Saturday, August 02, 2014

Chapter 11 of Real Marriage as a recapitulation of thoughts and events described in Mark Driscoll's 11-8-07 letter to Mars Hill members

One of the things that someone who had never been a member of Mars Hill would be unlikely to perceive in the closing chapter of Real Marriage is that many of the events, thoughts and themes at the start of the chapter appear to not only be a description of how Mark and Grace Driscoll set about reverse-engineer for themselves a better marriage, but also a better church. 

Real Marriage
Mark and Grace Driscoll
Copyright (c) 2012 by On Mission, LLC
Thomas Nelson
ISBN 978-1-4002-0383-3
ISBN 978-1-4041-8352-0 (IE)
pages 207-208

... I (Mark) had been pushing myself hard for more than a decade since Mars Hill Church opened up, and I had overextended myself so much that I had worn out my adrenal glands and gotten an ulcer.

Some Sundays were brutal. I would sneak in a back door, avoiding any human contact because I simply did no thave the emotional wherewithal to spend an entire day hearing of trauma in people's lives and arguing with religious types. At times I actually found myself nodding off on the side of the stage before one of the five services I preached lived. So I foolishly started drinking energy drinks all
day to power through Sundays. After preaching I would go home to sit in the dark and watch television, obviously depressed. Before long I was stressed each night at bedtime as the anxiety over whether or not I could sleep became constant. I felt like a car that could not turn off. I had multiple stress-related symptoms--heartburn, headaches, nervous eye twitch, aggressive driving, constant low-level anger, high blood pressure, and self-medicating with food and drinks packed with fat, sugar, and simple carbohydates, along with caffeine.

Perhaps a few months after things had reached this level, a godly friend in the church, named Jon, scheduled a meeting with me. God had laid it on his heart to speak some wisdom into my life. He did so with great humility, and in that meeting he gave me some insights that were life changing.

Jon had been taking notes on how he organized his life, things he had learned, and what he felt the Holy Spirit had asked him to tell me. His wisdom was a priceless gift. He called it "Reverse Engineering." The big idea was to anticipate life forward and live it backward.

In the ensuing months I sought to add to his wisdom as much insight as I could.  For the church, I met with some of the pastors of the largest churches in America to see what I could learn about how we needed to reorganize. For my health, I found a doctor named John who was a naturopath and ordained pastor and started doing what he told me to do, which has changed my life. For my awareness, I started reading and studying material written by doctors and counselors on stress and adrenaline. For my marriage, I started spending more energy than ever to connect with Grace and get our time together. I also met a bible-based counselor a few times to inquire what I needed to learn and how I could best serve Grace as her friend.  I limped along through the winter and spring making adjustments along the way.

That summer we took a family vacation in central Oregon with Grace's family. ...

For those curious about "Reverse engineering your life" here's a pdf that shows it was copyrighted by Mark Driscoll and Jon Phelps in 2005. For what relatively little has been found by WtH about Phelps you can go here.

The general arc of the narrative at the start of chapter 11 of Real Marriage resembles this:
A letter from Pastor Mark Driscoll
November 8, 2007
For me personally, everything culminated at the end of 2006. Despite rapid growth, the church was not healthy and neither was I. My  workload was simply overwhelming. I was preaching five times a Sunday, the senior leader in Mars Hill responsible to some degree for literally everything in the church, president of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network which had exploded, president of The Resurgence, an author writing books, a conference speaker traveling, a media representative doing interviews, a student attending graduate school, a father with five young children, and a husband to a wife whom I have adored since the first day I met her and needed my focus more than ever. I was working far too many hours and neglecting my own physical and spiritual well-being, and then I hit the proverbial wall. For many weeks I simply could not sleep more than two or three hours a night. I had been running off of adrenaline for so many years that my adrenal glands fatigued and the stress of my responsibilities caused me to be stuck “on” physically and unable to rest or sleep. After a few months I had black circles under my eyes, was seeing a fog, and was constantly beyond exhausted.

Nonetheless, the demands on me continued to grow as the church grew. We added more campuses, gathered more critics, saw more media attention, planted more churches, purchased more real estate, raised more money, and hired more staff. It was at this time that I seriously pondered leaving Mars Hill Church for the first time ever. I still loved our Jesus, loved our mission, loved our city, and loved our people. However, I sunk into a deep season of despair as I considered spending the rest of my life serving at Mars Hill Church. I simply could not fathom living the rest of my life with the pace of ministry and amount of responsibility that was on me. Furthermore, the relational demands of the church and its leaders depleted me entirely. In short, I had lost my joy and wanted to lose my job before I lost my life. Tucking my children in bed at night became a deeply sorrowful experience for me; I truly feared I would either die early from a heart attack or burn out and be left unable to best care for my children in the coming years. I have met many pastors who have simply crossed the line of burnout and never returned to health and sanity and that was my frightful but seemingly inevitable future.

One of the problems was that Mars Hill had essentially outgrown the wisdom of our team and needed outside counsel. The church had grown so fast that some of our elders and other leaders were simply falling behind and having trouble keeping up, which was understandable. To make matters worse, there was a growing disrespect among some elders who were jockeying for and abusing power. The illusion of unity our eldership had maintained over the years was kept in part by my tolerating some men who demanded more power, pay, control, and voice than their performance, character, or giftedness merited. While this was a very short list of men, as elders they had enough power to make life truly painful.

Any recent statements by Mark Driscoll in any venue withstanding, even the closing chapter of Real Marriage seems to recapitulate enough of Mark Driscoll's 2007 apologia for the re-org to constitute a reinforcement of the 2007 narrative as a defense of the controversial firings. 

In fact in the opening of the 2012 book Mark Driscoll wrote the following:
from pages 16-17

I needed a new life. I did not need a new job, but anew plan for that job. I also needed a new marriage, but wanted to have a new marriage with the same spouse. So we cleaned up the church, lost around one thousand people due to changes amid intense criticism, laid off a lot of people (many of whom were great), and decided everything would change or we would walk. I refused to die from stress or destroy my marriage and family for the sake of "religious" people and outgrown organizational systems. I found a good doctor and did what I was told to rebuild my health. Grace and I pulled back from many commitments, got some help, including someone to help her one day a week and someone else to clean the house every other week, and carved out some time to intentionally work on our relationship with Jesus and each other.

And if Driscoll had done something as simple as shared the pulpit with the rest of the elders he wouldn't have had to lament the stress of preaching five services a Sunday for months.  Had Mars Hill adequately investigated land use and permit issues for its 50th street real estate purchase multi-site wouldn't have been necessary to pursue as an expensive plan B by going multisite in contrast to what Driscoll had told the world in his 2006 book was plan A. 

And to read the way Driscoll tells the story in the 2012 book he had to contend with "religious" people who were committed to outgrown organizational systems.  He also found a good doctor (who turns out to have been John Catanzaro whose appeal over the suspension of his license should be coming up soon) who told him what to do to change his health, a naturopath who was also an ordained minister.  Both the beginning and end of Real Marriage seem to give us a story in which one of the obstacles that had to be overcome for the sake of the Driscoll marriage as Mark Driscoll wanted it to be was his own church and its organizational systems.  Was that ... really a way of saying that the bylaws had to be changed in 2007 so Mark and Grace Driscoll could have the marriage and family life they wanted? 

on the seminal and continuing thematic link between Mark Driscoll's concerns about men and masculinity and those of Doug Wilson, an overview ranging from Pussified Nation to 2011.

There's something of note in the statements made by Mark Driscoll published by Christianity Today on Friday August 1, 2014.

"The content of my postings to that discussion board does not reflect how I feel, or how I would conduct myself today," he told his church members Friday. "Over the past 14 years I have changed, and, by God's grace, hope to continue to change. I also hope people I have offended and disappointed will forgive me."
The content of the postings on the discussion board made by Mark Driscoll under the name of William Wallace II may not reflect what Mark Driscoll feels now or how he would conduct himself today. 

Fair enough, but the point Wenatchee The Hatchet has been discussing and presenting Driscoll material regarding throughout this week has not been about Mark Driscoll's feelings, as though in the history of Driscollian discourse feelings were even something for a guy to discuss to begin with.  No, to reframe these recent statements in terms that Driscoll himself might likely insist on doing for others, it doesn't particularly matter how Mark Driscoll feels differently now on the subject of masculinity and femininity compared to fourteen years ago.  The question that is far more relevant is what did Mark Driscoll THINK in 2000 and is there any observable evidence that what Mark Driscoll THOUGHT about men and women and sexuality fourteen years ago is observably different in substance now.  It's not as though Mark Driscoll hasn't made a career of making fun of guys talking about their feelings. 

So, for instance, let's take the opening salvo of "Pussified Nation" itself. 

We live in a completely pussified nation. We could get every man, real man as opposed to pussified James Dobson knock-off crying Promise Keeping homoerotic worship loving mama's boy sensitive emasculated neutered exact male replica evangellyfish ...

