Saturday, September 21, 2013

Slate: transactive memory, or why we rely on Google and each other to remember things we normally don't bother remembering

This is, in a way, an answer to a question most of you probably didn't ask.  :)

So humanity has always relied on coping devices to handle the details for us. We’ve long stored knowledge in books, paper, Post-it notes.

But when it comes to quickly retrieving information on the fly, all day long, quickly? We don’t rely on documents for the details as much as you’d think. No, we rely on something much more immediate: other people.

And a bit further along:

... Transactive groups don’t just remember better: They also analyze problems more deeply, too, developing a better grasp of underlying principles.

We don't remember in isolation—and that's a good thing. "Quite simply, we seem to record as much outside our minds as within them," as Wegner has written. "Couples who are able to remember things transactively offer their constituent individuals storage for and access to a far wider array of information than they would otherwise command." These are, as Wegner describes it in a lovely phrase, "the thinking processes of the intimate dyad."

Memory is often far more social than individual.  This is why the social memory of a time and place, once established, becomes nearly impossible to overturn even if the shared social memory turns out to be completely wrong on further inspection.  To put it in nerdy terms, comics author Steven Grant has said that Peter Parker is imagined to be the gawky awkward kid who doesn't look that good and has trouble with girls.  Never mind that all his girlfriends have looked like models and that he turned into a pretty boy in the hands of John Romita or Gil Kane.  The imagination or halo effect about Spiderman has persisted over against any actual stories or drawings within the comics themselves.  What the collective memory of Spiderman is thus has nothing to do with the comics and yet is in its way immutable. 

What’s more, transactive memory isn’t some sort of cognitive Get Out of Jail Free card. High school students, I’m sorry to tell you: You still need to memorize tons of knowledge. That’s for reasons that are civic and cultural and practical; a society requires shared bodies of knowledge. And on an individual level, it’s still important to slowly study and deeply retain things, not least because creative thought—those breakthrough ahas—come from deep and often unconscious rumination, your brain mulling over the stuff it has onboard

There are a lot of people, too many people, who think that the transactive memory options of search engine memory give them access to information about that certain subject that must be right.  They'll read some Wikipedia entries on the subject and imagine that all the sources were accurately quoted, quoted in context, and that therefore things must be reliable.  No, not really, not unless we're talking about Starscream in comics continuities and then Wikipedia proves frighteningly accurate.  Pick a more controversial or challenging topic with real-world implications and the results are different.

And ... maybe ... there's a subtext to this post about why somebody writes so frequently about a set of topics.  Facilitating the process of transactive memory and encouraging people to share things on record has a role in a healthily functioning social and cultural system. 

follow up on follow up, Nathan Burke is out of the pastor roster at Mars Hill Church

Another guy is no longer listed here


Nathan Burke's Experience

Chief Operating Officer


Privately Held; 1-10 employees; Marketing and Advertising industry
August 2013Present (2 months) Greater Seattle Area

Executive Pastor Mars Hill Ballard

Mars Hill Church

Nonprofit; 51-200 employees; Religious Institutions industry
January 2012August 2013 (1 year 8 months) Greater Seattle Area
Oversaw operations at Mars Hill Church in Ballard. Mars Hill is a multi-site church with 12,000 attendees at 14 locations across the states of Washington, California, New Mexico, and Oregon. The Ballard location was one of the largest, running an average of 1800 per Sunday, in addition to mid-week programming and activities.

Executive Assistant to Pastor Mark Driscoll

Mars Hill Church

Nonprofit; 51-200 employees; Religious Institutions industry
May 2008January 2012 (3 years 9 months) Greater Seattle Area
During this time I acted as the assistant to Pastor Mark Driscoll, the lead pastor and founder of Mars Hill Church and the Acts 29 Church Planting Network. This was a time of exponential growth at breakneck speed. At the beginning of my time in this position Mars Hill was a church of 5,000 at 6 locations, eventually becoming a church of over 10,000 with a dozen locations across three states. I managed Pastor Mark's calendar and communications plus any and every project he'd have me follow up with, which meant networking across all of Mars Hill, but also throughout the country and internationally as well. I planned and coordinated a very busy travel schedule, and went on many trips with him during this time throughout the country and abroad to England, Ireland, Turkey, and South Africa. By the end of my time in this position I was leading a team of people to implement his goals.

