Saturday, January 26, 2013
... Mars Hill has lamented that they were not contacted by authors to verify the facts or seek explanation regarding the cases prior to publishing articles. But if Mars Hill was so concerned that nobody contacted them to verify the facts why did Mars Hill suspend its entire campus blog network and associated archives in early March 2012? Why did Mars Hill scrub away all references to spouses or offspring in pastor profiles? The question at hand has not been why bloggers and journalists didn't contact Mars Hill to verify facts about Andrew's case. The question is why Mars Hill said they regretted the press not verifying facts, yet undertook a massive information purge of the very facts the press, in the past, could have looked up without having to talk to anyone directly?
... So when Mars Hill lamented that nobody contacted them to verify the facts related to Andrew's case that lament was specious precisely because during this period of time they were, if anything, probably suppressing access to facts that were easy to look up before the controversy made the news. What does an information purge that has gone unmentioned in the press or blogs suggest? It suggests this-- bloggers and journalists verifying the facts connected to Andrew's case was the last thing Mars Hill wanted to happen.
Then later, this:
Someone could have done a massive info-dumping project showing all the still publicly accessible, on record information necessary to identify the key parties involved in the Andrew case and have done this months ago.
Someone didn't do that last year because Andrew Lamb and Matthew Paul Turner had made at least some effort to preserve Andrew's anonymity. Mars Hill had undertaken their massive information purge but that was moot in light of the sheer volume of information Mars Hill, as a culture, had blogged and tweeted and podcasted at every level between 2004-2011, including people who at one point were associated with Acts 29 churches. The fascination with and eagerness to use social media could be said to be in the DNA of Mars Hill and associated outgrowths.
They'll need fewer people to process donations with this set-up.
Friday, January 25, 2013
The fury over Andrew’s experience—and his decision to publicize the church’s internal disciplinary procedures—has led to accusations by other Christians that one of the most powerful evangelical voices in the country, Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll, employs a cultlike leadership style. Now, for the first time, Mars Hill is speaking out in response to its former member’s charges.
Well ... this week Andrew identified himself to the world and that means that a pile of stuff Wenatchee The Hatchet had been sitting on since early last year is stuff that seems right to publish. What you're about to read is not secret insider stuff. This doesn't include anything only insiders could have read, like Joyful Exiles. What you're about to read is all stuff that's easy to find and it may provide new details about the background of the Andrew disciplinary situation. If that's of interest ...
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Unreformed proposes that as bad or good Amazon reviews of the Driscoll Ephesians book goes, it's like the Joker was telling Harvey Dent, " ... nobody panics, because it's all part of the plan."
Bill Clem’s nature was indicative of integrity, strength and respectfulness. To be honest when we were unraveling all the problems we were seeing at Mars Hill the only sticking point or obstacle to that line of logic for me was Bill Clem.
- If this place really is this rotten to the core.
- If this place really is a fiefdom for the glory of Mark Driscoll.
- If this place really is being led by a wolf.
- How can a solid man like Bill Clem play party to it?
"Would you mind sharing these today? Today is the one year anniversary of Matthew Paul Turner's publishing the blogs, so I figured I'd celebrate by repos...ting them.
I just wanted to remind y'all of this: http://www.slate.com/articles/life/faithbased/2012/02/mars_hill_pastor_mark_driscoll_faces_backlash_over_church_discipline_case_.html
and this: http://joyfulexiles.com/
and this: http://marshillrefuge.blogspot.com/
Today marks the one year anniversary of my story being published and going viral, and the floodgates opening for similar stories of spiritual abuse to be shared. Here's hoping it leads to healing and hope and the destruction of influence of this sick man and his un-Christlike cult in Seattle.
Here are the original blog posts with my story. If you haven't read these, or if it's been awhile, please read them. Also, please share these stories with your networks. It's important that these stories get out for two main reasons. The first reason is to help the healing of those who have been hurt by churches, and to let them know they're not alone, and they're not crazy. The second reason is to warn people about the danger of Mars Hill Church and Mark Driscoll.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Just a quick link-to for today.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Welcome to Day 2 of our week full of giveaways, courtesy of our friends at Thomas Nelson, to celebrate the release of Who Do You Think You Are? Today you have a chance to win a free trip for two to Seattle to attend the 2013 Resurgence Conference at Mars Hill Church Downtown Seattle.
The second annual Resurgence Conference is being held on November 5–6, 2013, and features an awesome lineup of speakers, including Rick Warren, Matt Chandler, Greg Laurie, James MacDonald, and Crawford Loritts.
