Saturday, October 25, 2014

Matthew Lee Anderson: The Fatal Tensions of the Fight Churches--WtH considers the overlap between this and Markulinity

You know it's been so long since Wenatchee The Hatchet has linked to something at Mere Orthodoxy consider this a bit of, um, penance?  :)  Along the way Anderson references this, probably the touchstone of discussing "fight church" stuff.
... So let me write the obituary now, if only for posterity:  at the heart of the fight churches were both the strengths and weaknesses of the evangelical world. Its best and most reasonable proponents (which are featured in this film) were motivated by an interested seriousness to reach their neighbor with a message that has captivated them, yet were simultaneously unrestrained by any form of moral reasoning other than that which lies on the surface of the Bible and so unable to untangle their own praiseworthy motivations from the problematic and troubling practices which they took shape within.  The Christianity of the fight churches deluded itself into thinking it was strong, while it was actually weak, and into believing that in its battle for the world it had managed to overcome its brittle frailties. -

There's a form of manliness but the substance of it may be missing in the long run.  This has at length been one of Wenatchee The Hatchet's core critiques of Mark Driscoll's soapbox about masculinity.  Even if we somehow set aside the burgeoning reality that Driscoll preached a vision of masculinity that implicitly and at times explicitly set him up as the ideal of the masculine those immersed in the history of Mars Hill have had an opportunity to discover how woefully short of his own ideals of masculinity Driscoll has repeatedly fallen.

But beyond that, a thorough examination of Mark Driscoll's invocation of all martial metaphors and analogies has begun to open up a disturbing possibility, that Driscoll's concept of mixed martial arts or of the conduct of war in general are so impoverished they fall short not just of any actual soldier or athlete's understanding of what fighting may be as an art or a discipline; Driscoll's vision of manliness can't even account for things so basic that an interested civilian couldn't find them out.

Whether it's Matt Morin at The Other Journal explaining why Driscoll's concept of MMA shows he's got no grasp of how the sport works, or Wenatchee The Hatchet noting that Driscoll's use of the distinction between air war and ground war clearly indicates a man who has lacked the knowledge that no military campaigns in the history of humanity have ever been "won" by the air war; or Wenatchee The Hatchet's same post discussing how the clean manly evangelical faith Driscoll purported to stand for tends to only work if it's practiced by a pastor who is quite literally in the trenches with soldiers; it begins to seem more and more that Mark Driscoll has not given us a vision of masculinity that is more than the outline of a thing, a thing he has not necessarily lived up to for much of his time as a public figure.

The reason the gap between image and substance is not just as simple as the gap between reality and image, there can be said to be a more striking possibility about this gap. Cue an Adolf Schlatter quote.

Romans: The Righteousness of God
Adolf Schlatter, Hendrickson Publisers (c) 1995
page 40
The individual is godless if he fabricates religion in his own interest, for the sake of his own happiness. God must be worshipped for the sake of God. ... Paul emphasizes the absurdity of idolatry. It is absurd to put the individual, under the law of death, in the place of God, because in doing so it is not even the human and the animal that are worshipped, but only their likeness. This likeness is no reproduction of living beings at all, it is merely able to copy the outline of the form, the lines shaping their figure.
Schlatter wrote that the folly of idolatry was that the idol is not the thing that is made an idol but the image or likeness thereof.  Thus, perhaps, we can propose that the masculinity Mark Driscoll proposes men follow is not really masculinity so much as markulinity, an outline of the form of a type of masculinity that not only does not withstand scrutiny by evangelical critique, it turns out more and more to have been a version of masculinity Mark Driscoll himself may have continually failed to live out as he berated others for failing to meet its standards.

Becky Garrison interview with Randall Balmer on Driscoll resignation

Of particular interest to Wenatchee The Hatchet is the observation that the mainline Protestant groups (i.e. denominations) don't have as much room for cults of personality to emerge.  It may be worth noting that evangelicalism as defined via practice in the United States is not necessarily a confessional identity or a set of denominational structures (though denominations most certainly exist within the spectrum of what may be called evangelicalism) but by a culture. From Alastair Roberts' piece "Evangelicalism's Poor Form":

There is a sort of evangelical folk religion, most of which is largely unauthorized by pastors or elders, a folk religion driven and populated by TV preachers, purity culture, uninformed theological speculations in democratic Bible studies, Chick tracts, evangelistic bumper stickers and T-shirts, Thomas Kinkade paintings, VeggieTales, Kirk Cameron movies, Amish romance novels, the Left Behind series, Focus on the Family literature, Christian bloggers, CCM, Christian dating guides, Answers in Genesis books, sappy mass-produced devotional literature, study Bibles for every conceivable niche market, and much else besides. Unsurprisingly, many presume that this all passed quality control and received the imprimatur of Evangelical Central Headquarters.

What is particularly interesting to Wenatchee The Hatchet is the following observation Roberts  makes:

...  Evangelical churches are often distinguished by such features as their use of contemporary musical styles, modes of dress, conspicuous use of state-of-the-art audio-visual technologies, their colloquial manner of speech, heavy online presence, and their ecclesiastical architecture that breaks with tradition to adopt the pattern of modern auditoriums. Evangelical identity is also widely expressed through the forms of a consumer society: through corporate models of Christian leadership, through the production, marketing, advertising, and selling of a Christianity that functions like a “brand” on everything from mints to keyrings. Few pause to question whether these forms of expression might be shaping us in unhealthy ways, assimilating us into culturally prevailing habits, dynamics, and ways of life and perception, all beneath the cover of a thin veneer of Christianity.

In the blog post "Mars Hill and the idol of social media" Wenatchee the Hatchet observed that embracing social media and saturating the internet with content became a double-edged sword for Mars Hill, particularly in the wake of the Andrew situation in 2012.

In an American setting in which any kind of liturgy recognized as liturgy is considered "dead religion" or "legalism" American evangelicals are primed to accept personality-anchored alternatives.  Yet the bureaucracies and institutional/cultural norms of denominations and confessional traditions may potentially be the most potent countervailing force that would be needed to curb the rise of someone like a Mark Driscoll into a media-centric empire.  It's not too surprising that a variety of Mars Hill members who left gravitated toward Presbyterian, Baptist, Orthodox and in some cases Catholic settings.  The kind of institutional/bureaucratic braking system that so many of us thought we didn't particularly need in the heady early days of Mars Hill has paradoxically turned into something many of us appreciate quite a bit more now!

"former mars hill elder" lays out things to watch for at Throckmorton's blog
former mars hill elder

A few interesting things to note that may help people understand why so many contrary reports are coming out, and why any change is going so slow:

1.Mark owns the rights to many things at Mars Hill including his sermons. He's insistent they take them down (and they're more than happy to oblige). But a complication is that Mars Hill will now have to do a whole redesign of the Web page while also recognizing there will most likely be more redesigns in the near future.

In the wake of the plagiarism controversy and the fact that the Driscolls used Dan Allender's work without any credit in the first edition, may be an unusual case in which Driscoll claiming his intellectual property could help the public image of Mars Hill.  Mefferd never rescinded her public accusation that Mark Driscoll was a plagiarist and the evidence in the books spoke for itself and even more so through the fact that publishers quietly amended the offending passages. 

But that Driscoll rather than Mars Hill owns the copyright to a lot of material that has been distributed by Mars Hill highlights that Driscoll's now revealed to be a recycler and re-brander of the ideas of others.  He's also prone to recycling his own material.  If Driscoll does insist Mars Hill take down his material then Mars Hill should publicly disclose the degree to which Mark Driscoll may have relied on ghost writers and research assistant to cobble together his lazily written books. 

2. They're seriously considering filing bankruptcy because of the amount of debt facing the church.

Mars Hill may be incapable of surviving without a draw like Driscoll and if Mars Hill as a social system doesn't realize this, the BoAA has the enumerated power to dissolve the corporation whether the rank and file want this or not.