Executive Assistant to Pastor Tim Smith (Worship Pastor)

Mars Hill Church

Nonprofit; 51-200 employees; Religious Institutions industry
May 2006May 2008 (2 years 1 month) Greater Seattle Area

Project Manager

DC3 Entertainment

May 2005April 2006 (1 year) Greater Seattle Area
A start-up entertainment company that ended up morphing into a coffee company:
This is someone whose ties would conceivably go back to Jon Phelps, too.
In a tweet that was retweeted by Nathan Burke we get the following:

When the officers are too strong and the common soldiers too weak, the result is collapse
Retweeted by nathan Burke
Thanks to the commenter who mentioned that Nathan Burke has transitioned out.  The rate at which Mars Hill Church is hemorrhaging leaders is impressive. 
In passing, the temporary disappearance and subsequent reappearance of Phil Smidt in the roster was interesting, in case anyone else spotted that. 

follow up on a comment mentioning the BAJI group guys and Mars Hill--names and roles
It's a list of the most recent "lead" pastors to leave MH. Don't believe the spin that any of these guys were "sent out," as they might have you believe. And yes, switch Mulkey with Jennings.
Also of note, several of the key central staff leaders have left recently. House, Holcomb, the guys... to name a few.

On Scott Thomas, you're kidding yourself if you think "Joyful Exiles" had anything to do with that. There's much more to that story than an admittedly bad story from 2006-7.

If you haven't noticed, it's a Mark Driscoll rampage (and now Sutton Turner). Get on the bus (do what you're told and kiss their feet) or get off the bus (and get run over, as we know from the Joyful Exiles stories).

As soon as you realize that the Mark Driscoll that exiled Paul Petry and Bent Meyer is the same Mark Driscoll that is pushing away almost every single leader at Mars Hill, the sooner you'll understand what's going on. At the end of the day, he pushes people away who do not continually praise everything he says and does.

The MH thing isn't the same conspiracy you make it out to be; it's not a group of people drinking the same kool-aid. No, this is a controlling, charismatic dictator, who destroys anyone who gets in his way. There's nothing special about Joyful Exiles. They may have been one of the first, but they've certainly not been the last.
 5:58 PM  

The mention of the BAJI group guys was very specific.  So specific it seemed worth noting who they are.  It may seem dull to anyone not already immersed in its history but the anonymous commenter mentioning BAJI touches on names of guys who were at Mars Hill during the 2011 trademark/logo situation.

Mike Anderson
Managing Director

Mike is always looking at the big picture. In his early twenties he led a leadership website called Resurgence, now read by millions each year. He then took that platform and led the expansion into large events, retail sales, and a publishing company—even leading the marketing campaign for a #1 New York Times Best Selling book. Now he helps organizations who do great things build their platform.

At BAJI Mike is the guy tending to overall business, building the team, making sure our systems are top notch and running smoothly, working with clients on long-term planning, making sure that no one goes to jail, and helping to ensure that we have a culture that we all want to be a part of.
Mike Anderson's Projects 2012 Redesign 
 November 2011 to January 2012

Team Members: Mike Anderson, Perry Azevedo, Seth Faxon, Dan Ott

From Christianty Today's coverage of the Mars HIll trademark fracas
Officials from the Ballard, Washington, multisite church say a member called attention to the Sacramento church's website, asking if the churches were connected. When elders saw a logo similar to their own, which has been in use since 1996, they sent a cease-and-desist letter to Sacramento's Mars Hill Community Church, which has three locations if its own. Mars Hill Seattle filed an application to trademark its name and logo in August.

"The purpose of including both the name and logo in our filing, as opposed to just our name or just our M logo, is to allow us to prevent other churches from combining a 'Mars Hill' name with a substantially similar logo, like what we saw with the Mars Hill churches in Sacramento," said Mike Anderson, director of communications at the Seattle-area church, which is pastored by Mark Driscoll. "We are not concerned with other Mars Hill churches unless their logo and branding is [similar to] ours. Based on our research, there were no other such churches."

Perry Azevedo

Front-end Web Design & Developer
Mars Hill Church 
Nonprofit; 51-200 employees; Religious Institutions industry
May 2011 – June 2012 (1 year 2 months) Seattle, WA
Redesigned and helped with front-end development for a major redesign of in 2012. Worked on the front-end development for the launch of Was responsible for front-end design and development for as well.

Perry Azevedo's Projects 2012 Redesign 
 November 2011 to January 2012

Team Members: Perry Azevedo, Seth Faxon, Dan Ott, Mike Anderson, Patrick Mahoney, Jake Johnson

This was a full site redesign. I was on a team of four who handled all the pre-planning (site map, wireframing, etc.). After that I took on lead design for the site, where I worked closely with the art director, followed by front-end development with the current lead web developer.

