Friday, July 04, 2014

Tyndale standing by Driscoll, a year after WtH first broached the question of Real Marriage's use of material from Allender without citation
As recent coverage elsewhere has been establishing, Tyndale's lack of relationship to Mark Driscoll and Tyndale's lack of plans to publish more work by Driscoll may have been misunderstood.

Okay then, then the fact that an entire year ago Wenatchee The Hatchet first raised the issue of why Grace Driscoll's chapter 7 of Real Marriage seemed so steeped in the writings and wording of Dan Allender without so much as a footnote in the initial print edition of the book is still worth remembering.  This is, after all, the one year anniversary.

At the time some of the reactions to just the idea that Grace Driscoll made use of Dan Allender's ideas and even specific phrases without attribution was a sort of yawn on the internet.  It didn't get a whole ton of attention.  That makes sense because Wenatchee The Hatchet is just, you know, some blog. In time maybe a couple thousand people read it or just clicked on it.

Months later, in September 2013, Wenatchee The Hatchet documented what was in chapter 7 of Real Marriage and chapter 9 of Allender's The Wounded Heart.

Maybe 1400 people total clicked on that or read it. 

So now it's a year later and Wenatchee The Hatchet has since learned that not only did Grace Driscoll's chapter make use of Dan Allender's work without attribution and that this was done despite Grace Driscoll having publicly listed Allender as one of her favorite authors at the old site circa 1999-2001.

So it wasn't as though either Mark or Grace Driscoll could say that they had no familiarity with Allender's work.  Even by 2006 at a mens' retreat Mark Driscoll mentioned Allender's work.
from the training camp schedule

and from a page of the same hand-out, a mention of Allender
So beyond the simple problem that there were resources available in 2006 for sexual abuse victims,  that were made use of by people Mark Driscoll said he personally appointed to handle those kinds of ministry aims, Grace Driscoll had already been familiar with Allender's book The Wounded Heart since at least 2001. This matters because, when Grace Driscoll regaled readers of Real Marriage with how inadequate resources were circa 2006ish (when she shared her story about something that she didn't realize was abuse until Mark Driscoll told her it was ) in spite of her half-decade of familiarity with Dan Allender's work, there not only were books available within the Mars Hill community that were considered useful, they were apparently considered useful enough to take ideas from without giving attribution. 

Additionally, Grace Driscoll's narrative that there were few resources in 2006 when she shared a story with Mark Driscoll is that not only were there resources, there were resources by authors whose works continued to get recommended at Mars Hill all the way up through 2013.  Ed Welch books started being made available to MH members as far back as 2006 and ...
dead link

Don't bother with the WayBack Machine.  robots.txt has ensured now previous captures are possible. 

So it's been a year since Wenatchee The Hatchet broached the subject of Mark and Grace Driscoll having made use of Allender's ideas without giving credit to him in the initial print of Real Marriage, which turned out to have been bought a place on the New York Times best seller list via a contract signed by Sutton Turner in late 2011. 

In the last year Janet Mefferd made her allegation that Mark Driscoll was a plagiarist on air.  Warren Throckmorton began to document the seven books that have citation errors that have since been getting fixed  Warren Smith at World Magazine broke the news that Result Source Inc had a contract with Mars Hill to buy a spot for Real Marriage on the NYT best seller list.  Wenatchee The Hatchet had enough concerns about the not-really-a-bestseller book based just on the use of Allender's ideas without attribution.

In the controversy that has erupted since the day Wenatchee The Hatchet first broached the possibility that the Driscolls may have plagiarized Allender's work, there has been a lot more discussion of Mark Driscoll as a lightning rod for controversy than questions in the blogging and publishing realms about what level of failure within the Christian publishing and broadcasting industry let a controversy like Mark Driscoll's books become even a potential controversy.  If Driscoll's defenders want to say that Driscoll's critics have fixated on a few honest mistakes that's kind of the problem, even if mistakes were made they were of a sort that potentially implicates an entire industry, Christian commercial (rather than academic) publishing and broadcasting. 

At no point has the Board of Advisors and Accountability addressed that Mark Driscoll had seven books that had citation errors but it did admit to the fact that Mars Hill Church used Result Source Inc to secure a #1 spot for a Driscoll book. 

Result Source
In 2011, outside counsel advised our marketing team to use Result Source to market the Real Marriage book and attain placement on the New York Times Bestseller list. While not uncommon or illegal, this unwise strategy is not one we had used before or since, and not one we will use again. The true cost of this endeavor was much less than what has been reported, and to be clear, all of the books purchased through this campaign have been given away or sold through normal channels. All monies from the sale of Pastor Mark’s books at Mars Hill bookstores have always gone to the church and Pastor Mark did not profit from the Real Marriage books sold either at the church or through the Result Source marketing campaign.

For sake of review, the BOAA includes Paul Tripp:
Dr. Tripp joins the current Board members: Michael Van Skaik, Dr. James MacDonald, Dr. Larry Osborne, Mark Driscoll, Dave Bruskas, and Sutton Turner. This Board of Advisors and Accountability was voted upon and installed by an overwhelmingly supportive vote from the entire eldership, with every single elder who voted doing so in approval.

