Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Houston and Driscoll, an observation about the chaos the Driscoll resignation introduced for the family
Those of you who listened to the whole audio may recall that Mark Driscoll said it was a challenge for his kids, because they had spent their whole lives in the church, at Mars Hill.  Now they aren't there. 

The passivity of the language when Driscoll talks about the social lives of his kids is remarkable. After all, whose decision to resign membership and eldership at Mars Hill put the Driscoll kids in that situation?  Mark Driscoll, obviously, and Grace Driscoll, slightly less obviously.  When Driscoll has shared stories of exation involving his children it's actually easy to have some sympathy for them simply because when their dad makes the kinds of decisions he's described himself making, and that he made in the way he's described, it WOULD be confusing.  By Driscoll's most recent account ...

I never got to say good-bye to the church and the people and so what went public was actually the resignation letter that went to the legal governing board that was in authority over me and so, uh, i uh, I know under the circumstances there wasn't a way to do that that would have been, uh, clean or easy. I don't have any criticism of the board. I think that, for the people, that there wasn't closure and I didn't, we didn't get to say anything.

And we didn't expect to resign. I met with the board. There was a whole list of things that were charged by current and former leaders and there was an internal governance struggle and threats of legal action that it got very complicated. And a lot of it was anonymous through the internet so you don't know who is saying or doing what. And so I invited the board to do a full examination, interview [emphasis added] anybody, anything, and we would submit to whatever verdict that they determined.

... When I think about eight weeks we met Friday and Saturday, October 10 and 11. I remember because the 11th was my birthday and so Grace and I were present with the board and they said: "We see in your history of leadership, less in more recent years but particularly in the past, pride, anger and a domineering leadership style." That would be the exact words they used.  "We don't see anything disqualifying. These are areas we want you to grow. We want you to leadership at the
church soon." They wanted to do some clean up internally. "We want you back on January 4 in the pulpit, give you time to heal, things to cool down, and for some changes to be made."

We agreed to that. I sent in a go-forward plan and then we went home to have birthday cake with the kids. I think it was on Monday night. I was in the bedroom. Grace was in the living room. And so we told the board and told the kids, you know, we come back and ["will do"? garbled] preaching and try and love and serve and, and fix what was a struggling church and God had provided a way for us to do that as volunteers. And so I was to come back as a volunteer. [emphasis added]

And then on that Monday night I was in the bedroom, Grace was in the living room and he spoke to me and he spoke to her in a supernatural way that neither of anticipated or expected. Ah, and so Grace walked in and she said, "I feel like the Lord just spoke to me and said what we're supposed to do." and I said "I feel like the Lord spoke to me and said what we're supposed to do." It's not what we wanted; it's not what we agreed to; it's not what we've planned for. And so I asked her, "Well, what did the Lord say to you?" cuz I didn't wanna influence and she said, uh, she said we're [Grace Driscoll speaks but it's low and indistinct, Driscoll pauses a moment and is urged to continue by Houston] "The Lord revealed to me that , you know, a trap has been set, there's, there's no way, chance we can return to leadership" and I didn't know what that meant or what was going on at the time.  And I'm, I said, [garbled] "We need to resign". So this is not what we anticipated
and a lot of people've thought, you know, "maybe he's another plan" but we didn't. We didn't know what we were doing.

And Grace fell to the floor and she was just sobbing uncontrollably and I'd never seen my wife like that. She was devastated. So we prayed and slept on it and decided we would make sure we got this right. Talked to pastors, those that we trust and sent in our resignation then on, it would have been Tuesday. ...
As you can see from this narrative what Mark and Grace Driscoll would have told their children, according to Mark Driscoll's most recent narrative, anyway, would have been drastically different from what reality turned out to be Monday, let alone Tuesday.  Compare that to this:
Transcript | Mark Driscoll | Thrive 2015-05-01
It finally came to the point where God released my wife and I from our responsibility to ministry. He spoke to us audibly. It wasn’t what we were expecting. It wasn’t what we had agreed to. We were both pretty shocked and the announcement was going to come out that week. [emphasis added] And, uh, our server, our e-mail and things apparently were hacked and there was no way to get anything done without it being a public situation. And so the Board, which are good, godly people in authority, which I appreciate -- they released a statement earlier than we were anticipating, so um, but that meant, and I agree with that decision, I’m not critical of it.  But that meant that I hadn’t told my kids that I had resigned and they were in school, taking test, it was a test week, …. we threw some stuff in a bag and ran to school to grab the kids and within minutes it was on TV, I think it was on CNN. 

Since by the new account the resignation letter was drafted, it seems, the very day the resignation was announced, there wouldn't have been time to notify the children of a decision that was taking shape the night before.  The Thrive account mentions "things apparently were hacked" but there's never been any evidence anything of the sort occurred.  If Mark Driscoll really drafted his resignation letter October 14, 2014 and sent it to the BoAA then it would be natural for the BoAA to disclose that resignation.  The only thing that could be "relatively" sure about information within the leadership culture at Mars Hill was that there was informational hemorrhaging at almost every level.  Wenatchee The Hatchet could write an entire post about the nature of the informational leaks that happened over the last ... few years ... but that's not interesting at the moment.  What is interesting is that at the Thrive performance Mark Driscoll made it seem like the resignation "could" have been released by the Board sooner than expected and that, well, the implication that email or serves were hacked and there was no way for anything to get done without it being public is sidestepping a more obvious point.

When the president of Mars Hill resigned it was the resignation of the highest ranking legal officer in the corporation and it would have to be a matter of public record for state record purposes.  It would also be news. 

Driscoll told Houston "we never got to say goodbye".  That's what the resignation letter already did.  It turned out Mark Driscoll resigned from the only church he was eve ra member of, a church he co-founded back in 1995.  He resigned after he had, as he told Houston, both initiated an investigation and agreed to submit to the findings of that investigation right up to the point that he heard some voice say "a trap has been set."

Was that voice worth resigning over?  Was that voice worth actually or just potentially dismantling the social lives of the Driscoll children over?  After all back in 2007 it wasn't unknown that the Driscolls and Petrys visiteded each other.  When Munson's shunning edict came down it's not like that didn't establish as policy an ending of social interactions between families. 

So if the latest Driscoll account is true (and it does seem to fit the Thrive narrative, more or less) then the Driscoll resignation comes across as impulsive and reactionary; it also comes across as a decision that flatly contradicted what Driscoll said he would agree to comply with.  It's not difficult to imagine, as Driscoll said was a concern since the resignation, that there'd be some worry the Driscoll kids might be upset or resentful about their parents decision to bail on the church they helped plant that the kids grew up in.

And as Mark Driscoll used to teach about husbandly/fatherly headship, it means that it's your responsibility even if technically you'd say it wasn't really your fault.  Regardless of whether Mark can claim God said " a trap has been set", it was Mark Driscoll who decided to interpret that as "we should quit" rather than to submit to the leadership he said he was going to submit to and see where things led. 

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