What's interesting about this opening salvo is that it so quickly tips off a reader familiar with seminal influences on Mark Driscoll's thought which author's jargon and jocularity may most resemble William Wallace II's initial post on "Pussified Nation". That last word in the italicized quote, "evangellyfish" where else can we find that?  How about the title of a book, a novel, published by Pastor Doug Wilson?

And let's consider whether Doug Wilson's work got reference by William Wallace II in "Pussified Nation". How about this?

William Wallace II
posted 01-20-2001 01:34 PM

Good question.
One, don't spend all your time with single people. Get some good married couple friends to observe and dialogue with. This is one of the biggest problems with segmented ministry in churches, married and unmarried people are separated. Two, spend some considerable time in Scripture about marital matters so that you know  why, how, and what a wife and children are for. A good place to start may be in the Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, and Proverbs. Three, some good books are helpful. On male sexuality I'd recommend "Fidelity" by Douglas Wilson. On male headship I'd suggest "Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood" by John  Piper. "The War on Boys" and "Fatherless In
America" are great works by non-Christians. Four, be in a good solid church with qualified male elders who can have frank biblical  discussions about male issues without blushing.

Is there any indication of a continuity of ideas and themes between the Mark Driscoll of 2000 as William Wallace II and the Mark Driscoll of the latest decade?
cue up the Bjork song "Possibly Maybe" if you're so inclined

If Doug Wilson is a featured guest author at Resurgence that "might" suggest that since the days of "Pussified Nation" that whatever different feelings Mark Driscoll might have these days his thoughts about gender and marriage are sufficiently congruent with those of Doug Wilson, whose writing Driscoll referenced as quoted above, that Wilson has a space on the Resurgence website to this very day.  That is more than can be said for John Catanzaro these days.

For that matter, back in 2011 Mark Driscoll mentioned the following at Pastor Mark TV.
On September 16 - 17, 2011, I had the opportunity to speak at the Grace Agenda hosted by Doug Wilson. As part of the conference, Doug interviewed me on a number of topics. Over the coming weeks, I'll post up some of those interviews. The following is a conversation Doug and I had regarding spiritual gifts and cessationism.

Should you want to go buy the whole set of conference discussions ...
Masculinity and the Gospel | Mark Driscoll

Modern society is in the midst of a fatherhood and masculinity crisis and getting the Gospel right on this point is the only solution to the crisis. To do this we must understand the Gospel as the sort of message that demands that those who receive and present it be people who have a spine and understand its potency. This is a fundamental issue and affects everything from the integrity of our political leaders to the growth of modern atheism to the effectiveness of our evangelistic mission. Not to mention the health of our families.
That synopsis doesn't look particularly different in its essential concerns from anything broadly articulated in the opening of "Pussified Nation".

Now to be sure Driscoll probably still differs significantly with Wilson on the antebellum South but Driscoll has not made a point of contesting Wilson's ideas about the South, though if the two ever decided to debate that set of issues that could be a potentially interesting debate.  But on gender and masculinity Driscoll and Wilson have shared enough core ideas (regardless of whatever Mark Driscoll's feelings might have been this week) that they have continued to interact with each other and Wilson's works are still mentioned at Resurgence.

If you are familiar with the polemical writings of Doug Wilson you might say that "Pussified Nation" could be described as Mark Driscoll taking Wilson's polemical approach, pumping it up with steroids and amphetamines, and letting it loose to see what happened. 

It's not really enough to have just published "Pussified Nation" as a stand-alone exemplar of Driscollian polemic from 2000.  It's necessary to ground not merely the rhetoric and sentiment but also the ideas in time and place.  Driscoll clearly could not have gotten his ideas in a vacuum and as the plagiarism controversy surrounding how many of his books made use of the ideas of others without citation the recurring reference by Mark Driscoll to Wilson's works might just make it all the more salient to remind the general public that Driscoll found Wilson's ideas about gender important enough to both mention them in the body of "Pussified Nation" and to even participate in a conference with Wilson in 2011. 

While Driscoll can express regret about how he said what he said the substance of his ideas seems to have remained steady.  If he wants to persuade the world he's changed a few sermons extolling the beauty and value of stay-at-home dads might be a great move to convince outsiders he's changed.

Friday, August 01, 2014

a lengthy feature at The Stranger that provides a background for the history of MH

Pretty thorough and they don't bore you with the details of all the real estate transactions and associated subsequent leadership appointments, though if you're interested in that kind of thing ...

it doesn't "need" to be said as such but WtH's prayers are for Eleanor and the Petry family. 

Christianity Today: Mark Driscoll Addresses Crude Comments Made Trolling as William Wallace II

It's a little too bad CT didn't published the letter.   Since CT linked to the post here at WtH that provided a historical background for the development of the pen name William Wallace II it's helpful to reiterate what was in the post published earlier this week.

Driscoll has a lengthy history of expressing regret about the "tone" of what he says, how he has said things, and how people have reacted to things he has said.  What he has not shown much history of doing is apologizing for what he says, for the substance in his more inflammatory remarks over the last twelve years, and as noted in the post mentioned above, in 2011 Mark Driscoll responded to the 2011 Facebook scuffle in which he was criticized for inviting readers to share stories of effeminate anatomically male worship leaders by doing two things: 1) stating that the issue under a lot of issues was the debate about whether gender was a social construct or a God-given identity.  2) that his executive pastors wanted him to address real issues in a real way with real substance and this was a transition into not apologizing for anything he'd said on Facebook as such but a promotion of both the forthcoming book Real Marriage and what turned out to be Pastor Mark TV.

If Driscoll is willing to express regret in a way that is conveyed to Christianity Today about William Wallace II perhaps Driscoll would be willing to address the number of books in which he used the works of others without citation; or perhaps the times where he presented inaccurate claims about historic Christian doctrine and figures; or perhaps could finally address that Joyful Exiles exists. 

If Driscoll is sorry about his writings as William Wallace II that's easy enough to understand.  The cumulative case in the posts this week is that if you read past the tone and look at the substance of what he's had to say about men and women and sex and sexuality over the last twelve to fourteen years the substance of what he wrote in the thread "Using your penis" still has a significant degree of thematic continuity with the chapter "Can We ____?" from the 2012 book Real Marriage. If anything from 1998 to 2008 Mark Driscoll escalated his propensity to dismiss allegorical interpretations of the Song of Songs by Christian thinkers with gay panic jokes compared to his late 1990s series "Sacred Romance". 

Back in 2012 when Driscoll discussed ways of interpreting the book of Esther he mentioned that one option is to interpret the book as being about Esther being godly from start to finish.  This is a straw man formulation of the idea that Esther, though flawed, was still potentially a righteous person.  Christians would keep saying David was a man after man's own heart in spite of everything actually in the books of Samuel and Kings and if one were to propose that the David who emerges in the Psalms seems like a narcissistic whiner people will throw down the kid gloves and fight.

But what did Driscoll say about his simplified option 1 for interpreting Esther?

Well, then that’s a worthless Book. If the story is, “God loves and uses good people and he doesn’t love and use bad people,” that’s a worthless Book. If that’s the story, that I have to be my own savior, I have to be my own hero, I’ve got to straighten out all that I made crooked. Or worse yet, if you’ve made it crooked, it can’t be straightened out at all, because you’re a bad person and God doesn’t love bad people, and you’ve done bad things and God doesn’t use people who’ve done bad things.

This is something Wenatchee The Hatchet has addressed in the past but it is worth revisiting.  The problem in the excerpt quoted above is in the series of rhetorical moves Mark Driscoll made with respect to the biblical text of Esther itself by of commenting broadly on the way some interpret it.  He sets up a straw man form of the proposal that Esther could be seen as a primarily heroic figure in spite of her flaws and the next move is more troubling, "Well, then that's a worthless book."  What Driscoll has done here is say that "if" someone interprets Esther as a narrative in which a heroic figure serves God and God's people then the book itself is worthless. 

Given all those years in which Mark Driscoll enjoined everyone to place themselves UNDER Scripture here is a slippery slope that no pastor should ever introduce into the pulpit, the proposal that if one has a view of the scriptures you find problematic that you declare the book itself becomes "worthless".  When a pastor is willing to say that if you endorse a view about a biblical text he finds untenable that the biblical text itself is rendered worthless the gravity of that rhetorical ploy on the part of a man professing to be a pastor and making this move from the pulpit is a bit more than Wenatchee The Hatchet can find the right words for.  It's one thing to suggest that an interpretive approach makes light of certain themes in a text (someone could suggest, as has been done recently that N. T. Wright has made the mistake of making the subsidiary theme in Paul the primary theme while downplaying Paul's primary literary theme) without disparaging the text itself if the other view holds true.  Driscoll would never make the rhetorical move of saying that the Pauline epistles are completely worthless of New Perspective ideas are true, would he?  Even if they were somehow "true" Driscoll wouldn't stop appreciating that the Pauline epistles are in the Bible. 