Let's recall that Sutton Turner was the one who signed the Result Source contract to begin with.  It turns out Sutton Turner, Dave Bruskas, and James MacDonald were with Mark Driscoll when he crashed the Strange Fire conference last year to promote A Call to Resurgence.  So Turner signed the contract to buy Real Marriage a #1 spot on the NYT list and also joined Mark Driscoll in crashing Strange Fire, back when Driscoll tweeted that security confiscated his books ... and this is a BOAA that does what, exactly? 

Makes statements standing by members of the BOAA, it seems. 
The BOAA stands unreservedly behind Pastors Mark Driscoll, Sutton Turner and Dave Bruskas as the Executive Elders of Mars Hill Church. We deeply appreciate their endurance through false accusation, their submission to authority, and their humility where regrettable decisions from the past have come to light. We are thankful to God for His grace, which is evident in all that he allows for our good and his glory. We are confident that God is preparing Pastor Mark and the ministry of Mars Hill Church for a great harvest of souls in the days ahead.

Since the BOAA includes Mark Driscoll, Sutton Turner and Dave Bruskas then it's not a huge surprise the BOAA would stand unreservedly behind them if four of seven of them were crashing the Strange Fire conference while Driscoll was tweeting or posting to Instagram about the field trip.  The BOAA can disclose what the true cost is and exactly who paid for it if they want the world to take this statement as given. The defense mounted on behalf of the BOAA (which, it must be noted, included Sutton Turner, who personally signed the contract) was that the kind of contract signed by MH with RSI was "not uncommon or illegal". As for the lower cost mentioned by the BOAA, in light of Mark Driscoll being invoiced by RSI the BOAA might have to concede that the scandal wasn't just about how much it cost to rig sales but that sales were rigged to begin with. 

Just because something is not uncommon and not illegal doesn't mean evangelicals should consider that a compelling defense.  After all, conservative evangelicals don't buy a defense of "not uncommon" or "not illegal" on the subject of abortion or premarital sex ... and yet the BOAA opted to go with a "not uncommon or illegal." That was the best defense they could think of, it seems.

The last year has been one of the more "trying seasons" in the recent history of Mars Hill.  It's a shame that the members of the Board of Advisors and Accountability, who now turn out to have set in motion the actions and words that caused all the controversies to begin with, seem so loathe to address the scope of what they have personally brought upon Mars Hill in the last few years either in public or even, it may be, to Mars Hill. 


One of the things that has become clear in the last three years is that when there is an opportunity to sound off about Mars Hill people take one or make one even if establishing a few basic facts about what has happened isn't always done at the outset.  One of the reasons Mars Hill and its defenders have been able to dig their heels in about a general defense in the wake of criticism is that they feel outsiders don't have all the facts, don't have the full story, and are already against Mars Hill anyway.  Unfortunately for those who would opt to position themselves as making public comments about Mars Hill that has all too often proven to be the case.  Wenatchee The Hatchet took some time earlier this year to correct a disappointingly lengthy series of factual errors in a piece by Valerie Tarico for AlterNet that was published in April 2014

While corrections can be made after the fact, as with Mark Driscoll's own citation errors, it would surely have been nice if all the facts and sources had been ironed out the first time.  Then again, Mars Hill has spent so much of the last five months purging a mountain of media content from its media library it arguably might take people with an actual history in Mars Hill to even try to keep up with the changes that have been taking place. 

Wenatchee The Hatchet can give it a shot.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Mike Anderson publishes a post about Mars Hill and being a True Believer

While there could be many things said about this post linked to above words seem rather trifling at the moment.  But since words have been said already, Wenatchee The Hatchet has been researching and documenting and writing for a few years with an aim to document the history of Mars Hill and its leadership and its people (because, believe it or not, quite a bit of the story of Mars Hill Church has actually not constantly and ever revolved around Mark Driscoll).  This blog is about plenty of other things, too, of course, but it has become apparent that it is imagined chiefly to be a blog keeping tabs on Mars Hill.  So it goes ...

One of the aims has been to document the history of Mars Hill with enough detail and documentation that perhaps along the way others who have also actually been in Mars Hill will share what they have seen and heard and participated in in some fashion.  So Mike Anderson's recent post is pretty much exactly the sort of thing Wenatchee The Hatchet has hoped would one day come to light.  There's no way to make someone share what they have seen and heard.  There is no way to simply insist someone speak up and expect that to happen.  If anything over the years the attempts to get people to speak up have too often been fraught with the kinds of bullying, intimidation and demanding that has at various points been described as a problematic trait of the Mars Hill culture. 

No, we should not (if we have at some point called Mars Hill home) exactly demand that people speak of what has gone on there.  Instead, let us document things as accurately and as fairly and as honestly as we mere mortals can and while we're doing that invite people to share what they have seen and heard and to speak their minds. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Warren Throckmorton has guest piece over at the Daily Beast

a mere link will suffice

something new over at Joyful Exiles

Correspondence between Scott Thomas and Joshua Ball.  Regular readers of this blog may already be aware of what Wenatchee The Hatchet has written and surmised about the role of Scott Thomas in the termination and trials of Paul Petry and Bent Meyer.  There's little need to add to that. 

The correspondence published in the link above shows, however, that Scott Thomas played a role in alternately seeking to ameliorate or eliminate public expressions of dissent in the 2007 period.  At the time there wasn't anything close to the public controversy or discussion that has erupted around Mars Hill in general and Mark Driscoll in particular as has transpired in the last two years. 

