Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Alvaro Company (1931-2022)

In the second edition of The Contemporary Guitar (ISBN 978-1-4422-3789-6) John Schneider wrote that 1963 can be thought of as Year Zero for the contemporary era of the guitar.  It was the year the world got Nocturnal after John Dowland by Benjamin Britten; Si le jour Parait ... by Maurice Ohana and Las seis cuerdas by Alvaro Company.  It might be good here to clarify that these were three landmark works that foretold the future of classical guitar music since, as many of us know, plenty of innovative and legendary works for guitar had been written before, during and since 1963.  But Schneider's point is well worth noting now that Alvaro Company has passed.  

I realize that for most people the passing of an Italian guitarist composer who pioneered extended techniques and post-tonal possibilities for the instrument won't mean too much but it's still a sad day for classical guitarists who keep tabs on guitarist composers. 

Props to Lebrecht for noting the news.  I occasionally tire of his scabrous moments and the commentary brawls but it's thanks to Lebrecht rants that I learned about Ethan Hein's work and in contrast to a lot of other classical mainstream journalism Lebrecht has, at least, paid attention enough to note the deaths of Roland Dyens, Julian Bream, Angelo Gilardino and Alvaro Company. 

Saturday, March 12, 2022

a blogging sabbatical (for any readers who hadn't already worked that out)

Longtime and regular readers, however many there may be at this point, know that I have written a lot here since 2006.  There is still a lot I would eventually like to write about but now is not the time. I hadn't even really planned to blog much this year (and I haven't) but Ethan's posts about Bjork songs inspired me to break from my break from blogging.

If you saw what I did between 2010 and 2020 here at Wenatchee The Hatchet then you'll understand, I hope, that after such a prolific decade of blogging a break can be taken. Unlike some bloggers I've met, barring extravagant quotes and transcriptions, I have made a point of writing my own material without resort to ghostwriters. Let the reader understand.  

But it's been time for a break. The stuff I have hoped to blog about I still hope to blog about. Angelo Gilardino's five guitar sonatas deserve to be written about. The same can be said for the guitar sonata cycles of Ferdinand Rebay, Atanas Ourkouzounov, Dusan Bogdanovic, Wenzel Matiegka, and Carlos Guastavino, all of these composers have written sets of guitar sonatas I still want to write about. I even hope to continue writing about Nikita Koshkin's 24 Preludes and Fugues for solo guitar, although under the present circumstances I can't be sure whether the Western powers will have enough people willing to sustain and continue the work of completing the recording project Asya Selyutina began a few years back. I may of necessity switch to blogging about German Dzhaparidze's cycle as there are more videos of extracts from that cycle and it has been recorded in its entirety (and, of course, I have the recording).

Obviously anyone who saw those names and knows those sonatas knows that all of that constitutes a giant amount of score study and writing and I don't know when I'll be situated to get to that.

The big reading list (another "let the reader understand") is still in progress and has expanded.  I've read some very good and very bad books in the process of reading through it and added a few titles.  

There are pages with tags on the topics of music; Mars Hill; and animation for folks who come by. The pages aren't comprehensive so if there's specific stuff you wanted to find out about the history of Mars Hill, for instance, you may have to use the search engine, especially for posts between 2009 to 2012 where I hadn't even thought of tagging posts.  It's probably worth saying yet again that this isn't a watchdog blog, was never a watchdog blog, and I have over the last ten years been skeptical about watchdog blogging for reasons I don't want to get into too much. The line between citizen journalism and yellow journalism is all too often non-existent in watchblogs much like the line between blogging and advertising is non-existent for the kinds of preachers who blog and in their blogging complain about bloggers.  Comments are still constantly moderated and don't be surprised if my approach is to stonewall.  It's not personal, it's more of my general approach. 

Sometimes stuff happens IRL where blogging becomes less critical. I hope I have been able to be helpful to people who like music for contemporary classical guitar music and are interested in analyses of sonata forms for guitar. I hope I have been able to make some small contribution to a synergistic exchange of theoretical and historical ideas that can bridge the gap between "pop" and "classical". I believe that the one or two times Scruton said that kind of bridging ought to happen was where he was most right and it's a shame he basically did nothing to contribute toward such a project.  I hope that Ragtime and Sonata Forms can be the start of such a project.  I hope people who enjoy animation and anime have enjoyed what I've written there.  I still feel that Batman: The Agony of Loss and the Madness of Desire is one of my better series and if you love Batman: the animated series then I hope you'll enjoy my work on that. 

Which is another way of pointing out that, contrary to some of the people who have complained in comments, this blog has never "only" ever been about "ripping on Pastor Mark". I believe he became an unscrupulous and unprincipled sell-out and has been corrupted by the celebrity-building systems of pop Christian media. I would say that he's just the most identifiable right-wing variation of the gimmicky hipster, the blue state variation I've seen I've written about elsewhere at this blog.  Fifteen years of chronicling the peak and demise of the Seattle megachurch took a lot of work. I had hoped they would repent and reform and some of the men and women certainly did but Mike Cosper's whole podcast would not have happened if the leadership at large had gone that route.  What my blogging lacks for organization on Mars Hill it made up for by way of charting staff resignations in real time.  When Bill Clem left Mars Hill Ballard I blogged about it within a day or so at most. That journalism degree I got wasn't much help on the job hunt over the last twenty years but it certainly did help me write at least 1,795 posts between the start of 2012 and the end of 2014. 

How long this sabbatical will be remains to be seen.  I intend to come back to blogging in the future but I'm at a place in my life where I realize I need to dial this part of life back.  

So if you're reading this and you're a regular then you know I have plenty incubating material and if you're a visitor, well, I've sketched out a schematic of what this blog has done across a bit more than 5,300 posts across fifteen years.  Best wishes to readers chris e, Jim, cal, Bill, Mara, Brad, Headless Unicorn Guy, ExeGe, Ethan (and the other Ethan, too), Bryan, toxopom and others who have made comments over the years. I pray you're all well.  Just because I am taking a break from blogging here doesn't mean I won't stay in touch via blog interaction.  I might come back to blogging later this year or might wait until 2023 or something. I don't know.  I just know that after years of blogging I feel like I've reached a point where I feel like I need to take a break. Maybe by the time I come back all the Ferdinand Rebay solo guitar sonatas will be filmed or recorded. :)  

May the peace of Christ be with you (and if you're secular or not Christian, I trust you get the basic idea behind it for you). 