If Driscoll states that he has grown and changed not all of that growth and change may necessarily be positive.  Back in 2004 he warned members of the God Box and the dynamics of remote denominational executive fiat. By 2014 Mars Hill has reached a point where the local campus pastors are not capable of making decisions about real estate.  This was evinced years ago when Mars Hill executive leadership announced the closing of the Lake City campus.   In 2009 he said he didn't start a side company to manage book royalties and in 2011 he set one up.  What the publication of Real Marriage in 2012 revealed was that in spite of years and years of publicly sharing how much he loved his wife and how good things were this turned out to be, well, not entirely true.  The problematic trajectory Mars Hill has taken and that Mark Driscoll in particular has moved in is a direction in which the things he warned members against from the pulpit a decade ago have become the things that executive leadership at Mars Hill has been doing for a few years now. 

The culmination of many of these turnarounds could be found in Real Marriage.  This was the pivotal point at which Driscoll was not preaching through a book of the Bible, nor was he preaching through a topical series of doctrinal ideas or theological questions.  Instead Real Marriage constituted a series built around a book written by Mark and Grace Driscoll which now turns out to have featured content taken from the works of others without adequate citation and which was bought a place on the NYT bestseller list and this last point was admitted to by none other than the BOAA itself.  The Mark Driscoll circa 2000-2004 may be a source of embarrassment to Mark Driscoll circa 2014 but that Mark Driscoll of late has done things and said things that the Mark Driscoll of 2000-2004 warned us were characteristic of out-of-touch denominational systems and problematic pastors might just be something Mark Driscoll and the other leaders at Mars Hill may need to be reminded of. 

And, as we've noted here at Wenatchee The Hatchet, however sorry Mark Driscoll may be about his tone the substance of his ideas have not necessarily changed.  Mars Hill purging a decade worth of Driscoll's sermons and scrubbing away materials a week or so after it has been quoted at Wenatchee the Hatchet is not the most encouraging sign that Mars Hill leadership is listening or open to a public presentation of ways they have changed that run counter to the early ideals of the community. 

What is most striking about the narrative of the Driscoll marriage in Real Marriage is that during the William Wallace II days this was apparently a bitter and depressive period for the Driscolls in which Mark Driscoll might write "using your penis" under the pen name William Wallace II while the private reality was that he wasn't having as much sex or sex that was good as he wanted and he was bitter about this.  The bloggers and authors who have zeroed in just on "Pussified Nation" without grasping its historic context are going to be missing the significance of the thread and related content.  It is not possible or wise to separate the writings of William Wallace II from the Mark Driscoll who recounted in Real Marriage that in the earlier years of the church he did counseling with young couples and sexually ravenous single women just made him resent his wife a bit more.  (discussed on pages 14 and 15 of the 2012 book, and seems to refer to around the year 1998, a couple of years before "Pussified Nation"). At no point did Mark Driscoll seem to have any epiphany that if he was tending toward viewing sex as a god that he might not have ever been in the best position to rebuke other men in the church for having similar problems. 

What is most striking and least-discussed about the William Wallace II period in this week's journalism and blogging so far is to ask when or how soon or if Mark Driscoll's elders or pastors knew he was writing under this pen name and if they approved.  It is not clear whether or not Mark Driscoll did what he did as William Wallace II with the knowledge and approval of the other elders at the church that was Mars Hill or not.  To go by the stories shared in the 2011 film God's Work, Our Witness a viewer might get the impression that whatever Mark Driscoll's public remorse now in the production of the 2011 film everyone seemed eager to praise Driscoll for how he conducted himself in the period in which he was writing as William Wallace II and even Driscoll himself has not just said he cussed and yelled a lot but that God drew a straight line with a crooked stick and, particularly in the 2011 film, members and staff praised Mark Driscoll for what he did. 

If Mark Driscoll really regretted everything about that time how did that narrative element get into the 2011 film when he could have and should have rejected that entire episode as inappropriate to God's Work, Our Witness?  Driscoll said he sinned and cussed a lot during his William  Wallace II days but go back and read that account again and you may find that the predominant tone and theme in that section is Mark Driscoll talking about how the men were really getting out of hand and he was frustrated at them, took up the pen name William Wallace II along the way, and that in the end the "life change was unreal".  In other words, if there's nothing about the substance of what he said and did in that period of Mark Driscoll's life why would he ascribe the results of what he did to divine providence at any level?  Why not say, rather, that there was nothing good whatever that came from that period of his ministry when he wrote about it in 2006 or talked about it in the 2011 film? 

As discussed earlier this week, Mark Driscoll looked back on the Dead Men days in the following way in 2011.

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.

Think about that for a moment "And it's just really cool what God did in this place."  Mark Driscoll has credited God with doing things through him in his William Wallace II/Dead Men stage in print and in film.  If Mark Driscoll has changed and has stopped embracing the ideas he presented as William Wallace II then the contrast between the tone and substance of "Using your Penis" and "Can We _____?" should be considerable.  Is it?

report of pending transitions in the MH BOAA

It may look something approximately like this:

Upcoming Changes to the BOAA

Dr. Paul Tripp joined our Board of Advisors and Accountability in November 2013 and has been an immense help to our leaders over the past year. Dr. Tripp has extensive experience in discipleship and Biblical counseling. Earlier this month, we made the decision together to open the opportunity for him to work with greater focus on issues directly related to his expertise, namely the continued development of our community and redemption ministries.

Because simultaneously being a board member and a consultant does not allow for the required definition of “independence," Dr. Tripp graciously submitted his resignation from the BOAA in early June, so that he can more extensively serve our church as a consultant. We are excited to continue this work with him, and are thankful for his continued support of Mars Hill Church.

Similarly, Pastor James MacDonald informed the board at the July meeting of his decision to transition from his current role on the board pending his replacement. Pastor James has been a great help in forming the current board’s direction, and we are very grateful for his time and wisdom over the last several years. About this transition he commented, “I have great love and affection for Mars Hill Church and I want to make clear this change is not because I am unhappy with Mark’s response to board accountability. On the contrary, I have found him to be exemplary in his current readiness to live under the BOAA oversight. I am not resigning because I doubt Mark’s sincerity in any way. I believe in Mark Driscoll and his heart to leverage difficult lessons in service to Christ and his church in the years ahead. I am excited to continue to support that trajectory as Mark’s friend, as I focus my efforts on Harvest Bible Fellowship.”

About these transitions, Pastor Mark shared, “I am thankful for the service of both Paul and James, two men I admire and respect. Their service on our board has been a blessing to me and Mars Hill Church in countless ways. The amount of hours they have given as volunteers is extraordinary, especially in light of their other ministry demands."

Candidates are currently being interviewed to replace these open board positions. They will be submitted before the Full Council of Elders for their approval as soon as possible.

So it looks like there's word circulating that both Tripp and MacDonald are transitioning out.  Tripp is transitioning out so as to serve as a consultant to Mars Hill.  Last time this blog discussed MacDonald at any length might have been this post over here, in which it was noted that James MacDonald was observed with Dave Bruskas and Sutton Turner and Mark Driscoll when Driscoll crashed the Strange Fire conference last year.  Michael Van Skaik was on the board of Ministry Coaching International circa 2007 during the controversial 2006-2007 re-org and has since transitioned through being a Mars Hill pastor into no longer being a MH pastor who served at a campus and on a finance committee to being on the BOAA.  Tripp's transition from BOAA member to consultant was so swift one could wonder what the purpose of the transitional stage was, unless it's possible that the current advisory/consultant role was not proposed or planned until recently, which is certainly a possibility.

Let's remember that Larry Osborne (who's slated to preach in a couple of weeks, correct?) had an advisory role in the 2006-2007 re-org.  It's a little difficult to understand in what meaningful sense, now, any of the members of the BOAA have at a practical level in being independent of Mars Hill in terms of history.  But perhaps tha tcan be cleared up soon.

Warren Throckmorton: former colleague provides evidence Mark Driscoll plagiarized material in two books

Repentant Pastor: Jesse Winkler's confession

August 2014 is here but maybe not necessarily the Mars Hill Jesus festival

For those keeping track of this, Mars Hill has mentioned that once again they beat budget.  But they've generally managed to beat budget every year with announcements often flowing from Mark Driscoll or someone else about how this last year was the best year ever.  Well, this year's been more full of "trying season" or "learning season".  But there's a more practical consideration.  MH beat budget but there were still layoffs and there's something else to ask about.

Mars Hill Schools might still be going forward but what happened to that planned Jesus Festival?
By: Pastor Sutton Turner
Posted: Jan 13, 2014

In August we have the Jesus Festival, an outdoor event in Seattle that will boldly proclaim the name of Jesus and clearly announce the good news of grace. We are praying for a work of the Spirit that would lead many, many people to Jesus that day.
The link would have been  ...