Pastor Mark 
 September 2011 to December 2011

Team Members: Perry Azevedo, Seth Faxon, Jake Johnson

Website & blog for the author, evangelist, and founding pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. Responsibilities: front-end design & development.

 The Resurgence 
 April 2012 to May 2012

Team Members: Perry Azevedo, Willy Bravenec, Mike Anderson, Jesse Bryan, Patrick Mahoney, Mattox Shuler

Design refresh to bring it in line with a recent rebranding. Responsibilities: design & front-end development

Jesse Bryan
Creative Director

Jesse Bryan is a creative and brand director who's worked with brands such as Red Bull and News Corp and bands like Misfits, Rancid, Band of Horses, Questlove, and Demon Hunter. He previously served as the Creative Director for Mars Hill Church in Seattle, listed as one of the top-three innovative churches in the world with millions of online fans worldwide. Entrepreneurial and diverse, he is the co-founder of Totem, a Seattle-based AR platform, is currently the CEO of Mind Diaper, a Seattle-based app development company, and is putting the finishing touches on his second full-length film.

Creative Director
Mars Hill Church 
Nonprofit; 51-200 employees; Religious Institutions industry
January 2005 – August 2012 (7 years 8 months) Seattle
The Resurgence 
 April 2012 to May 2012

Team Members: Jesse Bryan, Patrick Mahoney, Perry Azevedo, Willy Bravenec, Mike Anderson, Mattox Shuler

Design refresh to bring it in line with a recent rebranding. Responsibilities: design & front-end development

Jake Johnson
Chief Copyrighter

Jake brings over a decade of professional writing experience to BAJI, having worked with numerous authors, businesses, and agencies to create top-notch publications ranging from business plans to New York Times bestsellers, and compelling ads and copy for a variety of campaigns. In addition to his work in publishing and advertising, he has served as a Pastor and Communications Director for Redemption Church in Arizona and as Chief Copywriter and Content Strategist for Mars Hill Church in Seattle. Jake graduated summa cum laude from Cornell University with a bachelor of arts in English Literature.

Chief Copywriter and Content Strategist
Mars Hill Church 
Nonprofit; 51-200 employees; Religious Institutions industry
June 2011 – August 2012 (1 year 3 months) Greater Seattle Area
Directed the content strategy, copywriting, and messaging for Mars Hill Church, a 15,000-member church in 14 locations and 4 states; Resurgence, a church leadership website with over 6 million visitors annually; and Pastor Mark Driscoll, a New York Times best-selling author and international speaker.

Jonny Ashcroft
Art Director

Jonny is a traditionally-trained fine artist who began his career as an interface designer before moving on to create advertising campaigns, product branding, and limited edition collectibles for Fender Musical Instruments. He went on to create award-winning work as the Creative Director for a large multi-congregational church before building a successful career as a freelance illustrator and designer, working with companies like UPS, Fast Company, The Atlantic, UCLA, Shell, The American Civil Liberties Union, and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Yes, a lot of material simply drawn from elsewhere and as is usual of Wenatchee The Hatchet this information is presented for educational/informational purposes. 

Mars Hill Church has a few job openings, including Bible College Director

These job titles are fairly self-explanatory

job posted 09-09-2013
job posted 09-10-2013
job posted 09-03-2013
job posted 8-23-2013

The Bible College Director is noteworthy since it's not clear that there even still is a Master in Missional Leadership available for anyone to earn.  In fact the Resurgence Training Center's history has quite possibly never been the subject of any blogging or reporting since the 2009 announcement of the program.  The reason might because there's so very little history to discuss but it seems like it would be worth discussing in the future because Mark Driscoll has wanted to start a seminary and as yet those attempts have not taken hold enough for there to be consecutive academic years.  Not even with Piper and Ware directly contributing material, apparently. 

