Saturday, April 07, 2012

Paul Hindemith: Mathis der Maler symphony, 2: Entombment

Obviously another blog post with a connection, if a bit indirect, to Holy Saturday and the entombment of Christ by way of Hindemith's symphonic take on Grunewald's tryptich.

a hymn for Holy Saturday

O Traurigkeit
Text by Johann Rist. melody dates from 1623

O darkest woe!
Ye tears forth flow!
Has earth so sad a wonder,
That the Father's only Son
Now lies buried yonder!
O son of man!
It was the ban
Of death on thee that brought Him
Down to suffer for thy sins,
And such woe hath wrought Him.
Behold thy Lord,
The Lamb of God,
Blood-sprinkled lies before thee,
Pouring out His life that He
May to life restore thee.
O Ground of faith
Laid low in death!
Sweet lips now silent sleeping!
Surely all that live must mourn
Here with bitter weeping.
Yea, blest is he
Whose heart shall be
Fix'd here, and apprehendeth
Why the Lord of glory thus
To the grave descendeth.
O Jesu blest!
My help and rest!
With tears I pray--Lord, hear me;
Make me love Thee to the last,
In the grave be near me!

I've grown particularly fond of this hymn over the last twelve years and can't remember exactly when I discovered it, though it was probably going through various hymnals and song guides looking up something for Holy Saturday.  Music for Good Friday and Easter is remarkably easy, dare I say too easy, in the average Protestant American setting and this hymn mentioned above can often be described as just an "Easter" hymn even though it isn't about the resurrection of Christ at all, nor is it about Christ on the cross.  It is about Christ entombed.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Driscoll on elder discipline in 2004

From the sermon preached at Mars Hill on March 24, 2004
1 Timothy 5:17-25
on pastoral discipline

Now, what if it's legitimate? What if there's a pastor who's in sin. What if there are two or three witnesses that come forward and they say, "He's an alcoholic. He't got a wife and a girlfriend. He's stealing money. He's ... ." whatever it is. Those who sin, okay, so what happens is it has to be a formal charge brought to the elders. The elders convene like the Supreme Court, and then they look at the charge. We look at this for each other.

... There's never been an issue. I pray there never is, but if there is an issue, and we look into it, and there's actual witnesses, and it's a credible charage, those who sin are to be rebuked publicly so that others may take warning.

We'll bring that pastor up and say, "This pastor has sinned in this way. They are not living up to the qualifications of 1 Timothy 3." We'll rebuke them publicly to warn the rest of you, and if it's severe, we'll fire them. We'll let them go. That'll be it.  They're not gonna be a pastor anymore `cause they need to be above reproach. And if they've disqualified themselves, then they're not fit for that office, and it's so the church would take warning.

... And so if an elder sins, they're a public leader. They need to have a public discipline to publicly warn others not to follow the example of their errant pastor.

This is incredibly important. How many of you come from churches where pastors  should have been fired because they were not conducting themselves godly, and the church suffered and nobody did anything about it? This happens to frequently. This happens too frequently.

I'll tell you this. I'm one of the elders. My sex life, my finances, my schedule, my everything, I submit to them. They're welcom to discipline me, censor me. I'm one man among many. I'm one vote among many, and if the elders ever bring me up--I pray they never do--but if they ever bring me up and say, "Mark has sinned" and I disagree, who should you believe? Believe the elders.  If you love me, I appreciate it, but believe the elders.

There was a situation at a church over on the East Side a few years ago where the pastor had somethign like 40 charges of homosexuality and pedophilia against him, and the elders said, "Well, we don't have two or three witnesses."  No. What happens then is that the reputation of Jesus Christ suffers. That's what he talks about. "I charge you in the sight of God, Jesus Christ and the elect angels to keep these isntructions without partiality. Do nothing out of favoritism." [note: Driscoll here was probably referring to the scandal that erupted at Overlake years ago]

Just `cause the guy's a big ox and he can preach and he can raise money and he can winsomely convince people and he can gather a crowd and he founded a church and he makes things happen, he doesn't get any shortcut for holiness, okay?