Today’s winner will receive free airfare, lodging, and tickets to the conference—times two. (Please note, this offer is only available for residents of the United States.)
To enter, share the phrase below on your favorite social network. If you've read the book, you can also enter by writing an honest review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Whether you post the phrase, write a review, or both, fill out the form below to officially submit your entry.
Last I check iPad Mini, iPad Mini was an honest review. Or do folks need to write a review of the book that involves actually reading it.
Maybe Stephanie Drury can be eligible seeing as she wrote a review that discusses what's actually in the book.
Let's remember that "an honest review doesn't require that it has to be a good notice for the book, does it?
It seems "the Crisis of Conference Christians" isn't quite so big a worry for Driscoll these days.
And back when Driscoll fretted about the inflationary bubble of his and other neo-Calvinists' influence, an old grumpy Calvinist, Carl Trueman, offered an observation.
The points are good, well-made and welcome but I do have one small reservation: every megaconference celebrity to whom I have spoken has played a variation on the same basic theme -- the speakers cannot help the celebrity culture that grows up around them and is thrust upon them without their consent; thus, the problem is really the fault of the audience; but, as the good results outweigh the bad, there is no reason not to continue business as usual.
Is that really the case? Is the matter as clear cut as that? Is there no `supply side' responsibility here? One can stretch an analogy too far, but the pornography and addiction reference in the post above would surely hint at precisely the need for some self-reflection on the responsibility of the supplier or producer. As one friend put it to me last week, it would not seem to require a degree in rocket science or brain surgery to avoid becoming a megaconference celeb speaker who speaks at half a dozen megaconferences. So is there really nothing that the speakers and organisers can do to stop or inhibit such a culture? Just saying "no" once in a while, perhaps?
The generic response of placing primary blame on the audience reminds me of those Bowery Boys movies that were old and out-of-date even when I was young: "It wasn't me, officer, it was them other other fellers what done that crime you are accusing me of.... Yeah, that's right, boys, you know don't you, yeah -- it was them other fellas what done it all along and we were somewhere else entirely."
Yeah, that's right
Monday, January 21, 2013
Head’s up: we’re starting a record label, and we’re gunning to take over Christian radio.
At the helm of the newly minted label, Mars Hill Music, is Deacon Jonathan Dunn, interviewed here by Pastor Mark. Dunn, a founding member of the heavy metal band Demon Hunter, spent a decade at Tooth & Nail/Solid State Records, and was the director of A&R when he felt God calling him to Mars Hill—"one of the top three things ever called to in my life," he says. And he’s got a big vision for Mars Hill Music and bands.
Bottom line, whatever you think has defined “Christian music” up til now, you can forget it: “We don’t limit our bands to the Christian cul-de-sac of U2 circa 1987,” says Dunn. [Editor’s note: Said with all due respect to Joshua Tree and U2, who have a solid contingent of fans at the church.] In short, it’s a label defined by Christ and culture and corporate worship.
When this announcement was made last year it was bright and optimistic.
Then this came along.
Driscoll noted that things change really fast at mars Hill. They sure can. In 2011 the new Downtown site almost didn't become the new Downtown site that opened weeks ago. A few changes here and there and the five-year lease is looking pretty good for Mars Hill where in 2011 the deal nearly died because the owner of the real estate wasn't willing to sell or relinquish total control over the property.
Well, building a music label from the ground up is a lot of work and very expensive. There was not much chance it would work with the economy the way it's been and with the aforementioned presentation by Driscoll about how Mars Hill had a financial model that wasn't sustainable for the long-term future.
Well, this month there was a new announcement.
Mars Hill Music is partnering with Tooth & Nail
It’s official: Mars Hill Music has officially signed with Tooth & Nail Records!
We’re incredibly grateful for this partnership. Not only does T&N do amazing work, but many of the folks on staff are members, deacons, and band members at our church. This includes Deacon Jonathan Dunn, who oversees Mars Hill Music after working at T&N for years, and T&N founder/president Brandon Ebel, a personal friend and member of Mars Hill’s Ballard church.
Thank you to all who have supported, prayed for, and participated in this project—including the musicians (many volunteer) whose hard work has turned a big vision into reality. By God’s grace, we’re ready to get some top-notch, Jesus-centered, theologically sound, and artistically rich music into the hands of millions around the world. We have literally dozens of bands in the church and we've done a lot to prepare for this opportunity.
Citizens and Ghost Ship have their first full-length albums nearly done, and Deacon Dustin Kensrue is working on his first-ever worship album after years in the middle of the post-rock scene. Following that, expect to hear from Kings Kaleidoscope as well.
