Wednesday, October 31, 2018

an interview that wasn't, The Morning Invasion podcast ends up having an October 17, 2018 podcast on how they ended up not interviewing Mark Driscoll in response to things indicated by a publicist.

The Morning Invasion podcast is also available on iTunes.

The first half hour is what is of interest for this podcast dated October 17, 2018.  The gist seems to be that the hosts were going to have an interview with Mark Driscoll but cancelled it when (according to statements made at roughly minutes 13 and 24 a publicist explained that respectively: 1) there were topics Mark Driscoll indicated he did not want to talk about and 2) he only wanted to talk about his new book.

Under the circumstances it makes some sense to cancel an interview when presented with what would historically be a double bind.  No one who has read Mark Driscoll's earlier books would be able to easily separate Mark Driscoll's accounts of his own life and times and that of his family from his more doctrinal or historical preaching and teaching materials.

One of the hosts said that it doesn't seem like proof of repentance or that reconciliation has happened if there are any questions Mark Driscoll isn't willing to field about his time from Mars Hill.  One of the hosts mentioned having met Driscoll over the years.  Having met not just Mark Driscoll but the other co-founding pastors Mike Gunn and Lief Moi I find it hard to imagine that the way Mars Hill actually ended was the way any of the three wanted it to end.  I do feel obliged to point out that Mark Driscoll's pseudonym was William Wallace II and he described that pseudonym in Confessions of a Reformission Rev as one he used on the old, unmoderated Midrash. I'm not aware of any times in which he used that pseudonym in any context except the Mars Hill Midrash.  So even within Mars Hill insiders it can seem there has been room for misunderstanding what was going on.  It doesn't seem there were any intentional inaccuracies on the part of the host or their guest but those details seemed worth noting.  Compared to any and all citation errors and failures in the first editions of Mark Driscoll's published books across his earlier career such errors, however unfortunate, may be pardonable.  A lot, an awful lot, can happen across a twenty year span and by the 2012-2014 period many of those people who could establish what they saw and heard had already left Mars Hill.

There's another point made in the podcast by one of the hosts about how what was a tipping point for him was finding out Mars Hill had taken to consulting a public relations firm to handle its roughly 2014 era crises.  It seemed unchurchlike for a church to resort to using a PR firm to manage the crises it was dealing with.   Now Justin Dean's book PR Matters (reviewed here at Wenatchee The Hatchet with two historical preludes) might suggest strongly that a church that isn't engaged in the PR game as it's played these days has somehow already lost ... although it would seem that Mars Hill doesn't exist now and that might be a counter-argument, that those churches that believe their fate stands or falls on public relations could end up dying miserable public deaths.  If you want to get a sense of how Mars Hill's public relations situation went from disaster to disaster of sizes ranging from small to great, here's a non-comprehensive but neverthelesss moderately thorough list.  It won't include campus by campus resignations of elders, deacons or staff, because the turnover was too formidable in the 2011-2014 period to attempt to catalog everyone who was fired or resigned even here at Wenatchee The Hatchet.  For those who weren't keeping track of things at the time Mars Hill was bleeding out leadership at the lower and mid-tier levels for a couple of years.  While officially blogs weren't worth talking about there were a couple of attempts on the part of MH leaders to get in contact, documented in a brief form here.  I stonewalled all of them, because it wasn't a personal thing. I wanted to chronicle things for the record as a journalistic service to the public.  Rather than finding it intimidating (if annoying) getting contacted by MH leaders unilaterally suggested that the leaders were concerned about how much material was showing up at this blog from The City and other inside of Mars Hill sources that, as one friend put it, made the culture look bad.  The friend said that it seemed that instead of asking themselves why they were doing and saying things that made them look bad they seemed worried as to how Wenatchee The Hatchet was getting so much material that seemed to cast the church in an incriminating light.  Which is to say that Mars Hill leadership, if I may propose this, began to spiral into its death spiral because it prized public relations and reputation more than it prized how it was treating people.  This blog has a lot of material on the history of the former church and perhaps I'll eventually have to create a page that indexes as much of this material as possible for the record.

With Driscoll getting some representation from A Larry Ross rather than Justin Dean in the last year he can't help but have gotten more capable, even formidable, public relations help but the hosts of the podcast didn't name any names, they just indicated a publicist or publicist team explained that Driscoll only wanted to talk about his book and that there were topics he didn't want to talk about.  For that, the interview got cancelled.

It does invite a question as to what the basis can be for Mark Driscoll to hold himself now as an example for men to follow on manliness, accountability and legacy if he may prove unwilling to field questions about a roughly twenty year period of his ministry career which constitutes more or less the only pastoral role anyone could possibly remember him for as a matter of public record.  The Trinity Church is, to attempt to put this in a Driscollian parlance, still in diapers.

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