At Mars Hill, who's the most likely person that would be treated with favoritism and partiality?  Me. Let's just be honest about that.  I founded the church. I preach on Sundays. I wrote the majority of the curriculum. Me. Me. It starts with me. No partiality. No favoritism. That means I need to tow a tight, hard line, and the elders need to tow that line with me. We need to be mutually accountable. There can be no partiality or no favoritism.
I promise you before the Lord Jesus Christ I'm not a perfect man, but I'm a qualified man. I don't have any secret thing going on. But should there ever be, do not--if we ever have to discipline an elder--do not ever see it as a bad thing, because you know what? God the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ and the holy angels are watching because the reputation of God is at stake.

And if a leader in the church should be unfit and disqualified, to allow them to remain in their position dishonors the Lord Jesus and stains and stenches everyone's reputation of them, and there's something far more important than one guy in a church ...

on pastoral qualifications and character

I won't lay hands on any man until I consider him a peer.  What that means is "Would I go to him for counsel?" Will I go to him for accountability? Do I see him as a peer, not as a young man that I'd try to encourage, but as a peer that I can co-labor with.

My other question is, "If I die, do I want my sons to follow this guy around and be just like him?" If not, I don't want him to be a pastor. I don't want anybody else to follow him around and be like him.
And my third question is, "If my daughter brought home a man just like this would I welcome him?" If not, I won't lay hands on the guy.

On sins that appear quickly and others that slowly emerge
Some of you are sinning, but it hasn't caught up with you yet. It doesn't show up. You're not divorced yet. Your kids haven't committed a felony yet. They haven't repossessed your car or your home yet. You havne't died and gone to Hell yet, but it's right on your heels, and you're trying to stay ahead of it.

We all sin. Some of our sins are out in front. Some of our sins are trailing behind. In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not cannot be hidden. What he says is this. Who you are comes out in how you live. You're all sinners. I'm a sinner. For some of us, our sins are obvious, and we are in an urgent crisis. For some of us, we're out ahead of our sin. We haven't died and gone to Hell yet, so we're a little too comfortable, a little too apathetic, and a little too indifferent.

Driscoll in 2004 describing some his and Mars Hill history

excerpts from the sermon preached at Mars Hill on
March 24, 2004
from 1 Timothy 5:17-25

... I had no respect at all. It was like I would ask people, you know, "He, could you please not, you know, cheat on your wife?" "Who do you think you are?" "I'm your pastor."  "Ahh."  They'd just laugh at me and stuff.  It's hard to do your job. It's really hard to do your job when people don't honor you.  "No, I love you. I have verses."  "Ahh, you're 25."  Like, "Well, yeah, but I still have verses, and they're good verses.  Do you wanna hear `em?" "Nah."  You know, if there's no honor, it's hard to get anything done, right?

`Cause it's not like a police officer.  I can't carry a gun, right.  I can't, like, enforce, I can't enforce too well.  Now, I'd like to, but I can't enforce, so the only way I can really enforce or we as pastors can enforce is if you honor us, is if you respect us.
When we started this church, I didn't get paid anything. First year, nothing. `Cause we had no people, we had no money. If you called the church, the church office was at my house, and I would answer the phone in my underwear and pretend like we were a high-powered organization. "Hi, thanks for calling Mars Hill." "I s Mark there?" "Yeah, let me get him." So I'd, you know, "Hi, how you doing?" I'd pretend like I had a secretary. I'd pretend like we were legit. I would, seriously. And I'm sitting there in my underwear just liek the short guy in the Wizard of Oz, just pulling the levers, maintaining the illusion of this tremendous empire. Woo hoo.

There's nothing, man. No money, no people, no nothing. The first year we put a box in the back, and I said, "Hey, if anybody feels led to give, feel free to give." Nobody apparently felt led. God didn't move in anybody's heart. The first year we brought in $90,000.oo, first year, which wasn't great.  It's a nice SUV, but it's not a great budget, and that first year I didn't have any money.  My wife was working full time. I was working full time while we were starting the church.

My wife started having major health complications from work, stress related. I told her, I said, "Honey, 1 Timothy says that, you know, I gotta make the money. If I don't provide for the needs of my family, I've denied the faith, I'm worse than an unbeliever. Quit your job. It's my responsbiility. I'll figure it out. I don't know how we're gonna pay the bills. We're not getting any money at the church."