It's 404 error with that link.  The date may not have been one to save in the end.  This looks like another reference from Mark Driscoll to the Jesus Festival from later in 2013.
... A door opens up to what is new. At Mars Hill, God has opened some crazy awesome doors of opportunity that could make 2014 the biggest year we’ve ever had with some of the greatest investments we’ve ever made. To get us ready to walk through that door next year, we are finishing this year by opening the book of Malachi.

... Jesus Festival: On August 22, we’ll host our first-ever Jesus Festival at Marymoor Park near Seattle. Everyone at Mars Hill churches far and near is invited for this unique opportunity to grow together and evangelize within the surrounding community. Fun for kids, music, gospel preaching, baptisms, and good times at no charge because it’s always good to practice for the kingdom with a party!
  • Mars Hill Global: In 2014, we plan to support 20 additional church planters in Ethiopia, and 10 additional church planters in India—73 overall, for a legacy that extends beyond our own congregation and country.

  • Wenatchee The Hatchet has published material posted by Turner elsewhere that seemed to refer to the maybe-not-happening festival over here.

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

    a little clarification on the recent posts--a case for keeping Driscoll's contribution to public discussion within public access (even if Mars Hill would wish otherwise)

    The Pussified Nation pages went up on Sunday but because of some formatting problems with the composite screen captures WtH reverted to draft to see if the problem could be fixed.  Not exactly.  Ended up cutting and pasting.  The massive composite screen caps assembled in the last week won't come up for you, dear reader. 

    And it turns out that in the interval between taking things down to try to fix the problem and republication someone else has leaked the content and, uh, word has gotten around.

    What may not have gotten around is the historical setting in which the pseudonym William Wallace II was developed.  What was Driscoll responding to, and, more literally, where was he in the time and space in which Mars Hill was emerging?  It matters because it may shed some light on why Mars Hill took the efforts it took to suppress "Pussified Nation" and other artifacts from the earlier days of Mars Hill.  Yes, Mark Driscoll mentioned that he cussed and sinned a lot in that period but a pertinent question that outsiders aren't capable of addressing across the history of Mars Hill (without some help) is whether or not there is a continuity of theme.  For those who read Real Marriage the signal quote may be this one.

    Real Marriage
    Mark and Grace Driscoll
    Copyright (c) 2012 by On Mission, LLC
    Thomas Nelson
    ISBN 978-1-4002-0383-3
    ISBN 978-1-4041-8352-0 (IE)

    page 14
    I grew more chauvinistic. I had never cheated on a girlfriend, but I never had a girlfriend who did not cheat on me. And now I knew that included my own wife. So I started to distrust women in general, including Grace. This affected my tone in preaching for a season, something I will always regret.

    Well, yes, he regrets his tone that showed up in his preaching "for a season".

    What about the substance?  Has he ever felt any remorse for the substance of what he has said?  It is entirely fair for readers to ask why anyone should go to the trouble of republishing "Pussified Nation" and other artifacts from Mark Driscoll's writing under the pseudonym William Wallace II.  The first is, in light of some words by someone named Jesus, out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.  It's important to observe over time whether or not the substance of Driscoll's ideas and focus have significantly changed and not just to consider his "tone".  He's managed to apologize for tone over the years without apologizing for what he's actually said.  Some Christians seem to get the idea that apologizing for tone is "repentance". 

    Wenatchee The Hatchet has been looking for content from the earlier days of Mars Hill for, well, years.  That any of the content was preserved via The WayBack Machine, which by now anyone who's come to this blog has likely already discovered, was a bit of a surprise.  Not everything was preserved by that method.  Some of it had to be presented as raw text.  Some of the stuff was so difficult and time-consuming to track down that if one may indulge in the possible hyperbole of this statement, Wenatchee the Hatchet has felt like some of this stuff couldn't even have been found at all unless God wanted it to happen.  At any rate, pardon the blogger for expressing feelings in those terms if it seems uncouth, because it sure felt that way to finally find some of the long-lost content.

    It is important to stress that the reason a lot of material came down from the site was that it was no longer being used.  The unmoderated Midrash really was spiraling out of control and many contributors were not even people who attended or were members of Mars Hill.  The lack of any obligation to use real names also inspired people to luxuriate in expressing vitriol.  The 2000-2002 period was a period in which Driscoll was cementing a relationship to David Nicholas to advance church-planting activity and this was possibly also around the time that Driscoll came into some kind of contact with Jon Phelps.  Beyond the clear and practical need to ensure there was a modicum of good behavior on the Mars Hill blogs there was also the practical and pragmatic concern of ensuring that the Mars Hill web presence was not going to be an utter embarrassment to those who would donate to the cause of Mars Hill. 

    And beyond all that, many of us who were there at the time got the idea that with Gunn and Moi around to reel him in that Mark Driscoll was going to tone things down and mellow out with age.  Well ... arguably those of us who thought that were being optimistic, even na├»ve, to put it a bit mildly.  Purging that content signaled a new kind of Mars Hill web presence, one that was more polished, competent, restrained, and one that was more presentable both to the outside world and to those inside.  So please don't get the idea that Mars Hill purged the content "only" because "Pussified Nation" would make Driscoll look bad.  There's little doubt that Driscoll sincerely came to regret how he said a lot of stuff under the pen name William Wallace II.

    It was frustrating to see that no sooner had the posts from Sunday gone up and gotten reverted to draft in the hope of revising some formatting issues that, well, the content took off.  The aim was to present the content here in a way that didn't automatically give away that things could be found at The WayBack Machine's tools because Mars Hill has spent the last four to five months introducing robots.txt to all their sites.  It's almost gotten to the point where Wenatchee has wondered if there's just someone whose actual job is purging any MH content that gets quoted here.  Here's hoping that's not the case because well, as you've seen lately, many of those efforts are thoroughly futile.  But at another level, the reason this unprecedented purge of Mars Hill content is disappointing is because if Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll want to give the world and Christians any evidence at all that he has truly changed a sweeping retroactive purge is not going to convince anyone of much besides the notion that somebody has so much to hide it's worth purging possibly an entire decade's worth of sermons.

    We could chart the growth and maturation of Mark Driscoll more readily if stuff were simply left up and not redacted and excised or circumcised.

    Finally, while Wenatchee The Hatchet can actually name the real names of a number of participants on the threads reproducted from the old Midrash don't expect that to happen.  Comments, as you'll have seen, have been pretty much closed all across the board.  This work of late has been work to preserve some of the history of the early Mars Hill and the early Mark Driscoll rather than an invitation to commentary from anyone, whether those against or for.  You all have the opportunity to do that elsewhere.  Conversely, if Driscoll and the Mars Hill elders are seeking to really repent then the more explicitly they live out the repentance urged upon everyone else the more ready some may be to believe Driscoll is turning over a new leaf instead of repackaging "father" branding yet again in 2014 after using that language to sell the re-org of 2007. 

    Why share "Pussified Nation" and other writings from Mark Driscoll as William Wallace II now? Because it took a long time to find, and it was intended to be shared earlier (if possible) for one.  For another, the cumulative history of Driscoll as a public figure sounding off on men and women and sexuality suggests that he has repeatedly altered his tone without ever fundamentally changing the substance of what he advocates.  If a person has truly repented of what he or she has said or done then not only would we see remorse over how things were perceived, we'd see a substantive change in what is said not just how it is sold. 

    Now it's not as though there isn't a legitimate concern that young men have difficulties embracing adult responsibility.  But there's a distinction that can be made between whether or not Mark Driscoll has ever accurately diagnosed the nature of the problem and whether what he proposes offers a viable solution.

    All of the content published by Mark Driscoll under the pen name William Wallace II was originally aimed at being public discourse in addition to being a rallying point for internal discussion among the people who called Mars Hill Fellowship their spiritual home.  As discussed in the past here at Wenatchee The Hatchet, though conservative and evangelical in confessional/ethical aims and in spite of Mark Driscoll's occasional claims to eschew political discourse, "Pussified Nation" was a shot fired in favor of what evangelical/conservatives in America would, if they are honest, identify as a Social Gospel.  I've bounced this idea back and forth a bit with some of my blogging friends at City of God over the last five or six years. 

    In bringing "Pussified Nation" and other writings by Mark Driscoll as William Wallace II to light at Wenatchee The Hatchet I want to state in the most obvious terms that I have not brought to light private discussions at all, I have brought back into public discussion something that always was public in practice and that was even intended by Mark Driscoll to inflame or catalyze a public discussion on the nature of gender in practice.  If you have trawled through all the material I've presented in the last three days you may see that Mark Driscoll has espoused a type of Social Gospel which can be summed up thusly--if you get the young males to behave right at young enough of an age the problems of society will be taken care of by default. 