The first LP will be Citizens' self-titled release, due out March 12. Can’t wait? Here’s one of the new tracks, “Made Alive”:
Building a music label from the ground up is expensive and time-consuming and if a bunch of staff on Tooth & Nail Records are already members, staff, and band members within Mars Hill anyway then why bother creating a Mars Hill label when an existing label could functionally be thought of has assimilated into the Mars Hill conglomerate already? It's a whole lot cheaper and saves the trouble of developing infrastructure and it is, after all, a better approach to just have Mars Hill signed on to an existing label that for Mars Hill to have dumped money into creating a new label from scratch. Why create from scratch in the current economic setting if you can collaborate (or perhaps even functionally assimilate)?
Poppa Daddy (Santa) Driscoll has toys for you, maybe, if you'll buy and say a few nice words about his new book.
And as of now the most helpful positive review is ...
What's that? Pastor Mark Driscoll helpfully provided an explanation already.
Big fun at our Mars Hill churches for the kickoff of our Ephesians sermon series: http://ow.ly/1Rjjnt
Monday giveaway: Win an iPad mini!
It’s gonna be a fun week on PastorMark.tv. Every weekday this week, I’m giving away a free prize to celebrate the release of Who Do You Think You Are? We’ve never done anything quite like this before—and who knows if we’ll ever do it again—so enjoy!
To start things off, today’s winner will receive a brand new iPad mini, pre-loaded with some of my books.
To enter, all you have to do to enter the contest is share the following phrase on your favorite social network and/or submit a review on Amazon, then submit the form below. We'll accept entries until 11:59 p.m. tonight (Pacific).
Check out @PastorMark’s new book and enter to win a different giveaway every day this week. Today: iPad mini http://pastormark.tv/giveaway
How do I get the freebies?
1.Purchase your book or books from any retailer that sells it. That could be Resurgence, Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Christian Book Distributors, or anywhere else.
2.Scan your receipt and e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
3.Thomas Nelson will verify that your purchase is eligible and send you an email with instructions on how to download your freebies.
Thanks for playing and for spreading the word!
Appropos of playing and winning ... more morsels of insight from Driscoll about Armstrong and gaming things in his favor ... .
Now that's about as meta-ironic as a megachurch pastor tweeting his spleen about bloggers, isn't it?
UPDATE: As with the 5-stars, so too with the 1-stars. People "somehow" managed to catch on about the iPad mini give-away
Sunday, January 20, 2013
Particularly scholarly books on, say, biblical literature? I've found myself wondering that when West would recommend some title that intrigued me, like something about financial transactions described in OT narrative, and then saw prices for books published by Brill that took my breath away! No way! That much!? Well, West links to a post that discusses why some books are so expensive with the tidbit that those super-expensive books are likely to get purchased mainly by librarys that contractually agreed/obliged themselves into buying an entire run.
It sort of reminds me of the exclusitivity and security of Defense Department contracts before the Clinton administration introduced some post-bid competition in subsidiary parts to major weapons platforms. I was never a fan of Clinton overall but on that particular issue Clinton's administration made a smart move. There's nothing quite like an assured monopoly on any level to inspire people to ratchet up the price for stuff in a narrow market.
Still ... some of those Brill monographs do look intriguing ... but I'd kinda like to peruse the study score of Penderecki's Credo now that the study score is finally in print.
The question of whether Wenatchee The Hatchet must write, whether prose or music is probably pretty well settled right now, eh?
Wendy writes about how to approach allegations of abuse in ministries we love. She mentions that the two temptations we're likely to face are to write off the allegations as unsubstantiated or to play the "bitter" card.
Now being in the custom of reading blogs that deal with concerns about abuse I'd say that it is valuable to not be too swift to draw a conclusion without evidence. Not everyone who shares a story has told the whole story and while it's obvious that advocates of a ministry will say "There are two sides to every story" as a way to preclude or blunt the legitimacy of criticism there can be a problem on the other side of that divide, wanting to believe the worst accusations because of a judgment already arrived at. You don't have to go to comments in articles in The Stranger, just take my word for it that some folks are sure that anyone who publicly speaks about homosexuality negatively must by definition be a raging closet case who will one day be caught with a rent boy. That is not necessarily perception so much as an emotional script used to make sense of the words and behaviors of others.