And I was thinking about it, too. I started getting a little scared `cause I wanted to live in the city, do a church in the city, the least churched city in the country. I wanted to have a big family. I wanted to be able to pay my bills. I wanted to be able to have a nice church, and I'm going after 20-year old indie rockers that are committed to poverty and anarchy. Thinking, "This is not real liquid. This is not a brilliant business plan, really." You know, teenage kids who take scooters to church tend not to be a huge donor base, you know?

But I felt like that what's God said, "Go to Seattle and ... " You know, we lived in Seattle. I grew up in Seattle. I love this city. This is my home, so it was like I knew God told me to do that. I'm like, "Lord God, I mean, I'm cool with not eating, but I gotta get food fo rthe kids.  I gotta get shoes on the wife. What am I gonna do here?"

So I went to Antioch Bible Church and I said, "They're not, you know, we're not generating any revenue." Antioch Bible Church, where I'd been the college director for a year and a half, they gave me $30,000 the first year as my salary. Praise God, they gave me money, so that's waht we lived off.  My wife and I and my daughter Ashley, family of three, living in Wallingofrd on $30,000 a year. N omedical, no dental, no retirement, no nothing.  Had to pay all of that. And then we tithed out of that, and then we gave above and beyond that for hospirality and for wedding presents and food `cause all the Bible studies and all the meetings were in our home. So we'd feed everybody and have everbody over and do all that kind of stuff.

And so when you subtracted it all out just from the tithes, I mean, we're living off of about $24,000 that first year. And then out of that, you've gotta pay medical, dental, retirement, food, rent, car, the whole thing.  Family of three living in Wallingford, not a lot of bling. Didn't have the huge amount of extra the first couple of years.

Second year the church comes. Antioch kicks in again, gives me $30,000.00. Thid year Mars Hill still wasn't able to really cover a full salary for me, so I went out and raised some additional dollars from another church, Spanish River Church, in Boca Raton. They gave me about half of my salary.
about Year 4 [the church] starts paying my salary.

excerpts from Driscoll sermon from 1 Timothy 4:1-8 February 22, 2004

excerpts from Mark Driscoll sermon

Part 8: 1 Timothy 4:1-8
February 22, 2004

You guys should aspire to get married.  You guys should aspire to get--you gotta get a job first. You gotta get a job, not a job where you wear a uniform and ask people fi they wanna supersize something. You gotta get a job.  You gotta get a job so you can get a wife so you can get kids.  And it's a great, glorious thing to be a husband and a father, and only a demon would tell you otherwise.  Only a demon would tell you otherwise.

And if you're a guy in this church, c'mon. I mean look around.  It's like fishing in a trout pond. I mean, any woman that is in this church and endures me as her Bible teacher is obviously patient, kind, forgiving and loyal, right? She's just--she's got all this stuff to be a wife. She does.
There are universal sins, which are a sin for everyone: murder, rape, theft, lying.  For everyone, everywhere, all the time, all circumstances, those are universal sins.

Then there are also particular sins, which maybe your conscience won't permit you to involve yourself in but are not universal sins, so you have to obey your conscience. Maybe your conscience doesn't allow you to eat meat. Maybe your conscience doesn't allow you to participate incertain forms of diet.  Maybe it doesn't. And you know what? A good teacher will tell you to obey the universal principles and to obey your conscience in all of the particulars.

A false teacher will take their beliefs on all of the particular sins, and they will force them on everyone. We need to be very, very careful that we say what the Bible says, and where it's silent, so are we.  And if soemone should ask, we can be free to say, "My convictions and my conscience is this way, and I conduct myself this way for these reasons. ...

We're all weak and strong in different areas, and we gotta abide by conscience. If the Bible doesn't prohibit something, we can't enforce prohibtion on one another, but bad Bible teachers don't know that. They make rules and legalisms and moralities; and they enforce their conscience on everyone. And in so doing, they're acting in a demonic way because they're going against the freedom that the Scriptures give.

It's strange to realize that this sermon may have been preached in the same year in which Driscoll stated to a man "Shut your wife up or I'll do it for you." On the basis of what? She said that it was possible and permissable for a married woman to have a close friendship with another guy, that she had such a friendship, and her husband was also friends with the man. Now maybe as a single guy I don't get why that's unbiblical but it makes this teaching pall a bit

So your goal is not to focus on your sin and obey man-made rules to keep away from it. Your goal is to love Jesus, and if you love Jesus, you will turn your back on sin.  ...