So in a way, for an old-school Mars Hill person, seeing the correspondence is sort of like watching a transitional stage in leadership-member correspondence.  Bear in mind that there was another brief email exchange between Scott Thomas and a member of MH posted to Joyful Exiles, the one in which Thomas stated that a "conciliatory process" had been completed the same week he informed Petry that Petry wouldn't even need to be present for his own trial.

Curiously, just like that earlier email correspondence, Thomas decided to contact Joshua Ball through his acts 29 email.  So in 2007 it looks like an executive elder of MH wasn't just using an A29 email to misinform one member about the nature of what was going on, the executive elder was apparently also using the A29 email as a means through which to tell a member of MH to stop publicly addressing concerns in a blog. 

This raises the distressing possibility that at least one MH executive elder simply used A29 resources as though they were equivalent to being Mars Hill resources.  Matt Chandler may or may not have had a completely comprehensive portrait of the history of A29 and MH when he said it wasn't always clear where one ended and the other began, perhaps?

Mars Hill in the last fiscal year, the year of purging content

Something else that is worth noting about Mars Hill in the last fiscal year has been the sheer scale of its purge of older media, whether sermons or teaching.

Everything Mark Driscoll preached prior to the 2008 Doctrine series has been wiped off the public face of Mars Hill on the internet, so to speak.

But there have been some notable post-2008 disappearances.  The Trial series (8 witnesses from 1 & 2 Peter) has been wiped out.  That series featured a Mark Driscoll sermon in 2009 where he said he didn't have a side company to manage book royalties because he was worried about selfish gain.  It was also the series in which he screamed "How dare you!?" for those who remember that.  Well, it's gone.

But another series from 2008 on to the present also vanished, Peasant Princess. 
A sampler from the Peasant Princess in which Mark Driscoll explained how protecting wives was a huge part of his heart for men and a big part of his relationship with his wife.

but since that stuff doesn't work try this link below
It would start about 33:40
... and this is an ENORMOUS part of my relationship with Grace.  I mean I still remember when I first started seeing her she, uh, she went off to college, I was still in high school and they ran out of housing so they put her in a guys' dorm. And I was like, "What!?" so I got in the car and I drove to the university and I knocked on all the doors of all the guys on her floor. "Hi. My name is Mark. I love this woman. Anyone talks to her, touches her,  thinks about talking about touching her I will beat them. Literally I threatened twenty guys. Just knocked on every door. No way she's gonna get messed with. No way.

Later on when she transferred to another university, WSU, she's five hours away. And she moved out there and her phone wasn't hooked up yet and we didn't have cell phones. And I told her, "When you get there, go to a pay phone. Call me. Let me know you got there safe."  Well she ... didn't call so I got in the car and I drove there. Five hours.  The day I had to work. And I knocked on the door. She answered it and I said, "Whu, you didn't call." She said, "I forgot." I said, "Are you okay?" She said, "I'm okay." So, okay, good, I got in the car and I drove home. Just checking. Six hundred miles.  Who cares? It's Grace.

... even emotionally, people send her nasty emails, text messages, talk trash about me, leave the church and want to take parting shots at her. She has nothing to do with any of it. So I even put a white/black list on her email and some people so some people can email her and the rest come to me. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. So that she doesn't have to feel bad because people are taking shots at her. That's my girl. No shots. That's the rule.

And if that doesn't work (or didn't work) try finding the audio courtesy of ...

And it seems Mars Hill opted to delete the Peasant Princess series earlier this year.

And the Spiritual Warfare series from early 2008 vanished about a week or so after Wenatchee The Hatchet started to actually extensively quote from and link to the material.

For instance, there was a comparison and contrast of Mark Driscoll on lobbying for more sex from his wife while Bill Clem was learning to do without as his wife was dying of cancer

Or Mark Driscoll on bitterness as a demonic foothold regardless of the legitimacy of the complaint in 2008 as a context for Driscoll's 2012 statement that he was bitter toward Grace over the lack of sex in the marriage

Or how the first category of "ordinary demonic" was not-enough-sex-in-marriage and that withholding sex was satanic

Of course Mars Hill has taken to purging bits and pieces from sermons since as far back as 2012.  When Wendy Alsup quoted from Mark Driscoll's "The Man" and specifically cited the "woodchipper" anecdote that anecdote was unceremoniously and awkwardly sliced from the sermon. So Mars Hill already has a history of scrubbing away things Mark Driscoll has said in the past.  It's not a big surprise that in 2014 Mars Hill has purged older Driscoll content on a truly epic scale.  Think of it this way, if Driscoll has been doing ministry for at least 18 years then no more than maybe a third of his preaching and teaching might still be available.  Wenatchee The Hatchet has made a point of quoting Mark Driscoll as accurately and in context as possible and yet for some reason material has been purged pretty quickly.  It's not as though Driscoll sermons and teaching haven't been available to the public for the previous eight years.

