Sunday, July 27, 2014

The historical and social setting for Mark Driscoll's development of William Wallace II as a pen name, a kind of postlude/preface to "Pussified Nation"

Mark Driscoll,  Zondervan
copyright (c) 2006 by Mark Driscoll
ISBN-13: 978-0-310-27016-4
350-1,000 people

At this time, our church also started an unmoderated discussion board on our website, called Midrash, and it was being inundated with postings by emerging-church type feminists and liberals. I went onto the site and posted as William Wallace II, after the great Scottish man portrayed in the movie Braveheart, and attacked those who were posting. It got insane, and thousands of posts were being made each day until it was discovered that it was me raging like a madman under the guise of a movie character. One guy got so mad that he actually showed up at my house to fight me one night around 3 a.m. [emphasis added]

Things were starting to get out of hand with the men, so I called a meeting and demanded that all of the men in our church attend. I preached for more than two hours about manhood and basically gave the dad talk to my men for looking at porno, sleeping with young women, not serving Christ, not working hard at their jobs, and so on. I demanded that the men who were with me on our mission to change the city stay and that the rest leave the church and stop getting in the way because you can't charge hell with your pants around your ankles, a bottle of lotion in one hand, and a Kleenex in the other.

On their way out of that meeting, I handed each man two stones and told them that on this day God was giving them their balls back to get the courage to do kingdom work. Guys put them on their monitors at work or glued them to the dash of their truck and kept them. The stones of remembrances from the Old Testament. The next week the offering doubled and the men caught fire. It was a surreal time, since I was basically fathering guys my own age and treating them more like a military unit than a church.

The life change was unreal. We had guys getting saved. We had gay guys going straight. We had guys tossing out porn, getting jobs, tithing, taking wives, buying homes, making babies, and repenting of the sins of their fathers. We had guys who had divorced their wives remarrying them. We had men adopting children so they would have a Christian father. It was a lot like Acts because the whole city seemed to be abuzz.

This season was messy and I sinned and cussed a lot., but God somehow drew a straight line with my crooked Philistine stick.  I had a good mission, but some of my tactics were born out of anger and burnout, and I did a lot of harm and damage while attracting a lot of attention.

Over the years Wenatchee The Hatchet has come to make a distinction between discussions of masculinity and discussions of masculinity as defined by Mark Driscoll, which seems to fit more aptly into a separate category WtH occasionally refers to as "Markulinity".  As Driscoll himself noted, there was a time at the dawn of the millennium when he took up the pen name William Wallace II and took aim against emerging church types and feminists.  As popular as it was to associate Mark Driscoll with the emerging church no one who saw (let alone participated in) the debates and flame-wars catalyzed by William Wallace II would get the sense that Mark Driscoll was emeregent about much of anything.

To establish some connection between William Wallace II/Mark Driscoll's aim to get the young men to shape up, we may consult a screen cap of a "breaking announcements" post on the Midrash inviting men to participate in what appears to have been the start of "Dead Men" (for those who were part of Mars Hill at the time).
and then there's this, provided to Wenatchee The Hatchet recently, an html preserve of an old thread, screencapped for your consideration

So there's no reason to doubt the story about the person wanting to fight Driscoll in the middle of the night after learning he was William Wallace II was true.  Driscoll made a point of reminding people that playing a character isn't the same as playing the person. 

Now that we've gotten a general sense of the events of the time, how Driscoll took up the pen name and how things spiraled a bit out of control and he decided to call the men in the community to step up their game, let's transition into what looks like an account of those "Dead Men" days. 

For more on the meetings that started at The Paradox we can consult the 2011 film God's Work, Our Witness to get a sense of the thing.

The Men and Two Stones

Pastor AJ: There was an event at the Paradox, and Pastor Mark’s getting all the guys together.
‘Cause guys would repent of sin, and then they want to meet and they’d be talking, “Oh, I’m sleeping with my girlfriend.” “Oh, I’m looking at porn.” “Oh, I can’t get a job.” “Oh, I don’t know what I want to do with my life.”

[Driscoll] And it got to the point where I couldn’t have that many counseling meetings, so I just decided to bring all the guys together and absolutely yell at all of them at one time. And so I called an all-men’s church meeting.

Jason: People actually flew in to attend.

Pastor AJ: The instructions are, “Grab two stones. Read 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus. And when you finish, read them again. And when you finish, read them again.”

Jeff: And we all show up and they hand us a pair of rocks.
We literally filled up every single seat. I met every guy at the door and I told them, “I want you to shut up. You’re not allowed to talk. Nobody is allowed to speak. You guys all just sit down and shut up until I’m ready to yell at you.”

