Thursday, January 02, 2014

Fighting for the Faith--Driscoll kinda sorta apologizes for his mistakes

Because you knew Fighting for the Faith was not simply done with this matter, either. 

in other news, World Magazine revisits the Driscoll/Mars Hill publications controversy

World Magazine's Warren Smith revisits the news regarding Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill, allegations of plagiarism and which publishers are investigating and discussing things.  If the Dec 18 Tyndale press statement was made in any hope that matters would be considered settled where press coverage was concern those hopes appear to have been misplaced. 

As Warren Throckmorton has noted recently, Mark Driscoll's plagiarism kerfuffle made the top five plagiarism stories of 2013 at iThenticate.  It's worth noting that the general understanding of the plagiarism controversy substance at iThenticate suggests a lack of knowledge about the works published through Thomas Nelson, specifically Real Marriage and Who Do You Think You Are? where questions about the provenance and nature of the material are still pending.  The Tyndale statement did not address those publications and addressed the Trial study guide that happened to get pulled due to citation errors. While Meffered pulled the material she did not rescind the allegations and, let's note for a moment, if the allegations had no merit to them why did Intervarsity Press's statement that the material was not properly cited or credited lead to the retraction of the book and an apology from Driscoll (kind of)?

If it's any consolation to Driscoll and Mars Hill they've done better than Shia LaBeouf, who reportedly couldn't even issue a statement of apology without somehow managing to plagiarize. If that's true then, well, that's kind of amazing. Don't expect Optimus Prime to roll out to save you, man.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

SCCL's Stephanie Drury, gets ahold of Driscoll's Dec 18 missive on The City regarding the plagiarism controversy

They say an article's headline should tell you the first, most important thing you'll want to know.  So we've dutifully done this at Wenatchee The Hatchet.  And we can link to secondary and primary sources as is best to do.  From secondary to primary where the news is concerned.

For folks who might have trouble reading a screen cap posted by Stephanie Drury here's a slightly larger version. 

Mars Hill | New Discussion Topic

Pastor Mark Driscoll
From Pastor Mark Driscoll: Dear Mars Hill Church,
In light of some recent controversy that you may or may not be aware of, I wanted to communicate with you, our church family. Earning and keeping the trust of people in our church that I love and have given my adult life to matters very much to me. It has taken us some time to provide a statement, and it was because we wanted to do the right thing, in the right way, with the right heart, and that required time.
For those who have been patient and prayerful, thank you. I am genuinely grateful for the grace I receive from the people I am honored to teach the Bible to week in and week out.
I am sorry for any concern this may have caused some of you. Because this matters greatly, it has also weighed on me heavily.
Lastly, I would encourage you to not feel any need to defend me. Our job is not to win arguments but to win people to Jesus Christ.
A full statement on the matter from my publisher and me is posted online.
A nobody trying to tell everybody about Somebody,
–Pastor Mark


There are 22781 people in this group.

Yes, it links to the Tyndale statement regarding allegations of plagiarism in A Call to Resurgence and the Trial study guide.  No, there's no mention of the publishers whose works had been under discussion by that point other than Tyndale.  Neither is there mention of Thomas Nelson or Crossway or of Janet Mefferd and her allegations (which, for those in the loop on this, she never actually retracted, contra the Tyndale statement wording that some might misconstrue).

Driscoll apparently had no interest in clarifying to members of Mars Hill Church what the controversy even was if a Mars Hill member reading the statement had not happened to already know about it.  That even within the confines of The City Mark Driscoll made a point of not saying he'd been accused of plagiarism is striking but not surprising.  There's nary a word about the allegations at Mars Hill Church, let alone Pastor Mark TV where Driscoll has maintained a steady tempo visiting the foibles of singles.  Over at Resurgence there's the usual Driscoll talking points and no mention of any plagiarism controversy. 