But then again, in 2013 Mark Driscoll's publishers, as Warren Throckmorton has been documenting over the last six months, have been quietly and discreetly fixing all the citation errors in Driscoll's books when they have been found.  The unfortunate thing is whether or not Driscoll defenders cite every last citation error as a "mistake" the larger question of why not a single one of Mark Driscoll's editors flagged down the citation errors has largely gone unaddressed.  Even if we assume for the sake of discussion that maybe Driscoll made mistakes that looked kind of like plagiarizing the works of others in at least seven of his books ... aren't editors and fact-checkers supposed to be able to spot stuff like that?  If Driscoll is in some sense exonerated by a defense that he made mistakes there's still two problems.  The first problem is that he's claimed to have a pretty good working long-term memory. 
From a February 27, 200 Q&A at the Resurgence National Conference
about 16:30ish into the audio

... I'm not necessarily the guy who sits down and reads a book because every book has things in it that I don't need at that time.  But I'll read a chapter of this book, half of this book, page of this book ... hundreds of pages a week. ...I read very fast and I have, I don't know if it's a photographic memory but I have a very effective memory; so much so that,uh, I can remember whole quotes from paragraphs of books that I read in the late 80s that I haven't touched since then. And so even, like, writing a book like, uh, Vintage Jesus has I think, like, six hundred footnotes--I would sit down and write the manuscript and just put in the bra[cket], the parentheses for my research assistant, like, `That's in Generous Orthodoxy', that's somewhere around page 160.' Now I haven't read that since,, like, `92 but I remember the quote, I remember the book, I remember the author, I remember the publisher, and I remember roughly where it's at in the book and so then she goes and finds it and makes all the footnotes. And so that speeds things along.

My wife isn't like that. She reads slow. It's laborious, it's prayerful, it's careful and so for her to work through a book takes a long time and I tend to go through books like chicken wings. ...

If Driscoll's memory is as formidable as his defenders would have us believe then the plagiarism that has been discovered becomes much less rather than more excusable.  But even if it were somehow argued that not even Mark Driscoll could possibly remember everything publishers, copy editors, proofreaders, and fact-checkers should have been able to flag down the citation errors before they ever hit print.  How did no less than seven of Mark Driscoll's published works end up having documentable citation problems?  If that is not considered in any way at all an indictment of Mark Driscoll as an author it still raises the question of how on earth so many publishers dropped the ball with Driscoll's books.  Even if we were somehow not ever discussing Mark Driscoll as a potential or actual plagiarist we would still be forced to consider a systemic problem in evangelical/Christian publishing that let such a controversy be possible in the first place.  The only way a controversy or scandal of this sort with Driscoll's books stops being about Driscoll is if it becomes a controversy about the ethics and practices of the Christian publishing and broadcasting industries at a regional and national level, of which Mark Driscoll would merely be a rather tiny part. 

So far as possible Wenatchee The Hatchet has tried to quote Driscoll and others from Mars Hill over the years as accurately and as in context as possible.  It's been striking that in the last four months Mars Hill has made a point of purging maybe two thirds of Driscoll material.  At least in the past when people attempted to defend Driscoll's statements as misunderstood, misinterpreted, or misrepresented it was generally possible to go back to the primary source statements via audio or video or print and look at what was actually said compared to what people thought was said.  Now, well, now for a lot of Driscoll's more controversial statements in the last fourteen years that may not even be possible.  Is Mars Hill willing to live with the likely consequence of this?  After all, what this makes more likely is that a lot of misrepresentation or misunderstanding on the AlterNet/Salon side of things might just keep happening.  The factual errors were egregious enough in their coverage in the last four months that Wenatchee the Hatchet spent quite a bit of time fact-checking and correcting numerous and basic factual errors in the original published piece.

And given the number and scope of the controversies that Mars Hill executive elders have directly participated in, whether the citation problems in Real Marriage, the contract with Result Source to buy a #1 spot on the NYT bestseller list for Real Marriage, or crashing Strange Fire it has begun to seem as though most of the controversies Mars Hill has been embroiled in during this "trying season" wouldn't even have happened if the people on the BOAA and in executive leadership at Mars Hill had reconsidered a lot of what they'd been saying and doing circa 2011 and 2012.

And retroactively purging about two thirds of the audio and video evidence of Mark Driscoll's public ministry in the wake of a plagiarism/sales rigging double controversy hardly seems like the wisest way to manage either controversy.  It's not that they can't purge a lot of their media content, they clearly can and have done precisely that.  The problem is that now is probably not the best time to remove all that content if Mars Hill and its defenders have grown tired of so many outsiders misunderstanding or misrepresenting things that have been said or done by Mars Hill leadership over its history. 

Meanwhile, the end of the fiscal year is tonight and someone wants to make sure folks remember.

with the close of the fiscal year, here are some reminders of how Driscoll in 2013-2014 has contradicted Driscoll from 1999-2011

Setting aside that Mark Driscoll has been documented by Warren Throckmorton and others as having plagiarized in half a dozen of his published books, and setting aside the Result Source Inc contract Sutton Turner signed on behalf of Mars Hill, there remains an unavoidable question for those who have given and would give to Mars Hill.

Mark Driscoll's public accounting of the history of Mars Hill since roughly 2011 has contradicted Mark Driscoll (and Mars Hill more generally) from roughly 1999 to 2008.  Wenatchee The Hatchet can offer list of a few significant revisions

In 2013 Mark Driscoll claimed there was no kids' ministry at the start of Mars Hill because there were no kids in spite of Mark Driscoll's own testimony that the co-founding pastors were recruited by him because they were fathers.