I heartily agree with this observation, which was why I staunchly disagreed with the courtship fad.

... Some of you, particularly you young guys, you have a propensity toward extremism.  You get onto one author, one publisher, one theological system, and you keep going, and I never see the brake lights.  And at some point you start defending a theological system and ignoring your Scripture, okay?

It is no irony, in the end, that young men with a propensity toward extremism embrace Driscoll uncritically.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

excerpts from 1 Timothy 3:1-7 sermon from 2/8/2004

Part 6:1 Timothy 3:1-7
Preached February 08, 2004
excerpts from the sermon below.

... It primarily has to do with character. Character. Character matters very, very much because everything between you and me, truly, is based upon trust and trust is based on character. Character leads to trust; trust leads to leadership. At the bottom of leadership is character. It truly is. A guy can be a great teacher. He can be a great singer. It can be a person who's a winsome ability to organize and to execute plans but if they don't have character, it'll come apart eventually.  It always does.  And so, again, your life is gonna be the best place to train you if you aspire to leadership.  I'm not denigrating theological education, seminary, and Bible college and such, but the best place to get trained to serve God for ministry is through living your life with Christ as a good Christian.

As Mark Driscoll has put it trust is gained slowly and lost quickly. And I agree. 
Now the next one is above reproach. This is an overarching qualification. There are a lot of thigns that a pastor could do that are totally stupid and could disqualify them. The Bible can't list them all because we'd have to take every tree on planet earth and turn it into a book to list al lthe stupid things that a man can do. So this is the junk drawer for sin, right?  I know one pastor, he would smoke weed with the kids in his youth group.  .. The body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.  It's all about self-control. If a guy doesn't have his diet under control or he's just got everything out of control, there's some defect in his character.  Just something wrong with the guy.  He just doesn't have it together.  That fits under "above reproach." ...

Could the adrenal breakdown of 2007 then have constituted a warning sign? Could it have counted as a warning sign even if Driscoll hadn't been forthcoming about the state of his marriage?

You know some denominations rotate pastors every three years because that's all the sermons the guy's got.  He's got three years of sermons, man, and he's like the Eagles. He's still doing "Hotel California" 25 years later.  Just one hit wonder, right?  ...You gotta be able to teach!  If you can't teach, you shouldn't be a pastor. ...

Speaking of "Hotel California" ...

Real Marriage is out and Real Marriage kinda looks like its revisiting the same stuff.  Now to be fair, Mark preached through Luke for three years and that was after a series on 1 & 2 Peter.  So he's only returned to reruns after about four years of back-to-back stuff that is completely new for him.  Going on auto-pilot a teensy bit by revisiting marriage, Revelation, and Ephesians and some Esther might give him time to work on other projects along the way.  He's said he'd like to get to Lamentations.  Given his track record butchering Old Testament literature I hope he doesn't do that for a while yet, but at least it'd be a poem in the OT that isn't about sex. :)

In addition, not a new convert.  All the commentaries stress what it means to be new.  I'll stress this, convert. ... If you're new to the faith and you don't know what you're doing and you're learning, you're growing, you love God but you're not quite ready yet--until you've figured out a few things, you can't really lead other people, so God wants you to wait.  ... for you young men that aspire to leadership, you know, it's better to go in a couple years late than a couple years early. Right, a couple years late, you still got a good life to serve the Lord.  A couple years early, you might be done quickly. ...

I've wondered if Mars Hill, as a culture, has too often erred on the side of young men starting a couple of years early, possibly starting first and foremost with Driscoll and then Munson.  The other co-founding pastors weren't that young and certainly weren't new converts. One of my college buddies remembers Street Talk from back when we were in college.  If Driscoll came across as qualified to be a pastor at all in the early days I suggest it was due to a halo effect.  Mike and Lief believed in Mark and that was halo effect enough to make the guy seem more ready than he probably really was.  It seems like there may not have been a person to tell Driscoll himself, "you know, it's better to go in a couple years late than a couple years early." If there's anything that chapter one of Real Marriage suggests to me now it's that Driscoll went in a couple years early.

... I love my wife. I've been totally faithful to her. I'm a one-woman man. I met her at 17. I married her at 21. I've been chasing her ever since.  I'm quicker than she is, so I'm happily married.  You know, things are good. I just am. I love my wife. I adore my wife. I enjoy my wife, you know? ...

