Unfortunately, few people know how to be a good friend in this day and age. As Christians, we have a prime opportunity to help others understand what a godly relationship can look like. This certainly doesn’t happen over night, in fact it takes years to develop a true friendship and not all women want to or will walk through all seasons of life with you. I have learned how to be a better friend over the years by failing, sinning, repenting, encouraging, listening, being teachable, and allowing the Holy Spirit to mature me in areas that I needed to grow.
That may well be. If Grace Driscoll is stepping back into the public sphere and making use of a mass media/social media platform such as blogging at Mark Driscoll Ministries, let's revisit a story shared at Joyful Exiles by Jonna Petry.
Shortly before Paul was confirmed as a pastor/elder, I was invited to a dinner to celebrate Grace’s (Mark’s wife and my friend) birthday. There were a dozen or so women in attendance and I ended up sitting next to Karen Schaeffer, who was Mark’s administrative assistant - a lovely, older, godly woman whom I greatly respected. Sitting next to us was an elder’s wife who was close in age and who also had quite a bit of previous ministry experience. The three of us enjoyed great conversation – alive, encouraging, as iron sharpens iron. We ended up being the last three to leave the restaurant and as we walked to the car decided we should pray together for some of the things that had been shared. We got in the car and ended our time together praying for many things, including the elders, our families and the church.
The next morning I heard from the elder’s wife, the one Karen and I had so enjoyed - that she had shared our conversation with her husband and he felt that it showed “disloyalty” on Karen’s part, was gossip, and that it needed to be brought to Mark, which he did. Karen was fired. The gist of what she shared that was branded “disloyal” was a heart of thankfulness that my husband, Paul, was being made an elder because Mark needed strong men around him who could handle and stand up to push-back. When I found out what this elder and his wife had done, I called Mark immediately in tears and asked him to forgive me for my part in that conversation. Looking back, I’m not sure that Karen or I really did anything wrong, but I was sure afraid.
Shortly after this meeting, in my praying for the church that God’s will would be done in the upcoming changes, I sent a letter to the elders’ wives inviting them to join me in prayer, along with Scriptures I had been meditating on. Mark, who reads Grace’s emails, was livid about it and verbally lambasted the elders at their next meeting for not keeping their wives in line.
In the first week of December 2007, over a month after we resigned our membership, the church elders voted to “discipline” Paul and published a letter instructing MHC members to shun him.
The shunning document was published on the members’ website and letters were mailed to members as far away as Colorado.
I remember that day well, as my heart sank to the ground on reading the text a friend had emailed us. I could hardly breathe. In great anguish I thought to myself, “I can’t just do nothing. How am I supposed to respond to this?” I was reminded of the words from Scripture, “Bless those who persecute you. Bless and do not curse…” So mechanically I went to the store and bought beautiful potted poinsettias and some generic but thoughtful Christmas cards that I lovingly signed and then personally delivered them - trembling and in tears - to the homes of several elders, including Mark Driscoll, Brad House, and Jamie Munson. At the Driscoll’s, Grace’s father and one of the children opened the door, Grace was coming down the stairs and when she saw me she said my name and hurried to the door, hugged me and cried too. No words were spoken.
Just yesterday we revisited how Mark Driscoll once said "I'll tell you, in the history of Mars Hill, I mean, I have had to put up a firewall, a moat, guard dogs, and a high wall with barbed wire on top, and snipers behind it, around my wife."
To read more on what Driscoll said in addition to that ...
To the extent that Mark Driscoll stressed what lengths he went to protect Grace and the extent to which he considered at least some women who sought to befriend her as being Satanic busybodies, it might have been tough to maintain friendships in circumstances like that, maybe?