Saturday, January 19, 2013

Zondervan author profiles on Mark Driscoll and Scott Thomas, overlooking mundane details
Mark Driscoll is one of the 50 most influential pastors in America, and the founder of Mars Hill Church in Seattle (, the Paradox Theater, and the Acts 29 Network which has planted scores of churches. Mark is the author of The Radical Reformission: Reaching Out Without Selling Out. He speaks extensively around the country, has lectured at a number of seminaries, and has had wide media exposure ranging from NPR’s All Things Considered to the 700 Club, and from Leadership journal to Mother Jones magazine. He’s a staff religion writer for the Seattle Times. Along with his wife and children, Mark lives in Seattle.

Write to Zondervan authors or their estates in care of Zondervan. Your mail will be forwarded as soon as possible, but please note that the author might not be able to respond personally. Email or send postal mail to:

Mark Driscoll

c/o Zondervan
 ATTN: Author Care
 5300 Patterson SE
 Grand Rapids, MI 49530

The topic of who actually founded The Paradox Theater as an all-ages venue would be worth revisiting simply for Zondervan's longstanding account that Mark Driscoll founded it.  This isn't the case.  While The Paradox Theater would not have been thought of as a campus in the multisite sense in the wake of the 2007 re-org, there was preaching there on Sunday evenings circa 2001-2002. 

Driscoll didn't seem to think enough of details to tell Zondervan that he didn't found the Paradox Theater.  Considering how long Driscoll described Moi as "a good friend" this failure becomes all the more significant.  As to documentation that Moi bought and remodeled what became the Paradox in the late 1990s ... .
The Paradox Theatre waves goodbye
January 30, 2003 at 12:00 AM | Elliot Strong

The Paradox Theatre, home of all-ages concerts and events for the past three years, will permanently close its doors Feb. 2.

Brainchild of Lief Moi, a pastor at Mars Hill Fellowship Church, The Paradox opened in 1999 after Moi discovered a loophole in the city of Seattle's Teen Dance Ordinance (TDO). He found the normal rules didn't apply to events held at locations owned by non-profit organizations, making it possible to give Seattle its first true all-ages venue since the passing of the TDO in 1987. The TDO is a response to some nasty incidents at some local dance clubs.

Moi wanted to create a meeting place for local artists and musicians of all ages. His plan both expanded and materialized when he bought the building in 1998 and remodeled it as a music venue. Mars Hill subsidized the effort in its years of operation because, according to Moi, "[they] value the art community as a church."

The Paradox boasts only one fight in its three years of operation, a superb safety record during a time when many other clubs and concert venues in Seattle suffered high-profile shootouts and violent scuffles. Moi feels the very existence of The Paradox and its superb safety record provide an example of how well things can go for an all-ages venue if people were given a chance.

Now that the TDO has been effectively replaced with the All-Ages Dance Ordinance, more and more venues are able to host all-ages shows. One of the more significant changes includes the lifting of stringent security restrictions that required normal venues to hire off-duty police officers for all-ages events. Moi thinks the Paradox served its purpose and it is time for him to let go and move on.

Jet City Improv will lease the building; the spirit of The Paradox will live on in the form of the Artists Reformation Project (ARP) and Paradox Productions. The company will produce shows at various locations around Seattle. Other clubs such as Graceland and the Showbox will be hosting all-ages shows of their own.

The last show at The Paradox will start at 7 p.m. on Feb. 1. The bands Gatsby's American Dream, Rocky Votolato, Suffering and the Hideous Thieves, 14 Days of Terror and the Sweet Science will perform alongside spoken word by Mark Brubeck and piano interludes by Jefre Scott.

Zondervan's fact-checking team doesn't seem too on the ball.