Well, whatever Driscoll was implying there in the sermon excerpt above may need to be reconsidered in light of the new book. Real Marriage suggests that maybe this marriage was not always so happy.

Real Marriage
Mark and Grace Driscoll
Thomas Nelson 2012
page 26

We didn't know how to talk through these extremely hard issues without hurting each other even more, so we didn't talk about them at all. I just got more bitter, and Grace just felt more condemned and broken, like a failure. Occasionally we'd meet a Christian pastor or counselor who was supposed to be an expert in these areas, but we never spoke with them in much detail, because in time we found out they either had marriages as bad as ours our they had been committing adultery and were disqualified for ministry. We felt very alone and stuck.

In 2004 Driscoll said he was happily married and because he was quicker than she was he was able to pursue his wife. So if they felt very alone and very stuck it couldn't have been during February 2004, could it? Ashley was born on 1997 (by her own account) so the period of bitterness Driscoll describes after discovering Grace Driscoll had cheated on him may have been going on even during this sermon. Since the Driscolls have not been particularly clear about when the bitter period ended, and since in 2006 Driscoll famously decided to "take one for the team" and risk being hated more than he already was for saying many pastors didn't have satisfying sex lives it's tough to know whether what Driscoll said in 2004 fits with the Driscoll's account in 2012 that for many years they felt very alone and stuck. If that was the case in 2004 Driscoll was most certainly not letting on about that in the 1 Timothy 3 sermon.

The last one is the need to have a good reputation with outsiders.  This is the non-Christians, people outside of the church, right? This includes the media.  Fortunately, we've had really good media coverage ... It's been good. But it's a good reputation--people say, "You know, that's a guy who loves the Lord and loves his wife and he loves his kids and he teaches the Bible and you know, he's a decent guy.  He's a good guy.  Loves the Lord." And it shows, practically.  He's a peaceable guy. He's a straight shooter. He's a kind, gracious guy. He's got his stuff in order. He's resepctable.  ... That kind of reputation in the community is what it's talking about.  ...

Driscoll's not exactly legendarily peaceable.  We know he was serious when he said they wanted William Wallace and not Richard Simmons for elder candidates. He did call himself William Wallace II, after all, on the old Midrash. Back in 2004 media coverage was fairly pleasant and then 2006 happened. And then 2007.  Perhaps Driscoll is an object lesson that you can start well and spiral downhill. 

Now this ... this is worth noting:

Here's how it works at this church. We are in elder-lead church, an elder-governed church.  I'm one vote on the board, I -- I can get fired.  I can get censored. I can get disciplined. I'm one of seven guys who vote. First of all, if you want to be an elder in this church, you need to become a member of the church. That means you're a Christian who has been baptized, gone through a basic theological training. That you're giving, that you're serving, that you're mature, that you're doing a good job with your family and your ministry and you're rising up. Quite frankly, in the future, most of our leaders are going to come from our community groups.

That was February 2004. What about since 2007?  By 2006, well, Paul and Jonna Petry described how things began to change.  Driscoll recounted how Mike Gunn parted ways sometime around 2003 over the goal of growth in Reformission Rev.

And leaders coming from community groups, that's certainly true of a lot of leaders but what about the executive leaders since 2007?  Did Tim Beltz come from the inside?  Did Sutton Turner?  Did Dave Bruskas become executive elder after years of serving in the lower rungs and slowly working up to the top? Anyone even remember Rick Melson?

A lot has changed since 2004.

a scoundrel after God's own heart

Acts 13:22
After removing Saul, he made David their king; He testified concerning him, "I
have found David, son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything
I want him to do."

1 Samuel 13:14
But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his
own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept
the Lord's command.

Now David has famously been considered a man after God's own heart.  Yet, we should recall, David massacred village after village, putting even women and children to the sword during his wandering in Phillistine territory.  Now we know deceit and treachery are how war works, of course, but some of the people David lied to were priests who served the Lord (see 1 Samuel 21).  Feigning madness saved David's life but we know David took Bathsheba and arranged for Uriah the Hittite to be killed.  David also failed to punish his son Amnon for raping Tamar, his daughter.  This lack of executing justice for an incestuous rape spurred Absalom to kill his half-brother.  David, again, did nothing. 