This one was posted September 17, 2013

Of some note:

  • Prepare various financial analyses used for both the church and the investor; analyses include ROI, depreciation, redemption timelines, lease vs. own, and lease renegotiation analysis
  • Manage the day to day operations and accounting for the different funds, including but not limited to the Church Planting Endowment Fund, the Church Lending Fund, and the Church Planting Public Charity
  • Provide sophisticated financial analysis which models a client’s current and future occupancy costs by providing cash flow projections and pricing of various leasehold interests across multiple property types
  • Gather and track critical financial data points for negotiation purposes and future strategic planning
  • Review, analyze, comprehend, abstract, and interpret various types of real estate documents, including leases, rent rolls, budgets, operating statements, expense reconciliations, loan agreements, and other information used in the analysis process
  • Strategize creative alternatives with co-workers and clients
  • Ability to present analysis results in a formal setting to audiences with a wide range of financial acumen
  • Produce quarterly reports for the church leadership and the investors
  • Manage investor relations, being sure we love and steward the men and women who partner with us in building this economic engine to support church growth


Thursday, September 19, 2013

another link-a-thon--postal workers ignoring email, 90s bands recycle, and other stuff

There is a time for writing that is writing itself, so to speak, and there is a time for writing about what you read.  This second category has been more of what's happened at Wenatchee The Hatchet than in previous years.  In previous years there was a lot of writing ... but then day jobs can cut down on how much time you have to spare.  There's a mountain range of backlogged writing projects.  Be that as it may ... here is another set of links with assorted observations and associations presented as food for though.

Slate reminds us that in the magazine Wired back in 2001 postal workers were saying `email is not a threat'. 

Brace yourself for 90s band nostalgia tours and Gen X doing the Baby Boomer retread route.

From ... actually ... Friday the 13th, Mark Driscoll published "What I told 7,000 counselors today".

John Piper discusses the difference between 'adrenaline' Christians and 'coronary' Christians and associated ministries over at World Magazine. (This is probably an example of an adrenaline-fueled thing ).

Dan over at City of God proposes an explanation for why Christian filmmakers are never making stuff like Breaking Bad.  When some evangelicals write about engaging culture it no longer seems to include discussing shows like Breaking Bad, Mad Men, or Game of Thrones. Now maybe folks who were "engaging culture" in their 20s are in their 40s now and are "upstream" and developing things.  But if Dan's polemic has some force (and I think, maybe, it does) the stuff evangelicals will be making will not come near the aforementioned shows.  Christians who are engaging culture are never going to invent a Tyrion Lannister or get so far as casting Peter Dinklage to play him.  To be sure GoT is not exactly my cup of tea as genre stuff goes but Dinklage as Tyrion is a peculiar joy to watch on screen, just not wonderful enough to get me to watch the rest of that series! 

But, again, evangelicals of a certain stripe don't even seem to be talking about television of this sort, let alone making it.  If there are people with the talent to make material at that level of productivity and thought within evangelicalism it's not clear whether they are really doing that or whether their talents are put into what amount to promotional materials for megachurches.  Or as Alastair Roberts put it about Rob Bell, "If the theologian of the 16th century was a lawyer, the theologian of the 21st century is an ad man."  He might have a speech communications major and he might have a drastically different approach than Rob Bell but Robert's observation that the Ad Man's Gospel seems to be a thing in evangelicalism left or right.

In his tireless campaign against transformationist paradigms of missional cultural engagement, D. G. Hart writes:

... But when it comes to a liberal education, are Calvinists really supposed to say that Christians know a liberal education better than non-Christians? Even though the liberal arts and their derivation from classical languages and letters by Christians predated Reformed Protestantism, we are now supposed to conclude that only faculty with a biblical or Reformed w-w will be the ones to yield a genuinely liberal education?

This is complete nonsense and amazingly smug, as if regeneration somehow gives Christians insights into tragedy, epistemology, or historical contingency.

He then builds up to the following:

... Once you accept that people who do not know Christ, along with the institutions they found, are legitimate and reflect in some measure of the image of God in man along with the truths of general revelation, then you can aspire to be learned the way that Epstein is, or try to follow constitutional republicanism the way the founders of the U.S. did, or even read Plato and Thucydides for profit the way most college students in the West for centuries have (if you were rich and smart enough). If you appeal to common grace to free you from the polarities of such hyper-antithesis, by all means, go right ahead. That means you have to stop bellyaching about secular learning, secular governments, and secular persons because common grace is a way of affirming that all of those institutions and people have a legitimate role in God’s gracious ends. It also means giving up transformationalism because common grace has already done what you seemed to think transforming the culture would do.

He also couldn't resist linking back to his polemic "Jihad if you do, holy war if you don't."

A few links here, here, and here at The Elephant's Debt regarding the recent ex-cathedra style pronouncemnts from Harvest Bible Chapel elders.