There are a couple of basic points.  The most striking revision to the history of Mars Hill as Mark Driscoll has shared things in the last year is the 2013 claim that there were no children in the early days of Mars Hill as an explanation for why there was no childrens' ministry.
Here’s where we’re at: Recently, 10,177 adults in attendance across Mars Hill. Fifteen churches, five states. We count people because people count. We count people because people count, and it’s not just numbers, it’s faces and names. There are also almost 2,500 kids, right? Can we say, “Praise God”? We like kids. When we started Mars Hill 17 years ago, there wasn’t even a children’s ministry—because there were no children. People are coming in, getting saved, getting baptized, getting married, getting pregnant. Ideally, that’s the order, OK?

Lots of kids are being born 10 and under, so there’s the future, there’s the legacy. We don’t want to do what they did, and one generation builds the temple, and then the next generation abuses it. Percentage of adults who gave, 30 percent. Some of you are not Christian, the rest are evil, OK, based on Malachi.

Confessions of a Reformission Rev
Mark Driscoll, Zondervan
page 54
... The church started as an idea I shared with Lief Moi and Mike Gunn. Lief is a descendant of Genghis Khan and his dad was a murderer, and Mike is a former football player. They proved to be invaluable, except for the occasional moments when they would stand toe-to-toe in a leadership meeting, threatening to beat the Holy Spirit out of each other. Both men were older than I and had years of ministry experience, and they were good fathers, loving husbands, and tough.  ...

from page 145
Jamie [Munson] came to Seattle at the age of nineteen, drinking, smoking pot, and having spent most of his life driving around in a maturity cul de sac, listening to Bon Jovi albums in the great nation of Montana. In Seattle, he lived with his sister and brother-in-law, Jen and Phil [Smidt], who had been with the church from the beginning. They were the first couple who showed up with kids when we were in our core phase.
So Mark Driscoll in 2013 directly contradicted Mark Driscoll from 2006.  As if that weren't enough in itself.

Mars Hill had the names of the children Mike Gunn and Lief Moi were fathers to respectively.  The idea that there were no kids at the start of Mars Hill is directly contradicted by Mars Hill's early website and Mark Driscoll's own published account of the history of Mars Hill in 2006.  Yet in later 2013, against pretty much all observable evidence over the previous sixteen years, Mark Driscoll simply asserted there was no kids' ministry at Mars Hill because there were no kids in the Malachi series. 

Number Two:
Mark Driscoll claimed in the roll out for "God's Work, Our Witness" to have handled all the premarital counseling in the first five to six years of Mars Hill Church.

This was discussed in some detail over here.  Mike Gunn and Bent Meyer were publicly listed in 2001 as handing premarital counseling and counseling in general in "ministries in MH" at the old site.  Mark Driscoll wasn't even listed as someone to talk to for either type of counseling and despite Mars Hill implementing robots.txt across all its websites to preclude search engine research on a few things the screen caps providing evidence that Mike Gunn and Bent Meyer were publicly listed as the people to contact for premarital counseling rather than Mark Driscoll are up at Wenatchee The Hatchet for consultation. 

So in addition to only lately getting the idea there were no kids at the start of Mars Hill Church Mark Driscoll also seems to have gotten the idea he did "all" the premarital counseling in the first five to six years of Mars Hill when the Mars Hill website from 1999-2001 mitigates this possibility. 

Number Three
Mark Driscoll has two distinct accounts of a nightmare where he woke up, threw up, and stayed up all night on a coach and found out the things in the nightmare were true.

Short version, the nightmare Driscoll describes in Real Marriage as predating the birth of Ashley Driscoll caused him to wake up, throw up, and stay up that featured Grace Driscoll cheating on him early in the relationship resembles an account from Confessions of a Reformission Rev from 2006. In the earlier book Driscoll describes a singularly terrible experience he had via nightmare a few years AFTER Ashley was born and that the dream was satanic and accusatory yet all the details in it turned out to be true.  He indicated that he felt it would be inappropriate to mention more about the nightmare because it would impugn the character of someone else. 

There's a synoptic problem here because the basic narrative of Driscoll having a nightmare that causes him to wake up, puke, and stay up all night hoping the nightmare wasn't true but finding out it was is pretty much the same in both accounts.  How many nightmares leading to emesis did Driscoll have before and after Ashley was born?  If the 2012 account refers to the same nightmare that the 2006 account referred to did the dating of the nightmare account change from one account to another?  Or did Mark Driscoll simply have two nightmares that caused him to throw up?  If the former, then, well, Mark might have been prudent to not share the story to begin with because in the 2006 account Mark Driscoll clearly said the nightmare was satanic and in the 2012 account the vomit dream is described as a revelation of the sort he sometimes got without any explanation given for its provenance.

These might seem like mundane details to someone who has never, say, written checks to support Mars Hill, but if Driscoll's narrative of the history of Mars Hill and the history of his own marriage is as fluid as it sometimes seems to be one has to ask whether the shifting details sugest more basic shifts in the narrative.  At this point Mark Driscoll has made his personal narrative so inseparable from what Mars Hill has become that any fuzziness in his narrative may constitute a crisis in shared narrative for the community.  In the earlier years of Mars Hill when all three co-founding pastors were around quite a bit less hinged on Mark Driscoll's public persona and narrative having to be coherent across sixteen years.