    What problem needs to be fixed?  The young men need to be yelled at so that they shape up and fly right.  They need to get real jobs, find women, marry them, make babies and do all this for Jesus' fame.  The possibility that many of those 20-something men won't find "real jobs" because of changes in the economy in a post-industrial context where "we" exported a lot of our unskilled labor overseas or a lot of unskilled labor is unglamorous drudgery "real Americans" don't want to do may not be on the Driscoll radar.  That neo-Calvinists lament the median age of first marriage has soared up to the highest levels we've seen in the last forty years may need to be offset by the observation that the last time that number got so high was during the Great Depression.  It may be people would like to get married but we don't have a housing or employment market of the sort where a bootstrap social conservative Social Gospel in the closet will work any better now than the progressive Social Gospel that, whether people may remember this or not, was more characteristic of evangelicalism over the last 150 years than contemporary political discourse might have us believe. 

    For those who have any familiarity with the writings of Roy Baumeister he has proposed that the nature of male social identity and economic identity is that males are valuable because they are disposable.  What Mars Hill explicitly and implicitly offered young men is the opportunity to be part of a social structure in which they would not only not be disposable but in which they were told in a variety of ways their contributions and presence were necessary.  American culture has had a propensity to focus on individual rather than social identity and in the kind of socio-economic setting in which young males (or anyone) can discover how big the world is it can be easy to see how replaceable a cog you ultimately are anywhere you go. What Mark Driscoll's sprawling flame wars can be seen as attempting to do, particularly if you read the materials in which he transitioned into what came to be known as Dead Men, was to join Mars Hill leaders in inviting young males to have a social identity. 

    So when people rhetorically ask why anyone would join, let's throw out an excerpt from Phillip Zimbardo here: "Who would fall for such appeals? Most of us, if they were made by someone we trusted, in a setting that was familiar, and especially if we had unfulfilled needs." Pretty much, and since Mars Hill promised to give young males without any social or economic moorings  who grew up in latchkey homes with problematic family backgrounds it could be suggested that Driscoll and the co-founders of Mars Hill made a point of explicitly targeting those young males looking for a social as well as individual identity as the future Establishment that could be won over.  As Driscoll has been saying off and on for years if you get the young men you win the war.  Pointing out that the "war" Driscoll has had in mind since possibly the beginning of his public career can be framed as an evangelical/conservative Social Gospel is just pointing out the obvious.  That by 2013 Mark Driscoll was willing to acknowledge the political and social aims in his message regarding young men could be telegraphed by bothering to show up on Glenn Beck's show at all and by things said in the removed interview with Janet Mefferd.  Had it not turned out that Mark Driscoll was a plagiarist, let's recall, Janet Mefferd said there was a lot in Driscoll's ideas about society and life she could agree with. 

    What Driscoll and others at Mars Hill may not have grasped is that focusing on male identity in particular without a corresponding balance in "feminine" ways of social cohesion as would be popularly defined by evangelicals would in the long-run paradoxically dehumanize males in individual identity even more by doing a couple of things 1) tethering male social identity quite literally to the use of the penis and 2) introducing the abjection of all forms of gendered identity that didn't fit into markulinity rather than to more open-ended working definitions of gender and identity not only from those with more progressive sympathies but even from those who would self-identify is evangelical or social conservative.  Driscoll was prescient as William Wallace II to label "Pussified Nation" as an experiment in the law and any good Lutheran would by now probably point out what Chris Rosebrough already has, that Mark Driscoll is skilled at "Law" without ever getting around to what has colloquially been called "Gospel".  That by turns Real Marriage and other confessions in Confessions of a Reformission Rev suggest at least the possibility that the social, economic and sexual ideals espoused by Mark Driscoll in the persona of William Wallace II were ideals not even he was living out in his own life and marriage may have been overdue.  As some even on the "manosphere" have pointed out, the good news of Mark Driscoll can be seen as a suffocating gospel of alpha male ascendency even by people with socially conservative Anglo-Catholic sympathies.  Not even the apostle Paul or the prophet Jeremiah could live up to Driscoll's markulinity ideal.

    So in preserving and re-presenting materials Mark Driscoll wrote as William Wallace II and from his 2006 days on gender Wenatchee The Hatchet hasn't done anything more than attempt to preserve Mark Driscoll's writings as William Wallace and his purged public offerings at Resurgence circa 2006 as a way to keep in the public discourse things that were originally put by Mark himself into the public discourse. 

    From Mark Driscoll's 2008 Spiritual Warfare series, on womens' ministry, " ... you have to be very careful, it's like juggling knives. ... The wrong women tend to want it."

    Seeing as new content has come up under Mark Driscoll's name  on spiritual warfare, it's providentially convenient that one of the things Wenatchee The Hatchet has been planning to get around to was some things said in the deleted-but-not-formally-retracted 2008 Spiritual Warfare series.  The material seems pretty obviously recycling via proxy rather than new content from Mark Driscoll on spiritual warfare. 

    While people have blogged in the past on the 2008 Spiritual Warfare sessions there's a great deal about that content that has not been discussed.  Though formerly available to the public to download and consider the content was purged months ago about a week after Wenatchee The Hatchet compared Mark Driscoll on bitterness in 2008 in this Spiritual Warfare series and his word that it was a satanic foothold to Mark Driscoll in 2012 in Real Marriage on his bitterness toward Grace about the lack of sex in their marriage.  That was discussed over here. At some point between that post being published March 17, 2014 and this post published on March 22, 2014 the whole Spiritual Warfare series got pulled. 

    For a nerd reference here what would Princess Azula say?

    "It doesn't matter."

    That's right, because Wenatchee The Hatchet got ahold of the audio years ago so it's not difficult to consult.  For that matter, it's still out there in a couple of spots.  So now we can consult what Mark Driscoll had to say about women in ministry or women seeking ministry, that many of them were gossips and that that was satanic.
    Spiritual Warfare part 2, The Devil
    February 5, 2008

    about 50 minutes in to the 1 hour mark.

    How about this one? Idle gossip and busybodying. 1 Timothy 5:11-15. This one is amazing. Ladies this one is especially for you. Some of you say, "Oh, it's not me." Yeah, it is. 1 Timothy 5:11-15, but refuse to enroll younger widows for when their passions draw them away from Christ they desire to marry and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith.  Besides that they learn to be idlers

    Women learn how to make a lot of free time. Going about from house to house. Well now it would be from email to email and from phone call to phone call. Technology makes idle busybodying far more effective than ever.

    And not only idlers but also gossips. They like to talk about people. How are you doing? What are you doing? And this isn't sisterly accountability, this is "I need to know what everybody's doing because I like to know what everybody's doing and then I can tell other people what other people are doing and then I can say, `Hey, you need to pray for so-and-so.' and I can make it sound spiritual so that when I'm gossiping and busy-bodying I'm doing so in a way that seems really Jesus-like." And busybodies, they need to know what everybody's doing. They need to know what everybody's doing, saying what they should not. So I would have younger widows marry, bear children and manage their household, right? Stay busy, and give the adversary (that's Satan) no occasion for slander. For some have already strayed after Satan. Hmm.

    A woman who's a gossip and a busybody; a woman who has to put her nose in everybody's business and knows what everybody's going on; know what they're doing, she's working with Satan. Now I know most women would say, "No, no, no. I'm not Satanic, I'm concerned. I'm not Satanic, I'm an intercessor. I'm a prayer warrior. I'm not Satanic, I'm an accountability partner.  I'm not Satanic, I'm a concerned friend."  Okay, you're a Satanic intercessory prayer warrior accountability partner concerned friend but just start the whole list with "Satanic" so that we don't misunderstand your job description. 

    Now there's a difference between someone inviting you into their life and saying, "I want to be friends, I want to have an accountable  relationship." and you pushing yourself into everyone's life, okay?  I'll tell you, in the history of Mars Hill, I mean, I have had to put up a firewall, a moat, guard dogs, and a high wall with barbed wire on top, and snipers behind it, around my wife. There are certain women who, they just need to know what Grace is doing and they are determined, they say things like, uh, "Hey, we need to have dinner with your family." [slight chuckle] No you don't. "Hey, we need to have coffee." No you don't.  "Hey, phone number." What? Nope. "Email." Nope.  Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope.

    "Oh, come on." Nope.
    "But I thought you were our pastor."
    I am and my first lesson is to tell you you're Satanic.
    "Oh, come on, in our last church the pastor's wife [sob] she was my best friend and I got to talk to her all the time."

    Well, she was Satanic, too.  Give me her number, I'll call her and tell her. We'll help her out.
    You ladies KNOW these women. Right? How many of you ladies know these women? They will try first with the hyper-spiritual, "Oh, praise the Lord! I'd love to pray for you. Let's get together. Let's do Christian community. Let's go to heart." If you decline, then they emotionally manipulate, [inhales, sobbing voice], "I thought we were friends, I thought you loved me. I don't have anybody to talk to." It's all manipulation. It's FEMALE manipulation.  Some of you ladies, right now? You think, "I can't believe he said that." It's all true. It's Satanic, Satanic.

    Paul says, "Don't be a busybody, stay busy." Right? Your husband, your kids, your family, your home, Jesus Christ. You got things to do.

