Wednesday, March 04, 2015

The Faults in Our Stars featuring some ... interesting explanations for the resignation of Mark Driscoll

In addition to quotes from a Gerry Breshears authoritatively describing his relationship with Mark Driscoll in the past tense, we get to read him explain that Driscoll was arrogant.  Considering that Breshears co-wrote four books with Driscoll would somebody who's formally in the press ask Breshears how Death By Love managed to end up being co-authored by the two of them when by Mark Driscoll's account he had mostly finished that book by 2006?

Driscoll mentioned that it was co-authored in his February 2008 spiritual warfare teaching seminar.

but ...

in September 2006 Driscoll mentioned mainly being done with the book that came to be known as Death By Love. The Relevant magazine article didn't single out that book for some reason but the nature and extent of Breshears' co-authoring relationship with Mark Driscoll would seem to warrant further interview questions since those co-authored works constitute Breshears' only significant published work since the dawn of the millennium.  For a bit more on that, over here:

A number of theories are proposed in the Ruth Moon piece, a couple of which are interesting.  That branding and media were a strength gets noted.  Wenatchee The Hatchet thinks it could be stated more forcefully that Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll had an Achilles heel in social and broadcast media immersion.  What this meant was the sheer tonnage of statements put out there became easier to collate, cross-reference, and examine for what turned out to be some startling ... continuity errors. 

More significantly, in its commitment to sustaining meteoric growth Mars Hill committed to an informational infrastructure that couldn't possibly keep up with the numbers it was assimilating.  The reason that matters can be explained after we get to a not-quite-passing reference to a theory proposed in the article by William Vanderbloemen, that Mark Driscoll resigned in response to, not some scandal about possible misappropriation of money or a sexual transgression but ... a steady stream of criticism from popular bloggers ... ?


Let's go back to 2012 and see how Driscoll tended to publicly discuss "bloggers".  Since the pertinent page probably can't be found where it first appeared; since said materials can't be dredged up by the Wayback Machine due to robots.txt; and since the post in question somehow didn't migrate over to ...  it seems that Wenatchee The Hatchet will have to rely on having previously documented and discussed some Driscoll material, again.

The trouble started with a Southern Baptist blogger . . . yes, you should have seen that one coming. Now, to be fair, the blogger quoted an anonymous “source.” And, we all know that almost everything bloggers say is true. But, when they have something as solid as an anonymous “source,” then you can rest assured that when Jesus talked about the truth over and over in John, this is precisely what he was referring to. I have a degree from Washington State’s Edward R. Murrow College of Communication and worked professionally as a journalist, and I can assure you that The Kerfuffle is a very serious matter to be taken with the utmost sobriety and propriety. In fact, one anonymous “source” I spoke to said that Watergate pales in comparison.
Perhaps we can cross reference another, ahem, blogger here:
But, to give him the benefit of the doubt, perhaps he was poorly briefed about “The Kerfuffle” by his community relations manager:
“So, I asked our community relations manager, who gets to enjoy reading blogs about me while eating breakfast every day (it’s amazing he holds anything down), to give me a summary of this kerfuffle.” (An Official Response to The Kerfuffle at Liberty University)
So by Driscoll's account, admittedly quoted second-hand of necessity, not only did Driscoll not seem to take the blogger of that moment seriously, he also seems to have summarized that he consulted his community relations manager to summarize "this kerfuffle".  That would seem to have been ... Justin Dean?

As for that blogger?  This seems to be his response to the Driscoll response.

And here's some coverage from the time

Now it's possible Driscoll found it useful to be at the center of a controversy connected to a blogger, but there's nothing in any of the above material that suggests Mark Driscoll was someone who was swift to take bloggers or things they said seriously.  So what would Vanderbloemen suggest popular bloggers could have published that would have mattered to someone like Mark Driscoll? If someone like William Vanderbloemen were to suggest Mark Driscoll's late 2014 resignation could have anything at all to do with popular bloggers (never mind what "popular" might be or which bloggers) this would still seem to fly in the face of some direct statements on Driscoll's part that suggest the LAST thing he'd do is resign of materials published by any bloggers, popular or otherwise.

Perhaps things Vanderbloemen said at the end of 2014 could illuminate things?

Driscoll‘s recent resignation from the church he founded was followed by another shocking announcement: Mars Hill is dissolving by year’s end, with its 11 congregations becoming independent houses of worship.

 And Vanderbloemen said that the stunning situation carries with it a plethora of lessons to be learned. “Mark stepped down at his own choice, but it wasn’t without a lot of pressure,” he said. “Mark’s departure didn’t contain any of the normal elements of a scandal.”

There wasn’t an extramarital affair nor any other explosive singular event that contributed to his downfall, he argued, calling Driscoll a “brilliant communicator.

“I’ve never seen anything quite like this,” Vanderbloemen said, noting that Driscoll ended up leaving over a wide variety of smaller infractions and debates that were perpetuated on the Internet. “We have seen a lot of guys have to leave, but never from the death of a thousand cuts that happened online.”

He continued, “There was a weird sort of perfect storm of critics and disorganization.”
In the end, Vanderbloemen said that Mars Hill grew very fast and simply wasn’t prepared for the level of expansion it experienced. As an anecdotal result, he said that churches need to do what businesses have done, drafting plans in preparation for uncertainty.

Pressure?  From where? 

But Vanderbloemen doesn't seem to have camped too much on whether or not a wide variety of smaller infractions revolved around any themes.  How about plagiarism?  Consult Warren Throckmorton's blog, or maybe a post or two in which Wenatchee The Hatchet raised a question of whether Dan Allender's work was adequately acknowledged in the first edition of Real Marriage.

Speaking of that book ... wasn't it pretty much a year ago that World Magazine's Warren Cole Smith broke a story about the use of Result Source by Mars Hill to secure a #1 spot on the NYT bestseller list for that book?

So between the plagiarism controversy and the controversy surrounding Result Source, both of which featured Real Marriage, what would be the basis for Mark Driscoll's resignation to have been catalyzed by .... popular bloggers?  Wouldn't it seem more likely that the double-whammy of being confronted by Janet Mefferd on air about plagiarism and then having it revealed by World Magazine sales were rigged for one of Driscoll's books seem like bigger deals than bloggers? 

Driscoll's resignation statement didn't seem to give any indication bloggers had anything to do with his decision. You can go read the whole thing if you want.  Here's the pertinent pair of paragraphs
... Prior to and during this process there have been no charges of criminal activity, immorality or heresy, any of which could clearly be grounds for disqualification from pastoral ministry. Other issues, such as aspects of my personality and leadership style, have proven to be divisive within the Mars Hill context, and I do not want to be the source of anything that might detract from our church’s mission to lead people to a personal and growing relationship with Jesus Christ.That is why, after seeking the face and will of God, and seeking godly counsel from men and women across the country, we have concluded it would be best for the health of our family, and for the Mars Hill family, that we step aside from further ministry at the church we helped launch in 1996. I will gladly work with you in the coming days on any details related to our separation

This does not sound like someone who was saying popular bloggers had anything to do with his decision, does it? 

Is it possible Ruth Moon misunderstood what Vanderbloemen said?  For that matter, would anyone associated with the Driscoll family be willing to clarify whether or not William Vanderbloemen was given any permission to make statements to any effect about the reason for Mark Driscoll's resignation?  That seems to Wenatchee The Hatchet something for which Driscolls could understandably break social media silence, especially if there needs to be any statement that would set the record straight about what has lately been recounted in an article in Relevant magazine.

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