Pastor AJ: And you just keep reading 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus; 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, wondering, “Why do I have these two stones?”

Jason: I think half the people probably thought he was going to apologize for some of his harsher rants that he’d posted online and then say, you know, “You without sin, cast the first stone.”

Pastor Phil: And that silence was just so palatable, just like, “What’s going to happen?” Like you’re waiting for an earthquake, like, “When’s it going to hit?”

Pastor Matt: And Driscoll had just had it and he was losing his mind.

Pastor AJ: Pastor Mark then goes off on the guys.

Jeff: Pastor Mark gets up onstage and just starts yelling!

Pastor AJ: It seemed like a couple of hours, just yelling at us about all of our perversion, all of our laziness, all of our lack of drive and ambition, all of our ungodly living.
“You belong to Jesus. I’m giving you your stones back. It’s your church. We’ve got to fix this building. We’ve got to raise the money. We’ve got to do this thing. This is what God told us to do.”
So I got up there and I preached a sermon on what it means to be a man. I literally think the sermon went about three hours, screamed and yelled at all of the guys.

Pastor AJ: All of us just completely, like, laid open, and he says, “You guys are men, and until you find your own stones, use these.”
And then closed in prayer and told them to shut up and leave.

Pastor Matt: And for a lot of us, this is the first time we heard this kind of stuff.

Jeff: Hearing the truth that we needed to man-up and that God had something better for us, and we weren’t seeing clearly—

Pastor AJ: Guys glued those things to their dashboards. They kept them in their pockets all the time. It was just this reminder of God has made us men, and we will be men. Who does that stuff?

Jeff: We kept hearing that over and over and over again, sermon after sermon after sermon addressed towards men, specifically young men, specifically, taking initiative to lead and love well like Jesus. And that was life changing, life changing.

There were maybe 100 to 120 guys at that time. Probably the average age was maybe early twenties, twenty years old. You’re talking college guys. But a lot of those guys, to this very day, they did it, man. They’re running companies. They’re deacons, elders. They’re starting churches. They’ve gotten married. They’re having kids. Their lives are changed and they are still, you know, hands up, chin down, feet forward, getting it done. And it’s just really cool what God did in this place.
All of that to establish that Mark Driscoll publicly stated that he used the pen name William Wallace II on an unmoderated forum that was called Midrash (which was shut down some time around 2002 and replaced with a members-only intra-church php discussion board that was also called Midrash.   By Driscoll's account swarms of posts were showing up on the discussions at Midrash on a daily basis in reaction to things he wrote as William Wallace II until it was discovered he was none other than, and then someone wanted to fight him in the wee hours.

While Mark Driscoll was prescient enough to observe that he cussed a lot and sinned during his stint as William Wallace II he did not describe much of what he did beyond the thumbnail sketch in his 2006 book. 

And for those who might be attending Mars Hill now, employees of Mars Hill, or those who are sympathetic to Mark Driscoll one could certainly and quite fairly ask why it would even matter what Mark Driscoll might have written under the pen name William Wallace II. 

Let's set the historical stage a bit.
July 13, 2011

Gender. Is it a socially constructed reality or a God-given identity?

Driscoll wrote this particular post quoted above in the wake of a controversy associated with a facebook status Driscoll posted.  A replication of the status is available courtesy of Robert Cargill, whose blogging WtH has linked to in the past.

"So, what story do you have about the most effeminate anatomically male worship leader you've ever personally witnessed?"

Driscoll went on in the wake of the controversy that erupted around that pithy solicitation to mention that, "As a man under authority, my executive elders sat me down and said I need to do better by hitting real issues with real content in a real context." So many repetitions of the word "real" was clearly not going to be a reference to the TV show Real World but turned out to be a pitch for what was then the forthcoming Pastor Mark TV and, also, for the book Real Marriage.

So why would a zippy and provocative comment on social media about an effeminate yet anatomically male worship leader tie back to William Wallace II? 

The answer would be "Pussified Nation".  The thread that was called "Pussified Nation" may have been the dawn of Mark Driscoll's writing under the pen name William Wallace II.  It was simultaneously an indictment of American males in general and American Christian males more particularly.  While Driscoll has certainly had the liberty to determine whether he did or did not sin in any particular way while writing under his pen name the world has by and large been bereft of any significant opportunity to even read what he wrote. 

While the materials that have been available to Wenatchee The Hatchet may constitute a mere fraction of what "Pussified Nation" was for a time (it was reported to have exploded to around 90 pages) the fraction that is available may nonetheless be informative, not least because what has been preserved, such as it is, appear to constitute the beginning of the discussion. 