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Ethan Hein discusses "Hidden Place" by Bjork--harmonies as gestalts of linear writing for voices rather than block chords; hiding the root of a D dorian song in "plain sight" throughout the percussion track

I have always heard this as a song in dorian from the first time I heard it. Yes, that killer ostinato riff shifts restlessly between B and A and F and E but as soon as the percussion track kicks in that D dorian sonority shimmers across the soundscape.  Why?  I don't know but this former choir singer heard the D minor shimmering in the percussion track.  Who knows? Maybe Bjork and company ran the drum track through a vocodor a bunch of times like they were replicating the voice of Soundwave from the old Transformers G1 cartoon?  Let the reader understand.  Maybe they just tuned the kick drum to D.  

What was clear to me the first time I heard "Hidden Place" is that it's a monochord song and it's magnificent. The B-A-F-E ostinato is a kind of dorian floating boogie vamp that pervades the song. We don't get an "official" instrument sustaining the D that is the root of the chord of D dorian until Bjork and company hit the chorus about going to that hidden place but that doesn't mean that the ghostly D minor hasn't been sparkling like mist within the beats of the percussion track the whole time.  When the other ostinato patterns emerge you may find you just tune out the D minor chord and listen to the dorian vamps that slither along the fifth and the second scale degrees of D dorian. 

Now I know I said the song moves along as a monochord song but that doesn't mean there aren't implicit chord changes.  They're just strictly conveyed by the vocal parts.  When the choir rises up through the scale work to settle on B natural over the throbbing D vamps and Bjork sings G naturals on "We go to ... " for that hidden place there's an implicit chordal pattern, a IV-i that is common enough in dorian progressions.  The i-IV is more common as a dorian-inflected chord vamp "Breathe in the Air" by Pinkfloyd is the easiest example). One of the fun things about harmony and ensemble work is that a great big G major sonority can be belted out across the band in "Hidden Place" choruses but if you're only listening for something as obvious as a block chord or a root position bass line pattern you won't hear the second inversion G major to D minor change of the chorus to this song that slithers around within and across the groove.  I can hear it and I hope you can, too.

Because the choir settles on B natural and Bjork withholds the G natural that completes the second inversion G chord until the second half beat two where the chorus kicks in an unalert or inexperienced listener might think that because there are no "changes" as obvious as those that happen in blues or jazz or rock songs that there's no "harmony". There's harmony all over this song. But the thing about the dorian mode is that it's a symmetrical scale, which conveys a sense of weightlessness and ambience.  It's the scale of refuge for lazy psychedelic guitar solos since the 1960s and it can make for pseudo-mystical choral music where the symmetricality of the scale means it's hard to sing bad notes once you've internalized the scale.

But in the hands of capable composers, songwriters and musicians the floating symmetricality of dorian can let you either groove ad infinitum as though you've left earth as we know it or show that you've got control of a scale that predates the major and minor key systems by centuries and that you know how to write melodies with it that exploit its ambience.  You can write a song full of harmonies that, as many Renaissance era composers demonstrated, were written with overlapping melodic lines in a shared mode that had plenty of harmony but it was not chordal harmony, not chordal harmony as we would be taught it in theory courses.  I think a case can be made that Bjork pulled off both hat tricks with dorian in "Hidden Place" which is why I loved the song since the first time I heard it.  She evokes implicative IV-i chord vamps in the groove of the chorus for "Hidden Place" but the harmonies are gestalts of purely linear melodic writing and rhythmic patterns coalescing into a whole. Although none of the overt vamps of the song spell out D minor that D minor sonority sparkles across the drum tracks. 

Ethan made a comment about how there's some kind of tension between those who like Fun Bjork and those who like Art Bjork.  I haven't personally felt that way about her music.  I haven't been as into her stuff since Vespertine, which I considered the peak of her albums so far but Fun Bjork and Art Bjork have always been the same person.  We got "Human Behavior" and "The Anchor Song" back on Debut.  "It's Oh So Quiet" was on Post but then so was "You've Been Flirting Again" and "Headphones".

At Mere Orthodoxy Jake Meador tells fellow evangelicals "Critical Race Theory Isn't Going to Get You"--Alan Jacobs on provocateurs who think they're illuminators

There have been commenters at Mere Orthodoxy in the last few years who seem to think the folks at Mere O have gone woke and sold out to progressivism.  I would be hard-pressed to imagine how an evangelical online magazine that resembles National Review or the defunct Weekly Standard far more than Current Affairs or Slate or Salon/Alternet could possibly have gone "woke".

Showing the John Birchers and the Ayn Rand-roids the door was something Buckley did generations ago.  In our era their equivalents might just be self-identified evangelicals of the sort who believe critical race theory is out to conquer their kids.


I have spent my entire life in the white evangelical world, which means I am now old enough to have seen this exact dynamic play out many times over in our movement, as every 3-5 years we (or our professional class, at least) identify a new Big Bad that is supposedly destroying the church. (In recent years, the speed with which we cycle through trends has accelerated, no doubt due in large part to the way that social media makes it far easier to distribute propaganda.)

Thus: “Ah, postmodernism is going to get me!” (1995-2005) “Ah, secular humanism is going to get me!” (2005-2010) “Ah, cultural marxism (remember that one?) is gonna get me!” (2015-2019) Or, most recently, “Ah, critical race theory is gonna get me!” (2019-present)

Here’s the thing: I’ve known dozens of people who have left the faith. Probably 85% of the people I grew up with have apostatized. A good percentage of the folks from my megachurch youth group that I attended briefly in high school have done the same and, so too, have some of my peers from my campus ministry days, though thankfully not nearly so many. I’ve heard so many stories of apostatizing. You know how many times I’ve heard someone attribute their loss of faith to any of the fabricated villains supposedly threatening Christianity?

Zero.  ...
Had Stevie Nicks sung
it wouldn't have worked

a variation from 2-20-2022
Had Stevie Nicks sung
about "the loggerhead shrike"
it wouldn't have worked

Monday, February 14, 2022

Ethan Hein discusses Bjork's "The Anchor Song", some thoughts on antiphonal polymodality in a song scored in a single key

Now we get to the other reason I've come out of my blogging sabbatical to blog a teensy bit, Ethan Hein just blogged about Bjork's "The Anchor Song"

What's curious about the song is that Bjork sings a straightforward C ionian melody but all the instrumental breaks sound like their in a nebulous cloud pandiatonic D dorian/F lydian. The mysterious vibe the song has comes from the unadorned C ionian vocal line constantly being answered by a saxophone quartet that has some kind of trippy post-Arvo Part take on Thelonious Monk arranging "Abide With Me" (let the reader understand, or not).  We never get an actual C chord until the entire vocal line is declaimed and, as Ethan has noted, it's reached by way of an E minor seventh chord.  Unresolved seventh and ninth chords in unstable inversions permeate "The Anchor Song" until we get to those very widely space C major seventh chords. 