Now by itself the statement posted to The City is so boring and routine as to be of no consideration.  It probably goes without saying that Stephanie Drury may be the last person Mars Hill Church would want having access, even second-hand access, to content posted to The City.  It probably goes without saying but let's just note that we said it anyway.  Wenatchee The Hatchet has no idea how Drury would have gotten ahold of content from The City but it sure looks like, however she got it, she got an internal missive from Driscoll that was posted to The City. 

But with Drury's scoop in mind, it looks like where the plagiarism allegations and associated controversy go, everything's going to the Tyndale press statement that says Driscoll's in the clear for A Call to Resurgence and that the 1 & 2 Peter study guide has been pulled.  There's no mention of other books Janet Mefferd referred to as possible cases of plagiarism, such as Real Marriage.  It's striking that the intra-City missive merely directs readers to the Tyndale statement because if a member of Mars Hill doesn't know Mark Driscoll has been accused of plagiarism and Driscoll doesn't call attention to that then how many people will follow the link?  Not as many as might follow the link if Driscoll said on The City that he was sorry that the citation errors were made and that because of those the Trial study guide has been pulled. 

Meanwhile, over at Pastor Mark TV there is yet to be any mention of the plagiarism situation.  Mark Driscoll made a point of saying he was taking on editorial duties at Resurgence before the Tyndale press statement was made.  See below:

I’ve taken on editorial duties at Resurgence, at least for a season. This means I’m reviewing nearly every blog article before we post it and giving content feedback in an effort to help our writers get their message out even further.

I don’t pretend to be the world’s greatest writer. But I did start writing professionally as a journalist in high school, paid my way through high school and college writing articles and editing my college newspaper, got a bachelor’s degree in Communications from the top-notch Edward R. Murrow School of Communication, and have written blogs and articles for everyone from CNN to the Washington Post to Fox News.

Let's note that Driscoll announced he'd be taking on editorial duties at Resurgence when there was no need for them.  Driscoll provided no explanation for what reason 1) Resurgence needed his editorial help to begin with and 2) why he'd take something up like that that he has absolutely no verifiable professional experience in.  We've discussed that over here.

Amid allegations of plagiarism across somewhere between four to six books with Mark Driscoll's name on them, who is inclined to assume Mark Driscoll's editorial prowess is trustworthy at this point?  Let's remind people that Tyndale and Mark Driscoll issued a press statement conceding simply that "mistakes were made" but not assigning specific blame, for at least one Mars Hill Church publication.  Well, can we guess that since Mars Hill has scrubbed away signs of Crystal Griffin and Justin Holcomb and Brad House that the mistakes were not made by those people?  Does Mars Hill Church want to field that one?  Would Sutton Turner be willing to field that question at ... say ... a Vision Breakfast? 

How Stephanie Drury got ahold of content posted to The City is an interesting question all its own.  That's probably a question people inside Mars Hill have been asking today.  But indulge Wenatchee The Hatchet in a moment of opinionated punditry.  The problem is not that there are people willing to be a mole to Stephanie Drury inside of Mars Hill Church with access to The City.  The problem is that mistrust of the leadership culture at Mars Hill Church has risen to a level where someone with actual access to The City was ever considering leaking content to Drury in the first place.  But that's just the opinion of Wenatchee The Hatchet.  Take it or leave it at your pleasure.

Oh, yes, and happy new year.

