog about them and, where possible, direct readers to existing recorded or filmed performances of the sonatas.  For those unfamiliar with previous blogging on Rebay's music, those posts aren't tagged yet but it won't take long to find search results for Ferdinand Rebay at the moment. 

Another little project that's incubating is getting to blogging about the grand sonatas of Matiegka.  Matiegka and Rebay have been favorites of WtH lately.  So while 2014 may remain the year of blogging about things more connected to Puget Sound in 2015 (or maybe, ideally, earlier) you should be seeing some blogging about Rebay and Matiegka.  There's also little write-ups pending on recordings of chamber music written for the guitar featuring other instruments like double bass, trumpet, viola, mandolin ... stuff like that.  Having explored the Martian landscape and history at some length and seeing as the corporation is dissolving anyway, maybe next year can get back to being about classical guitar music and cartoons. 

But that's likely next year.  The 2008 spiritual warfare transcription project is, believe it or not, only about halfway done and it gets freakier the further along it goes.

The thumbnail sketch for everyone who would put it in the TL:DR category--Mark Driscoll gave a session instructing leaders (and leaders only) on spiritual warfare. While it started off with the rather mundane observation that lots of Christians believe Satan and demons are real and that Satan is mentioned in the biblical texts a hash was generally made of the history of interpretation and HOW that conclusion was arrived at.  You'd be better off trudging through all the books of Jeffrey Burton Russell on the subject for a historian's overview.  But part 1 name-dropped Brookes and Gurnall and ...

Well, WtH has analyzed the session more as a political manifesto made by Driscoll in the wake of the controversial 2007 re-org and firings.  You could say that at least one element of the subtext of the session was that Driscoll was telling the leadership culture two things:

1) I have super-powers that let me know what the worst secrets of people are
2) doubting the executive eldership's love for the church is a demonic lie.

The double claim of super-powers with a fairly literal demonization of dissent against executive leadership could be taken as the beginning of what Steve Tompkins has called the "ad hominem narrative" in Mars Hill culture.  If you listen to the entirety of the 2008 warfare teaching event not just as an abstracted discussion of Mark's counseling approach, or a discussion of "demon trials", and also read it as a political statement then it's not that hard to see why so many in leadership would have come to a place of avoiding speaking up if they heard Mark go on at such length about being able to "read people's proverbial mail" and explicitly condemning questions about the executive leadership's love of the congregation as explicitly demonic and false. 

Anyway, Wenatchee The Hatchet hopes that all of you who celebrated Thanksgiving had a pleasant Thanksgiving.