3. Ballard may become the "hub" once again. In fact, it might be the only church left with the name and legal ownership of Mars Hill.

Assuming Mars Hill can financially survive Driscoll's departure.  Driscoll and Turner shouldn't be getting a severance package if they were leaving by the rules Sutton Turner laid out for the rank and file but at this point the rank hypocrisy of Driscoll and Turner may be nearly impossible to dispute.

4. Several of the LP's on the BOE felt mark was disqualified. In fact, they felt it was obvious once they heard the stories. Unfortunately, they chose to "submit" (read: cowardice) to the overseers and read the collective statement. They violated their own consciences in doing so, but many of them are still submitting to the false view of "submission" to leaders that Mark taught.

5. Several more elders are set to resign. They are disheartened with the cowardice they see displayed by the Lp's.

Per Leviticus 5:1 a public repudiation of how things were handled as far back as 2007 would be valuable from the few left at Mars Hill who were party to that.  Given the degree to which Mars Hill has bled information the resignations that come will probably not be too hard to eventually document.

6. Lastly, people should insist- INSIST the BOE release their findings. Every CG leader at every sync should insist on this. Every member should demand this. Every LP (but specifically those on the BOE MUST be asked why they did NOT declare Mark DQ'd. They are violating their own consciences and most of these men will not be able to stand up and answer pointed questions about something they themselves do not believe. In particular talk to Ed Choi, Alex Ghioni, Miles Rhode, AAron Gray, and even (surprisingly) Tim Smith and AJ Hamilton.

This is VERY important. Especially if you are a cg leader. They cannot handle more people leaving and they realize that now more than ever they are going to be held accountable by the members. So stay. Pray. And don't stop demanding transparency and answers. It is having an effect.

The Board of Elders report should be made public.  That the Board of Overseers and the Board of Elders seem to have reached very different conclusions about Driscoll's current fitness for ministry needs further discussion.  That Driscoll resigned rather than face the restoration process prepared for him reinforces that Mars Hill let Mark Driscoll resign membership while a disciplinary review/restoration process was still in place.  Given that Driscoll's plagiarism is not mere accusation but documentable occurrence, and given that Driscoll resigned rather than face a restoration/disciplinary process no one can say Andrew's resignation was proof he was a wolf without having to say double applies to Driscoll.

If Driscoll was found disqualified against accumulated evidence the most and best the church can do is publish the complete findings. 

As for Driscoll the father-figure-pastor-of-pastors, he's revealed his deadbeat dad coward colors by resigning.  But in fact there's more to discuss about Driscoll's teaching and theology that Wenatchee intends to get to.  The vast majority of the 2008 spiritual warfare series has only been touched upon by bloggers.  Too many have looked at the notorious "I see things" bit and not at the larger presentation as a whole.  Time permitting Wenatchee intends to get to this. 

Meanwhile, Mars Hill, if it hopes to both salvage what little remains and to shed light on what has been kept from the public regarding Mars Hill's ways with intellectual property and particularly Mark Driscoll, should become more transparent not just about finances but about how it approaches intellectual property.  A Mark Driscoll who would insist on keeping control over his intellectual property at the expense of the church he founded doesn't deserve much clemency now that he's been shown to have had such a cavalier way with the intellectual property of others. 

Mark Driscoll can never escape that he not only published a book that cribbed the work of Dan Allender without credit but that in plagiarizing the works of others he also got his wife's name involved in the plagiarism controversy by dint of chapter 7 of Real Marriage.  So in addition to parading his wife's failings in a book that was rigged to be a best-seller that had citation errors in it, Mark Driscoll also got his wife's name besmirched in the controversy by way of her name being credited as the author of chapter 7, a chapter 7 that conspicuously recycled the ideas and phrases of Allender without attribution.

While Mark Driscoll regales people via media of the troubles his family has gone through there will be no concession on the part of Mark Driscoll that his wife has been dragged into the plagiarism controversy simply by having gotten a co-credit on the 2012 book. 

It will be interesting to see how things play out at Mars Hill and the likelihood of Driscoll changing theological teams seems high.  While we're on the subject of Driscoll's affiliations and associations, it would be handy if someone could establish whether Mark Driscoll has ever actually studied the biblical languages because if he tries to sell the "navel" as vagina trope again ask him about Proverbs 3.
For someone who has touted his masters in exegetical theology Mark Driscoll has not shown any competence in biblical Hebrew to convince even a layman he knows what he's talking about. 

And if Mars Hill wants to be transparent it might be good to shed some light on how much of Driscoll's content generation was delegated.  If Driscoll had Mars Hill work with Docent Group and had ghostwriters and research assistants then Mars Hill the corporation might have a potential case to make for Mark Driscoll, as an individual, not having a completely airtight case for sole ownership of his intellectual property, perhaps?  The way Mars Hill has handled the intellectual property of people who aren't Mark Driscoll vs the intellectual property of Mark Driscoll is something Wenatchee The Hatchet may try to keep some track of, if possible. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

answers to questions you didn't ask, new installment. "Why, again?"

Over the years some commenters have written asking "what's your motive?"  Variations include, "What's you're heart?", "Check your heart", "What's your goal?" and so on, with respect to, well, you have a guess, don't you? 

Since so many of these queries came cloaked in Christianese and Wenatchee The Hatchet is a Christian, how's about Wenatchee The Hatchet does the most Christianese thing possible and hits you with a verse from Leviticus.

Leviticus 5:1
If anyone sins because they do not speak up when they hear a public charge to testify regarding something they have seen or learned about, they will be held responsible.

To whom?  Well, the public would seem implied here but Christians (and Jews) would tend to understand the "public" including, you know, God.  If you know something through seeing or hearing and don't speak up when the call to speak up comes up then you bear some iniquity.  That's another reason a whole battalion of guys who heretofore haven't said anything at all might want to reconsider.  Just saying, as someone used to say, it's in the Bible.

links for the weekend, on arts and craft

Over at The Atlantic Christopher Orr is not entirely looking forward to Whedon's next Marvel film.

Once The Avengers crossed the gazillion-dollar line in global box office, it was a fairly safe bet that director Joss Whedon was going to have a lot of latitude when it came to the sequel. That's both a good thing and a bad thing. A good thing, because Whedon is among the most witty, innovative pop-culture artists working today. And a bad thing, because he is often not content with being witty and inventive, and has a long history of steering his projects in unnecessarily—and often unsatisfactorily—dark directions. For many of his fans, this represents a great strength; in my estimation it is his signal weakness.

Perhaps this could be compared to Phil Collins, who went from No Jacket Required to But Seriously ... to comparable effect? Perhaps the trouble with a wit is that when the wit turns to real irony (dramatic rather than linguistic) it can seem a bit forced?  As more a former than a current Whedon fan Orr's case seems persuasive but brown shirts may dissent.

Meanwhile, the Atlantic has featured a few pieces on the kink in Wonder Woman's origins and originators.  Here and here. Wondy's getting her own feature length film lined up which is a bit more than, for the moment, can be said about Marvel.  Then again ... Marvel studios has this villain problem.  We can't count the actually fun villains in films based on Marvel comics because Bryan Singer and Sam Raimi have made films that Marvel-ites don't concede as existing in the Marvel cinematic universe proper.  So it doesn't matter that Magneto and Doctor Octopus were a ton of fun to watch on the silver screen, Marvel Studios films proper have only produced one decent rogue, Loki.

"Indicting Higher Education in the arts and beyond", here's a short teaser.
Our higher education system is producing a vast quantity of workers with educations and expectations for high-level and high-paying jobs that simply do not exist in the quantity needed to employ all these people.