A question about numbers, who are the 64 pastors at MH these days? Comparing the public list to the Tripp announcement
Pastor Brandon Andersen
Pastor Jerry Austin
Pastor Zach Bolen
Pastor Joel Brown
Pastor Dave Bruskas
Pastor Adam Christiansen
Pastor Josh Clayton
Pastor David Cox
Pastor Joe Day
Pastor Mark Driscoll
Pastor Mark Dunford
Pastor Cliff Ellis
Pastor David Fairchild
Pastor Alex Ghioni
Pastor Aaron Gray
Pastor Matthias Haeusel
Pastor AJ Hamilton
Pastor Scott Harris
Pastor Drew Hensley
Pastor Thomas Hurst
Pastor Cam Huxford
Pastor Anthony Ianniciello
Pastor Bubba Jennings
Pastor Matt Johnson
Pastor Ryan Kearns
Pastor Dustin Kensrue
Pastor Andrew Lisi
Pastor Alfredo Lobaina
Pastor Cliff Low
Pastor Aaron Mead
Pastor Donovan Medina
Pastor Andy Phipps
Pastor Phil Poirier
Pastor Tim Quiring
Pastor Adam Ramsey
Pastor Matt Rogers
Pastor Paul Rohrbaugh
Pastor James Rose
Pastor Gary Shavey
Pastor Bill Simmonds
Pastor Jason Skelton
Pastor Phil Smidt
Pastor Tim Smith
Pastor Jim Tomisser
Pastor Steve Tompkins
Pastor Sutton Turner
Pastor Matt Wallace
Pastor Ryan Welsh
Pastor Mike Wilkerson
Pastor Ryan Williams
Pastor Seth Winterhalter

That's 51 names there.  Let's look back to the announcement that Paul Tripp was joining some board.
... At Mars Hill Church, we love Jesus and our people very much. We also want to be good stewards with everyone and everything that Jesus has entrusted to us. With 15 churches across 5 states, 64 elders/pastors (27 unpaid), 54 elder/pastor candidates in process (nearly all unpaid), 614 deacons (517 unpaid)

All right, so we've got 51 names listed and a mention to 64 elders, 27 of whom are unpaid.  Where are the missing 13?  These would buy guys who function as pastors and are recognized as such by Mars Hill but not necessarily named to the public.  This is one of those opportunities for people to jump in with comments and, ideally, have some way to establish a basis for statements about who is a pastor at Mars Hill that may not be in the listed 51 but would be in the 64.

No cookie for you if you guessed Jamie Munson. 

So, anyone have any insights who the missing 13 might be? 

Warren Throckmorton--Crossway investigating Mark Driscoll books, NavPress has begun private conversation with Mars Hill regarding book situation

His most recent post includes a variety of links that may interest you.

Now NavPress is getting involved.
This update was posted yesterday on Becky Garrison’s article published by Religion Dispatches:
We [NavPress] have chosen to respond to Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church directly and will keep the conversation private among both parties.
There is no indication what the conversation is about but I can guess that it involves the use of Dan Allender’s work from The Wounded Heart (published by NavPress)  in two of Driscoll’s books, Real Marriage and Death By Love.

Recently, Crossway indicated that they were investigating their books written by Driscoll to ensure proper citation and documentation.

Elsewhere, according to Seattle’s The Stranger Blog (SLOG), Driscoll put out a private statement to Mars Hill members about two weeks ago with what appears to be a vague reference to the plagiarism/ghostwriting controversy. However, there is no apology for any wrongdoing, rather the apology is for “concern” caused to congregation.  This statement to Mars Hill references the Tyndale press release where Driscoll said, “mistakes were made.”

There's a few things that could be said about this but for now linking with citation will suffice.  Okay, let's say this (again) it's amazing that nobody caught the overlap between Driscoll and Allender in 2012 when Real Marriage came out.  I wasn't aware of the overlap until I finally read the Driscoll book in the summer of 2012 and the moment I saw the Good Girl, Tough Girl and Party Girl in chapter 7 I instantly recognized them from the Dan Allender book I picked up, not coincidentally, from Mars Hill Church after a service somewhere around 2006.  Mars Hill Church was selling The Wounded Heart at its campuses. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

one last guest piece for the year 2013

"Flavours of Failure" is an overview of the Blood & Ice Cream, aka the Cornetto flavor trilogy by Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg.  Ironically when I made a point of breaking out the whole set into a three-part series so that I could complete a trilogy of three-part series about cinematic trilogies Mockingbird published "Flavours of Failure" all in one go. 

Well, so it goes. :)

Something for the year's end.