Curiously, for me, I've never heard the A to D saxophone descent as even imply an F chord. at the start of their phrases.  It sounded like a simple descending fifth melodic line and with the ascent from D through E to F it sounded like D dorian.  Perhaps we could say that the song is scored in a single key but alternates between C ionian and D dorian between voice and ensemble. There's a brief moment of a second inversion F major chord with the saxophones early on but since that A is a suspension that resolves done to G it's tough for me to hear it as an F chord, since even at the slow tempo a chord that lasts for a mere eighth note value in a single beat doesn't really convey a lot of presence, let alone sustain.  That F dominates the sonority even if is read as C sustained.  I might dare to suggest that part of the weirdness is that the melodic line implies a continuation of and a completion of the D minor linear pattern established by the treble line while the harmonizing lower voices play a D dorian subtonic which does not just so happen to be the root of C ionian along the way, establishing the ambiguity that runs throughout the song between Bjork's C ionian vocal line and the D dorian modality of the saxophone quartet.  It's a brilliant way to establish two contrasting pitch centers with different modes in the face of the reality that everything is scored in a single key signature with no accidentals.

I should probably mention I initially found her annoying the first year or so I heard her ("Human Behavior" got a LOT of airplay in the early 1990s) but I eventually heard more of her songs from the radio-saturation pieces (and those grew on me) and I've dug her albums from Debut through to Vespertine.  And if Ethan ever wants to blog about "Hidden Place", go for it!

Steven Beck has recorded all five of George Walker's piano sonatas (HT Ethan Iverson via Do The Math)

I'm still taking a bit of a break from blogging but I've come out of the blogging sabbatical for a couple of things.  Ethan Iverson has mentioned that Steve Beck has recorded all five of George Walker's piano sonatas.  If you've heard of George Walker and want an introduction to his work this is basically "the" album to get.  

I've thought about writing about Walker's work over the years but I can't really do better than some of the scholarship that's been done on his music in the last ten years that I've alluded to or referenced in other blog posts in the past.  So, anyway, go get this album and happy Valentine's Day for those who are into that. 

Friday, January 14, 2022

RIP Terry Teachout and Angelo Gilardino

Terry Teachout has died. He died this Thursday.
 I enjoyed reading Teachout's "About Last Night" blog for years and also appreciate his biography of Duke Ellington.  I learned of it through Ethan Iverson's interview and read Teachout's response noting that he appreciated that Iverson gave him some pushback on things he did say and not things he didn't. Let the reader understand.  

Also this week Angelo Gilardino, the great Italian guitarist composer, has died.

I might not be posting a ton at the blog for a while. The world of classical guitar has been immensely enriched by Gilardino's life and work and I'll have to write more about some of his work later this year but at the moment I think I might take a bit of a hiatus to collect my thoughts (and take a break from posting, for that matter). 

UPDATE 1-16-2022
some thoughts from Ted Gioia and Ethan Iverson (and Heather Sessler) about Terry Teachout.

It's worth mentioning, if only briefly, that Angelo Gilardino worked to further the music of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, whose music for the guitar was conservative and "Hollywood" but in the best possible sense of the term, glowing sounds and actual tunes (I need to get around to blogging more about his work at some point, too, really).

Here's a sampling of some of Gilardino's work

It would be too much to blog through the sixty studies!  I plan to blog through is five magnificent solo guitar sonatas later this year.  There needs to be more English-language writing about this titan of the classical guitar. 

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Heinrich Albert, Sonata No. 1, movement 1 analysis: having a monotonal exposition that repeats, a development section, and no recapitulation

I have meant to get around to discussing Heinrich Albert's Sonata No. 1 in E minor for a while now. I noticed that back when I posted a link to a performance with score earlier at this blog that the score had some quirks.  There were repeat signs interpolated into the exposition that gave an inaccurate impression of the structure of the piece.  So I wanted to come back to this sonata again not just to provide a more detailed analysis (if not a sprawling discussion), but also because, since I have the score on me somewhere, to highlight a performance that observes the structural repeats in the published score that weren't observed in the video I linked to last time I mentioned this sonata.

So, here we go.

Sutton Turner posts notes from the 2014 elder investigation of formal charges against Mark Driscoll, discusses his discussions with Cosper, and mentions conversation with Throckmorton in January 2022 posts

If you listened to Cosper's The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill there wasn't much new in the January 7, 2022 post.  
Or at least, for me, there wasn't much new but then, you know, I have chronicled a lot of stuff about the former Mars Hill over the years.

But this post ... there's a lot of material to it, notes from the investigation of 2014.  

Thursday, January 06, 2022

a couple of recent thinkpieces on The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill from Carey Nieuwhof and former MH pastor Matt Johnson at Mbird

The Carey Nieuwhof piece is ... a bit boilerplate ... but then most of the thinkpiece responses to the Mike Cosper podcast have tended to be a bit boilerplate.  Exemplifying what Samuel D James exemplified as "the take trap" is common.

His readers pointed out that ... he still kinda has to explain Episode 328, why he decided to give Driscoll a platform in which Driscoll said stuff.

Stuff, as it turned out, that was not only easy to comprehensively debunk but to comprehensively debunk based on a combination of Mark Driscoll's own previous accounts and the accounts of other executive elders from 2020, with a few other accounts for good measure.  Thus ...

In other words, Nieuwhof has to account for, at some point, why he personally gave Driscoll time to tell his story having not done much diligence about what had happened previously.  I have wondered why Episode 328 got taken down and the reasons for that have not been explained.

Matt Johnson's piece is less of the usual boilerplate takes I've seen about The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill for the simple and obvious reason that Matt and his family were there for 17 years.

Friday, December 31, 2021

another year of blogging, some year end reflections from Wenatchee The Hatchet

Well ...

R Scott Clark visits the role of the PCA in formative years for Acts 29 and Mars Hill--there's still a pretty live question whether or not A29 and Spanish River were a tangential "accidental" role in the history of MH

I have felt pretty alone in attempting to discuss the early Acts 29, David Nicholas, Mark Driscoll and what seemed to be a PCA connection (that last part was just not on my radar because I'm just me and only have so much energy and attention). 