Absalom bided his time and exploited the lack of judicial appointments in the region as a way to win the people over to his campaign against his father.  Finally even Ahithophel, David's counselor, probably nursing a long grudge against what David did to his grandson-in-law Uriah, sided with Absalom's insurrection. Absalom was furious about very real failures to establish justice within the royal family and he exploited a real weakness in the reign of David regarding regional judicial oversight.  Yet he followed Ahithophel's advice to take his father's concubines in public to make himself odious to the king.  The prophetic warning from Nathan was coming to pass.

In the midst of this David had been cursed by Shimei

As King David approached Bahurim, a man from the same clan as Saul’s family came out from there. His name was Shimei son of Gera, and he cursed as he came out. He pelted David and all the king’s officials with stones, though all the troops and the special guard were on David’s right and left.  As he cursed, Shimei said, “Get out, get out, you murderer, you scoundrel! The LORD has repaid you for all the blood you shed in the household of Saul, in whose place you have reigned. The LORD has given the kingdom into the hands of your son Absalom. You have come to ruin because you are a murderer!”

Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut off his head.”

But the king said, “What does this have to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the LORD said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who can ask, ‘Why do you do this?’”
David then said to Abishai and all his officials, “My son, my own flesh and blood, is trying to kill me. How much more, then, this Benjamite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the LORD has told him to. It may be that the LORD will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today.”

So David and his men continued along the road while Shimei was going along the hillside opposite him, cursing as he went and throwing stones at him and showering him with dirt.  The king and all the people with him arrived at their destination exhausted. And there he refreshed himself.

David by this point realized God had brought about the disaster he was facing, that Nathan had warned him about.  As grisly as the story of Absalom's insurrection is, the king's reign spirals downward.  One of David's last acts was to take an ill-advised census that cost tens of thousands of lives.  In 1 Kings we see David's final years characterized by impotence of every kind.  His declining health was taken by Adonijah as the basis from which to appoint himself king.  An elderly David is told he promised Solomon would have the throne.  David does not recall the promise and has his son appointed king.  Adonijah freaks out.  David gives some final words of advice to Solomon, kill this and that guy. Solomon does.  David's final years are demonstrations of royal impotence and hedging and advising Solomon to rely on his wisdom.  Unfortunately as the rest of Kings demonstrates it's a live question whether Solomon relied on the wisdom he received from the Lord or his own wisdom. 

David never really became a better husband to most (or any) of his eight wives. He never stopped playing favorites and being reluctant to discipline his most wicked sons.  He never managed to feel strong enough to prevail against the often ruthless Joab. He was willing to massacre whole villages, including women and children.  He pretended to be insane because he feared death.  Christians who reflect just on the Bathsheba incident and the arranged death of Uriah the Hittite are arguably picking one of David's failures that's comparatively sedate in terms of actual scale of sin.

But David's sin with Bathsheba sticks out because Nathan specifically rebuked him for it.  And what was the core of the rebuke?  David stood guilty of having used his role and power as king to gratify himself.  He used the power that was meant to serve and protect Israel as a means to self-gratification and self-aggrandizement.  This would seem small but it wasn't to David because David was confronted with the reality of a trajectory--who before him had taken advantage of the perks and powers of royal office without carrying out the responsibilities of battle that went with it?  Who let other people fight the battles he was commanded to fight for him while he did his own thing?  Who arranged for the death of loyal and innocent people to protect his position and reputation? That's, right, Saul.  Nathan confronted David about the reality of who David was becoming and when David was confronted with the reality of what a scoundrel he was he admitted he was a scoundrel.

Years later when David's own son was seeking his life and had built an insurrection on the objection to David's failure to punish evil David realized this was from the Lord.  He'd seen how his own failures as a father and king had borne fruit in the disaster that came up to face him. He sought the Lord and sought the Lord knowing that he was dealing with the consequences of his own evil.  During this time, readers may be aware, Absalom did not necessarily ever become the good guy.  He had his own self-aggrandizing agenda and his own egotism.  He did not become the good guy for being genuinely and rightly outraged at his father's unwillingness to pursue justice for the rape of Tamar or for letting Absalom go free after murdering Amnon due to fatherly favoritism. 