Wenatchee The Hatchet was advised to consider grad school and considered it but the most probably program was one that categorically refused to accept any prospective student who didn't already have a BFA.  Schools out of state were categorically beyond consideration and getting a BFA after already paying off the loans for a non-BFA seemed like a worthless idea.  It's possible, by dint of writing music unusual enough, to end up getting mentioned in doctoral dissertations whether or not you've gotten an undergraduate degree in music from an American school.  If memory serves that was how it played out for Brahms. ;)

Switching musical genres a bit, here's a little feature on why you might have some trouble finding selections of Leadbelly and what's involved in the preservation of old audio recordings.

Iggy Pop was none too thrilled with that stunt U2 pulled earlier this year. At Jacobin Alexander Billet muses that Bono's neoliberalism is a problem (this online magazine features stuff by Howard Zinn so be advised).  But the conclusion is that U2 hasn't put out a decent album since, oh, the Reagan administration.

It is memory without purpose. Nostalgia for nostalgia itself. A nondescript sense of longing self-referenced and reprocessed and redistributed for the thousandth time.

It's interesting how just about folks who might seem to be to the left, right, and center(ish) of the political/economic spectrum on some issues who are in the arts world can't stand Jeff Koons.  Who's to blame them.

Though hid behind the New Yorker's paywall, there's been some musing on whether Beethoven's influence was bad for concert music.

HT to the friends over at Mockingbird
for this, about how streaming music has altered the element of social interaction about music consumption

Certainly, this reasoning lay at the core of my indie identity. But when nerds figured out how to play music over the Internet, it rendered indie culture inert. The shift away from physical albums destroyed that mechanism of consumer individuation. When getting into a band became as easy as typing its name into a search box, particular musical tastes lost their function as signifiers of commitment. What you listened to ceased to be a measure of how much you cared and became a mere list of what you liked.

Worse, this list was no more ethically righteous than anyone else’s. You didn’t have to support local businesses or hang with freaky beatniks to hear Choking Victim anymore, so liking them became no better (or worse) than liking Pearl Jam.
Ho, ho!  Not so.  That identity comes through consumption can still be attacked head on as the inherent problem in and of itself.  Thus ... (again) at Jacobin, we can read a fusillade against gamer culture:
All of this comes with the usual caveats. It’s all right to enjoy video games. I love a lot of video games. I suspect that I’ll love new ones in the years to come. But to define oneself by media consumption is not just unhealthy, it’s vacuous. To do so is to go beyond the necessary distractions from the real world’s tedium and travails. It’s a demand for a Huxley-esque perpetual childhood.

Gamers won’t die because there will always be, in capitalism, people who define themselves by what they buy. When their imaginary identity politics are challenged, they’ll lash out, angrily, with as much vitriol as they can muster.

Lest certain Christians suppose they're too good for this kind of thing we recently witnessed the resignation of a megachurch pastor who reportedly said "I am the brand".  Christians can be even worse about this stuff precisely because they think they're better and because they have niche-targeted variations.  Think of Mark Driscoll as Dan Savage if he became fundy and, well, there's a niche market for that, too. Now that the father figure image has apparently been taken up and jettisoned inside of a single year Driscoll's bailed on the church he's previously described like a daughter and has, within the confines of his own metaphors, become a deadbeat dad.  When dad and mom are having an argument the kids don't need to know all the details, even if dad just left over the weekend to go spend time with a trophy girlfriend who doesn't know as much about his home life?  Maybe ...

Driscoll has spent the last decade preaching via jumbo screens so he's functionally been a televangelist rather than a pastor for quite some time.  Whatever may happen next the industries that have made Driscoll the star he's become have not received any significant scrutiny so the star-making apparatus itself can simply find a way to rebrand him.  Maybe now that he's unmoored from any pseudo-Reformed trappings he can stop being a "charismatic with a seatbelt" and just dive into the deep end of the pool the likes of Jakes or Todd Bentley swim in.  Anyway ... there's a bunch of stuff to peruse at your leisure for the weekend.

But by and large, as you saw, this post was more about music.  Wenatchee's going to try to get back to writing about music ... and cartoons ... some time.

Maybe 2015.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

revisiting a quote from Driscoll, "I'm more a prophet than a politician" in light of a short post by Jim West this week

In the wake of shaking hands with T. D. Jakes at Elephant Room 2 Mark Driscoll wrote the following:
I’m more a prophet than a politician.

In light of Mark Driscoll's resignation last week a little post this week from Jim West jumped off the screen.

Prophets never resign or retire, they just die.

So when Driscoll resigned from being president of the corporation known as Mars Hill Church did he hand in his prophet card? 

Driscoll's stories at Gateway in light of his penchant for historical revisionism

Now Wenatchee The Hatchet is fairly confident that Mark Driscoll's wife and children have faced hardship and emotionally unpleasant experiences living with the man.  That's not in question.  However, cumulatively the public appearance and the stories Driscoll shared have so far been largely difficult to independently verify.  In the case of the rock throwing incident Dori Monson has established a general inability of officials at Woodway to state that anything Driscoll described happened where rock-throwing goes. 

Given Mark Driscoll's inability to remember such basic things as whether there were kids at the start of Mars Hill or not, it's not that some of these things couldn't have happened (Monson has suggested some of the incidents could have happened but that based on reports from Woodway they'd have had to have happened elsewhere or more than several months ago).  The problem is that by now Mark Driscoll has been shown to have revised his public statements about what things happened and why.
We can't be sure that he's even keeping his own story straight with his earlier versions of the history of Mars Hill these days.  The narrative of Real Marriage cast a basic doubt on the veracity of the earlier narrative presented from the pulpit from about, oh, 2002 to 2011.  While Driscolls have moved three times in the last fourteen years if Mark Driscoll implied that they moved three times in the recent "season" over safety that seems like an unusually finessed account.

If Dori Monson doubts the veracity of a couple of claims in the Mark Driscoll account at the Gateway conference he's probably not alone.  In fact Driscoll's penchant for historical revisionism as documented by Wenatchee The Hatchet can seem so sweeping that sometimes it seems there's a loss for a point of comparison if we're talking about how a person might deploy words as a way to influence the decisions and actions of others. In moments of weakness Wenatchee has wondered about a ... possibility, drawn from the realms of television, such as ... this little angel (not revealed until after the break)

Driscoll at Gateway on the 8-year old son with no concept of "media coverage" in spite of a mom who worked in PR and a dad who had the son on stage

from October 20, 2014 statement made by Driscoll at Gateway Conference. The transcript is courtesy of Warren Throckmorton's blog but the paragraph breaks are Wenatchee The Hatchet's.
would you mind if I shared a story or two? Uhm, is that okay, like? Um. I, I’ve cried a lot lately uhm er it’s been a rough season for the family. I guess you could take a seat. Um, (laughter) and um, and for those of you, I would say don’t overlook your family as first ministry. Uhmm. And for me we’re just really appreciate your prayer for our family. We’ve got five kids, three boys, two girls, ages 8 to 17 and uh we’ve moved three times now for safety issues. Uhm. People arrested at our home, death threats, uh address posted on-line, all kinds of things and uh more recently it’s gotten very severe. We came home from break. There was rusty nails all over the driveway.

We uh, we uh we had a night where the kids wanted to sleep out in the tent and uh I got a call that um my uh address was posted on-line by the media and um so, we, we, we went out of town for a few days, came back uh the kids said ‘no, we gotta sleep in the tent so I didn’t sleep. But we, we were in the tent all night and uh, woke up in the morning about 6:30or so and huge rocks about the size of baseballs come flying at my kids uh 8, 10 and 12 years of age. Call the police. Flee into the house for their safety.

Uh a few days later. I think it was, I don’t remember, the media flies overhead with a helicopter and is trying to flush us out for a story. And uh that night uh we’re hiding in the house, my 8 year old son comes down and he’s wearing a military jacket, he’s loading up his Air Soft rifle (laughter)and he uh (MD chuckles) he looks at me and he says ‘hey dad is this uh is this jacket bullet proof? (soft laughter)and I just started crying and said, ‘why’s that little buddy?’ and he said, ‘Well it’s bad guys in the helicopter coming to shoot the family, right?’ He didn’t have any concept of, of media coverage, he thought it was bad guys coming to kill his family and he was gonna defend his sister (faint laughter) and so uh praise God he’s finally sleeping in his bed again, but it’s been a while to get him to do that with night terrors and so, there’s just a lot going on for our family.