Moreover, while the language and the intensity of sentiment expressed by William Wallace II was at an unusually high pitch even for Mark Driscoll it is possible to detect at least some continuity of theme and concern between "Pussified Nation" in 2000 and Mark Driscoll's Facebook invitation to people to share stories of effeminate worship leaders. 

After all, elsewhere in Confessions of a Reformission Rev Mark Driscoll wrote about Tim Smith

Confessions of a Reformission Rev
Mark Driscoll, Zondervan 2006
Excerpts from page 146-148
I first met Tim [Smith] while teaching at a conference in New Mexico for Leadership Network. He had been raised in a Baptist home in Portland and was working as a youth worship leader at a Lutheran church in Missouri. Tim and his wife, Beth, moved to Seattle simply hoping that Tim would become a guitar player in one of our worship teams. Tim and his wife lived with Grace and me for a few months until they got settled, and I saw in Tim some very strong leadership qualities that had not been cultivated. So I spent a lot of time investing in Tim, as I was with Jamie. Tim had never played in a band, written a song, or played an electric guitar. Additionally, he did not know how to sing, and it sounded like he'd been hit by a car when he tried to hit high notes.

But I really liked Tim because he is one of the few manly men whom I have ever seen leading worship. I am not supposed to say this, but most of the worship dudes I have heard are not very dudely. They seem to be very in touch with their feelings and exceedingly chickified from playing too much acoustic guitar and singing prom songs to Jesus while channeling Michael Bolton and flipping their hair. Tim was a guy who brewed his own beer, smoked a pipe, rock-climbed, mountain biked, river rafted, carried a knife on his belt, and talked about what he thought more than what he felt.

We clicked because I drive a 1978 Chevy truck that gets single digits to the gallon and has a bacon air freshener and no functioning speedometer and because I fashion myself as the self-appointed leader of a heterosexual male backlash in our overly chickified city filled with guys drinking herbal tea and rocking out to Mariah Carey in their lemon yellow Volkswagen Cabriolets while wearing fuschsia sweater-vests that are perfectly matched with their open-toed shoes. Anyways, Tim learned quickly, took vocal lessons, and soon assumed leadership over the entire worship department. Like Jamie, he started by firing most everyone and starting over from scratch.

Having established that there is some plausible basis for observing continuity of theme and concern at the level of substance, the historical stage has been set for a presentation of "Pussified Nation" itself.

In consideration of the practical issues of how people read on the internet, this introduction has been presented last in a sequence of posts that are tagged and present "Pussified Nation" in reverse order so that readers who are apt to just hit the head of the blog can scroll down and read as they wish instead of having to scroll up.

In the interest of establishing the authenticity of the materials screen cap images have been presented rather than text, since, after all, after so very many years people could naturally be skeptical as to the authenticity and veracity of materials attributed to William Wallace II actually being the work of Mark Driscoll.  It has been necessary to establish at some length that Mark Driscoll testified of himself that he took up the pen name and that he did participate on the old Mars Hill unmoderated discussion forum Midrash.  This has been established earlier by Wenatchee the Hatchet and because in the last six months it has transpired that Mars Hill has taken significant measures to purge media content that has been quoted at Wenatchee The Hatchet don't expect any explanations as to how, after all this time, WtH managed to obtain these materials.

Comments are disabled in advance.  This material has been presented after a slow process of assembling a composite of materials over some time.  The aim here is to provide a historical snapshot of an early stage in the history of Mars Hill rather than to invite any kind of public forum for comment.  At this point the opinions and convictions individuals have about Mars Hill in general and Mark Driscoll in particular can be (and should be) expressed elsewhere.  While under ideal circumstances a full text crawl of all the content would be preferable for those who can't read images readers, WtH hopes, will be tolerant enough to accept that some things have to be seen and not merely read as text.

So with all that background and discussion out of the way ... Wenatchee The Hatchet has managed to preserve at least nine pages of a thread started by one William Wallace II on December 5, 2000 at the Mars Hill hosted Midrash with the title "Pussified Nation".  The pages are published under individual posts.

The jpg files are obviously unwieldy and may not even open so in the end another presentation seemed necessary as an alternative.  Neither is apt to be very practical but perhaps this may be forgiven.  It seemed important after so many years to first preserve the content and to make matters of presentation whatever the capabilities of a meager blogger might have at the ready secondarily significant.


A quirk of how the posts published means you can't click "Older Posts" without landing on page 8.  You'll need to go to the side menu and click on each individual page as you plan to read it, it seems.  A puzzle and an annoyance but one to potentially bear in mind if you're trying to read the content.