    Busybodies stay busy inserting themselves into everyone else's life. In some churches there are certain women, if you call them, they'll know everything that's going on because, somehow, they know everything. There's a difference between being a woman who is invited into someone's life for friendship, prayer and accountability, and a woman who emotionally manipulates and is pushy and is sometimes hyperspiritual and demanding and forces herself in because she's a drama queen and has to be at the center of all the drama. That is a Satanic woman.

    You need to believe that and the worst thing you can do is accomodate it. Okay, we'll have you over for dinner once. And then, the next month, it's "Okay, buddy, we haven't been together in a month. We need to get together again. I'm sure a lot has happened in your life and I don't know what it is and I need to know because I need to know everything. I have a God complex of omniscience. I want to know everything about everybody." And what you find with these people, Paul says, they tend to be gossips, meaning you don't just talk to them, then they talk to other people.  "Well, did you know their marriage is struggling? Did you know that she's depressed?  Did you know that  she's post-partum?  Do you know that, sexually, her husband's impotent?" These are conversations I've heard in this building. Really?

    Sometimes womens' ministry is the cesspool that this kind of activity flourishes in. Some have asked, "Why don't you have womens' ministry?" The answer is we do, but it's, you have to be very careful, it's like juggling knives. You put the wrong women in charge of womens' ministry, the drama queen, the gossip mama, all of a sudden all the women come together, tell her everything, she becomes the pseudo-elder  quasi-matriarch; she's got the dirt on everybody and sometimes the women all get together to rip on their husbands in the name of prayer requests. Happens all the time. Happens all the time. We have worked very hard so that the women who teach here are like Wendy Alsup who I really love and appreciate and respect. She's not like that. It is not that no woman should lead, that no woman should teach, that no woman should in a position of authority over other women  under the authority of their husband, Jesus and the elders it's just that the wrong women tend to want it. The wrong women tend to want it and they tend to want it for the wrong reasons. And sometimes it's the humble woman, who isn't fighting to be the center of drama, control and power; who doesn't have to be up front; she's usually the one who is most capable and qualified.  

    And for you single men as well I would say be very, very careful because if you're on staff at Mars Hill  (everything I say sounds terrible, this will just be added to the pile) there are certain women who will tell you, "I want to marry a pastor." Really? You should want to marry a Christian who loves Jesus, loves you, loves your kids should God give them to you. I've lectured enough Bible colleges and seminaries, the young women who come up and say, "I want to marry a pastor"  my immediate default question is, "Are you a gossip? Are you a busybody? Are you a drama queen?" "No. No, I feel called to serve the Lord."  Well, you can serve the Lord without being called to be a pastor's wife in fact, take it from me, it's easier to be a woman and serve the Lord than being married to a pastor.   You single  guys, you gotta be careful, man. There are some women, they want to marry a pastor so they can be the center of power, authority; they can be the first lady;  everybody knows them, everybody wants to be their friend, everybody wants to tell them everything; and they can be the center of all the drama. Run for your life. Run for your life. Run for your life. It's Satanic.

    See?  I need you women to really search your own heart. Are you Satanic? Is this still part of your flesh, this sick desire in you to know everybody's business? I'm not saying you don't have friends but how much are you on the internet? How much time do you spend emailing? How much time do you spend crying nad freaking out and knowing everybody's business and on the phone and having to meet with people because, "Did you know so-and-so did such-and-such and so-and-so is feeling this way and did you?" Are you the center of LOTS of activity? Why? It's Satanic. It's Satanic. I think I've made my point.

    Mark Driscoll in 2008 on the efforts he took to protect his wife

    Sweet to My Taste
    Part 2 of The Peasant Princess
    Pastor Mark Driscoll | Song of Songs 1:8 - 2:7 | September 28, 2008
    All right, I Peter 3 says that “Men should not be harsh with their wives.” If you are dating a man, ladies, and he’s harsh with you; yells at you; intimidates you; ever gets physically violent with you in any way; threatens physical violence, run for your life. He’s not a banner. He’s an enemy. The man you want to be with is the man you feel safest with, protected by, loved by: emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally, financially. He wants to protect me. Okay. You need to know, this is a huge part of my heart for men, and this is an enormous part of my relationship with Grace. I mean, I still remember, when I first started seeing her, she went off the college. I was still in high school, and they ran out of housing. So they put her in a guy’s dorm. 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 touches her, talks to her, thinks about talking about touching her, I will beat them.” Literally, I threatened 20 guys, just knocked on every door. No way she’s gonna get messed with, no way. Later on she transferred to another university, WSU. She was 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, “Well, you didn’t call.” She says, “I forgot.” I said, “Are you okay?” She said, “I’m okay.”

    I said, “Okay, good.” Got in the car and drove home — Just checking — 600 miles. Who cares? It’s Grace; doesn’t matter. Grace is worth 600 miles any day. Just make sure she’s all right. Walk her to the car. Look after her. Tend to her. Make sure she’s okay. The other day, we’re going on a walk. I’m always thinking about this stuff. She’s holding my hand. We go for a lot of family walks, and I said, “No, no, honey, I need you to hold my left hand.” She said, “Why?” I said, “Because this is the longest shoulder of the road and if somebody skips the curb and one of us gets hit by a car, it needs to be me.” Some of you are like, “I don’t like that theology of headship.” Here’s what it means. He gets hit by the car. That’s what it means. I walk closest to the street. If one of us is going to get run over, that’s my job. Husbands: love your wives.

    You get hit by the car. That’s how it goes. That’s how it goes. Even when we sit in restaurants — maybe I’m freakish, maybe. I will always face the door so I see who’s coming and going and what’s going on, and I have her sit up against the wall, and I sit on the end, because if something goes down, I’m on it. And she’s gonna be all right. I’m that guy: always looking out. Make sure Grace is okay, 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’ve even put a white blacklist on her e-mail, and some people can e-mail 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. Okay?

    Mark Driscoll 10-1-2007 audio, commending reductio ad absurdum to argue against others and using male headship as a case study

    Now no doubt Chris Rosebrough has the rest of this audio if he's recently discussing Mark Driscoll's 2007 views on T. D. Jakes.  But we're discussing it here at Wenatchee The Hatchet because, hey, if you have it you can discuss it even if you can't post the audio online in a convenient way just yet. 

    And another reason to discuss it is this, Wenatchee The Hatchet has already pointed out that Driscoll has a history of trying to make a case for an idea and then when he finds he can't convince someone he can tend toward reduction ad absurdum or ad hominem.  As writing teachers nationwide are so apt to teach, you need to show rather than tell.  Having finally gotten ahold of some of the writings of William Wallace II it seemed useful to show rather than tell of examples in which Mark Driscoll, even if operating via persona, opted to go straight for ad hominem when knowah pushed back on how he expressed some of his ideas.  But for reduction ad absurdum the 2007 audio Rosebrough has features Mark Driscoll explicitly extolling the value of reduction ad absurdum (as "reduction ad absurdium"  While the audio session is more notorious (by far) for Mark Driscoll's comment about the pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus his comments on Jakes and his comments commending reduction ad absurdum and using male headship in marriage as a case study may be instructive. 

    From the October 1, 2007 audio (maybe Rosebrough can tackle this and air this, too, since WtH is far more dedicated to print)
    We need to do both communal apologetics (where we show the loving power of the gospel) AND we need to do propositional apologetics where we answer peoples' questions AND refute their objections. You have to. I don't care what anybody else says it's just the way it is.


    What big issues today, when you look into the text, do you have to do the apologetical work of taking away the resistance? What are the big issues you guys know, 'when I hit that I gotta slow down and I gotta answer the objections."

    ... Gender?  Yep.  Men, women, marriage, sexuality, headship, submission.  You can't just say, "Uh, men, you're in charge. Women, shut up. Next verse." and then expect everyone to heed your counsel [chuckles]. It's going to take a little more work than that.  ...

    You will need to regularly work into your sermon some apologetical defense of the authority of scripture.  That may even be, you know,  here in scripture we are told we are sinners and that God's wrath is upon us. One of the reasons we know this is true is no one would make this up. No one would paint humanity in this dark of terms and this bleak of condition. I mean, that is a simple, basic, quick apologetic for the authority of scripture from God. You're gonna need to work it in all the time. Here we learn that God is talking about specific people, specific times, specific places. Scripture is very big on details. I mean, you you're going to need to work those kinds of  apologetical arguments in--other issues that come up, you'll have to do this apologetical work.

    One way you do it is through reductio ad absurdium. It's a mode of argument where you assume the other position is true and you work it out to its logical conclusion to show that it's ridiculous. It's a reductio ad absurdium. ...

    I did ths at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (I'm just sort of free-flowing) but I did it out of Rob Bell's book The Velvet Elvis where he talks about doing post-foundational theology and he says that theology is like a trampoline and it's very flexible and if we take certain doctrines out of Christianity we don't really lose anything, like the Virgin Birth.  All right? So he says we can take out doctrines like the Virgin Birth. And so I said, "Okay, so let's assume theology is like a trampoline." Reductio ad absurdium.  What holds a trampoline up? A frame. What's the frame sit on?  A foundation of the earth. It's a stupid analogy for post-foundational theology. You don't HAVE a trampoline unless you have the earth and a frame to hold it up. This whole issue "we don't need rigid foundations, we need flexibility", you can't HAVE flexibility without rigid foundations.  Reductio ad absurdium.