Driscoll and plagiarism concerns continues, this time via Twitter

While in 2012 Matthew Paul Turner and Rachel Held Evans were two of the stars of the against-Driscoll web presence 2013 has been a fallow year, despite the detail that allegations of plagiarism in multiple books are arguably a bigger deal than a single disciplinary case.  After all, the corporation of Mars Hill Church itself and Mark Driscoll as an individual get implicated in "citation errors" and in contrast to Andrew Lamb's situation the plagiarism allegations were big enough of a deal for Mark Driscoll to issue an apologetic statement via Tyndale (though not, we may note, through either Mars Hill Church or through Pastor Mark TV where he preferred to blog bromides about mistakes single people make regarding marriage, as usual). 

Seeing as Turner has blogged about the exigencies of raising a two-year old it's quite easy to understand why he'd have other things on his mind. :) 

But as of now 2013 has not ended and Turner has sounded on the twagiarism situation specifically and Driscoll's plagiarism kerfuffle generally (and, really, who could resist using "kerfuffle" after Driscoll made such a point of using it in 2012 on the matter of some event or not at Liberty University?). 

Comedians recycling or borrowing the jokes of others without attribution has been the subject of debate and humor before.  For those inclined and willing to watch the South Park episode "Fish Sticks" may be a useful reference point.  A comparison between Mark Driscoll and Carlos Mencia ... hmm ... well, if you've seen the South Park episode perhaps that inarticulate rambling might make some sense.

Warren Throckmorton updates on Crossway looking into the plagiarism allegations

No news beyond "we're looking into this" for the moment.  That Death By Love included "fig leafs" that employed the working definitions and terms developed by Dan Allender was an interesting discovery on Throckmorton's part.  Was it possible the lack of citation of Allender in the later book may have had something to do with the material and concepts being recycled from, say, Death by Love, which itself did not attribute to Allender the ideas that can be documented so readily in The Wounded Heart? While questions about the degree to which Mark Driscoll's work relies on ghostwriting has been broached no one except Becky Garrison has raised any question about whether material credited to Grace Driscoll was actually written by her. 

If Real Marriage simply recycled content from Death by Love would that explain why, somehow, along the way, nobody editing either book ever got the idea that maybe there was some conceptual overlap between Driscoll verbiage and Dan Allender's work from 1990? It will be interesting to see what, if anything, Crossway has to say in the next few weeks about the results of their investigation. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Religion News Dispatches--Becky Garrison surveys the Christian publishing scene and the Mark Driscoll plagiarism controversy

Mars Hill is currently aiming to land some real estate owned by Sound Transit with plans to move its corporate headquarters from their 50th street building in Ballard to Bellevue.  Check out the following link for details. Of course Mars Hill Church is also planning to host school programs via Western Seminary and Corban University and in 2014 Wenatchee The Hatchet plans to survey the history of attempts at providing seminary-style education over the years.  But all that is to say that amid an attempt to land real estate already owned by Sound Transit and preparing another shot at a seminary the allegations of plagiarism leveled by Janet Mefferd against Mark Driscoll came at an arguably inopportune time when Mars Hill Church and Mark Driscoll were both preparing to throw down gauntlets in the form of new challenges for the congregation. 

Garrison surveys the coverage and blogging so far and a couple of blogs may be familiar to readers who have kept tabs on events in the last two months.  Garrison notes that Driscoll's public apology via Tyndale did not address the implied allegation that a research assistant or associate was to blame.  While it was a simple matter for anyone to go see that Driscoll publicly praised Holcomb as his research assistant in early 2009 that praise via open letter has been scrubbed away.  Unfortunately for MH PR and Driscoll in particular, whoever opted to implicitly shift blame to a research assistant forgot how much material Mars Hill puts out for the public to read, archive, dredge up via The WayBack Machine or otherwise keep on record for future consultation.  Meanwhile, as Garrison notes, there's no indication Driscoll and company issued any apology for the implied accusation that a research assistant or somebody-not-Driscoll was to blame for the "citation errors".