Friday, May 15, 2015

the Thrive speech in context, how does one 8-year old boy become the oldest and then the youngest son inside of a twelve-minute sequence?

Mark Driscoll once opined that the ear is more forgiving than the eye.  Well, that could be, but for alert listeners it might still come up, Driscoll's narrative about the boy and the Air Soft rifle stays steady on an age, but not on birth order.

Let's consult the earlier version of the account from the Gateway Leadership conference:
Transcript of Robert Morris and Mark Driscoll from the Gateway Leadership + Worship Conference
on the evening of Monday, October 20, 2014, as broadcast live via DayStar Television:

Uh a few days later. I think it was, I don’t remember, the media flies overhead with a helicopter and is trying to flush us out for a story. And uh that night uh we’re hiding in the house, my 8 year old son comes down and he’s wearing a military jacket, he’s loading up his Air Soft rifle [emphasis added](laughter)and he uh (MD chuckles) he looks at me and he says ‘hey dad is this uh is this jacket bullet proof? (soft laughter)and I just started crying and said, ‘why’s that little buddy?’ and he said, ‘Well it’s bad guys in the helicopter coming to shoot the family, right?’ He didn’t have any concept of, of media coverage, he thought it was bad guys coming to kill his family and he was gonna defend his sister (faint laughter) and so uh praise God he’s finally sleeping in his bed again, but it’s been a while to get him to do that with night terrors and so...

This was apparently in reference to this incident, coverage by KOMO back on August 28, 2014

Russ Bowen visited the Driscoll house (which, since county records are county records, could be looked up) to get Driscoll's side of the story.  Driscoll's voice was audible but he declined to even admit he was Mark Driscoll or that the house was in any way his. 

Well, at Thrive this year Driscoll revisited the story about the press chopper.
Things really escalated when the media showed up and blocked the driveway to the house, seeking an interview and brought a helicopter overhead to flush me out for an interview.  My kids had been outside playing and, uh, all of a sudden we heard this helicopter over the yard and so we pulled the family into the house and tried to figure out how to not be in front of a window because we didn’t want to be on the news and didn’t know what was going on, to be honest with you. 

That night my oldest son, he was 8 at the time, he came to me downstairs, my wife Grace was cooking dinner and uh, he had on this jacket, it was a military jacket with patches down the side.  He had his AirSoft gun and I said “What are you doing little buddy?” He’s nine now.  And he said, “Dad is this jacket bullet-proof?” (crown groans) And I said, “Why’s that little buddy?” And he said, “Well, if the bad guys come, I want to be able to protect the family.”

I didn’t know that he – he didn’t know it was a news crew. The only thing he’d ever seen were the uh, um, the bad guy movies 
where they come in helicopters and shoot everybody.  It took months.  He would have night terrors. He wouldn’t sleep in his room.  He wouldn’t take a shower, get dressed in his bedroom by himself. Something we’re trying to encourage him through.
  [emphases added]
Wenatchee The Hatchet will come back to that a little later.

So, we’re sitting with the kids explaining to them that dad had resigned and that we were going to continue forward and that God had released us very clearly.  And my middle son -- he is really the pastor’s heart of the family, he’s a shepherd -- his first question, I just lost it, he said “Who’s going to care for the people?” We stayed there for a few days. Drove them into school for their tests. I went home and checked the security footage and yeah, there was a lot of people at our house taking photos.  It was a good thing we weren’t there.  We finally came home.

I think it was on Saturday. And, uh, none of us slept very well.  We were all pretty rattled.  And uh, woke up on Sunday.  Slept in. And, uh, my family… it dawned on me, like we’ve helped start 400 churches, we pastored a church, shepherd a church that had like 15 locations and now we don’t have a church to go to. So, here I am in the house with my wife and kids and we’re all just kind of zombies, and my, uh, my kids are like, well, we’re going to do church. 

And so, when your wife’s a pastor’s kid, you’re going to do church. (crowd chuckles). And so, my uh, my middle daughter -- the one child that can sing -- she got a lovely voice -- she decided she would lead us in song.  My young… my middle son set up Communion. My other son set up prayer buddies -- we break off into prayer. My oldest daughter oversaw the scripture reading. And my youngest son, who was eight at the time, came down with a bucket to collect the offering. [emphasis added]

Notice the sloppiness here.  One and the same kid was the oldest son at about 4:04 in has been remembered as the youngest son at just before the 10:00 mark.

Somehow one kid managed to become the oldest and the youngest in the birth order within a continuous verbal presentation. The youngest part checks out.  The oldest, not at all.  The oldest male in the Driscoll brood was listed internally to MH records as older than 12 years old three years before the Thrive presentation.

And since Mark Driscoll uses this thing called Instagram
January 20, 2014
Gideon recently turned 8. Today we have a party with around 12 boys. I say around because they move so fast counting is tough.

If Driscoll wants to get sympathy for how rough his kids have had it because of his reputation and his critics, does Driscoll want to explain why he plastered so many photos of his kids on Instagram for the world to see?

And for that matter, Driscoll devoted a chapter to Gideon in one of his books.  Gideon was described as the youngest and also as a child born in part because though Grace wanted to be done with childbearing after four C-sections and a miscarriage, Mark Driscoll did not wish to do anything at the time to prevent God from giving them another child.  Thus ... well, Driscoll explained it himself plainly enough.
Copyright (c) 2008 by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears
Published by Crossway Books
PDF ISBN: 978-1-4335-0423-5
ISBN-10: 1433501295
ISBN-13: 9781433501296

page 164
My wife, Grace, and I love Gideon and thank God for him often. My wife is petite, and I have a big head, which resulted in C-sections with the birth of each of our children. Having endured one miscarrage and four C-sections, Grace was ready to be done with pregnancies. But I was not yet ready to do anything to prevent God from giving us a child. So, we left it in God's hands and we were given Gideon, whom I affectionately refer to as Guppy, for being the youngest, and as Flip Flop, because at a very young age he decided he only wanted to wear flip-flops on the wrong feet for the rest of his life.  To her credit, Grace often gives me a hug and thanks me for not stopping at four children, because Gideon has been an absolute blessing and a joy to our family.

And the kid has featured on Driscollian social media plenty over the years.  What's new in the Thrive narrative that wasn't mentioned in the earlier Gateway account is this:

I didn’t know that he – he didn’t know it was a news crew. The only thing he’d ever seen were the uh, um, the bad guy movies where they come in helicopters and shoot everybody.  It took months.  He would have night terrors. He wouldn’t sleep in his room.  He wouldn’t take a shower, get dressed in his bedroom by himself. Something we’re trying to encourage him through.

Here Mark Driscoll recounted recently that the boy's reference point for helicopters flying over houses was watching movies where bad guys would come in choppers and shoot everybody.  Choppers just showing up and blasting the house away sounds a teensy bit like Iron Man 3, a 2013 release.  In the earlier account Driscoll said his son had no concept of media coverage. In the newer account the explanation for the failure to understand that the chopper was just a news chopper was the cinematic menu viewed by the Driscoll household. These two narratives don't really have any tension between the two of them and they even seem complementary.

Except for the part where the 8-year old was described as the oldest and then became the youngest.

Now perhaps Driscoll's been rattled enough that he could just forget the birth order of his own children while sharing a story about them at a conference.  If so, maybe he's not yet ready to get back on the speaking circuit or plug into a ministry yet. 

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