Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Pussified Nation in the context of Driscollian real estate in 2000

Tempting though it shall inevitably be for people on the internet to discuss Mark Driscoll's "Pussified Nation" that he wrote under the youthful pseudonym William Wallace II as an atomized, self-contained thing, it had a historical context.  Having attempted to establish some context in time it would also not do to avoid mentioning its context in space, literal space, because knowing a few things about the Driscollian real estate situation as a background to Mark Driscoll's ranting against irresponsible single guys adds an additional element to understanding where Mark Driscoll was at (rather literally) in terms of his activity. 

Let's begin first with an excerpt from his 2006 book.

Confessions of a Reformission Rev
Mark Driscoll, Zondervan 2006
ISBN-13: 978-0-310-27016-4

page 119
[this season begins in early 1999]
I had worked myself to near burnout and was still the only paid pastor on staff although there was enough work for ten people.

[remember that at this point Mike Gunn and Lief Moi still had full-time jobs, Driscoll's work was apparently part-time and he had a stipend from the advisory board and supplemented his income in other ways]

page 120
A friend in the church kindly allowed me to move into a large home he owned on a lease-to-own deal because I was too broke to qualify for anything but an outhouse. The seventy-year-old house had over three thousand square feet, seven bedrooms on three floors, and needed a ton of work because it had been neglected for many years as a rental home for college students. Grace and I and our daughter Ashley, three male renters who helped cover the mortgage, my study, and the church office all moved into the home. [emphasis added] This put me on the job, literally, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, as the boundary between home and church was erased.

We ran the church out of my house for nearly two years, including leadership meetings and Bible studies for various groups on almost every night of the week. It was not uncommon to have over seventy people a week in our home. Grace got sucked right back into the church mess. She was a great host to our guests. But I started growing bitter toward her because I was again feeling neglected.

I began working seven days a week, trying to save the church from imminent death. I had decided to go for broke and accepted that I would either save the church and provide for my family or probably die of a heart attack. I lived on caffeine and adrenaline for the better part of two years, ate terribly ,and put on nearly forty pounds. 

So while Driscoll was venting his spleen about irresponsible single guys he was not necessarily venting about the male renters who helped cover the mortgage on his house he was living in that he got through a lease-to-own deal because his credit was so bad all he could rent was an outhouse.
In the section of the 2011 film God's Work, Our Witness we're treated to a few anecdotes from life in the Driscoll's basement.  There's a shot that gives Seattle residents a pretty decent clue as to where the house would be, not least for those who were ever at Mars Hill who set foot in the place.

God's Work, Our Witness
December 4, 2011
about 27:33
The Driscolls’ Basement
Once we got kicked out of that building, literally everything moved back into our house. So offices in our house across from our bedroom, interns in the basement.

Pastor Matt: Poor Grace. Like, it was so ghetto down there because, I mean, you know bachelors. There’s like three guys living down there, and the dishes would just stack up, stack up. I remember they’d start stinking real bad. And every couple of weeks, like, we’d see the dishes done. I’d come home from work, and I’d say, “Hey, man, did you do the dishes? Thanks.” He was like, “Nah, I think Grace did them again.”

Grace: We shared laundry facilities and so, yeah, I just ended up cleaning half the time, because it was—I couldn’t even stay down there to do laundry. It was so disgusting.

Pastor Matt: Sorry, sorry, Grace. [emphasis added]

We had just picked up Pastor Tim in Albuquerque, New Mexico, around that time and he had never played an electric guitar. He’d never sung in a band. He’d never written a song, and he couldn’t sing, man. When he sang, it actually sounded like he got captured by Al-Qaeda. So we had to pay for vocal lessons and go buy him an electric guitar.

Pastor Tim: [The kind of worshipers that he is seeking are those that will worship in spirit and truth, and that is a thought that has changed every aspect of how I think.] When I came to Mars Hill, I had never really been in a band. I played a lot of acoustic guitar with hand drums, but I hadn’t really been in a band. I hadn’t ever really written a song, and I’d never owned an electric guitar—a lot of acoustic, a lot of flannel, a lot of sandals.

Tim and his wife moved out from Missouri to live in my basement and go work Joe jobs and give it a shot because we met him for twenty minutes at a conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Pastor Tim: Because you weren’t at that conference.

Beth: No, no, it was just him.

Pastor Tim: You hadn’t met these people. You hadn’t read these things. I just came home from New Mexico from this conference and said, “Hey, what if we moved to Seattle now?”

Beth: That was a little harder sell for me. We had to pray about that for a while.

Pastor Tim: Yeah, because we didn’t know anybody here.

Beth: No, no.

Pastor Tim: So in August of 1999, we rolled into the Driscoll family’s driveway. It was the second time I’d ever seen Pastor Mark. We talked on the phone a time or two and exchanged a couple of e-mails. I think we both met Grace here in this basement while she was doing the laundry.
Beth: We had a dining table right here and some chairs, and there was a futon right here. It was a little nicer.

Pastor Tim: The bathroom was nice, right?

Beth: Oh, yeah. I’m not going to—I’m not sharing that part.

Jeff: Matt lived in the basement, and I was over there a lot, and I did silk screening. I cleaned off my screens in his shower downstairs and totally stained it. I think that was permanent. And so I wrecked his basement.

Beth: That’s the first thing I cleaned. I’ll just say that. It was okay for a period of time. We knew it wasn’t forever, so—

Pastor Tim: Years later, I would ask Mark, I asked him, “Why in the world did you do that? Because I’m pretty sure you haven’t just taken anybody else in, and I’m not sure I would exactly the same way, either.” And he said that he had a dream that God told him that I was moving here, and we were supposed to work together. I had no idea what was in store, but apparently God did.

So where was/is this place?

1773240 20000829001153 8/10/2000 $440,000.00KERBER CHARLES FDRISCOLL MARK A+GRACE AStatutory Warranty DeedNone

Technically the real estate is still listed by King County as owned by Mark and Grace Driscoll.  Rest assured they no longer live there now and don't bother trying to visit the place, as whoever is there doesn't need the visitors curious about the history of Mars Hill.  It's worth noting that by Mark Driscoll's account he didn't have good enough credit to outright buy a house at the time and had a lease-to-own arrangement.  This was also a time when single male renters or for a time young married couples rented space or lived in the Driscoll house.  It was not unheard of in this stage of the history of Mars Hill for the alpha couples to invest in real estate they couldn't necessarily afford by themselves but that they knew they could afford if they sublet spare rooms to singles or other young couples they knew they could trust and get along with.  It was called "life together" or "living in community".  It's an additional detail to bear in mind when considering "Pussified Nation" because while Mark Driscoll inveighed against irresponsible guys who didn't have their lives together, didn't have great jobs that paid enough to support a wife and kids or invest in real estate, a person could be forgiven for getting the impression that during the time he was railing against youthful male irresponsibility that it might have been a case of the pot calling the kettle black.  Could the Driscolls have really afforded to live in their house on Montlake if they didn't rent any of the spare rooms out? 

Some of Driscoll's vitriol at guys who didn't have their finances together enough to build a legacy and invest in real estate might have had more power if it had been Mark Driscoll and not Lief Moi who had the credit and standing to buy and renovate The Paradox.   If Driscoll had taken his own interpretation and application of 1 Timothy 5 about the care of widows seriously he should have resigned forever from any pastoral activity for having denied the faith and become worse than an unbeliever.  Instead he lobbied to get funded from a number of sources, sought more speaking engagements and ... along the way ... took up the pen name William Wallace II.