Sunday, August 03, 2014

William Wallace II and "Pussified Nation" as partial background to the sum of events in the "Hardest Part of Ministry", Mark Driscoll's 10-26-2013 post about the safety of his family

William Wallace IIMember
posted 01-06-2001 09:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for William Wallace II   Click Here to Email William Wallace II     Edit/Delete Message

I love to fight. It's good to fight. Fighting is what we used to do before we all became pussified. Fighting is a lost art form. Fighting is cheaper than medication and more effective than counseling. Fighting always wins over compromise. Fighting is what passionate people do instead of killing. So log on, fight away. And if you are reading this and talking to yourself log on you coward and get in the ring.

Much of this material was published back around June 22, 2014 and is being republished in light of the substantial evidence that Mark Driscoll wrote under the pseudonym William Wallace II.

Before Janet Mefferd made her on-air accusation that Mark Driscoll was a plagiarist Driscoll shared what was for him the most soul-aching part of ministry.
The hardest part of ministry
October 26, 2013
Mark Driscoll

The hardest part of ministry
Mark Driscoll   » Church Leadership Heart Culture Suffering 

Upon occasion, I like to answer questions that leaders (often young) ask about ministry. One that often comes up: What part of your ministry is the most difficult? Nearly everyone who asks this question is someone who is new to ministry and seeking to anticipate a possible landmine in front of them.

The most soul-aching concern I face

For me, the answer is simple: family safety. By far and away, this is the most constant, soul-aching concern that I deal with. Those ministering in more family-friendly suburban communities that welcome megachurches and gated neighborhoods may not understand the complexities of a ministry that is more urban and the dangers it can pose.

In 1 Corinthians 7:32–35, the Apostle Paul speaks about how a family, though a blessing, can also be a burden. I used to assume that he merely meant that someone who was single would have more time for ministry, but now I know the issue is much deeper.

Paul worked mainly in hostile, urban contexts where the backlash against the gospel was so strong that he faced very real danger. Having a family in such circumstances would have been even more difficult and dangerous. It’s one thing if opponents seek to harm or kill a single man, but a husband and father holding hands with his wife and little girl prompts an entirely different level of concern.

The Mark Driscoll of late 2013 may be a mellower one than the one of 2004 who published Radical Reformission (recently republished as just Reformission, which might signal a lack of radicalness)

Radical Reformission
ISBN 0-310-25659-3Mark Driscoll
copyright 2004 by Mars Hill Church
page 14

... So I married Grace, began studying Scripture with the enthusiasm of a glutton at a buffet, and started preparing myself to become a pastor who does not go to jail for doing something stupid. To pay the bills, I edited the opinions section of the campus newspaper, writing inflammatory columns that led to debates, radio interviews, and even a few bomb threats--which was wonderful, because the only thing worse than dying is living a boring life. [emphasis added]

Yet the Apostle Paul famously wrote that it is better for the unmarried to remain unmarried, an idea that Driscoll has never shown any significant public record of agreeing with.  If opponents (of what?) seek to kill a single man that's one thing (what is it?) but it's another level of concern if opponents seek to harm or kill a father holding hands with his wife and little girl and ... ?

So perhaps Mark Driscoll has over time begun to discover that if you ever revel in writing inflammatory columns and making provocative statements in broadcast and social media that you might get a few bomb threats.  In 2004 Driscoll said this was a wonderful thing because the only thing worse than dying is living a boring life.  Others who subscribe to the idea of living a quiet boring life being productive rather than catalyzing bomb threats may find this notion of the earlier Driscoll juvenile not simply on its own merits but because no one who starts a family can keep on that path without, at length, embroiling their family in the risks associated with being a deliberately and willfully provocative public figure.

Driscoll went on to list the dangers he has faced in his time in ministry.  Two are particularly noteworthy.  No, not the two knife incidents.  Let's consider this one.

  • On one occasion, a man tried to get into my home in the middle of the night. Demanding to meet with me, he woke up and frightened my family. The police arrested him and put him in a mental health facility. The man escaped and started walking back to my home in his underwear. The police intercepted him when he was not far away.
Driscoll has mentioned someone wanting to meet with him in the past. 

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]

As for the certainty that Driscoll posted as William Wallace II, there's no doubt about that lately.

What's striking about the narrative is that while there are a few words expressing some regret about sinning and cussing a lot God was described by Mark Driscoll as drawing a straight line with a crooked stick, and part of the evidence for that was evidently gay guys going straight, as described in the continuing account from Confessions of a Reformission Rev quoted below:
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.

"Things were starting to get out of hand with the men" almost comes across like Mark Driscoll was somehow not included in that.  Nor was the 2006 account even the only one in which Mark Driscoll, joined by other voices of other members and staff from 2011, in mentioning the effectiveness of the yelling from that time.  Per the previously cited fundraising/documentary film God's Work, Our Witness:

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.

So to return to the bullet point incident:
  • On one occasion, a man tried to get into my home in the middle of the night. Demanding to meet with me, he woke up and frightened my family. The police arrested him and put him in a mental health facility. The man escaped and started walking back to my home in his underwear. The police intercepted him when he was not far away.

Back in 2006 Mark Driscoll documented that one guy who insisted on confronting Driscoll at 3am did so because he was angry when it was discovered that it was Mark Driscoll who was posting as William Wallace II.  While in the October 2013 Resurgence post Mark Driscoll took time to explain how a mentally unstable person sought a confrontation with him at no point in his litany of threats and incidents brought upon his family did Driscoll ever allude to his own history of inflammatory rhetoric, let alone allude to his earlier recounted story of how his antics as William Wallace II played a role in someone attempting to confront him at his home. 

The problem was not that a discussion forum was a bad idea.  It wasn't a bad idea at all but Mars Hill was a new and inexperienced Christian community emerging in the Puget Sound area during the dot-com craze, founded by a group of idealistic men who were interested in and willing to encourage a church's engagement with burgeoning social media. That Mars Hill more generally and Mark Driscoll in particular had possibly not thought through the long-term consequences of setting up an online discussion forum is not entirely surprising. Indeed, the only thing that might really make setting up such a forum seem like a bad idea could simply be that anyone has been able and willing to preserve the contents fourteen years later for any public consideration.

But that's only a bad thing for those who would like to write something one day and forget about it the next.  For a group of Christians who are eager to understand the eternal scope and impact of words and actions Mars Hill history on the internet may become an object lesson for other churches to consider now.  We had a lot of people who were caught up in the moment, perhaps one of those most caught up in the moment was Mark Driscoll, and it's not likely at the time he formulated the character through which to express the substance of ideas that, as yet, he's never repudiated, that the line between fantasy and reality might be more permeable than he initially imagined.  Perhaps in the long run that has been one of the harder parts of ministry. But teachers have to remember at all times that someone named Jesus is credited with saying words about this responsibility.

Matthew 12:34b-37 (NIV)

For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.  I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,  for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”