I'd hazard a guess that from Driscoll's side of things his earlier influences were John MacArthur and Doug Wilson (clearly if the men served on a panel together representing a rightwing perspective on censorship and the arts in 1992 ... ). David Nicholas didn't seem to come along until a few years into the life of Mars Hill. Cosper seems to have shortchanged us by not saying just how many people he talked to who had accounts of how and why Nicholas and Driscoll parted ways within Acts 29.  What is clearer is Nicholas founded and bankrolled Acts 29 and Mark Driscoll kinda was there to take it over.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Ethan Hein discusses Stevie Wonder's "Living for the City"--the fun of bringing different theoretical approaches to the same amazing song--and has anyone written a monograph on the music of Innervisions (the 50th anniversary will soon be upon us!)

Over the years I've written blog posts picking up on songs Ethan Hein has written about. This year Ethan has written a blog post about a song I blogged about in the past, Stevie Wonder's "Living for the City", one of the greatest English-language songs ever written in the last century.  I'm not going to pretend I don't adore Wonder's music.  I spent most of my time writing about what Ethan Hein has called the "synth break".

He has a different analysis (and a transcription) of the synth break than I do that you should go read here.

Monday, December 27, 2021

Mark Driscoll and Doug Wilson were part of a panel debating censorship in the arts covered by WSU paper on 10-27-1992; revisiting Mark Driscoll's 2013 claim that he edited his college newspaper compared to his 2004 claim to have been an opinions editor

I've looked at the connections between Mark Driscoll and Doug Wilson over the years and it has seemed that people not already familiar with Mars Hill via participation may have not yet grasped the degree of influence Wilson may have had on Driscoll and this despite the fact that Driscoll openly said Wilson was a significant influence on him.  For a long-form review go to these:

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Joan Didion (12-5-1934 to 12-23-2021)

Joan Didion wrote that we tell ourselves stories in order to leave. The more than implicit observation in her axiom was not to present the world with an inspirational aphorism but to warn that the stories we tell ourselves in order to live may not be true and that we may not even care if they aren't true.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

was the Rise and Fall of Mars Hill podcast a mistake? Someone apparently has said "yes" to which R Scott Clark says "no"--some concerns about Cosper's two jumbled arguments regarding Driscoll's theology/character and celebrity


The podcast series is not failure porn nor is too harsh. If anything it is too soft on Driscoll. Jason wants the church as an institution to deal with Driscoll but his argument assumes something that it must prove: that Mars Hill was a church. I think not. On sociological terms we we should describe Mars Hill (and its satellites) as a congregation but not church. It lacked the marks of the true church (see Belgic Confession, art. 29). It was not disciplined. Kim Riddlebarger has argued that Driscoll did not even have elders to whom he was accountable. Did Driscoll preach the pure gospel? Sometimes, perhaps but not consistently. Were the sacraments purely administered? No. Even Driscoll’s current congregation (more on this below) lacks the marks as defined by the Reformed churches. Mars Hill tried to discipline him and he defied them. Which ecclesiastical body would discipline him now? It certainly would not be his current congregation which is controlled by Driscoll and family members. He is not accountable to anyone but he continues to pose a danger to many.

Further, Mark did not merely sin as a private person. He abused the sheep and he often did it publicly. He made himself a pastor, though he was by his own admission, unqualified and then proceeded to use his position as well as those around and under him. According to a group from his current congregation, he continues to do these very same things in Scottsdale, AZ. As our Lord Jesus said, “to whom much was given, much from him  will be required” (Luke 12:48). It is not too much to say that he is a false teacher and to be marked out as such. In this respect the podcast series and the several critiques published here and elsewhere perform a valuable service: warning vulnerable sheep about dangerous figures in the church. ...
I don't know if I'd say it was a mistake but I find myself having come to the twelfth episode profoundly ambivalent about the series. I think Clark is right to say that, if anything, Cosper went easy on Driscoll yet there's something else that's been nagging at me.  A friend of mine from the Mars Hill years who has been listening to the series has mentioned that it seems as though Cosper has made two distinct criticisms of Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll: 1) Mark Driscoll was/is a conservative/reactionary type in his theology and 2) Mark Driscoll was a celebrity and corrupted by celebrity. But the thing about those two distinct lines of critique is ...

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Ethan Hein discusses David Bowie's "Starman", some thoughts on how great an example the song is of being firmly in one key yet consistently building opening phrases on IV and IV alternative chords

I couldn't not write about this song since Ethan has blogged about it.  I will try to resist the general temptation to write about patterns of modal mutation in Bowie songs and start with an observation that is apt to slip up many a theory analysis that has been predicated on a century or so of being steeped in instrumental music.

Rule #1: when you're analyzing a song never simply assume the first chord that shows up in a song is actually the root chord of the tonal system the song is written in.  

Does the song start on B flat? Yes, and a lovely B flat chord it is. It moves to F.  As I know Ethan knows in groove-based harmonies a chord could be a I or a IV depending on context so it's possible for B flat to be the "start" chord but for F to be the resolution chord.  

In this case decades of Bowie performing the song love and consistently ending the last chorus on F tells us that the song is in the key of F.  So it's absolutely in F major.

Tokyo, 1990
Glastonbury 2000
Australia, 2004

But even if we settle that the song is in F major why did Bowie so rarely affirm F as the "home" chord or tonic?  As a matter of fact the C7 to F progressions are plain as can be but the genius of the song is that Bowie does two very simple things to warp our sense of the harmonic stability of the song. 

Douglas Shadle reviews Joseph Horowitz' Dvorak's Prophecy and ... read Shadle's book instead

I've wanted to write about the books of Douglas Shadle and Joseph Horowitz on Dvorak's legacy regarding the definition of American music this year but, as longtime readers no doubt know, Christianity Today dropped a sprawling podcast and I felt intellectually obliged to keep my focus on the late Mars Hill since I was there from about late 1998 through 2008 and played a role in chronicling its demise.

The former's book is worth reading and the latter's, well, it's a frustrating read and Shadle has recently written a necessarily cutting review of the book. 

apropos of nothing a few brief animated film recommendations--Batman vs Two-Face (Adam West AND Bill Shatner as the leads); Persepolis; The Long Way North

 first and foremost, if you haven't seen the late Adam West's reprise of his iconic role in Batman vs Two-Face go watch it.  It won't be for those who don't enjoy Adam West Batman but if you do enjoy his version of Batman and you haven't seen it then you have to go watch this!