And that's where allegations of abuse will hit us, because if there's a ministry we love the allegations will, in some fashion, announce that there is at least the possibility that that emotional script we've cherished to provide the story of a ministry we like could be, or definitely is, wrong. This is something to remember when you are inclined to rush to the defense of a ministry that is facing scandalous accussations--you're not really, meaningfully defending that ministry in any fashion whatsoever, you're defending your emotional and financial investment in it. That probably feels like the same thing to you but let me playfully suggest something, there's a world of difference between "I want you to be happy" and "I want to be happy for you." In many cases people say the former when they potentially mean the latte in addition to or even above the former.
Most ministries we love in this day and age may be ministries that are media empires to which we have no meaningful connection, which will get to the flip side of things. If a famous ministry faces significant allegations of misconduct or criminal activity it's possible to make an emotional investment against as well as for, which may be presented as standing with the victims. Now if you actually personally know victims then, yes, stand by them and give them as much support as you're able to. Do labor that the truth about wrongdoing will be made known but also realize that it can be addictive to invest in those kinds of things. But if you're not involved in the lives of people who have been harmed directly by a ministry there is such a thing as recognizing that you don't actually have a dog in that fight. Symbolic support of people who say they've been hurt may be more for your emotional pleasure than the real benefit of people who have been actually harmed. Not saying that to be offensive, but to urge consideration--likewise, consider the earlier proposal that when you defend a ministry you love to which you have no connection other than having downloaded podcasts or bought books, you're not defending that ministry so much as you're justifying your emotional and financial investment in that ministry. You see the self-defending consumer choice of discretionary time and income can go in either or any direction.
Having said that, Wenatchee The Hatchet has known quite a few former employees of a certain religious institution. Wenatchee The Hatchet helped line up work for at least one of them but with the caveat that he'd want to save as much money as possible because he might get laid off after ten months. He got laid off after eight. See, it'd be hard for someone to seriously sustain the case that Wenatchee's just an "other side" blogger if he's helped find friends and associates at Mars Hill find jobs. Even people who read The Stranger had some nice things to say about guys like former pastors Bill Clem and Paul Petry. Wenatchee has nice things to say about those guys, too.
There are going to be posts on music again at some point, by the way. :)
Missional Practicum taught by Mark Driscoll, Scott Thomas, and Jeff Vanderstelt
•Leading on Empty by Wayne Cordeiro – ?
•Confessions of a Reformission Rev. by Mark Driscoll – ??
•Humility: True Greatness by C. J. Mahaney and Joshua Harris – ?????
•One biography from this list (others were also approved including the Whitefield bio that I read – ?????) ?Spurgeon: A New Biography by Arnold Dallimore
-Jonathan Edwards: A Life by Gorge Mardsen
-Luther: Man Between God and the Devil by Heiko Oberman and Eileen Walliser
-Calvin by Bruce Gordon
-John Calvin: A Sixteenth-Century Portrait by William Bouwsma
-ohn Calvin: A Pilgrim’s Life by Herman Selderhuis
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 ChurchPlanting.com.
It took a couple of months for any announcement as to where Scott Thomas was heading to materialize. It certainly got no mention from Driscoll in "What's Next For Me". But there was an announcement made by Darrin Patrick at an Acts 29 Retreat that Scott Thomas was going to be joining the team at The Journey from a June 19, 2012 tweet
Announcement at Acts 29 Retreat by Darrin Patrick about our new job at The Journey in St Louis. #Blessed. http://fb.me/SYbI1aZ2
6:41 AM - 19 Jun 2012
And here ...
Preaching at The Journey-West County at 9am and 11am. Join us. http://journeyon.net/locations/west-county … http://fb.me/2lzqAL0Z1
5:58 AM - 5 Aug 2012
Then there's this tweet:
Preaching both services at The Journey-Tower Grove, 9 & 11:15am, plus new worship. Join us! http://ow.ly/doNNU
8:15 AM - 2 Sep 2012
Then there's this link, if it still works.
... and the membership covenant, which may still say the following:
- I will not function in leadership or as a member in another church family [emphasis added](Heb. 13:17).
- I covenant to submit to discipline by God through his Holy Spirit, to follow biblical procedures for church discipline in my relationships with brothers and sisters in Christ, to submit to righteous discipline when approached biblically by brothers and sisters in Christ, and to submit to discipline by church leadership if the need should ever arise (Ps. 141:5; Matt. 18:15-17; 1 Cor. 5:1-5; 2 Cor. 2:5-8; Gal. 6:1-5 8; 1 Tim. 5:20; 2 Tim. 2:25; Titus 1:9; 3:10-11; Heb. 12:5-11; Rev. 2:5-7, 14-25).
