Thursday, September 25, 2014

JSuffering: This house may fall: A letter to my friends---and a few ruminations from Wenatchee The Hatchet

Jeff (if you're a regular to Wenatchee The Hatchet you don't need to even guess which one) has published a letter to those still at Mars Hill in a blog post titled "This house may fall."

It might.  The social/spiritual community that formed within the context of a corporation that has come to be known as Mars Hill Church may be alive and well in all sorts of unanticipated ways but the corporation itself may still die ... and unless certain types of real repentance and restitution take place it may well just deserve to die ... but the community that once existed in some sense still exists.

To put it another way ... all the mountains of leaked materials that have appeared at Wenatchee The Hatchet, those didn't come from nowhere.  Wenatchee The Hatchet is not and has never been against the people of Mars Hill.  Sure, Wenatchee has had some harsh things to say about the leadership culture and the veneration directed toward that culture but that's not the same thing as being critical of the people as a whole in their entirety.  The people do need to consider the sum of the shifting narrative about Mars Hill told by its leaders in general and Driscoll in particular and to consider what they have really been investing in but Wenatchee can only invite people to reconsider the nature of the narrative and provide them with as much information as possible.  That Mars Hill has made a point of purging so much of the previously publicly available material Wenatchee The Hatchet has quoted from over the years should be disconcerting; it should be a troublesome sign that Mars Hill ever took down the stuff Driscoll said would be archived to consult again if he ever went off the rails. 

Getting a reputation as one of the most persistent critics of Mark Driscoll on the internet shouldn't have ever have had to take the form of simply quoting him accurately, in context, and pointing out how many times he's come to embody all the things he used to warn against from the pulpit ... but if that's how people choose to interpret Wenatchee The Hatchet it's not like Wenatchee The Hatchet can control that.  As Wenatchee was saying earlier this week, the thing about whatever a legacy is is that you really can't exert that much control over it.  If people want to read Wenatchee The Hatchet as a watchblog it doesn't matter what gets published here about anime or chamber music, does it?  If people come here with minds already made up there's no way their minds will get changed just because they read (or didn't really read) something that has been published here.

Perhaps what Jeff is doing is what Wenatchee The Hatchet hopes to do, which is not to tell you "you have to leave and here's why" but to invite you to follow a different path and to come to a fuller engagement with the story of a people.  That way, whether you stay or leave you will have a fuller and richer understand of the history of the community and if it survives rather than falls it may be all the more important to understand that history. You might not like what Jeff has to say or what Wenatchee The Hatchet has to say but until you've had more than either 10 or 16 years inside the culture ... you might want to resist the temptation to write people like us off for a bit.

It's at least something to consider. 


benden said...

Of your 7 adaptive strategies, I agree that 1-6 might possibly happen, and would help.

But #7 is not going to happen, for at least two reasons:
1. MD's identity is too tied to being the main preaching pastor of a large and influential church. Nobody else sleeps with Grace, right?
2. Too many people, of those who are left, attend MH to hear MD preach. If most of the preaching was done by others, too many people would leave (making their financial problems even worse, among other things).

MD won't be content to be the "fatherly figure" in a shrinking church where others do most of the preaching. He'd be more likely to completely resign and do something else, than stay at MH in that role. #7 belongs in the category of "not going to happen" along with the other two you mention (that sadly I agree with), financial transparency and governance/polity changes (reversion to all-elder rule).

Unknown said...

I think that to recover his humanity Mark Driscoll needs to own up to the hostile takeover of Mars Hill Church and using it to form a money making kingdom for himself. He needs to give it all back. Any less than that and he and they continue on a course away from compassion and truth.

He may retain a kingdom of sorts but it will have no real value to himself or any others as truth will eventually express itself.

As for the current collection of people attending within the buildings owned by the “Mark's Hill” corporation - well I do hope that they all find or make a real church someday. One with compassion, honesty, and true love for one another and the creator of all things.