I appreciate Pastor Robert and the team here. I just want to come here to uh sing, to pray, uh to learn, to grow, uh to repent, to heal and uh uh God is surrounding me with some great pastors and friends, and if I could just say anything, it’s ‘every pastor needs a pastor’. And and, uh you pastors, your family needs you to be their pastor. ...

Let's consider for a moment the specific claim by Mark Driscoll, that his 8-year old son had no concept of media coverage.  The son thought that a helicopter for a news station hovering about the house was, in Mark Driscoll's account, equated with bad guys coming to kill his family.

Considering the number of times Mark Driscoll has touted both his own professional credentials and those of his wife in broadcast media contexts this story being told at all seems to signal a potentially massive parenting fail moment, not least because all of the Driscoll kids were on stage with Mark Driscoll a couple of months ago when he announced his leave of absence.
Even if we grant that some 8-year old kids won't understand media coverage let's consider what Mark Driscoll has publicly said about his credentials and those of us wife with respect to media.

Let's start with "A Blog Post for the Brits"
 I have a degree in communications from one of the top programs in the United States. So does my wife, Grace. We are used to reporters with agendas and selective editing of long interviews. Running into reporters with agendas and being selectively edited so that you are presented as someone that is perhaps not entirely accurate is the risk one takes when trying to get their message out through the media.

Degree from a top program in the country.  Ditto the wife.  Driscoll said "we" had gotten used to reporters with agendas and selective editing.  Let's not forget that at one point Ashley Driscoll had blog content that was showing up at Pastor Mark TV. Back in later 2011. Seeing as the original was taken down the WayBack Machine version may have to suffice.  It seems important to Wenatchee The Hatchet to quote from the old post as preserved by the WayBack Machine because Harris' objection highlights something people unfamiliar with Mark Driscoll may need to know. With apologies to Harris if the post was voluntarily removed but this seems important in consideration of the welfare of the Driscoll kids and your point was salient.

We’ve all heard pastors use family anecdotes to illustrate spiritual lessons. The pressure of pastor family branding and temptation to pastor worship is enormous, even in tiny churches. Families crack beneath the pressure or calcify into plastic people with painted smiles and a 35-year supply of C.S. Lewis quotes for their Facebook statuses. There’s a reason PKs have a reputation for going insane.

But this is a whole new level of using your family for spiritual props. This blows the already-big problem of celebrity pastordom to potential Gosselin-Palin proportions. It’s not just Driscoll who’s achieving celebrity or his wife (who had the privilege of not being a minor when she got into all this) but his barely teenage daughter and yes—Driscoll dangles the promise—his other children later, too.

If Driscoll is the one elevating his children to celebrity status, he’s inviting people to invade their privacy. When you use your 14-year-old daughter as a model for how young women should follow Jesus, you lose the ability to plead for grace when she, well, doesn’t follow Jesus quite like everyone thinks she should. If your daughter is blogging about modesty, all her clothing choices are up for debate. If she’s blogging about dating, her offline choices in boys are open for criticism. This is absolutely not right for people to do—I undoubtedly would have needed even more years of therapy if my high school clothing had been open to public criticism—but they will do it. When you turn your children into celebrities you have forfeited your ability to protect them when people treat them…like celebrities.

So when Driscoll wrote this:
Add to this the safety issues posed by technology. I cannot fathom allowing my two teenagers to be on social media for fear of the venom they would receive. When my kids have to report on current events at school, they’ve learned to ask before they click on to news sites, since I never know who is saying what about me where.

It's important to bear in mind that at one point Mark Driscoll not only had Ashley blogging at Pastor Mark TV but was evidently also hinting at the possibility that other Driscoll kids might also eventually do some blogging there, too.  That was, fortunately, reconsidered and eliminated but that Driscoll let it be considered at all and that material went up should be a reminder that while Driscoll has made a plea for sympathy on behalf of his family (and they have reason to be concerned) Driscoll has sidestepped altogether his own apparently active role in not only vaunting himself into the public figure role but having made some effort to enlist his kids into the public blogger on Christian issues.  The possibility that the 8-year old has no concept of media coverage if his older sister had a brief stint as a blogger seems a bit ... fuzzy.

As for Grace, her credentials have not been touted quite so much as Driscoll's but at least one blogger got the impression that Grace Driscoll, before she took to motherhood, had a promising career in front of her.
I have it on very good authority that Grace Ann Driscoll is an intelligent and highly capable person who was on her way to a stellar career in the secular job market when she decided to say home and be a mom. So when I listened to the opening remarks in this clip from the Stay at Home Dads Q&A session, I was suffering some cognative dissonance when she made an allusion to 1Tim. 5:8 to support the Driscoll view on gender roles.

One thing we can be absolutely certain about. This passage says nothing, zero, about stay at home dads or wives who go to work.

Grace Ann Driscoll is certainly smart enough to understand this. If she had sat down with her English bible and taken the time to read a chapter or so of the context it would have been very plain that the issue here is how to minister to widows in the early church. There is no mention of bread winners or housewives. The two groups involved are widows and family. The only gender roles in this passages are widows and the pressing question is what qualifies a woman to become an official widow in the church, supported by the church.

So I suspect that what goes on in these Q&A sessions after Mark Driscoll's sermon is a sort proof texting of the party line. We have an official MHC position on house husbands and we have our list of proof texts. No one dares to actually do any exegesis. That would be dangerous. You might come up with the wrong answer.
But as impressive as her credentials were Mark Driscoll has not really enlightened us much as to what she actually did.  He has, however, made the rather clear claim he worked as a professional journalist in high school and college.  We'll get to that, but first, let's see what Driscoll said about his stint as a professional journalist.
Mark Driscoll
December 2, 2013

I’ve taken on editorial duties at Resurgence, at least for a season. This means I’m reviewing nearly every blog article before we post it and giving content feedback in an effort to help our writers get their message out even further.

I don’t pretend to be the world’s greatest writer. But I did start writing professionally as a journalist in high school, paid my way through high school and college writing articles and editing my college newspaper, got a bachelor’s degree in Communications from the top-notch Edward R. Murrow School of Communication, and have written blogs and articles for everyone from CNN to the W
Washington Post to Fox News.
During his time at Wazoo ...

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

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

Keep in mind that when the book was published in 2004 Mark Driscoll was wistfully remembering the bomb threats that came his way after Ashley was born.  Age may temper a man, of course, but Driscoll made it impossible to misunderstood the pleasure he took in angering some people enough that they made bomb threats.  If Driscoll has come to see that the threats of violence are less easily worn as a badge of honor when family is involved that's merely a part of a larger equation.

A serious question to ask in the wake of the Gateway stories is how it is that an 8-year old child of two parents who got communications degrees; the child of a megachurch pastor who was evidentlye encouraging his children to take blogging roles on Pastor Mark TV; the child of a man who just a few months ago had all his kids hug him on stage; somehow, amidst all that, really believes that a news helicopter showing up above the Driscoll house is "bad guys" who were out to kill the Driscoll family?  With the media-savvy couple Driscoll assured us had seen a lot of serpentine interviewers by the time they got to Justin Brierley that story about the 8-year old seems a little ... odd. 

Driscoll has a demonstrable history of leaning hard on stories about the Driscoll kids in statements made in front of audiences.  Consider this contentious reading of Esther that hangs its closing argument not on an exegetical or historical consideration of the book of Esther so much as on a story of Mark Driscoll talking with Ashley.   That particular sermon got a series devoted to it.