Scott Thomas created the Gospel Coach Training and Certification system and has coached hundreds of pastors. Scott has served as president and network director of Acts 29 Network and as an elder at Mars Hill Church. Scott has a Masters in Missional Leadership and has been married for thirty years to Jeannie, with whom he has two sons. He planted and replanted churches for sixteen years as a lead pastor. Scott has taught for Resurgence Training Center in Seattle and is a conference speaker in the US as well as a consultant for both Western European church planting and Canadian church planting. Scott wrote Theological Clarity and Application (Zondervan, 2010) and has written blogs for Acts 29 Network, The Resurgence, Mars Hill Church and

Where did Scott get this Masters in Missional Leadership?  At the Resurgence Training Center, the Mars Hill attempt at a seminary that was launched in 2009.  We'll have more to observe about the Re:Train Masters in Missional Leadership a bit later but these two case studies of authors associated with Mars Hill who've served as executive elders are examples of how Zondervan's homework could have been a bit tighter.  Driscoll didn't found the Paradox and Scott Thomas's Masters in Missional Leadership was gained during the period in which he co-taught a practicum in missional leadership

Who knew that you could co-teach practicum courses for a master's program while simultaneously earning credits toward that? 

Even over at Pastor Mark TV Driscoll's not saying he founded The Paradox, Zondervan.  Wake up, drink some Charbucks, and tidy up your author profiles a little, maybe?  That Driscoll actually let Zondervan pass in misrepresenting a basic detail about the founding of the Paradox is ... well, we'll let the reader jump to whatever conclusions they've jumped to already. 

Time permitting we'll get to the Resurgence Training Center Masters in Missional Leadership. Scott Thomas is merely one of dozens of guys who now have that M.M. and are out there in the job scene.  Chris Blackstone's overview of the reading materials, linked to elsewhere at Wenatchee The Hatchet, is skeletal but a pretty good listing of required and optional reading for the coursework offered within the M.M.  A pertinent question is what happened to that program?  If you go to the Resurgence Training Center now you're not likely to find that big set of courses Blackstone referred to and the teaching line up is different. 

Mars Hill and Driscoll had been ambitious in the hopes of creating a seminary for years.  Most bloggers (except for this guy) simply didn't note much of anything about the prospect of a Mars Hill seminary.  There's been no discussion of what has come of the program now that it seems to have wrapped up and had its guys graduate.  Again, time permitting we'll see what we can find out about the recipients of the Masters in Missional Leadership from the Resurgence Training Center.  They may be applying for pastoral jobs at a church near you, after all.  No doubt some of them are quality men or perhaps some of you readers detest all things Mars Hill.  Well, we're not hear to really change your already convinced mind, but we may be of some assistance in helping you make as educated a decision as possible.  That's pretty much all a blog can do anyway. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

HT Mockingbird: another week ends with ... Pentecostal Megan Fox

She's Pentecostal?  She was, I think, the weak link in the Transformers movies but I would have to say it was due to the inevitable and unenviable nature of a young female in a Michael Bay movie. It was apparent that Bay wanted a Victoria's Secret model which is, eventually, what he got for the third movie.  If Fox grew up Pentecostal, and I know a little of what it was like to grow up Pentecostal, then working for Michael Bay on the Transformers films ... well, for the first time Fox sounds interesting.  Not that I'm going to go read an article in Esquire about her, though.  As a former Pentecostal I do remember some of the things she describes in quotes selected by Mockingbird.  I'm not Pentecostal these days but I'm not what people might understand as "cessationist" ... though I'm also not what would be conventionally understood to be charismatic/continuationist, either.  If you want an extremely long overview of what I do think ... it's over here.

Slate: Lance Armstrong admits to the cheating but not the intimidation
That seems to be the game plan Armstrong brought to this interview. Downplay your power over others. Deny issuing explicit orders to dope. Convert any such story into a matter of setting a poor example. Take responsibility for yourself, but suggest that others—those who claim you pressured them—must do the same. Recast your threats, retributions, and demands for silence as products of a hard life. Reduce your sins of coercion to a sin of deceit. When Winfrey asked Armstrong “what made you a bully,” he answered: “Just trying to perpetuate the story and hide the truth.”

That’s Armstrong’s message: Everything he did, no matter how domineering, menacing, or manipulative, was a desperate effort to protect a single lie. “I tried to control the narrative,” he says. And he’s still trying to control the narrative. Which is a good reason not to believe it.