    Let's assume it's true.  Okay, fine, trampoline with no foundation. You can't. You also can't have flexible Christianity without foundation. Reductio ad absurdium.

    We could do it this way, let's assume a husband has no responsibility to his wife, that he's NOT the head. Let's assume that they're complete individuals. Let's assume he has no obligation to care for her to defend her, to protect her, to provide for her. Let's assume and just walk down the road and then ask yourself, "Does he love her?" Does he love her? Because there is sentimental love which we feel and there is efficacious love which we do, and our culture only knows of sentimental love it knows nothing of efficacious love. And a man's love for his wife is efficacious. And if he is NOT the head then he has no obligation to efficacious love and that means that women will never be loved.  [chuckles slightly] I mean, just walk down the road and at the end you're saying, "I'm for love." That's an easier sell than "I'm for headship." ...

    Now it would seem that in a logic or philosophy class you'd be advised to avoid the reduction ad absurdum because though it may be popular it's a common fallacy.  Maybe it's better known these days as the "straw man" and it's not difficult to observe that Mark Driscoll's reduction ad absurdum in defense of his particular understanding of male headship makes a straw man out of any egalitarian approach to marriage.

    Now Wenatchee The Hatchet would close with an observation that this was late 2007.  That Driscoll could even joke that you can't say such and such a verse means men are in charge and women are to shut up and expect the conversation to be over.  Perhaps by then he'd gotten used to the idea that that practical, working definition of his idea of headship was apt to be met with resistance that characterized his view as making that claim. 

    Mark Driscoll, "If you get the young men you win the war. ... You don't get the young men you get nothing. Nothing."

    uploaded August 14, 2006
    about 3:00 in
    The question is, you know, if you want to be innovative, how do you get young men? The whole war, all this nonsense how to grow the church and how to do this, one issue, young men. That's it. That's the whole thing. They're gonna get married, make money, make babies, build companies, buy real estate, they're gonna MAKE the culture of the future. If you get the young men you win the war. You get everything. The family, the money, the women, the children, the businesses, everything. You don't get the young men you get nothing. Nothing. Most churches are built to cater to 40-something-year-old women and their children and the guys are nowhere to be found. We built this church going after young, single, non-Christian perverted, educated, technological men. ...

    Mark Driscoll's May 26, 2006 commentary on Oprah, a cult leader?
    Is Oprah a Cult Leader?

    Her television show is a pulpit of sorts, where millions of American women tune in to hear from their great guru on everything from improving their souls to shedding their pounds. Much like a mega-church, her flock then breaks up into various small groups around the country to read the books she recommends so that her disciples can continue to grow in thinking and living according to her teaching.

    For further indoctrination there is also her monthly magazine named, you guessed it, O. Like an icon upon which to meditate, her photo adorns the cover of every issue of her magazine as she is glorified in suburban homes across the nation.

    In a November poll conducted at, a site that looks at how religions and spirituality intersect with popular culture, 33 percent of 6,600 respondents said Winfrey has had "a more profound impact" on their spiritual lives than their clergypersons. "She puts the ‘cult’ in pop culture," wrote media critic Mark Jurkowitz in The Phoenix.

    The fifty-two-year-old Oprah Winfrey is reportedly worth a whopping $1.4 billion and is now the moral conscience and feminist prophetic voice of a generation of women. Following Hurricane Katrina, she showed up in New Orleans to berate the failure of the government as a voice for social concern. In February she attended the funeral of Coretta Scott King as an icon for civil rights while standing next to the coffin. Additionally, she regularly speaks to female guests on her show about everything from living a better life to caring for the poor and oppressed around the world.

    Her fame is rising above even legendary evangelists such as my hero Billy Graham. Her television show is now watched by 49 million people in this nation, as well as many more in 122 other nations.
    Jamie Foxx said, "You're going to get to heaven and everyone's waiting on God and it's going to be Oprah Winfrey." Cathleen Falsani, religion writer for the Chicago Sun-Times, recently suggested, "I wonder, has Oprah become America's pastor?" Oprah has herself referred to her television show as her "ministry."

    Oprah seems to be a contradiction perfectly suited for a confused world of pluralism. She is a billionaire who speaks passionately about the pain and suffering in the world from the comforts of her sheltered life. She is among the most beloved icons of mothers yet she has never had any children. Many viewers tune in to learn how to improve their marriages yet she has never been married. And, she speaks of spiritual matters often and has an entire segment of her show titled "spirit," which makes you wonder which spirit she’s referring to.

    Bad Theology - Culture - Cults & Occult

    Mark Driscoll's blog

    Mark Driscoll on the naked virgin Catholic model Adriana Lima at the Resurgence in 2006

    For those who can't read it by way of the screen capture above, here's the text version of this 2006 post.  For those who only remember that Ted Haggard inspired post (which many people have misremembered, misquoted, and misunderstood as referring to Gayle Haggard) it's worth reminding people that Mark Driscoll was actually sounding off on women at a number of points in 2006.
    Huh? Naked, Virgin, Catholic Model

    Adriana LimaThe recent April issue of GQ magazine includes a most curious article about Adriana Lima. She is the Brazillian Victoria’s Secret supermodel and the ninety-seventh highest-paid famous person in the world, according to Forbes. She made Maxim’s Hot 100 list in 2003. She was engaged to rocker Lenny Kravitz in 2002. And, like many supermodels, the internet is filled with nude photos of her, which I swear I did not look at.
    What makes her story so dang weird is that in addition to being a supermodel, she’s also a devout Catholic virgin. Of her modeling (that includes a lot of nudes and near-nudes), she says, "God has given me a lot of work." Apparently that work includes a part-time job learning to spell the word c-o-n-t-r-a-d-i-c-t-i-o-n.
    The GQ interview includes the following curious points:

    I take it you’re religious?
    Yes! I am Catholic. [she pulls out the cardboard scapular hanging around her neck, under her big gray sweater]
    Wow. A scapular. Do you go to church?
    Of course! Every Sunday.
    Is there anything in the teachings of the Catholic Church that you don’t agree with?
    Are you pro-life?
    What do you mean, pro-life?
    How do you feel about abortion?
    I think it’s a crime.
    [. . .]
    Are you a one-guy woman?
    Of course! I’m a Catholic.
    Look, I’m Catholic, too, but there’s a lot of things about the church that make it hard to date within its rules, don’t you think?
    Like what?
    Birth control, premarital sex…
    Well, you know, sex is just for after marriage.
    Say what?
    Sex is for after marriage.
    Are you saying you’re not going to have sex before marriage?
    You mean you’ve never had sex?
    That’s why I have to say.
    You sure about this?
    How do men respond to the fact that you plan to, you know, wait?
    I don’t care. They have to respect that this is my choice. If there’s no respect, that means they don’t want me.
    Having been raised as a Catholic boy, I can sadly say that I think I understand how she got to this weird point of being the naked porn fantasy of men across the world while simultaneously being devoutly committed to sexual chastity before marriage. It seems that she only sees sins of commission and does not understand sins of omission. This explains why she is proud of not committing the sin of fornication (sex before marriage, for anyone to whom that is a new f-word). And it also explains why she does not see her sin of omitting her clothes from her body as a sin. Apparently, she does not see lust as a sin but does see sex as a sin, which is the kind of theological reasoning one would expect from a supermodel.

    Mark Driscoll's October 9, 2006 Resurgence post ruminating on Jenna Jameson

    Jenna Jameson was born in 1974 in Vegas, of course, and is regarded as the “Queen of Porn” and the most popular porn starlette in the world, having appeared in more than 100 porn films. She began stripping at the age of sixteen by lying about her age and taking the braces off her teeth with pliers in an effort to make herself appear older. Before she graduated from high school she was making upwards of $2,000 a night dancing.

    She has since gone on to be something of a pop-culture icon, having appeared as herself in the television cartoon show The Family Guy, and her voice appears in the popular video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. In 2004 she published her book How to Make Love Like a Porn Star, which spent six weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list.

    At this point of my blog there are likely only three people left reading. The guys who got this poor blog from some link hoping to see naked pictures have already left because there are only a lot of words. But here’s where the story gets even weirder.

    Not long ago I was flipping through the cable channels and found VH1 Confessions, which is a biography show (without nudity if you were wondering) on famous people. They were airing the biography of Jameson. To be honest, it was pretty sad. Her dad was not a great guy, she was repeatedly sexually assaulted and taken advantage of from a young age by older men, and did not have a mom to help raise her. It was the typical poor-broken-family-produces-a-sexually-abused-girl-who-ends-up-using-her- beauty-to-pay-her-bills kind of story.