The trend for histories of Mars Hill and of Mark Driscoll has shifted in the last seven years from Mark regaling members with how close he was to death to regaling the public with the travails of his family.  Unfortunately Mark Driscoll has a history of neglecting his active agency as a public figure and provocateur as having anything at all to do with those travails.  If a Driscoll kid at the age of 8 truly believes that a press helicopter would show up to kill his family then Mark Driscoll presents a baffling portrait of family life Wenatchee admits to not understanding. 

Driscoll at Gateway, stated they moved three times over safety issues. 3 moves in fourteen years are established by county records but 3 moves in a "season" is fuzzy

from October 20, 2014 statement made by Driscoll at Gateway Conference
would you mind if I shared a story or two? Uhm, is that okay, like? Um. I, I’ve cried a lot lately uhm er it’s been a rough season for the family. I guess you could take a seat. Um, (laughter) and um, and for those of you, I would say don’t overlook your family as first ministry. Uhmm. And for me we’re just really appreciate your prayer for our family. We’ve got five kids, three boys, two girls, ages 8 to 17 and uh we’ve moved three times now for safety issues. [emphasis added] Uhm. People arrested at our home, death threats, uh address posted on-line, all kinds of things and uh more recently it’s gotten very severe.
We came home from break. There was rusty nails all over the driveway. We uh, we uh we had a night where the kids wanted to sleep out in the tent and uh I got a call that um my uh address was posted on-line by the media and um so, we, we, we went out of town for a few days, came back uh the kids said ‘no, we gotta sleep in the tent so I didn’t sleep. But we, we were in the tent all night and uh, woke up in the morning about 6:30or so and huge rocks about the size of baseballs come flying at my kids uh 8, 10 and 12 years of age. Call the police. Flee into the house for their safety. Uh a few days later. I think it was, I don’t remember, the media flies overhead with a helicopter and is trying to flush us out for a story. And uh that night uh we’re hiding in the house, my 8 year old son comes down and he’s wearing a military jacket, he’s loading up his Air Soft rifle (laughter)and he uh (MD chuckles) he looks at me and he says ‘hey dad is this uh is this jacket bullet proof? (soft laughter)and I just started crying and said, ‘why’s that little buddy?’ and he said, ‘Well it’s bad guys in the helicopter coming to shoot the family, right?’ He didn’t have any concept of, of media coverage, he thought it was bad guys coming to kill his family and he was gonna defend his sister (faint laughter) and so uh praise God he’s finally sleeping in his bed again, but it’s been a while to get him to do that with night terrors and so, there’s just a lot going on for our family, I appreciate Pastor Robert and the team here. I just want to come here to uh sing, to pray, uh to learn, to grow, uh to repent, to heal and uh uh God is surrounding me with some great pastors and friends, and if I could just say anything, it’s ‘every pastor needs a pastor’. And and, uh you pastors, your family needs you to be their pastor. ...
The Driscolls have moved around a bit and moving three times out of concern for safety issues might be completely true.  Mark Driscoll just didn't mention the time frame in which those three moves happened.  An uninformed listener (i.e. literally everyone at that conference) might get the impression that the three moves happened within the recent season.  That would be a bit difficult to establish beyond any doubt.  If one cast the three moves in terms of the last decade then, well, it's easily proven based on county records.  But let's revisit what the first move in the last fourteen years might have involved.
Mark Driscoll,  Zondervan
copyright (c) 2006 by Mark Driscoll
ISBN-13: 978-0-310-27016-4
350-1,000 people

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

So as recounted by none other than Mark Driscoll himself in the wake of his rants as William Wallace II someone wanted to go fight him one night around 3 a.m.

So it seems there's evidence enough for at least one incident of a guy looking for a fight.  That was back in 2000.  Not exactly the post leave-of-absence season.

The Driscolls were at that house in Montlake until about 2003. They moved again in 2005.  The next move was ... if memory serves 2012.  So there were three moves since 2000 and Driscoll has said they moved three times over safety concerns.  Driscoll's antics as William Wallace II may have played a significant role in, even by Mark's account, one incident in which his family was troubled.  So the moves for safety would fit the county-documented moves Wenatchee The Hatchet has managed to observe but this would be over a fourteen year period and not the recent season in which Mark Driscoll was on leave and then resigned.


Driscoll at Gateway, local radio host Dori Monson sate Woodway officials have no reports of any incidents related to Driscolls over last few months
from October 20, 2014 statement made by Driscoll at Gateway Conference
Transcript available at Warren Throckmorton's blog but some supplemental paragraphing and punctuation changes for readability supplied by Wenatchee The Hatchet.
... We uh, we uh we had a night where the kids wanted to sleep out in the tent and uh I got a call that um my uh address was posted on-line by the media and um so, we, we, we went out of town for a few days, came back uh the kids said ‘no, we gotta sleep in the tent so I didn’t sleep. But we, we were in the tent all night and uh, woke up in the morning about 6:30or so and huge rocks about the size of baseballs come flying at my kids uh 8, 10 and 12 years of age. Call the police. Flee into the house for their safety. Uh a few days later. I think it was, I don’t remember, the media flies overhead with a helicopter and is trying to flush us out for a story.

And uh that night uh we’re hiding in the house, my 8 year old son comes down and he’s wearing a military jacket, he’s loading up his Air Soft rifle (laughter)and he uh (MD chuckles) he looks at me and he says ‘hey dad is this uh is this jacket bullet proof? (soft laughter)and I just started crying and said, ‘why’s that little buddy?’ and he said, ‘Well it’s bad guys in the helicopter coming to shoot the family, right?’ He didn’t have any concept of, of media coverage, he thought it was bad guys coming to kill his family and he was gonna defend his sister (faint laughter) and so uh praise God he’s finally sleeping in his bed again, but it’s been a while to get him to do that with night terrors and so, there’s just a lot going on for our family.
Local radio host Dori Monson has some doubts about the story involving baseball-sized rocks in particular and discussed his reservations about the story on air yesterday.
Dori Monson
October 22, 2014 - Hour: 3
starting about minute 30:00

Now if this happened at his Woodway home we called the police today and I, because I was shocked that people threw baseball-sized rocks at his three children (8, 10 and 12 years old). Uh, you know, Mark Driscoll is a public figure and I could not believe--because throwing rocks the size of a baseball at a child, I would think, would be attempted murder. That would kill a kid if it hit them in the head. And so, just, I wanted to confirm the story.

Now, he said they'd moved three times. I will tell you this could have happened in some other jurisdiction and not Woodway but we did, just in the last hour, talk to city officials in Woodway, and what we asked was, "Can you confirm if police were called about people throwing rocks at this guy's children. And they went back a few months in their records, and unless it happened more than a few months ago, or it happened in some other jurisdiction,

but, again, would that have happened and we not hear about it?  People throwing baseball sized rocks at the children of a public figure and that story doesn't get reported? It's very strange to me ...

So Monson concedes it is possible the incidents that Mark Driscoll described might have been in some other jurisdiction but that Woodway officials have not backed up any of Mark Driscoll's stories as incidents reported to them at this time.  If the incidents happened and happened at another jurisdiction it is possible they could have happened while the Driscolls still lived in King County.  Driscoll recounted a list of incedents nearly a year ago at The Resurgence.

Driscoll moved from King to Snohomish county in 2012.  While former members have mentioned an Orange County rental space that wouldn't have counted as moving three times and Driscoll has not mentioned in what time frame the family moved three times.  So if the incidents related to nails n a driveway actually happened Monson's account so far would seem to indicate the incident with the nails and the rocks can't have happened in the Snohomish county setting based on Woodway officials who answered questions yesterday.

Christian Post recycles Driscoll's anecdotes as given at the Gateway conference this week, states Driscoll "accused" of using Result Source ... after Driscoll himself admitted it was used?

... Driscoll went on to describe how his life has changed since the growing controversy surrounding his leadership style became public. The former Mars Hill pastor told the crowd that he has "cried a lot lately." ...