Since Lance Armstrong's case might be one of those milestones of a generation where athletic achievement and legacy predicated on cheating is concerned, and because Wenatchee The Hatchet is feeling a teensy bit lazy today, we'll just link to this old post about the legacy of a jerk and why jerks are precisely the sorts of people who can occasionally build legacies people want to get behind.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Lance Armstrong, public indignation and credibility ...

As some have already noted one significant element of the confession is the light it sheds retroactively on Armstrong's indignation about allegations that he was doping over the years.  Public expression of indignation may be the single cheapest commodity on the internet or in mass media of any kind.  It's easily dished out for any number of reasons.  Some of those reasons may be legitimate but we live in a time and media space where the tone of outrage can be ratcheted up so high that the boy who cried wolf no longer deadens the possibility for fear when the wolf finally arrives, the boy who cried wolf may inadvertantly (or intentionally) blunt our capacity to feel moral outrage at genuinely outrageous things. 

Moral outrage expressed in public now seems so cheap it can be tempting to think that whoever is most vehement in publicly denouncing anything at all is likely secretly guilty of instigating the same thing themselves.  That doesn't make it so ... but the temptation is understandable.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Slate: Older Moms: How their decline impacts their children

While I don't link to this as an endorsement that women should marry and have children as soon as possible it is an interesting piece by an author who discovered herself on the receiving end of a trade-off her mother made in having her later in life (42) rather than younger. 

In other words, at some point freedom for you can become a bondage to someone else, whether or not you planned it that way.  Or as Marjane Satrapi noted at the end of Persepolis, freedom has its price. At multiple levels it can feel as though we Americans either don't want to concede there is a price for the freedoms we grasp for or we do not like paying that price if we recognize it.  In some cases the price that is paid for our freedom ends up being paid in unanticipated ways by people we care about and who care about us.

Jim West: Twitter Theology That Makes Me Sigh ... coming

I don't personally remember asking for this but, hey, I'll read it when it appears.  Twitter being the sort of ideal medium for interstialed narcissism that it is, Dr. West will never run out of material. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Mars Hill opens its new Downtown church

This is the site that is being leased, and that deal as a lease nearly didn't happen.

In an article published August 12, 2012 The Seattle Times reported the deal almost didn't go through.
Back in 2011 when the deal was considered it nearly failed because the owner of the property didn't want to sell or completely relinquish control over the real estate.  It might also be of some significance that back in August 2011 Munson was still on the executive elder team, or not.  By September 2011 Munson stepped down and got a great big "he's always been perfect" send-off by Driscoll, and then Sutton Turner, whose kingly gifts were described as having been badly needed by Mars Hill for some time, stepped up later in 2011.  For those who don't recall, in Confessions of a Reformission Rev Driscoll credited Munson with scouting the 50th street property. 

The former Tabella/former Mars Hill Downtown went up for sale.

This link, mentioned in the original post is as dead as Uncle Ben in Spiderman comics (unless Marvel retconned that, too). 

that's because ...

Mars Hill Church SeattleBelltownSOLD14,400 SF$4,500,000

It sold, for 4.5 million

Speaking of that price ... here's a blast from the past in which Munson discussed the bid on Tabella back in 2007.  If the building were appraised by someone at a million more than $3.95 million that would be 4.95 million, right?  So selling at 4.5 million would still conceivably constitute a loss, wouldn't it?  Unless the real estate were closer to 2.3 or 2.4 million. The executive elders in place able to make the bid on Tabella in 2007 (September 2007 according to The Stranger) were Mark Driscoll, Jamie Munson, Bubba Jennings, and Scott Thomas.  Maybe one of them could answer the question of who appraised Tabella at $4.95 million.  The real estate bubble hadn't burst yet and it's possible anyone could have come up with some kind of number but King County seemed to low-ball the value compared to $4.95 million back in 2007.

For an overview of systemic losses at each campus as reported by Driscoll in mid-2012 you can visit here.