I admit I saw the cast of Adam West, Burt Ward, Julie Newmar and ... William Shatner as Harvey Dent!?  Sold! The animated film is like some zany photo negative of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight. Now I still dig The Dark Knight but I just as much dig Batman vs Two-Face. I've just liked Batman much of my life. I'm going to go see the new film when it comes out and I'm stoked that Jeffrey Wright is playing Jim Gordon.  I'm not going to do what I usually do and spoil the entire plot and themes.  Nah, I'm just going to recommend a cute animated film that I think was a perfect final curtain for Adam West as Batman (it was the last project he worked on and the film is, of course, dedicated to his memory). The only way Batman vs Two-Face could have been more joyous is if Shatner had sung a song.  It also, since I'm kind of a fan of Two-Face, rectifies the long-standing absence of one of the Caped Crusaders more formidable foes and brings him into the Adam West Batman world in a way that is suitably goofy yet of a piece with that Gotham (and it includes Dr. Strange, someone else who's really a classic old-school Batman foe who I don't recall showing up in the old TV series).So that's my first and foremost recommendation for an animated film this holiday season.  If you liked Adam West Batman you're practically obligated to go see this one. 

Now if you want to venture into French animated films (and you should) I recommend a couple of older films from the last decade-ish.  Persepolis, an animated film based on the graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi, is worth your time. The story is about a girl who comes of age in Tehran during the Iranian revolution when the Shah is deposed and how she ends up in Europe and misadventures and adversities she encounters. I strongly urge you to watch it in the original French with subtitles, although if you're a hard-core Iggy Pop fan he lends his voice to the English dub. 

Another French language film I picked up a few years ago is The Long Way North, but it's actually about a Russian girl who is searching for the remains of her presumed dead grandfather, an explorer who was looking to be first to get to the North Pole.  This, too, is a coming of age story but the heroine's goal is not so much an American "girl power" theme as to search for her grandfather both to recover his body if he has died and to restore the honor of her family name, which has fallen into disrepute since her grandfather's ill-fated quest. My brother told me that the French-Russian production looked interesting and so I picked it up. The English language dub is alright but the original French is more fun.  When we watched it my brother pointed out that part of the fun of the film is that although the characters are Russian the Russian aristocrats of the story's setting would have been conversant in French so the on-paper linguistic disconnect isn't far-fetched for the time period of the story.

I prefer subtitled films because generally there are nuances and extravagances in voice acting traditions within a language that can't be replicated effectively in dubs.  For instance, I have often encountered aggravating English language dubs from anime that got releases in the 1990s.  Ghost in the Shell had one of the most atrocious English language dubs of any I can recall. Conversely, I suppose, it might be a huge challenge for a non-English voice-acting cast to even approximate the ensemble work of, say, Kim Possible (I love the show and it's a great example of a spectacular voice cast which also included a role for the late great Ricardo Montalban ... you might be noticing a Trek theme here. ; ) ).

So, anyway, I haven't blogged about animation or animated films or shows in a while and so I wanted to  mention a few films I'd meant to blog about earlier.  

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Mark Driscoll on how worship is adoration & action and how God is a worshipper. Of what? That question got left dangling

If you wanted to know what worship is, it mainly can be summed up in two things – adoration and action. Declaring God and doing good.

6:35 AM · Dec 15, 2021
And thus Driscoll links to the following daily devotional we'll read in a moment. Back in the day this is the kind of thing we might have found in the old Wittenberg Door magazine under the heading "Things We Wish We Made Up":

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Norman Lebrecht reports that Prof. Jackson has cleared Heinrich Schenker of Philip Ewell's charge of racism?

Now it may be as a guitarist who loves music by Haydn, Bach, Shostakovich, Stevie Wonder, Scott Joplin, Thelonious Monk, and Duke Ellington (among others) I ultimately can't be sure I care about these kinds of battles but when even legendary conservatives like Roger Scruton have wondered aloud for the record why people bother with Schenkerian analysis it's striking in 2021 to see that what Ewell started discussing awhile back has come up again.

I finished John McWhorter's Woke Racism and will probably have some stuff to write about it, eventually, but I'm glad he was smart enough to steer clear of this music theory controversy with some help from his commenters at his Substack. 

I'm incubating some posts on preludes and fugues written for guitar but those posts will take some time.

There's also some unfinished posting on another more recent set of topics I might inevitably have to write through first.  Cosper has, to my befuddlement, said there's more bonus episodes. Episode 12 wasn't the end?  Anyway, so it goes. 

the trajectory of want (in Christmas novelty songs)--a haiku

ends in needing the deed to

No, there was absolutely no way I was going to link to any other version than Eartha's. It's glorious and all the other fools who ever sang the song should hide their faces in shame!

I mean, I mentioned I was gonna get things back to music but several posts aren't ready but this little haiku about Christmas novelty songs was ready so ... 

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Nikolai Myaskovsky String Quartet No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 33, No. 1: III. Andante sostenuto

for the fun of it.  This was written from 1929 to 1930 when the composer was a student. The opening theme almost has a "Living for the City" in a minor key kind of groove to it that I like and the lower string vamps sound to my 21st century ears kind of like a dirge for James Bond. 

this is also a not-so-subtle hint that I want to pivot back to blogging about musical stuff.  I'll have more to say about the CT podcast at some point later and maybe even some MD books but WtH has been overdue to return to blogging about music.  Some stuff about Heinrich Albert's Sonata for guitar is in order and some stuff about other music for guitar. 

Friday, December 10, 2021

Warren Throckmorton notes Mark Driscoll now asking for 650k--revisiting Re:Sound and MH Global as precedents for whatever Driscoll's fundraising for, and noting a delicate irony in his lambasting the Meta turn of Facebook as a satanic counterfeit when his celebrity was founded on media leveraging

Recently Warren Throckmorton noted that Mark Driscoll has asked for $200,000.00

and yet more recently asked for $650,000.00
According to the following the reasons for the fundraising ask are as follows:


Our goal is to raise $650,000 beyond our regular budget needs in the final month of 2021. We have a $150,000 matching fund that doubles your gift between now and year-end, and your generous worship gift will help us with the following:


1. Upgrade our outdated soundboard that is too small for our growing number of volunteer musicians

2. Add more lighting and cameras so that we can improve the worship experience in the main room and also capture the worship and baptisms (over 400 in 2021!) in audio and video format to share online to minister to the more than 100 million people who are receiving Bible teaching through Real Faith from Trinity Church

3. Reset our stage, audio tuning, and audio treatment to best use our current main room for worship, thereby allowing us to add additional future worship nights

4. Set up our new Trinity Church worship studio with 3,200 square feet of office, meeting, songwriting, recording, and practice space that is in addition to our current studio space