For a fairly detailed comparison of the accounts from 2006 and 2012 books go here.

Those are just three fairly basic narrative points to consider.

That Mars Hill has been purging mountains of content more or less merits another post.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Mark Driscoll's Instagram comment about sitting down to write his next book on January 23, 2013, 8 weeks before the deadline, Resurgence with an earlier working title.

January 23, 2013
Mark Driscoll on Instagram

Sitting down to write my next book, due in 8 weeks. Once I collect my notes and thoughts the books kinda just work themselves out, much like sermons. The title is a working title only at this point.

Wow, so close to a deadline ... one can only wonder how he pulled it off. 

a question about the narrative of Real Marriage, if there was nobody to talk to ... what about all the men Mark name-dropped as his pastors who helped him in those early years?

Real Marriage: the truth about sex, friendship and life together
Mark and Grace Driscoll
Thomas Nelson
copyright (c) 2012 by On Mission, LLC
ISBN 978-1-4041-8352-0

PAGE 9-10

Before long I was bitter agaisnt God and Grace. It seemed to me as if they had conspired to trap me. I had always been the "good guy" who turned down women for sex. In my twisted logic, since I had only slept with a couple of women I was in relationships with, I had been holy enough, and God owed me. I felt God had conned me by telling me to marry Grace, and allowed Grace to rule over me since she was controlling our sex life. 

 PAGES 14-15
Although I loved our people and my wife, this only added to my bitterness. I had a church filled with single women who were asking me how they could stop being sexually ravenous and wait for a Christian husband; then I'd go home to a wife whom I was not sexually enjoying. 

... We still disagree on how often we had sex (I [Mark Driscoll] was bitter, and she [Grace Driscoll] was in denial, which skews the perspective), but we both agree it wasn't a healthy amount to support a loving marriage.

page 26We didn't know how to talk through these extremely hard issues without hurting each other even more, so we didn't talk about them at all. I just got more bitter, and Grace just felt more condemned and broken, like a failure. Occasionally we'd meet a Christian pastor or counselor who was supposed to be an expert in these areas, but we never spoke with them in much detail, because in time we found out they either had marriages as bad as ours our they had been committing adultery and were disqualified for ministry. We felt very alone and stuck. [emphasis added]

page 164

... As with many things in marriage, communication is key. When I cam to the conclusion that the cure for a lot of my moodiness was having more frequent sex with my wife, I simply told her. Yes, it's that simple. For years when I would endure depression, I tried to talk to Grace about it. Her natural inclination was to want to have long talks about our feelings toward each other, and I know that connecting with her like this is important. But sometimes I was just too frustrated and ended up blowing up and hurting her feelings.  The truth was I wanted to have more frequent sex with my wife, and we needed to discuss how that could happen.

... For a wife, sex comes out of a healthy relationship, whereas, for a husband it leads to one.

Now it might seem that the Driscolls recount not having anyone at all to talk to and yet in the 2001 stage of Mars Hill, Mark Driscoll rattled off a list of people he described himself as accountable to.
And the idea that somehow Mark Driscoll didn't have any older guys or pastoral people to contact during this earlier stage would seem hard to believe. Why?  Well ...

For folks who can't read what's on the image, "[This message has been edited by Pastor Mark (edited 03-02-2001).]"
[emphasis will be added to named names]

The key is to make a sincere and devoted attempt to take with you other strong and capable men who are well respected and potential elders with you. And, getting them some pulpit time if/when they are capable and trustworthy also helps in perception.

 For example, when I started I had Mike Gunn and Lief Moi with me. And, they have been two of the richest blessings God has ever given me in ministry. Both have theological education, lots of ministry experience, lots of pulpit experience, are older and have outstanding families. And, I had worked with them for a few years at our sending church and they were very close friends and godly men with wives of great character. So, from the beginning it was clear that we were working together and that they were also to be respected and followed. They have, to their credit, called me face to face on my sins and pride. And, each time they have they were right. They have never done this in public and have always been my biggest encouragement and covered my back at every turn. Because of their age they could have made my life difficult and been divisive. But, this has never ever been an issue. I am all for a team type concept, but the hard part is getting real biblical elders who qualify for their office with families of particular honor. Today, I would have to say that our elders are a tremendous honor and safety zone for me to work from who have faithfully guided our church through some very difficult places and I thank God for each of the men every day. Also, their wives are outstanding mothers and teachers of women who have been outstanding allies and partners in our work.

In addition, strong capable men who also have their own churches are good to sit under the authority of, particulalry for a young man. For example, Dr. Greg Kappas was a church planting coach to me and a tremendous help, encouragement, and advocate. He had planted his own churches, taught church planting at Western Seminary, and helped oversee a regional network of church planters. To this day Greg remains like a brother and his counsel has always been much needed and appreciated. And, my father in law Gib Martin planted his church over 35 years ago and remains there as the lead pastor and is also a great help and cheerleader who has been very very supportive and available. And, Dr. David Nicholas with the Spanish River Church and now Acts 29 has at least as much insight into planting as any man I have ever met and he and I are very very close and in contact weekly as I am with Gib and Greg. In addition, I've had the privilege of meeting thousands of other pastors across the U.S. and gleaning from their experience and wisdom.  Overall, I must admit I have been very very blessed by God. My life shows His grace in some very clear ways and the men He has called me into relationships with have really been life changing.