The plagiarism in at least half a dozen books as documented collectively by Janet Mefferd, Warren Throckmorton or Wenatchee The Hatchet isn't  a matter of leadership style but of leadership substance.  The controversy surrounding the mass layoffs/firings that erupted at Mars Hill with the general period of arrival of Sutton Turner was not even about Driscoll directly but included Driscoll.  Result Source ... we'll get to Result Source.  In the last year the Christian Post has begun to seem less and less like a journalistic outpost and more like a great way for a person with an old computer to land themselves a malicious toolkit bug. Wenatchee won't bore you with the details about that.

Christian Post article basically recapitulates what Driscoll said at the Gateway conference.  There doesn't seem to have been any attempt to vet any of the claims at all.  We'll get to some of those anecdotes but there's something that needs to be said.

Driscoll stepped down as pastor of the church he founded in 1996 after a number of troubles came to light over the summer, beginning with accusations of plagiarism. He was also accused of hiring a marketing company to ensure that Real Marriage, a book he co-authored with his wife Grace, made the New York Times best-seller list.

Uh, accused? 

The Board of Advisors & Accountability admitted the executive elders had Result Source rig the NYT list for Real Marriage.  Driscoll even directly addressed the controversy about Result Source and expressed remorse for having gone along with it in a letter that was originally posted to The City that was leaked to the publicWORLD Magazine broke the story back in March and Warren Throckmorton published the signed contract. For anyone at the Christian Post to claim that Mark Driscoll was simply "accused of hiring a marketing company to ensure that Real Marriage" after Mark Driscoll admitted that RSI was used; World Magazine confirmed it; Throckmorton published the contract with Turner's signature on it; and the BoAA admitted it was used and was technically not illegal forces Wenatchee The Hatchet to wonder what on earth the Christian Post thinks hasn't been confirmed by all the primary participants already. When the BoAA (which included all the executive elders involved in the controversies) justified the actions of Driscoll and Turner while admitting that the contract was used that's not ACCUSED of anything.  That's everyone admitting in their own words it happened!

That the Christian Post seems to have taken at face value that all incidents described by Mark Driscoll at the Gateway Conference doesn't look like fact-checking anything at all.
For an interesting cross section of reactions to the stories shared at Gateway

There's a local radio host who made a point of asking whether the rock-throwing incident happened and we'll turn to the results of that inquiry shortly.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Now is not the time for self-congratulation, now is the time to discover what repentance actually is

In the wake of Mark Driscoll's resignation Carl Trueman wrote a blog post and from that blog post this particular paragraph stood out.

It is interesting that the crisis finally came only when the aesthetics flipped the other way, when Driscoll and his antics became more distasteful than the words of his critics.  It is important to notice that it was not the embrace of a Unitarian prosperity teacher and that decision's obvious doctrinal significance which brought things to a head.  Rather, it was the numerous allegations of bullying and loutish behaviour which finished him off -- things that are aesthetically displeasing in the current climate.  The whistleblowers, however, are still not regarded as vindicated, despite having spoken the truth.  I suspect they can -- pardon the pun -- whistle for an apology from the Top Men or for rehabilitation by the mainstream of YRR evangelicalism.  For they can even now still be dismissed as smug (an aesthetic word if ever there was one)  or simply forgotten because, whatever the truth they spoke, they were nonetheless engaged in the activity at a point in time when the aesthetics of the marketplace made their criticisms easy to characterize as unloving and thus distasteful. 

Maybe, if only in the sense of public rhetoric, but critics to the "left" of Driscoll and critics to the "right" of Driscoll had been steadfast, largely, in their condemnation of his views about gays and women on the one hand and his cavalier talk about charismata and continuationism as indisputably true for him but not necessarily others on the other. 

The crisis finally came when intellectual property, donor designations, and real estate acquisitions came under examination.  It wasn't until Driscoll was accused on air of being a plagiarist that the box was opened.  It wasn't until it turned out that, in addition to Mark Driscoll's books featuring citation problems (a euphemism for plagiarism for our time if there has to be one), Real Marriage was gamed a #1 spot on the New York Times' bestseller list with the aid of Result Source Inc. and the Mars Hill Board of Advisors & Accountability defended the decision as "unwise" but still technically legal. 

But to the extent that Trueman's point holds (and it does, though in a limited sense) it wasn't until people got some insight into how Mark Driscoll was capable of addressing those he considered his relational or ideological adversaries or even those he considered merely obstacles that the aesthetic inversion happened.

But in a way this gets us to something else, the thing about the news coverage.

As important and needful as the contributions of Janet Mefferd and World Magazine were in highlighting the plagiarism issue and the sales rigging issue, these were pretty late developments in the history of Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill as part of the public sphere.  There had been plenty of people informally discussing various issues about Driscoll and Mars Hill for years.  The blogs are not hard to find but blogs are dismissed for many reasons, foremost being that very few bloggers practice anything like journalistic ethics (setting aside for the moment questions about how many journalists may follow journalistic ethics). 

Yet it would be hard to credit the Christian press for being late to an investigative party that had been taken up by bloggers for years and the publishing industry that either overlooked or failed to observe the citation errors rampant in Driscoll books since, it turns out, the dawn of his publishing career bear blame as well as credit.  It does no good for Christian media and journalism to have highlighted the citation problems in Mark Driscoll's books if the media empire was a vital part of what made him a star to begin with.  If Driscoll sinned the Christian publishing industry must take ownership of letting those sins happen and if some Christian journalists have proven exceptions to the rule the rule does not seem changed for it. 

But the formal press could at least be said to have striven to have verified things, to have sought official documentation.  A major reason blogs could be dismissed that Trueman seems to have picked up on is that there was always the "sour grapes" ad hominem.  It was always possible to dismiss the blogs as nothing but the work of cranks and creeps. It was possible to dismiss blogs as unofficial and generally written by those envious of a ministry success, or those antagonistic toward a particular team, or for pettiness.  It could certainly be guessed that some blogs and blog readers and commenters would seize any occasion to remark on the evils of Mark Driscoll.  If he so much as farted on stage there'd be an outcry ... and outrage is probably the cheapest emotion on the internet.

Turning to a bit more troubling potential reference points, we may very well live in a culture in which the nature of victimhood has to be parsed before we accept allegations.  Many of those who were "thrown under the bus" were participants in the culture at Mars Hill that intimidated and bullied or browbeat people into conformity.  It's tempting for people to suppose, since we'd never be that way ourselves, to look askance on some critiques from some people because, well, you know, they were kind of asking for it.  They should have known what was likely to happen.

And soldiers who voluntarily enlisted circa 2001-2004 should have somehow known what was going to happen?  Something over at Slate might tangentially illuminate one of the difficulties of requiring a spotless victim.  It gets at the difference between the allegations of sexual assault leveled against Woody Allen on the one hand and Bill Cosby on the other.

When I asked Newsweek’s Baker why she felt that the victims she spoke with had been ignored, she told me: “I think it's because they were imperfect victims, as victims so often are,” Baker told me. The two women Baker interviewed were young at the time of the assaults, but over the age of 18. More importantly, “they were ambitious aspiring actresses and models who were hanging out with an older man who said he'd make them famous.” Maybe we take their age and ambition—their self-determination, really—as an excuse to withhold our support.

That ethos of supposing that someone was "asking for it" may be a bit of a problem across the board.  There may be a way to distinguish between some foolish decisions and the colloquial working definition of "asking for it", whether we're talking about those who have been raped; those who have been traumatized by participating in a military effort they volunteered for but did not fully understand; or for those who have "drunk the kool-aid".  Wenatchee The Hatchet has come to the possibly grim theory that humans are inherently drinkers of kool-aid.  It's what we do, particularly when we most protest otherwise.  Spending a decade at Mars Hill and possibly having not imbibed enough of the "beverage" to have fatally toxic effects (yet?) doesn't really entitle a person to look down on others.  A disposition of grace should not exactly be counting what this or that person "deserves" or "had coming to them", does it? 