    What I found most curious, however, was her adamant declaration that she was a Roman Catholic Christian. In 2003, she married porn-studio owner Jay Grdina in a Roman Catholic ceremony. The biography included a tour of their 6,700 square-foot Spanish-style palace in Arizona. Lining the walls were numerous Catholic-looking religious icons and artwork. Showing off her religious artwork, she declared herself a devoted Catholic, despite the fact that she is a porn star who has done films called “Hell on Heels” and “Jenna Depraved.”

    For the blogger record, I don’t watch porn, have never seen one of her films, and pulled some of these facts off of Wikipedia and not my personal collection.

    Now, back to the story.

    She then went on to explain how she would give it all up if she could just be a wife and a mother because her deepest desire was to be a monogamous married mom. She even said that if she became a mom she would leave the industry and never do another film because she would not want her child subjected to the porn industry.

    To not commit adultery during her marriage, she stopped sleeping with anyone on camera other than her porn-star husband as some very peculiar form of morality. Her and her hubby spent two years trying to fulfill her dream of becoming a mom with no success. The latest word is that they are separated and that she is now seeing rocker Dave Navarro who has apparently split up with wife Carmen Electra.

    The most peculiar quote she gave in the entire biography was her attempt to defend how she could be a Catholic Christian porn star: “No one can judge me but God.”

    In the end, it was an incredibly confusing biography. On one hand is the fact that Jenna, though depraved as her movie title says, remains an image-bearer of God. As a result, she believes in God, believes in judgment for sin by God, and deeply longs to fulfill her feminine role as a wife and mother. Yet, on the other hand she remains the world’s best-known porn star.

    I guess the entire point that stuck out is that we sinners are a crazy bunch of conflicted people torn between the dignity of creation and depravity of the curse, who, apart from Jesus saving us from ourselves and renewing our minds, are a hopeless mess.

    revisiting that 2006 post that tangentially touched upon Ted Haggard

    This was incontestably the most notorious post from Mark Driscoll that was published on The Resurgence in 2006, on November 3.  However, what people may not remember is that this was not even the only blog post in which Mark Driscoll would take an opportunity to sound off on women and men and sexuality.

    The news has been abuzz with controversy surrounding the allegations that Ted Haggard had a three-year homosexual relationship with a male prostitute that included drug use. Haggard is pastor of a 14,000-member church in Colorado, president of the National Association of Evangelicals that has some 30 million members, friend of men like George Bush, and outspoken opponent of homosexuality and gay marriage.

    The news broke in a television interview with the homosexual prostitute.


    November 21, 2006 - Update
     Here is an updated link with footage regarding the allegations and Haggard original denial of them. This link, mostly leaves his family out of it.
     For more information from the Haggard's please see the links here.


    A follow-up article by the Associated Press said that Haggard purchased methamphetamines from the gay prostitute but claims he never used them. He also admitted to getting a massage from the gay prostitute but denies any sexual activity between the two.

    December 13, 2006 - Update
     The A.P. story does not appear to be available any longer.


    Of course the media is having a field day with the scandal, particularly since Haggard's home state of Colorado is on the brink of a highly charged political vote regarding homosexual rights. It will likely take weeks to untangle the truth in all of this very devastating news. In the meantime, let us pray that his wife and five children will be loved and supported through this incredibly difficult time. The horror they must be experiencing is likely unbearable.

    As every pastor knows, we are always at risk from the sin in us and the sinful temptations around us. Pastoring in one of America's least churched cities to a large number of single, young people has been an eye-opening experience for me. I started the church ten years ago when I was twenty-five years of age. Thankfully, I was married to a beautiful woman. I met my lovely wife Grace when we were seventeen, married her at twenty-one, and by God's grace have been faithful to her in every way since the day we met. I have, however, seen some very overt opportunities for sin. On one occasion I actually had a young woman put a note into my shirt pocket while I was serving communion with my wife, asking me to have dinner, a massage, and sex with her. On another occasion a young woman emailed me a photo of herself topless and wanted to know if I liked her body. Thankfully, that email was intercepted by an assistant and never got to me.

    My suspicion is that as our culture becomes more sexually rebellious, things will only get worse. Therefore, as a means of encouragement, I would like to share some practical suggestions for fellow Christian leaders, especially young men:

     •The only way to stay away from sin is to stay close to Jesus. Colossians says that we are prone to making a lot of rules but that if we don't deal with the issues in our heart, we are fooling ourselves; holiness cannot be obtained by the sheer force of white-knuckled will power. More than anyone, a Christian leader needs time with Jesus in repentance, for their own soul and not just to make them a better leader or teacher. Death comes to every Christian leader who goes to Jesus and Scripture for purely functional and not relational purposes.

    •Most pastors I know do not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives. At the risk of being even more widely despised than I currently am, I will lean over the plate and take one for the team on this. It is not uncommon to meet pastors' wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband's sin, but she may not be helping him either.

    •Every pastor needs a pastor. Too often the pastor is seen as a sort of little God and his wife as some glorified First Lady. Every pastor needs a pastor with whom he can regularly have accountability and the confession of sin. Every pastor's wife also needs a godly woman chosen for her maturity and trustworthiness.

    •No church should tolerate sexual sin among its leaders. Christians cannot be guilty of playing plank-speck with non-Christians on matters of pornography and homosexuality and be guilty of going soft on sin in their own leadership. As Paul says, nothing can be done out of partiality or favoritism.

    Pastors should have their office at the church and their study at home. There is no reason a pastor should be sitting alone at the church at odd hours (e.g., early morning and late evening) to study when anyone can drop in for any reason and have access to him. Instead, a pastor should come into the office for scheduled meetings and work from home on tasks such as emails, planning, studying, sermon preparation, etc. I spend the vast majority of my time working from home. Some years ago when I did not, I found that lonely people, some of them hurting single moms wanting a strong man to speak into their life, would show up to hang out and catch time with me. It was shortly thereafter that I brought my books home and purchased a laptop and cell phone so that I was not tied to the church office.

    •Pastors have the right to protect their own home. This means that if someone keeps dropping by unannounced and is unwelcome, or a flirtatious woman shows up to a Bible study at the pastor's home, the pastor and his family have the right to request that they never return. The pastor's home simply cannot be viewed as yet another piece of church property that is accessible to anyone who desires it. Rather, the pastor's home must be a safe place for the pastor and his family without the wrong people rudely calling and dropping by.

    •Churches should consider returning to heterosexual male assistants who are like Timothy and Titus to serve alongside pastors. Too often the pastor's assistant is a woman who, if not sexually involved, becomes too emotionally involved with the pastor as a sort of emotional and practical second wife. I have been blessed with a trustworthy heterosexual male assistant who can travel with me, meet with me, etc., without the fear of any temptations or even false allegations since we have beautiful wives and eight children between us.

    •Pastors need to protect their email and have it screened for accountability. For me, this means that no email but an email from one of our pastors comes directly to me. This also means that I leave my email account open at home and my wife regularly checks it to get schedule information, etc., because I have nothing to hide. I also do not have a secondary email account from which to build a secret identity.

    •Pastors need to carefully protect their cell phone number. If that private number gets out, too many of the wrong people have access to the pastor. Not only should the cell phone number of a pastor be given out to only a few people, he should also consider eliminating his voicemail and simply have calls forwarded to his assistant. In this way people will not become too informal with the pastor and if the pastor knows someone is trouble (e.g., a flirtatious woman), he can see that on his caller ID and simply refuse to answer the call or have to deal with a voicemail.

    •Pastors must speak freely and frankly with their wives about their temptations. Without this there really can be no walking in the light and sin always grows in darkness.

    •Pastors must not travel alone; the anonymity and fatigue of the road is too great a temptation for many men. A pastor should take his wife, an older child, an assistant, or fellow leader with him. If this cannot be afforded then travel should not be undertaken.

    •Any pastor who is drifting toward serious sexual sin should have the courage, love for God, devotion to his family, and respect for his church to simply fall on his sword and resign before he goes down in flames. He must get the professional help he needs without fear of losing his position as a pastor. It is much better to be an honest Christian than a wicked pastor.

    •Lastly, the big issue is a love and fear of God. Only a man really knows his heart and whether or not he loves and fears God above all else. Without this a man will fail to live for God's glory, and it is only a matter of time.

    In conclusion, I say none of this as moralism. Indeed, this is a deeply rooted gospel issue. How can we proclaim that our God is a faithful Trinitarian community if we are not faithful to our marriage covenant and family? How can we say that the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in us if we have no holiness in our life? How can we proclaim that we are new creations in Christ if we continually return to lap up the vomit of our old way of life? How can we preach that sin is to be repented of if we fail to model that ongoing repentance? How can we say that God is our highest treasure and greatest joy when we trade Him for sin that defiles our hands and defames His name?
    I do not know the guilt or innocence of Haggard. But I do know that this is a sobering reminder to take heed of, lest we fall.