An excerpt of note:

It was at this point of the church history that James assigned a “research committee” outside of the elder board’s authority and knowledge, to significantly restructure the governance of the church. The intended result was to remove the elders from having authority over the direction of the church – giving him more authority than any one man should have. In essence, he already had it. He had a way of working around the elders to accomplish his objectives and announce them as “approved by the elders”. How James imploded the Harvest elder board in 2009 is remarkably similar to how Mark Driscoll imploded his a year earlier.

It was in 2007 that the entire church got restructured at Mars Hill, for those who were at Mars Hill at the time.  People who weren't contracted members of the organization could be forgiven for not getting the right year for when the big and controversial re-org happened.  Changes at Mars Hill can often be so frenetic it can be tough to catch them all or keep up with them.  However, commenters of various sorts have provided updates on transitions here and there.  Still, it's worth noting the above statement from David Corning takes as given the understanding that Mark Driscoll imploded his elder board some time before James MacDonald re-structured HBC. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

A few links from the blog of Martin Shields

Martin Shields (author of a fine little commentary on Ecclesiates that will, some day, be a blog topic again) has a few interesting posts I'm linking to.

Common misreadings of Genesis 2, particularly where sex is found (and not
Here Shields points out that naming animals does not and did not imply authority over them, for instance.

Whatever the Hebrew word transliterated `hebel' means, it can't really be `fleeting'.
For those unfamiliar with his compelling little monograph The End of Wisdom, Shields proposes that Solomon not only did not write the book but also that at no point can Qoholeth be described as repenting of anything.  That's something we'll have to try to get back to blogging about ... some day.

Finally, the obscurity of Genesis 4:7 and its allusions back to the seed of the woman and the serpent respectively.

HT Jim West: Norma Franklin proposes a reason why Omri would have established his kingdom at Samaria, a lucrative oil and wine trade

In short, the newly established capital of the northern Kingdom of Israel was not a militarily strategic site, nor was it located on any major trade route; rather it served as the hub of a highly specialized and lucrative oil and wine industry that flourished throughout southern Samaria. It must have been an important element in the kingdom’s economy and a key factor in the emergence of the fully fledged Israelite state during the Omride dynasty.

There's more but that's the concluding paragraph for those readers who will do more than read this post.  :)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Mark Driscoll is ... apparently out of Acts 29 leadership?

You'll still be able to find all sorts of Mars Hill and Mars Hill affiliated churches in the Acts 29 Network ... but where's Driscoll on the executive leadership listing these days?

Someone anonymously mentioned earlier this year in a comment thread that relations were strained between Mark Driscoll and Darrin Patrick (and Jamie Munson) but the part where there seems to be no sign of Mark Driscoll at the Acts 29 Network leadership listings is peculiar.

It's not like that hadn't happened to David Nicholas, though, come to think of it. There was kind of no public explanation of his transition out of the public eye, either.  Well, as always, if anyone wants to speak on record about these kinds of things Wenatchee The Hatchet can provide a venue. If Driscoll's still on the Acts 29 board in some capacity definitely correct misunderstandings and thanks in advance.

Here's some UBI stuff
That's the old one that had Steve Tompkins as registered agent.  This is the newer WA listing.
Clearly Scott Thomas is not going to be a registered agent these days.  It's worth nothing who the top guys were in the organization.

President Driscoll, Mark
1411 NW 50th Street
Vice President Bruskas, David
1411 NW 50th Street

Secretary Turner, Sutton
1411 NW 50TH ST
Seattle, WA 98107
Treasurer Turner, Sutton
1411 NW 50th Street
Seattle, WA 98107
Then there's this:

UBI Number602502267
State Of IncorporationWA
WA Filing Date05/11/2005
Expiration Date05/31/2013
Inactive Date09/03/2013

So the inactive date was at the start of the month.  Okay.  Texas having different sorts of laws and codes finding out the names of the officers and so forth will be a bit trickier.

The Elephant's Debt: Former elders Scott Phelps and Barry Slabaugh release a statement, are then publicly labeled as satanic

For those who have some interest in James MacDonald and Harvest Bible Chapel stuff.

Concerns about MacDonald will be relevant to those who have an interest in Mars Hill since Mark Driscoll has referred to MacDonald as a friend and as having a spiritual gift of real estate acquisition and an ability to raise resources. Granting that the posted descriptions of governance at MH have changed drastically between the spring of 2012 and the summer of 2013 (discussed here). Since at one point, in the event of any charge being made against Driscoll, James MacDonald was listed as one of the parties to assess charges (discussed here) it seems good to keep some idea of what's going on over there and what issues are in public discussion.