If we're going to discuss abuse and victims with respect to Mars Hill or other settings we will have to set aside any mythology of "perfect victims", not because there aren't perfect victims of some kind, but because we should refrain from looking down on those who, though they may have been run over by the bus, took a hand in driving the bus in some way. 

Or, to be both more tangential and more direct, now is not the time to congratulate ourselves if Mark Driscoll has proven to be a quitter and has left Mars Hill Church.  "We" didn't do anything for more than a decade.  "We" tolerated Driscoll within evangelicalism because while he may have been a "jerk" he was "our" jerk.  Progressives can't really congratulate themselves either because a mountain of controversy about intellectual property and donor designation issues weren't even on their radar.  They were busy wanting to find Mark Driscoll guilty of thought crimes that are, technically, still defended by the First Amendment than by copyright infringement.  The temptation for us, irrespective of camp, to congratulate ourselves is far too high.  If there's a time to express remorse and regret that we let things get this far to begin with that's what we should do.

There are a whole lot of men in the history of Mars Hill who not only let all of these things happened they actively voted for it, and not just in 2007.  There was 2005 when that boondoggle at 50th street was bought without having done due diligence on the zoning issues.  To some degree the whole idiotic courtship fad circa 2002-2007 was a trial run.  If a church leadership culture could cultivate a culture of self-enforcing conformity on something as silly as the courtship fad then it would be a simple matter to expect that conformity for things like bylaws.  Dissenters could be shamed, attacked, dismissed, blackballed, or otherwise argued with and then it was just a matter of the social economy of scale.  As the saying goes, the frog doesn't know the water's reached the boiling point until its too late, or something like that.  We were all the frog.

Maybe not every last one of us.  It is to the credit of at least some progressives they saw in Mark Driscoll someone who was aiming to wage the same old culture war battles through slightly modified tactics.  Whereas the old Religious Right aimed for overt and directly politicized action Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill arguably developed a more guerrilla approach, cultivating individual cels of culture warriors.  If the old Religious Right could be described as like the AIM Sidewinder or Phoenix missile system, where the missile and the tracking apparatus had to be in tandem, then perhaps the post-Driscollian approach to the culture war could be likened more to the AMRAAM system. We witnessed the development, if you will, of a kind of fire-and-forget weaponry in the culture war and that may be one of the innovations of Mars Hill within the context of Puget Sound.  Jessica Johnson has described this Mars Hillian ethos as that of the "citizen soldier".  Go read the piece because it is one of the more accurate and prescient articles written on the ethos of masculinity that was cultivated in Mars Hill Wenatchee the Hatchet has read.

While Driscoll went to Gateway as a guest it is worth bearing in mind that in the end he seems to have declined to accept the restoration/disciplinary arrangement he was offered by the church he founded.  In this respect it would seem that the most striking thing about Mark Driscoll is that so long as he gets to dish out he's fine but as soon as he has to take even a thimble-full he ... leaves.  It has been this pervasive double standard in the leadership culture of Mars Hill that has been one of the most toxic parts of the culture.  Should Mark Driscoll and Sutton Turner receive any compensation on their way out at all then they will have added a special level of hypocrisy in having spoken against "consumerism" from the rank and file while taking severance packages of the sort Sutton Turner told underlings to neither ask for nor expect to receive if THEY quit.

Jesus warned that though you should do everything the Pharisees told you to do because they have Moses' seat that you should not follow their example.  After years of preaching against Pharisees and "religious people" the sobering observation for this moment is that Mark Driscoll and Sutton Turner may have revealed themselves to be Pharisees of Pharisees.

And yet for all of us who have ever called Mars Hill home ... we're the ones who put those people there.  We're responsible, all of us.  We let it happen. We didn't just let it happen, we came to an often spirited defense of those men who by now have abandoned the church called Mars Hill, whether Driscoll or others.  Sure, we can talk now about "drinking the kool-aid" or the snake oil but for those of us who bought it what were we buying? 

It's not hard to review the ways in which Mark Driscoll got sloppy as an author, lazy as a theologian, and aggressive as a self-appointed social pundit who clearly and actively sought to become a public figure.  Now he's gone outside of Washington to regale a sea of people about the jeopardy his family has been without once considering the role his willfully inflammatory persona played in inspiring less than stable people to confront him.  Driscoll used to teach that headship means it's your responsibility even if it's not your fault and clearly Driscoll no longer seems to believe that to the extant that he's willing to shift all the blame for the disturbance of his family not on his own inflammatory persona but on people who he used to say were the sorts of people who didn't get what "playing a character" was.

But "we" need to ask ourselves why it took so long for any of the controversies of the last year to emerge.  Why did the plagiarism scandal only erupt when Janet Mefferd made an on-air accusation?  Perhaps because until established Christian media ran stories it wasn't official and it wasn't "real".  Wenatchee The Hatchet presented a back to back comparison of Real Marriage to The Wounded Heart in September 2013 and broached the possibility of copyright infringement in Driscollian work as far back as July 4, 2013.  The reactions at the time ranged from yawning indifference to "so what?" a fairly narrow spectrum.  It seems many a Christian these days refuses to even grant that intellectual property exists except as a legal fiction and an immoral one at that. 

If Driscoll was selling something (and most assuredly he's selling something) what is it?  What did we buy?  The simplest answer would be he's selling "legacy". The invitation was to be part of a legacy that positively influenced the world for Jesus.  Over time this legacy began to look less and less like the work of a community united by a common Christian confession and more and more like a community whose narrative was increasingly defined by the personal narrative of Mark Driscoll, a narrative that has collapsed into incoherence when Driscoll's public account has changed basic details he'd previously been clear about.  Additionally, Driscoll has increasingly changed both the tone and substance of the narrative in the wake of a variety of controversies

That Driscoll was selling a legacy isn't hard to prove.  Malachi made it explicit.  The end of God's Work, Our Witness (the fundraising film) also made it explicit.

People are getting saved more than ever. Churches are getting planted more than ever. Leaders are rising up more than ever. Opportunities are surfacing more than ever. And this is the best possible time to get onboard, to pray, give, serve, because I promise you, what comes next is the kind of thing that you’re going to tell your grandkids about.

Mars Hill has had a long history of saying "It's all about Jesus" but as N. T. Wright used to put it, it matters a great deal which Jesus we're actually talking about and that, in turn, invites everyone who currently or previously called Mars Hill home "Which Jesus are we talking about?" Were we following Christ as revealed in the scriptures? (Wenatchee The Hatchet is anything but a mythicist, so there) Or were we following a Jesus who was essentially mediated by Driscoll and markulinity?  It increasingly seems the latter was the case. 

Romans: The Righteousness of God
Adolf Schlatter, Hendrickson Publisers (c) 1995
page 40

The individual is godless if he fabricates religion in his own interest, for the sake of his own happiness. God must be worshipped for the sake of God. ... Paul emphasizes the absurdity of idolatry. It is absurd to put the individual, under the law of death, in the place of God, because in doing so it is not even the human and the animal that are worshipped, but only their likeness. This likeness is no reproduction of living beings at all, it is merely able to copy the outline of the form, the lines shaping their figure.

page 43

... it is a lie arising from selfish covetousness, if the individual makes his image to be God's image and his lust to be God's will. 
The ideal of masculinity and legacy that Mark Driscoll has made the sales pitch for his public persona and ministry has turned out to be more image than reality and that this was the case was revealed at length in the 2012 book Real Marriage. It doesn't matter whether or not the Driscoll marriage is now closer to the ideal than it was in the first decade of Mars Hill, what matters was that for the season in which the Driscolls presented themselves as happily married it now seems as though that happiness was an idol and a sham.  But then for those of us who called Mars Hill the same must also be said about the many things we considered good. 