Another example:

Yet according to the narrative Mark and Grace Driscoll presented in Real Marriage in 2012 there was nobody they felt they could talk to about what was sexually dysfunctional in their own marriage?  By the Driscolls' account Grace's family was one of Mark's particular points of unhappiness in the earlier years of the marriage (see pages 10-11 in Real Marriage).  So in spite of public statements of praise and affection for Gib Martin, Real Marriage has since revealed that the private reality of Mark Driscoll's sentiments toward his father-in-law may have been a bit more resentful, by Mark and Grace Driscoll's account, than what Mark Driscoll put on the old site.

Or ... another possibility is that the narrative in Real Marriage is so difficult to square with so many years of public testimony given by Mark Driscoll about how intimately he was known by the co-founding pastors of Mars Hill and the regard with which he held his father-in-law and Grace's family that the narrative of Real Marriage could actually raise more questions about the early documented history of Mars Hill as conveyed by Mark Driscoll than it may answer.  IF Mark Driscoll's marriage was so fraught how are we supposed to understand the co-founding pastors of Mars Hill not being aware of this?  Was this because the Driscoll's didn't share that?  Did the others in the earlier years of Mars Hill just not observe that something was wrong? 

Driscoll name-dropped at least five people he considered to play a pastoral role in his life and yet the narrative of Real Marriage would make it seem as though Mark and Grace Driscoll were terribly alone.  If they were it's not entirely clear because they were actually alone within the history of Mars Hill, and they wouldn't have seemed alone in not having older men with pastoral and ministry experience Driscoll could turn to.  But if by some chance Mark Driscoll didn't want anyone to know how functional-but-not-much-fun his marriage was because he felt anyone with a marriage as fraught as his wasn't able to help them or adultery disqualified them from ministry.  But the thing is Mark and Grace Driscoll apparently saw no problem with counseling hundreds of couples in spite of their own marital strife so if what was sauce for the goose was unacceptable why was it just fine for the gander?  If the Driscolls had followed the precepts they seem to lay out in the early pages of Real Marriage then they should have refrained from giving any marital advice to anyone at all if they were uncomfortable getting marital advice from anyone or any couple with a marriage that had the same kinds of problems they had.

Is the word people use for that kind of scenario ... hypocrisy ... maybe?  As previously noted, it's not as though there weren't other pastors in the history of the earlier years of Mars Hill who couldn't do premarital and other counseling.

The review of Real Marriage that has been developing here at Wenatchee The Hatchet has not reviewed the book so much as a marriage/self-help manual as other blogs and writers have, but rather has taken up working through Real Marriage for the history of Mars Hill it presents because at this point nobody would contest that Mark Driscoll and to a lesser extent Grace Driscoll have been made so inextricable to the public history of Mars Hill that, in essence, the only significant selling point the Driscoll book would have in the realm of marriage/self-help books would simply be the Driscollian narrative.  The trouble is, for those who were around Mars Hill in the earliest years, the narrative presented in the bought-a-spot-on-the-NYT-bestseller list book is not just that there turned out to be plagiarism in the book, it's that the narrative the Driscoll's presented in their 2012 book practically overturned the narrative of their life within Mars Hill as they had shared it from circa 1999 to 2012.  Those of us who called Mars Hill home up through the 1996-2007 period might get the impression that the public narrative about how happy the Driscolls were in their marriage was some kind of sham.  What is even more striking about the narrative in the 2012 Driscoll book is how much drastic alterations to governance were considered crucial to improving elements of the Driscoll marriage.  If so, then, well it makes it all the more necessary Mars Hill Church publicly account for the way the terminations and trials of 2007 were conducted then, right? 

a postscript on Jamie Munson's list of stated reasons for the immediate termination of Paul Petry and Bent Meyer, revisiting a MH fusilade against childrens ministry as stupid
 from Pastor Jamie Munson to the elders of Mars Hill Church on September 30, 2007

Pastor Paul Petry - Grounds for immediate termination of employment

* Continual insubordination and submission to leadership and spiritual authority
* Refusal to Ministry Coaching Program
* Divisive within Mars Hill Student Ministry and undermining of Pastor Adam, Deacons and entire ministry
* Blame shifting to Proxy leadership for misbehavior of children
* Public accusation of Lead Pastor [Jamie Munson] regarding hiding the real bylaw document
* Not following protocol and process for making bylaw comments by contacting church attorney without permission
* Ongoing contentious spirit to leadership regarding changes and direction.

Though the author of the responses to these FAQ is not always explicit ... the tone is set at question 1

1. How did Mars Hill Fellowship originate? It began with a discussion among myself and some of the leaders in my college ministry at Antioch Bible Church in 1996. The discussion was largely had with Mike Gunn and Lief Moi, who are now elders at Mars Hill. That discussion turned into a Bible study, which turned into a core group, which turned into Mars Hill. Our original desire was for a church focused on emersing itself with the gospel in the emerging postmodern world and upcoming generations
and for those who can't pull up images:
12.Why don't you have traditional programs like Sunday School for children and adults? Why don't you meet on Sunday morning?