5. Add more worship interns and part-time trainees we are developing as worship leaders

6. Purchase a mobile sound system for the Versus worship team in Sonora, Mexico. This is a band of young leaders, mainly pastor’s kids, who are holding outdoor and indoor worship events in conjunction with a network of pastors we have supported for years. They share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the next generation and need gear for this ministry which they all volunteer in

7. Our epic final worship event of the year with 4 services on December 23-24 with a choir, orchestra, and huge party to share the gospel of Jesus Christ in Scottsdale and capture it all in audio and video to send out online to the nations

Monday, December 06, 2021

Warren Throckmorton demonstrates Mark Driscoll recyling material in a new book from an old Mars Hill era book in which women contributors went uncredited (then in that book and now in this one)

I refrained from commenting on how Mark Driscoll has recycled materials in the era of The Trinity Church from the era of Mars Hill Church much in the past because it seemed that even if I pointed out how Good News for Bad Christians was a recycled series from the Mars Hill era series Christians Gone Wild with serious cuts in at least one sermon, people attending Driscoll's newest church might not know or care.  Or at least I refrained for the most part. By now, however, anyone who carefully tracks Mark Driscoll's literary output likely understands just how much recycling he's done over the decades and may already be familiar with controversies about the extent to which his books have relied on a content management system.

Well, it seems that the labors of people who worked within the Mars Hill content management system are still getting re:purposed and re:cycled with Mark Driscoll's most re:cent ministry and Warren Throckmorton has shared details. 

Sunday, December 05, 2021

Brad Vermurlen's Reformed Resurgence, another book I recommend as providing some background on the rise and fall of Mars Hill

Many years ago Michael Spencer, the Internet Monk, wrote about the coming evangelical collapse. 
Now, Brad Vermurlen has a book out that builds a case that in order to understand the rise of New Calvinism, real or perceived, we can’t  begin to properly understand that “Reformed resurgence” without understanding a dissolution of American Evangelicalism as a field rather than as any coherent, identifiable set of beliefs or practices.  Field theory doesn’t seem hugely difficult for me to understand but over at Mere Orthodoxy there were some jokes about how abstract the concept of relative growth of subcultures within a larger dissolving culture seemed to be.

"Aftermath" and the problem of Mark Driscoll's law-gospel dyad: there's no gospel beyond scripts of adulthood explicated by Driscoll exemplar rather than christus exemplar

Now that Mike Cosper has finished episode 12 of The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill he brings things to a head with a question, what was the actual “good news” of Mark Driscoll’s idea of “the Gospel?”  In the episode “Aftermath” he surveys the fate of churches that were relaunched in the wake of the corporate dissolution of Mars Hill after Mark Driscoll resigned. He also interviewed a number of women and men about some disastrous experiences they had at the hands of Mars Hill “biblical living” counselors. If you weren’t subjected to that or subjected yourself to that while at Mars Hill you wouldn’t have known the nomenclature but that’s what it was. 

Saturday, December 04, 2021

so, yes, I see episode 12 has dropped, "Aftermath"

2 hours and 37 minutes is a lot of material.  Will get to it.  
Just saw it in the last hour.

That big old post on Roger Scruton blathering on about highbrow in `99 turning into a plea to take jazz seriously as an anti-Adorno stance in `09 will have to wait for some other time.  I've been meaning to get back to Scruton and the legacy of conservatives who might otherwise rant about cultural Marxists ignorantly recycling Adorno's  not-so-brief against pop music as art for a while now but I wasn't expecting The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill to drop in 2021. So a pile of things I'd meant to blog about this year have been tabled because I've got only so much time and energy.  Chronicling the history of Mars Hill was one of the big projects of this blog for a time and Cosper's project has been nothing if not ambitious.  If Episode 12 is like Episode 11 it should be substantial.  I've got other thoughts to share later about something a friend from the early MH shared about the divergent and not-always compatible forms of arguments that seem to be collapsed together in Cosper's project but ... if you saw the time ... I've got a pile of listening to do.

That Mark didn't stick around to see how many Mars Hill marriages didn't end up in divorce is a given but it will be interesting to see how much that factors into the episode.

2 thoughts Nathan Robinson on rightwing conspiracy--even if progressive/liberals have their version of conspiracy agitprop (Randall Balmer), Doug Wilson single-handedly proves Robinson's point has some merit

Recently at Current Affairs Nathan Robinson wrote up a piece about how conservatives have been manufacturing scares to protect monied interests and stoke fear for generations. He has also argued that such paranoia-selling has not been characteristic of the left. 

a fugue on "The Lick" in the style of J. S. Bach by Josiah Sprankle--I've got some thoughts on how The Lick lends itself to modal mutation, transposition, and being set against its own inversions and retrogrades

It's not "quite" The Lick because the seventh degree is turned into a leading tone and the rhythms are de-syncopated but Sprankle did say the idea was to write a fugue on The Lick after the style of J. S. Bach.  

Thursday, December 02, 2021

William Wallace II as an embryonic variation on themes from Doug Wilson's No Quarter November--revisiting the Wilson influence on Driscoll via thematic concerns

 I realize this is a contentious point but one I keep coming back to.  Mark Driscoll has made no secret of Doug Wilson's influence on him and while thanks to Midrash and being a member of Mars Hill I know Driscoll took a dim view of R. L. Dabney and Wilson's ideas about the American Civil War, when it came to gender, sexuality and marriage Mark was openly positive about Wilson's ideas being formative for him.

This is a point that people who admire Wilson and distrust Driscoll might have to actually think about. Compare what Driscoll wrote as William Wallace II (published here and elsewhere and accessible via to anything in Wilson's No Quarter November rambles from 2018 through the present and see if you can prove there's neither a stylistic nor a thematic connection.  Back in his William Wallace II days Mark Driscoll explicitly named Wilson as an influence.  He backpedaled from Wilson's ideas about the Civil War in the member only Midrash circa 2002-2005 so it's understandable no one who wasn't a contracted/covenanted member of Mars Hill at the time could possibly have known that, but, if anything, Cosper's podcast merely alludes to a Wilsonian influence without, probably from constraints of time or people going on record (?) exploring that further.

After twenty years and having chronicled the history of Mars Hill for as long as I have the burden of proof on Wilson admirers is to disprove the connection Driscoll made a matter of public record if they want to differentiate between the two men, or to explain how and why Wilson doesn't have Driscoll's character flaws.