There were real, positive goods to be had, of course, but as Christians are wont to say, idols are generally good things that are valued about the one true God. It's easy to say that about other people but for those of us who can only confess by dint of the investment of our lives that we bought what Mark Driscoll was selling we need to ask ourselves what we were buying in for.  We also need to refrain from congratulating ourselves for anything at all.  Now is not the time for self-congratulation.  While it is a shame that Mark Driscoll seems too unscrupulous and cowardly to participate and has chosen to abandon the church he took so much credit in founding, the process of repenting of being part of and contributing to what Mars Hill has become has only just begun. 

And that goes for each and every one of us who has called that community home. Wenatchee's role is relatively small and insignificant, attempting to document the history here and there.  But there needs to be more "our" to "our witness".  Wenatchee is not and doesn't desire to be any kind of leader but if there's a way to lead it's by example.  As has been said before, Wenatchee The Hatchet isn't telling anyone they "have" to leave Mars Hill, just to re:consider the narrative.  That narrative may be our collective idol. If in the end the legacy of Mars Hill were to be founded on Mark's personality and was a legacy we were building to be able to tell our grandkids about then that would make the entire legacy of Mars Hill a narrative that in itself would be an idol.  Now that Driscoll has behaved like a hired hand we need to ask ourselves why, in so many ways, we paid him for so many years.  That's not an easy or pleasant question to answer but it's one we must deal with. 

Taxable Total on Driscoll Montlake property for Tax Year 2015=$666.000

Here's hoping no one in the Driscoll house has any issues with certain numbers because the total appraised value for the Montlake property (which the Driscolls still own is ...
Valued Year
Tax Year
Appraised Land Value ($)
Appraised Imps Value ($)
Appraised Total ($)
Taxable Land Value ($)
Taxable Imps Value ($)
Taxable Total ($)

So there you go.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mark Driscoll no longer on The City--i.e resignation of membership/leaving Mars Hill seems confirmed

As longtime readers will know Wenatchee The Hatchet documented what were once the publicly available City profile user numbers on Mars Hill

For those who might not recall Mark Driscoll's user profile was listed as follows:

Well, in light of the BoE announcement that Mark Driscoll opted to resign rather than continue with or accept the restoration process offered to him Wenatchee The Hatchet has received some confirmation from more than one avenue that if you were to try to look for Mark Driscoll's profile on The City these days you're going to (briefly) get this:

Of course maybe there's a technical glitch going on and Driscoll's profile may not really be gone ... but it's not showing up as of today.  When the BoE said Driscoll had left Mars Hill it looks like they were telling the truth.

As noted earlier this week, when we look at the history of Mars Hill who else have we heard about that was a guy presented with a discipline contract or restoration plan dealing with a pattern of persistent sin who declined to comply with the agreement and resigned from Mars Hill Church?

Andrew, that's who.

Mark Driscoll and Andrew turned out to have the same basic story with respect to restoration/discipline at Mars Hill just a couple of years apart.  The irony in that is ... fascinating.

Driscoll at conference today after leaving MH as elder and member? Throckmorton notes Charles Campbell tweet

From the March 2014 statement ...
To reset my life, I will not be on social media for at least the remainder of the year. The distractions it can cause for my family and our church family are not fruitful or helpful at this time. At the end of the year, I will consider if and when to reappear on social media, and I will seek the counsel of my pastors on this matter. In the meantime, Mars Hill and Resurgence will continue to post blogs, sermons, and podcasts on my social media accounts, but otherwise I’m going offline.

I will also be doing much less travel and speaking in the next season. In recent years, I have cut back significantly, but I will now cut back even more. I have cancelled some speaking events, and I am still determining the best course of action for a few that I’ve committed to, as they are evangelistic opportunities to invite people to salvation in Jesus Christ, which is something I care about deeply. I will be doing very few media interviews, if any. Also, I’m communicating with my publisher to determine how to meet my existing obligations and have a much less intense writing schedule.

Does not being on social media mean not appearing on social media via third parties because ...

The person does look vaguely familiar.  image over at WT

So has Driscoll resigned eldership at MH after rejecting the restoration plan and left the church and has ... already showed up at a conference in Dallas Fort Worth?
CharlesCampbell @charl3scampbell
Since someone's already been crucified for him, let's restore him with a spirit of gentleness @PsRobertMorris introing Mark Driscoll
 ·  1 hour ago
Watching love on pastors everyone else has shunned and misrepresented is amazing! I love my church
Driscoll ... a  pastor everyone else has shunned and misrepresented?  If Driscoll simply applied his axioms on spiritual warfare, bitterness and sex in marriage that he applied to others to himself the burden of proof is on Mark Driscoll to explain why he wasn't demonized in some fashion if he said that bitterness and a lack of sex in marriage were both satanic footholds in the category of the "ordinary demonic". That's not misrepresenting Driscoll, it's just quoting him accurately, in context, and proposing that that what's good for the goose must also be good for the gander.

If Mark hadn't taught what he's taught about those things none of this would be a matter for the record, but he taught the stuff he's taught and never repudiated it.  So just in case someone gets the idea that "everyone else" has shunned Driscoll there's a lot of people at Mars Hill who probably want him back and didn't want him to resign and leave the church as the BoE recently announced he has done.

Sutton Turner memo recommended raise for Driscoll for FY2013 to 650k salary, retain 200k housing allowance for CY2013

Presented without comment after the break.  In actual size, scroll down a bit.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

a quick survey of the situation, WtH guesses Matt Rogers "might" shift from BoO to EE to fill one of the two vacancies in the EE. Any other guesses?

Sutton Turner (secretary/treasurer) resigned in September.
Mark Driscoll, who was on leave since August, resigned this last week in the middle of some kind of disciplinary/review/restoration process. 

This left the presidency vacated, which is in the interim being filled by Dave Bruskas. 

The problem is there still needs to be a secretary and two of three executive elder roles are vacant.

The executive elders "seem" to have to be selected from the Board of Advisors and Accountability and the executives must also be employees of Mars Hill Church.

Right now of the BoO Matt Rogers seems like a plausible guess as someone to take on one of the executive elder roles.  Since the secretary is not specified by the bylaws as necessarily having to be an executive elder that role could be fulfilled by a non-executive elder, perhaps.  But Jon Phelps won't quit what he's doing to become any kind of elder at Mars Hill.  Michael Van Skaik is the chair and Larry Osborne has his own thing.  By process of elimination Matt Rogers might be the only one on the BoAA who could even be selected from their number to take on an executive elder role. 

If Bruskas is turning from "priest" into "prophet" for a while then someone's gotta take over the "priest" role and someone has to take care of the "king" role.  The bylaws require at least three executive elders and also require two officers.  The president is the primary teaching and vision pastor who is also the president, that much seems set in stone. 

In light of what has been published today regarding Mark Driscoll's alleged departure from Mars Hill Church this makes the putting of real estate on the market look much less like an ordinary business decision that would have been made by absentee executive elders Driscoll and Turner and more like an emergency move undertaken by the Board of Advisors & Accountability, at least based on the news and associated evidence available so far.

But the thing is Matt Rogers is not (yet) an employee of Mars Hill so "if" Rogers were to become an EE the bylaws would have to be revised (could have been done by now if the BoAA met recently) or Rogers could have been accepted as an employee by the EE branch and added as an employee but "if" any or all of that has happened some kind of announcement confirming any new changes would have to show up.  At this point this whole post is just some guesswork based on what is available in the news and Wenatchee The Hatchet is not necessarily awesome at guessing things in details.

Sure, Wenatchee The Hatchet called the closure of campuses and was about half right about which campuses were going to close but anyone with access to the numbers made available via Throckmorton half a year ago could have made a comparable call.

It remains to be seen who the secretary will be and who the other two executive elders are going to be but if Wenatchee The Hatchet understands the bylaws and their requirements about the selection of executive elders correctly then Matt Rogers seems like a likely candidate for an EE role.