So given what the Mars Hill membership covenant says about membership at Mars Hill and participation in ministry with other church families you would have thought that Thomas would have resigned his membership, wouldn't he? Well .... maybe not so much. Here's a screen capture someone found for Wenatchee The Hatchet dated August 20, 2012
As to the persistence of that profile on The City ... well, when you're relocating yourself and your whole family to St. Louis to start a new job formally resigning membership or requesting a shut-down of your account on The City isn't very important compared to finding a home and things like that. And, who knows? Perhaps Mars Hill admins didn't stop to even think about Scott Thomas still having a profile on The City until it was pointed out to them in some fashion that Thomas still had a Mars Hill membership despite having preached sermons and mentioned being a pastor at another church.
So for those who may have wondered how Wenatchee The Hatchet worked out that Scott Thomas was still listed as a member of Mars Hill despite having preached sermons at Darrin Patrick's church The Journey; despite having transitioned out of leadership within both Mars Hill and Acts 29; and despite the rather simple fact that to serve in a ministry capacity with another church family violates the Membership Covenant a member agrees to at Mars Hill ... well, a little bird passed along a word.
And as words go, perhaps we can close with some observations from Scott Thomas himself via Twitter and associated media, and a few observations.
2. Never correct by email.
Hmm ... the importance of communicating only one layer up or one layer down is interesting. Lazy or arrogant leaders skip the process of letting information cascade to the right people in the right order? Well ... if you're skipping a few levels within the organization to explain that a conciliatory process had been completed with a couple of men that's fine ... just as long as what you communicated was actually true. If this indicated the conciliatory process was complete ... .
Given what Driscoll said the day after two guys got fired for the first time in Mars Hill (whatever that means) on what basis would Thomas have been able to sincerely believe what he was managing was in any sense a "conciliatory process" given the way Driscoll spoke at an Acts 29 event the day after Meyer and Petry were fired?
4. Never communicate a major decision publicly before communicating it privately to key leaders.
Mars Hill Church Not Actually Volunteering with Lifelong AIDS Alliance
Posted by Dominic Holden on Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 4:57 PM
Well, this is a PR meltdown.
For those just tuning in, it began this morning when Mars Hill Church pastor Tim Gaydos issued a statement celebrating his parish's new proximity to a neighborhood filled with AIDS. As he put it in an e-mail, "being closer to Capitol Hill is a blessing as we are serving and ministering to those who are infected with AIDS on the hill.” Asked at about 11:30 a.m. what sort of HIV/AIDS outreach they were doing—and how being one-third of a mile closer to a gay neighborhood empowered the church to conquer the disease—Mars Hill spokesman Justin Dean explained that congregants intended to teach to the neighborhood's "AIDS victims" about Jesus and the ministry was "at the beginning stages of volunteering with the Lifelong AIDS Alliance." Why would this estimable nonprofit associate itself with a church that won't even allow gay members?
And that's where the question stood until now.
It turns out, Mars Hill Church hasn't filled out any volunteer application forms or undergone a screening process to affiliate itself with Lifelong AIDS Alliance, Kelly Bray, a spokeswoman for the outreach charity, says by phone. She says, in fact, that the church has "no relationship" with her group. Mars Hill did call Lifelong about the possibility of volunteering last fall, but they hadn't heard again from the church until today—"around lunchtime," Bray adds. You mean, the church only touched base again with Lifelong after The Stranger started inquiring about the church's purported Capitol Hill AIDS ministry? "I think the timeline of that synced up," Bray confirmed. "We have not responded yet. We are still working out our response internally." ...
The beginning stages seems to have meant Justin Dean was willing to say something in public. Dean seems pretty good at saying things in public like that because of "unclear communication" the escalation of church discipline for a former member of Mars Hill named Andrew got posted on The City when it was intended to be read by a tiny group of people.
Before now, Mars Hill’s only response has been posting an excerpt on church discipline from Driscoll’s 2009 book Vintage Church on its website and an opaque tweet from Driscoll. But Justin Dean, the church’s PR and marketing manager, agreed to answer my questions by email to tell the church’s side of the story.
Justin Dean is relatively new to Mars Hill, having begun work as the Communications Director there in November 2011. If Justin Dean ever wants to comment about this (aka this) it'd be interesting to see what public statement he might have. As yet there's no indication that anyone within Mars Hill has even acknowledged that Joyful Exiles even exists but perhaps at some point Mars Hill will take an approach that doesn't involve named parties associated with an EIT simply shuffling off to other churches within the Acts 29 Network.