But anyone who looks over the life of David will notice that David repented but he had to keep repenting.  By contemporary standards of Christian piety and ethics, especially in American evangelicalism it looks like David was never a "one woman man" like Saul was, he never seemed to be the kind of parent Saul might have been to produce a son like Jonathan. David could be, as a certain music pastor at a local church put it, a guy who comes off like a self-absorbed whiny emo boy. Yet David was regarded, in advance of all these things, as a man after God's own heart.  People who think it's impossible for God to appoint a scoundrel, a polygamist whose marriages had bluntly pragmatic military and political goals, a murderer, an adulterer, and an inattentive father who alternatley neglected and spoiled his children to lead God's people just haven't bothered to pay attention to the Bible. This could be said even though Shimei was not exactly right that David killed the house of Saul.

Mere Orthodoxy on Eggsploitation and the fertility industry
It’s odd to speak of fertility as an industry, but that is precisely where we find ourselves.  In order to meet the demand for embryonic stem cells and for those couples who cannot conceive without help, women and fertility clinics have taken to buying and selling eggs.

It’s a messy business.  Not only is it a largely unregulated $3 billion marketplace (try getting away with that in any other industry), but the medical community has largely ignored the effects of superovulation and the extraction of eggs on the women who undergo the process.

Eggsploitation, a documentary by the Center for Bioethics and Culture, sets out to document the stories of several women who did so and experienced severe medical complications as a result.  The stories are painful and often disturbing, so the documentary isn’t for the weak of heart.  But by concentrating on the risks that such treatments pose for women–treatments, I would note, that nearly all women who participate in IVF undertake–the film opens up a set of questions that few evangelicals writing about the subject seem to ask.

Consider, for instance, this otherwise helpful article from The Gospel Coalition on the factors that couples should weigh when considering fertility treatment.   Notice what isn’t there?  Any consideration of the women’s health in light of the treatment.  In some ways, that’s understandable.  Ethicists have a responsibility to deliberate in light of the facts and if the medical community isn’t presenting a critical set, then the deliberation must go forward as it is.

But therein lies the dilemma that Eggsploitation faces:  now that fertility has industrialized, the profit incentive means that there is every reason to avoid studies that would be damaging to the industry altogether.  What’s more, the fertility industry has the added benefit of being backed by “science” and the widespread cultural blind-spot that invariably comes up when the word is envoked (usually with a mystical tone of voice, as though summoning a specter).  We understand this sort of argument when it comes to, say, Wall Street.  But our earnest and sincere desire to have children and our incipient scientism make critiques and cautions of the sort Eggsploitation makes rather more difficult to swallow.

Now as regular readers will probably know I admit to a sometimes grim and pessimistic view of the human condition. I am glad to say that in some ways humans today do not commidify each other in quite the same ways we used to.  But in other ways human life is still commodified in ways that have been pervasive and in ways that are relatively new thanks to technological innovations. The commodification of human life seems bound to happen in each age of humanity.  We no longer commodify people in the same way as earlier periods yet it is hard to assume from this that commodification doesn't happen.  Consigning the unborn to the status of disposable property until they are born and thus can grow up to be taxpayers is one way, commodifying fertility is another.  And human trafficking is not a small matter. 

It's good, of course, that racially based slavery has been eliminated so very real and measurable progress has been made in a number of areas. Women can vote and women are not set to get more advanced degrees then men if trends continue (though if worries about an education bubble are well-founded an advanced degree may not be a good investment). In my job hunting over the last few years I've noticed more than just a handful of advertisements offering money for eggs.

I can't even begin to think I could understand how those issues work out for women because I'm not female.  So while my reflex is to feel weird about selling eggs and to have some qualms about the fertility industry as an industry I'm a single guy and maybe single guys know nothing and have no basis for expressing reservations about the possibility of commodifying human life that seems inherent in the fertility industry.  The reality is that every human life does ultimately have a price tag even if we tell ourselves we shouldn't measure a human life merely by that price tag.  Mostly when I think of these things I remember people from the Old Testament remarking, in so many or few words, "O Lord, we are no better than our ancestors."