Having read one of the NQN books I'd venture to say that's going to be a difficult case to sustain so far.  To read Wilson sound off on "Smash the Matriarchy" and "Surplices Are for Sissises" is to be reminded that Driscoll wrote "Pussified Nation" drawing upon the ideas of others.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Mark Driscoll's "10 commandments" of Critical Theory are a checklist of behaviors, behaviors that we by now have evidence to suggest are how he treats people, not just how he says critical theorists treat people

Christian Theology vs. Critical Theory
© 2021 by Mark Driscoll
ISBN: 978-1-7374103-7-9 (Paperback)
ISBN: 978-1-7374103-8-6 (E-book)


Pages 16-17

When sinners sit in God’s judgment seat, as Critical Theory encourages, the following 10 Counterfeit Commandments appear:

1. Autonomy: I should be in authority, not under authority, which explains why

I tell everyone else what to do but will not allow anyone to tell me what to


Driscoll's would be 10 counterfeit commandments are really ten behaviors. The irony of this checklist of behaviors is that it isn't that difficult to demonstrate how Mark Driscoll has exemplified these ten behaviors in his own ministry career despite his imputing these behaviors to Critical Theory and critical theorists. So we'll start with the first "commandment" of autonomy, which Driscoll describes as the attitude outline above, an attitude that, as we go through the history of the late Mars Hill, seems to be remarkably like Mark Driscoll.  

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving--some scattered thoughts on Coltrane's A Love Supreme and Beethoven's symphonies as touchstones in art-religions

I have not been writing about music as much as I had planned to this year because, as regular reads no doubt no, stuff came up. I hadn't anticipated this year would be the year Christianity Today would do a sprawling podcast series on the rise and fall of Mars Hill and that that would inspire me to go back and revisit and build upon earlier writing I had done between 2010 through 2016.  I had gotten used to the idea that this blog was going to be back to things musical and musical-historical and theoretical.  But Cosper's project has inspired me, with a good deal of ambivalence, to stick to writing about the late Mars Hill, and of course there's still stuff to be written about the Charisma era books.

But for Thanksgiving I thought I'd share a sample of the recently released John Coltrane album A Love Supreme Live in Seattle.

I know for some classical music fans Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is the apotheosis of Western culture and distills the hopes of Western civilization and universal values and all that.  However, among Americans who have an appreciation of jazz I would say it's not hard to find people for whom their "Beethoven's Ninth" is "A Love Supreme" by John Coltrane.  After decades of listening to music, studying it, writing it and thinking about it, I'd say that Beethoven's Ninth is still worth a listen but I don't think its message is more "universal" than Coltrane's.  I love me some Beethoven, as I wrote about at length years ago about his last piano sonata.  I think he was brilliant to shift his developmental episodes into the transitions rather than keep them all in the formal development section of the sonata form in his Op. 111 but the Ninth ... the Ninth seems overlong and self-serious to me more often than not.  I also can't really abide Missa Solemnis.  Haydn wrote better choral music for the obvious reason that he sang in choirs but for those in the cult of Beethoven he can't simple be a better than average composer, as someone suggested we regard him a few years ago to the fury of some people on the internet. ;) 

So there's been a lot I haven't written this year I meant to write.  I meant to write through a series of posts analyzing Matiegka's Op. 31 sonatas!  So that didn't happen!  I still mean to get to that, though. I  also meant to write about Ferdinand Rebay's solo guitar sonatas and that, too, has not happened.  I want to write about German Dzhaparidze's 24 preludes and fugues for solo guitar ... and the guitar sonatas of Angelo Gilardino, Dusan Bogdanovic, Atanas Ourkouzounov, and Carlos Guastavino, for instance.  I might even dare to write about Koshkin's two sonatas but, as you've seen this year, I felt drawn back to blogging about other stuff related to that church I used to be part of.  But I hope to get back to musical stuff ... maybe in 2022.

With that mentioned, my interests have been shifting toward books by Douglas Shadle and Joseph Horowitz about Dvorak and his Ninth.  So I admit there are times where I like Dvorak's New World more than Beethoven's Ninth, maybe even often.  I'm incubating, I hope, a sequel to Ragtime and Sonata Forms that I hope I can get to in 2022. Right now the working title is Perichoresis in Musical Time and Space.  If you know what the doctrine of perichoresis is in christology and trinitarian doctrine in Christian traditions then you can figure out where I'm going to go with that in a sequel to Ragtime and Sonata Forms.

But to bring things back around to Coltrane, while fans of Coltrane and Beethoven may regard their respective musical pioneers as having shared a glimpse of the divine in music people who aren't fans of them may regard it all as non-musical noise (yes, Beethoven, too). Think of the level of musical education and knowledge that has to go into appreciating the "universal" message of a canonized musical work.  I think it's safe to propose that by 2021 A Love Supreme is a candidate for being the Beethoven's 9th of jazz.  But what if your idea of musical greatness comes from hearing songs by Hank Williams Sr and Johnny Cash?  Could you get into either Beethoven or Coltrane?  Yes, but it would take some musical education as to what there is to appreciate in them.  Can a fan of Beethoven and Coltrane appreciate Williams Sr. and Cash?  Absolutely!  Music may seem like a language we all understand but it's not, obviously. 

There are many kinds of music and, contra Ted Gioia, there aren't any musical universals. There are acoustics and the patterns of the human mind and while I assent that there are aesthetic ideals or absolutes there isn't just a single absolute or a set of them.  Maybe after I finish my Jeremy Begbie reading marathon I can use his work to highlight a Christian doctrinal proposal that God has created a universe with physical constants within which humans can make art yet without the "universals" of Western aesthetics (a relatively recent invention) obliging us to write Romantic symphonies.  Begbie has written for decades that musicologists and theologians have not compared notes much in the last century but that this has been changing.  Secular people are absolutely entitled to skepticism about what theological traditions and theologians can bring to a discussion of the arts since, as Jeremy Begbie has put it, the track record of theologians suppressing and discouraging the arts is easy to look up--Begbie, you'll infer, has hoped to go in a different direction from that tradition of suppressing artistic activities but I'll try to get to him later.  I could say something similar about the work of Mark Evan Bonds on The Beethoven Syndrome and other books about the evolution of the cult of Beethoven and German art-religion.  