Departmental churches are basically poor rip-offs of suburban malls where the entire family can walk in and consume products from a variety of stores waiting to serve them under one roof. Likewise, in church we have a "store" for kids, moms, dads, divorcee's, teens, singles, etc. etc. Any sense of community across likeness is foreign. It really has killed the ability for shepherding through difficult life transitions because you are expected to leap into a new ministry, with a new pastor and a new community, at the most difficult transitions in your life (i.e. from jr hi to high school, high school to college, college to employment, employment to marriage, marriage to parenting, marriage to divorce etc.). Which explains why most kids bail out of church after high school, never to return. It may work in some areas and in some times, but it is in no way a biblical mandate. Likewise, Sunday morning services are not the model of the early church. For them, Sunday was likely a work day since Saturday was the Sabbath. So, I would presume they met before or after work on Sunday. Paul gives the freedom to reorganize worship times (Romans 14:5-6a). We no longer live in a Monday through Friday 9am - 5pm world, and Sunday morning is tough to get to. I for one hate getting up because I like to have fun on Saturday nights doing our radio show until midnight, going to the club scene, dating my wife etc. Why would I want to get up early on Sunday morning, fight to get the kids ready, and run to church? Why not sleep in, take the day for a Sabbath with the family, go to church, then go out to dinner with other people who are at church; Christian and non, single and married, male and female, young and old? We don't run Sunday school because it forces the departmental segregation and assumes that one department can adequately build into a person. Instead, we run classes and home Bible studies on a huge variety of topics, from missiology to prayer, according to what the teachers/ leaders want to do. They have the pulse of our people and we trust them. We also do not want the church to assume the primary spiritual oversight of children when it is their parents responsibility. So, kids worship with us, and the younger ones are pulled out for a separate Bible lesson. But, they are fully involved in the church and do ministry with their families, or if they are teens without family we adopt them in.
So if by 2007 Mars Hill Church/Mars Hill Fellowship had a childrens' ministry then wouldn't some explanation within the leadership for why the church and internally embraced the suburban mall/store approach to ministry that Mark Driscoll publicly repudiated in 2001 warrant at least ... some discussion?  Now it may have been people felt the way Petry raised the subject of how and why this massive 180 turn on the legitimacy and existence of age-bracketed ministry within Mars Hill was not entirely polite or friendly ... but it's not difficult to go dig up Mark Driscoll's public denunciation of the very idea of a teen or college ministry from the earlier days of Mars Hill.  It's possible that Driscoll in his massive youthful ignorance and arrogance simply had no idea that age-bracketed ministries could actually work ... but as yet Driscoll has never given any public indications of what such a path of remorse and repentance from that particular early view was.

Meanwhile, Jamie Munson's stated reasons for Petry being terminated included the claim that Petry was critical of the Proxy something or other in some way without necessarily having a fuller context for why, according to Mark Driscoll's own stated views, that Munson would have been able to know about at any point since 1999 since he'd been an intern at Mars Hill, the mere existence of a ministry for teens would have been taken as a sign of a failure of community within a local church. 

So on this particular singular charge/reason for termination, it may be that Paul Petry stuck by the early ideal articulated by Mars Hill leadership starting with no less than Mark Driscoll himself ... while the newly appointed Lead Pastor Jamie Munson apparently got the idea that whatever Petry said about the Proxy something or other and his attitude was part of the reasons for the "necessary" and "inevitable" termination of Paul Petry back in 2007. 

And for those who were around at Mars Hill in 2007 what evidence for any of the aforementioned charges that Jamie Munson formulated was collected by the Elder Investigative Taskforce that consisted of Scott Thomas, Dave Kraft, Gary Shavey, and Steve TompkinsShavey and Tompkins are still at Mars Hill so they could certainly field questions on behalf of Mars Hill by any and all potentially interested members, right?  Whether those profile numbers are still current is anybody's guess, of course.  But Scott Thomas and Dave Kraft have stopped being affiliated with Mars Hill in the last two years and it remains to be seen if either of them could recall what evidence was accumulated with respect to the charges Munson made against Petry and Meyer.  If they don't feel ready to address those kinds of things so it goes.  Kraft's expression of regret for being involved in the trials and voting the way he did has already been established.  The other members of the EIT, as yet, have not made any public statements about their participation in the EIT and the trial or what, if any, evidence was accumulated in the run-up to the trials. 

Something for people at Mars Hill to at least consider in the run-up to the end of the fiscal year here.  If Mars Hill is going to sustain the trust of long-time members amid a challenging season full of controversy about Mark Driscoll's citation errors in half a dozen of his books and controversy surrounding Sutton Turner's signing a contract with Result Source Inc to rig a #1 spot for Real Marriage on the NYT bestseller list a way to increase trust and resolve among the laity might be to just produce the evidence for why the 2007 firings and trials were handled in an appropriate way and with an appropriate collective decision.  It's at least something to consider, anyway. After all, it seems the BOAA and the executive elders have merely conceded that rigging a bestseller list was a mistake and unfortunate and maybe even not entirely honest but there couldn't be anything remotely ... sinful about it.  And if there wasn't anything wrong with that what would be wrong with just naming who the "outside counsel" was that recommended the use of Result Source to begin with? There are many opportunities for transparency that Mars Hill leadership can take at this juncture.  As Mars Hill seems to be reaching out to people to give and give and give during a trying season how much they are really willing to share about where all the money goes and how they have conducted their, to be rather crude about it, political/governmental history, doesn't count as just a couple of mundane details.