Sunday, April 01, 2012

The WayBack Machine and Mars Hill campuses

For those who remember this:

I mentioned there:

With a little help from The Wayback Machine on the Ballard campus we can discover that a cached copy of the site for Mars Hill Ballard lists James Noriega as a Biblical Living Pastor. There were 14 captures between June 28 2008 and December 18 2009. This would correspond with the above-mentioned link to an interview with James Noriega describing himself as pastor co-leading the Redemption Groups, though from that information you would not be able to necessarily establish that he was a Ballard pastor since Noriega's long-time connections to the West Seattle campus were well-established within Mark Driscoll's November 2007 sermon. Perhaps he was moved to the Ballard campus and his West Seattle campus profile just became a dead link.

Shortly after I posted that, on 2/27/2012 I got this comment:

Anonymous said...

I don’t know what the building’s worth – $4 million, whatever. He said, “Well what’s the deal?” I said, “Give us the building, resign as elders, work through the membership process, work through the eldership process. I guarantee you nothing – no power, no job, no eldership. If you meet the qualifications and the men vote you in, we’ll make you an elder, but I guarantee you no job. Nothing. If you believe it’s right for Jesus, give us the building, resign, give up all power of authority, give up your position. Walk away from it all for the cause of Jesus.”

He said, “Okay, I think it’s best for Jesus.” He resigned, voted to hand us the building and the people.

Could that maybe be why he is now the head pastor of Ballard and Lief went bye-bye? We'll never know. How many people at Doxa thought it was such a sweet deal at the time? How many long-time members who contributed financial support over their lifetimes were treated as castaways? We'll never know. The little people do not matter.
10:50 AM

Well, point of clarification:

Which establishes James Noriega was on staff at the Ballard.  It also establishes that Bubba Jennings was the campus pastor, not Clem.  So for the Anonymous who proposed Clem was offered the job in place of Moi, sorry, but the webcaptures at the WayBack Machine of the Ballard campus never present any indication that your theory has any backing. Jennings was so obviously Campus Pastor for Ballard after Moi stopped having the role that that is something we can easily know. The WayBack Machine has proven handy in establishing that. Jennings was put in charge of Ballard.  Clem didn't start having the more high-ranking campus pastor ranking at Ballard until some time in in the last year or so.  I also know enough people who were attending Ballard in 08 and 09 that I'd hear people say that Mark's sermons were mediocre but that Jennings had some memorable sermons in that period.

Not too shockingly during that period Driscoll's sermons did not register in informal conversation as much as those by campus pastors.  I say "not too shockingly" because campus pastors actually had some kind of week in and week out connection to at least some of the people they were preaching, which could scarcely have been said about Driscoll at that point. 

But if you'll notice recent listings Bubba Jennings is listed as the Executive Pastor at Mars Hill Ballard.  In other words, he's still the one actually running functional stuff.  Clem may do the preaching and so on but Jennings appears to have been keeping things running at Ballard for a while.
So Jennings has either been the "lead pastor" or the "executive pastor" as far as I can tell at Ballard since possibly as far back as late 2007.  So Jennings has had the functional leadership role over the years and there's no compelling public witness that Clem was tapped to take over Moi's role.  When I have said at various places I don't just endorse explanations for this and that even when I let them get posted it's because I try to do a bit of research to find out how plausible the theory is given what's on record.  Not what people anonymously share (though that could be true) what's verifiable.  Of course as careful readers of this blog over the years will have noticed I've begun documenting how Mars Hill has suspended links and previously cited references. 
Which rather naturally gets me to the next part of this post.  Now as the WayBack Machine goes you'll find something interesting if you put this into its search rather than the org address:

automatically redirects to here:

And this link?

Try to get to that link from anywhere in the Mars Hill site and see if you can get there.

You may notice all the campus blog archives are still down. Apparently all that great content is just suspended for no apparent reason. 

And this:

Isn't archived by the WayBack Machine at all. Even though this ...

Obviously dates from 3/17/2009.  You would think that a website page that went up a bit more than three years ago would have been crawled by the WayBack Machine at least once.  Nope.

So, you see, if you're going to use The WayBack Machine you need to have some pretty clear ideas what you're looking for. 

You might get this a lot.

Loading... | 23:40:41 Mar 3, 2001
Got an HTTP 302 response at crawl time
Redirecting to...

But then this works [well, not quite, but it worked well enough to get the image below]

No, you won't find "Pussified Nation" there.  Screen captures on The WayBack Machine don't cover everything.  As they'd put it, "Bummer".  Still it does take me back all the same.  Check out the thread title "Who do single women submit to?"  That is if I made the image big enough to read.