Leonard Meyer wrote decades ago in, I think it was Style & Idea, that what made the last Romantic movement unusual was not that there were no cycles of romanticism and classicism in Western history before but that ever since the capital `R' Romantic era a set of ideologies emerged that he described loosely as the ideals of elite egalitarians that fragmented out into elite and egalitarian ideologies in the last two centuries and, this was the crucial part, Meyer observed that this Romantic era never ended.  Romantic ideologies are still with us.  What I sometimes find in online discussions and disagreements is a propensity among some to take criticism of the ideologies of Romanticism as predicated on misunderstandings due to materialism and pluralism.  I just dropped "perichoresis" a few paragraphs ago. I've said it before but I'm not a materialist or a relativist and I am thinking that people who react to what I've written with any notion that I'm either of those things has not been reading me carefully.  What moderately conservative Christians and secular progressives in the United States might potentially have in common is a belief that just some of us have that the problems in the arts aren't necessarily the musical works of past musicians as the idolatries and ideologies that have transformed those inspiring men and women into gods whose places in the art-religion pantheon cannot be questioned. That goes for Coltrane as well as Beethoven and I don't think it's either man's fault what people did and said to deify their musical legacies after they died.

My criticism of Wesley Morris' NYT 1619 project was precisely that if I took his wish for black music having "roots too deep to steal" and replaced "black" with "German" and "white" with "Jews" I'd have a reproduction of Richard Wagner's rants against Judaism in music. Beethoven was a better than average composer of symphonies, Coltrane was a better than average jazz improvisor and composer but Romantic art-religion as a set of ideologies could have us venerate these men as portals to a mystical divine.  Maybe I'm too indebted to the theological traditions catalyzed by Calvin or even Bullinger and Zwingli but the German art-religion thing has generally been repellant to me. I don't need to endorse art-religion to love, enjoy, and contribute to the arts.  

As I see things, a person who cannot create a sonata form based on vernacular song and dance materials probably does not understand how to write a sonata form.  There's more writing I hope to do about problems in Adorno's polemics and comparably big problems in Scruton's writings.  These men from the left and right have defined the aesthetics of music in ways that haven't so much stuck as their legacies have been taken up by those who are not musically practical enough to understand the shortfalls of those legacies.  You should be able to take a  couple of ragtime strains and write sonatas with them has been my contention, and the fact that this can be done is a musical as well as an aesthetic argument against Adorno and Scruton.  You should be able, barring the usual concerns about IP!, draw upon themes by Ellington or Monk and compose sonata forms.  You could take a Coltrane head tune and compose a two-part invention on it.  

As far as I'm concerned Bach could have heard A Love Supreme "Part 2, Acknowledgment" and possibly thought, "That would make an interesting inventio for a two-part invention."

The great music of the past can be an inspiration and a foundation to build on, something we can be thankful for this Thanksgiving, without endorsing some idea that either A Love Supreme or Beethoven's symphonies represent some unmatchable acme of human spirituality.  These were two guys who loved music and making music, who made music in profoundly different ways and we can appreciate their legacies without, to make this point obvious, building churches around them. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

"It's good to have you back" in Driscoll's accounts of crises of power and accountability as a public preacher, revisiting the 2007 Mars Hill trials of Petry and Meyer and Driscoll's post-MH resignation account of a family conversation

Something that has stuck with me about "The Tempest", the most recent episode of Christianity Today's The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill, is that while Driscoll has commented in some contexts about how it has seemed as though former elders at Mars Hill had some kind of script, careful consideration of Mark Driscoll's statements made during or after crises suggest at least the possibility that his sensitivity to people feeding him some kind of script might have something to do with his own propensity to fall back on a core script. For those who have heard the entire CT series so far you might recall Karen Schaeffer said there were times when Mark said it felt like his adrenals were shot and then, of course, later on Driscoll dismissed her from her position as executive assistant for being some kind of heretic. 

the Mark Driscoll who said the five points of Calvinism were garbage as a publicity stunt quote in 2019 can turn around and be the Mark Driscoll who cites the work of Arthur Pink in his 2021 book Pray Like Jesus

Back in 2019 Driscoll said in an interview he didn't subscribe to the five points of Calvinism, which he considered garbage because they were unbiblical. Warren Throckmorton took note.

Ever since Mark Driscoll preached his "Unlimited Limited Atonement" idea and worked it into his book Death By Love, however, Reformed writers, pastors and theologians have known perfectly well Mark Driscoll hasn't subscribed the the five points of Calvinism if he hedges by way of a hypothetically unlimited but practically limited atonement.   

Curiously, as I've noted in the past, Driscoll's condescending remarks about Calvinists resembled his own history of church-planting to a formidable degree.

But, far more curiously, if Mark Driscoll has regarded the five points of Calvinism as garbage why did he sing the praises of Why, for that matter, has he continued to quote works by Don Carson, who is identified as a Calvinist and in the New Calvinist orbit?  

Even more strange, in Mark Driscoll's most recently published book with Charisma House there's a chapter where there's no less than four foot notes to a commentary on the Gospel of John by Arthur Pink.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill--"The Tempest"--some observations and thoughts

There's an awful lot of material in 2.5 hours of podcast and at the moment I'm sharing a few things that jumped out for me.

a very belated observation about Karen Schaeffer's story in CT's ep 3 of The RIse and Fall of Mars Hill, dismissed as a heretic by the Driscoll who bragged to Ron Wheeler that Bent Meyer and Paul Petry were old guys who gave him respectability

At 40:23 Karen Schaeffer described how Mark Driscoll told her, "I would really love it if you would come work for me as my executive assistant." 

At about 41 minutes Schaeffer described how Mark told her he suspected his adrenals were shot (so far back, we'll inevitably come back to Mark invoking adrenal fatigue throughout his career).
At about 41:57 Scheaffer described answering a question about what the most difficult thing was about Mark Driscoll and she said:
My answer was, was not about myself so much at all.  It--I said, " I think it's watching him and seeing that he needs more men around him to go toe to toe with him. He needs more men who will not say `Yes' to him but really challenge him.
At 42:28 Cosper recounted that Schaeffer got a call from Jamie Munson.  About 43 minutes along and Schaeffer described a tense meeting in a small office where she sensed that Mark Driscoll had a blazing rage she'd never encountered before.  At 43:19 Schaeffer described Driscoll telling her, "You're being accused of heresy."   Schaeffer went on about 43:50 to say Driscoll told her, "You're being accused of heresy because you've said that you don't trust the leadership of this church, and, really, what you've said could destroy this church."

At 45:20 or so Schaeffer described Mark Driscoll's response to her explanation that he needed more men like Mike Gunn with him, and she said Driscoll scoffingly said, "Mike Gunn!? He'll never have a church of more than 250." 

Cosper stopped a moment at 44:09 to point out that heresy conventionally means a denial of a key doctrine of the Christian faith. 

Something has gnawed at me ever since "You Read the Bible, Ringo?", something that Cosper didn't highlight but that I will.  I recall back in August 2014 Ron Wheeler had a blog post at a WordPress blog in which he wrote, among other things, the following: