Thursday, February 19, 2015

a few links here and there

Sometimes anecdotal accounts aren't enough.  Perhaps it should be said that some people just had to know what the deal is about ... "Why men always think women are flirting with them".

Over at Slate Ruth Graham has a piece about how it kinda looks like the people most against vaccination seem to be the moms but that it's a bit awkward within the sisterhood to point out that it's often the moms rather than the dads who don't want vaccinations for their kids.  If enough people opt out under the surmise that everyone else will get the kids vaccinated to the degree where herd immunity kicks in it ain't necessarily so.

In a thematically related boundary between the is and the ought ...

We want to believe that she really is like that, all around—talented, beautiful, classy, successful, in love—because if Beyoncé can have it all in the way she has opted to have it all, perhaps there is a sliver of hope for the rest of us.

We do?  Beyoncé can certainly have her career, and Kanye can certainly keep wishing she'd get recognized for what she's done in ways that may not happen, but the question of why a Beyoncé hasn't gotten the recognition Kanye says she deserves while other corporate amalgamations such as, say, The Beatles, do ... that might be a blog post for someone else to write.  Wenatchee tends to think of the Beatles primarily as a boy band that transcended the limitations and horizons of their initial idiom. 

an older piece, on the ascent of Harley Quinn

If Wonder Woman has often been the symbol of feminine perfection Harley Quinn is ... well ... kind of at the other end of the spectrum, which makes it surreal to consider the possibility that by now, here in the 21st century Harley is more iconic than Wonder Woman. 

and it's official Quest Church has purchased the building formerly known as Mars Hill Ballard (Warren Throckmorton reports)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


... on some stuff that's happening off-line.  There may yet be some on-line results but not any time very soon.

However, two thirds of the first movement of Matiegka's Grand Sonata 1 have been nailed down with some notes I definitely want to discuss.  Still trippy to notice that every commercial recording takes the second half of a certain measure playing A natural when that isn't in the score.  There's a solid reason for the alteration in a later part of the modulating transition but we're getting ahead of things.  In sonata forms there can be modulating transitions and, well, uh, non-modulating transitions.  To put this in guitaristic terms there are transitions from theme to theme that change keys and there are what we guitarists could lazily describe as "transposable transitions".  You can see an example of this in the recapitulation of the F major sonata by Diabelli. You don't get theme 1 back. Nope.  You get themes 2 and 3 transposed down into F major from the C major they originally appeared in for the exposition.  Another example of an essentially transposable transition would be ... well, we've already mentioned the Matiegka sonata.  As writing teachers like to say, show don't tell, and we'll be able to show you and tell you some time within the next .... few weeks.

It's not like there aren't writings out there about the evolution of sonata form in solo guitar literature in the early 19th century, obviously ... but this is still going to be fun.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

R L Stollar--"The Evidence Against Tony Jones"--Jones may have been even less fit to sound off on Driscoll than previously thought

Wenatchee The Hatchet was not particularly familiar with Tony Jones or Peter Rollins until, well, until the two of them made what seems to have been the remarkably idiotic decision to sound off on Mark Driscoll.

Jones sounded off on Driscoll over here:

Rollins sounded off on Driscoll over here:

David Hayward over at Naked Pastor had a response to Jones' assertions over here:

Hayward stated that attempting to locate the problems in Mark Driscoll with theology would miss pathology.  Since Mark Driscoll's theological views have ... shifted a bit here and there, attempting to locate the problems Driscoll may have (or have had) in theology is a problematic enterprise. 

And even if none of that were the case for the likes of Tony Jones or Peter Rollins to have sounded off on Mark Driscoll at all, let alone at the time that they did, was kind of useless:

And over time it may turn out that someone like Tony Jones talking about Mark Driscoll not being a bad guy but having embraced toxic theology might all be moot.  It may turn out that Jones defending Driscoll at a personal level but saying the guy embraced a toxic theology would be missing a fairly rudimentary point that both conservatives and progressives could probably normally agree upon, that the life you live, how you treat people, and the kind of doctrine you espouse might be both less formally connected in real life than might be imagined and that if we're going to heed biblical texts there's the matter of the lived life.  I.e. progressives and conservatives could agree about the having one spouse part. 

While there are going to be those who will stand by Tony Jones much like those who will opt to stand by Mark Driscoll it's beginning to seem more and more that, at best, Tony Jones having any public punditry about Mark Driscoll could be the pot calling the kettle black.

At worst, Jones may have stooped to ways of handling conflict that are egregious enough to make Mark Driscoll look sorta fallible but not beyond redemption.  Then again, didn't all these guys hail at one point from the Emergent scene?  It can seem as though the Emergent crew is basically toxic whether its one-time associates veered "left" or "right". 

You'd think that after things blew up with Driscoll and Jones alike that we'd be able to set aside this idea that theology and ethics are necessarily connected.  I mean, sure, they "should" be but let's not forget John Howard Yoder.  The old idea that "ideas have consequences" seems less and less plausible after a few decades.  We want to believe there's substance to the idea that what you believe and say about the cosmos should be reflected in your life ... but ... it doesn't always seem to be the case.  And here we have a chance to not resort to "no true Scotsman". 

But that is very probably how things are going to play out.  After all ... it's not like Wenatchee The Hatchet didn't have half a decade to see how people kept coming to the defense of Mars Hill in general and of Mark Driscoll in particular.  What may be pertinent to the Tony Jones situation is akin to what seems to be the case about Mark Driscoll, there are some people who are devoted to a vindication of the hero because they are vindicating their emotional, spiritual and economic investment of themselves into that hero as a brand.  Wenatchee used to call Mars Hill home and over time it became clearer and clearer that a commitment to following the teaching of Jesus was at no point dependent on being associated with Mars Hill.  A comparable process may be advisable for Tony Jones. 

For a bit more background on all of this stuff ...

Mere Orthodoxy, MLA on the problem of counterculturalism in evangelicalism

Noting the obvious but necessary thing, that evangelicals with conservative values have seen the United States in particular and Western civilization in general in a hellbound spiral of decline, Matthew Lee Anderson has written a bit about the problem of embracing the narrative trope, the metaphorical alignment of "counterculture".

Anderson linked to a piece written by Laura Turner, who wrote that the problem she sees with a countercultural trope is that the first ethos is "against" rather than "for".

Invoking the creation of a counterculture was basically the tagline of Mark Driscoll's 2001 era Proverbs sermon series.  In a setting like Seattle what Mark Driscoll presented as "countercultural" looked pretty much like a Normal Rockwell painting (not that Rockwell wasn't an incredible artist, nind you).  To put it more bluntly, Mark Driscoll's idea of "countercultural" looked like a fairly standard issue whitebread middle American nuclear family suburban dream.  That's not even necessarily a set of bad things, either, but Anderson gets somewhat laconically toward the problem with that kind of thing, that there's always this possibility that today's counterculture becomes tomorrow's establishment. 

The rise and decline of Mars Hill in the last twenty years might be a case study for that.  While the church was on the rise and before Mark Driscoll had inked any book deals the public approach to intellectual property was, well, it was kind of a maybe outdated approach to things.  Everything was being given away for free and musicians were encouraged to use open copyright.  By 2004 the trajectory regarding intellectual property had changed.  To put it rather bluntly, Mark Driscoll literally had a book to sell by then.  Driscoll's reputation continued to rise in part due to how much material was being made available for free but it wasn't all going to be equally free for long. 

Driscoll used to write about how the decline of Christendom was actually pretty good because this meant a commensurate decline in religious nominalism and civic religion of the sort where people who thought they were Christians were really just Americans.  Driscoll was even weighing in against Hutcherson, the pastor at Antioch Bible Church that sent out Driscoll to start a church, and was writing to fellow MH members in 2005 that Hutch and Dobson had devolved into useless moralism and that gay marriage being nationally backed at all legal levels was simply a foregone conclusion.  Then by 2013 with A Call to Resurgence it's like some different Driscoll emerged. Or not, the proposal here is that it might  be possible to chart the shifts and turns and pivots of Mark Driscoll as a public figure with a few observations about whose money and intellectual property the budding and growing Mars Hill might benefit from.

Anderson's skepticism about the love ethic is warranted.  It's pretty easy to declare so-and-so failes "the love test" without really defining what that may mean.  Since we just passed through another Valentine's day and odes to true love, it's time for Wenatchee The Hatchet to revisit a lately stated idea--conservative evangelicals have lamented a crisis in masculinity but if we just switch over to secular progressive or even secular centrist writing the dilemma these days with respect to men is that the eligible men are fewer in number.  What seems to make the contemporary era different from past eras with respect to the status game of mating and breeding is that the modern West does not seem able or willing to grant that this whole realm of life is an inherently unequal playing field.  That the term "reproductive rights" even exists in modern English usage anywhere at all suggests that we've overlooked that sexual reproduction is a negotiated privilege whether inside or outside formalized state-and/or-church-approved marriage.

The crisis of males in the modern West may not be that there's a whole ton of guys with a "sexual market value" that has not risen to the level of marriage material, it may be that American Christianity is so assimilated into American cultural values about sexuality that the idea that there's an army of not-fit-for-marriage men and women is viewed as a crisis that needs to be solved.  Yet in Paul's epistles he went so far as to say that if you never get married that's an acceptable option and that if you do get married that's okay, too. 

Perhaps it didn't just so happen that the text for preaching from today at church was in Leviticus.  Leviticus is a fun read, actually.  As OT books go the slog would be the census results in the start of Numbers, not Leviticus.  But personal experience varies ... anyway ...

Leviticus 18:1-5 (NIV)
The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘I am the Lord your God. You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices. You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees. I am the Lord your God. Keep my decrees and laws, for the person who obeys them will live by them. I am the Lord.

The trouble with espousing a counterculture as a way to do things is that it's finally a rhetorical stance rather than a positive articulation of what you're for.  Let's face it, if a guy like Mark Driscoll could invoke the term "counterculture" for what he envisioned people doing with their lives the term has probably been divested of any of the range of meaning those who first coined the term probably imagined for it.

Let's throw out the idea that a problem with countercultural narratives and invocations is that to say you're not Egyptian doesn't mean you're not turning Canaanite and, sure enough, that was the problem with Israel after it left Egypt and arrived in the promised land.  That's one of the larger theme in the book of Judges, how the Israelites assimilated the customs, beliefs and practices of the groups in the land they settled into.  Barry Webb has a fine commentary on the book of Judges you can read if that interests you. 

Decades ago Francis Schaeffer wrote about America having become a post-Christian culture.  Setting aside for the moment some debates about what that even meant and how true it could actually be, the emergence of the Religious Right could be construed as a failure to learn the lessons of the Old Religious Left with respect to implementing Social Gospels.  There's a Social Gospel for the left and right respectively and it's ever so possible that that Social Gospel was ultimately and finally American rather than Christian. 

Throckmorton reports what WtH has heard, that there's been a buyer interested in the MH Ballard complex, Quest Church

Actually living in Seattle WtH had heard a week or so ago that there was a buyer interested in purchasing the Mars Hill Ballard complex.  The post is as follows:

Although details are few, an announcement in church this morning indicated that Quest Church, pastored by Eugene Cho, will occupy the old Mars Hill Ballard building.

An unidentified staffer indicated that a press release would come out later this week with more details. It is not clear at this time whether Quest Church will purchase the building or enter into some other kind of relationship with what is left of Mars Hill.

Mars Hill Church ceased holding services on the last Sunday of December 2014. The church continues to function as a legal entity to dispose of property and other assets. Church sources have gone silent about the pace of dissolution. The potential lawsuit is still potential.

Mars Hill Ballard  became Cross and Crown Church in 2015. For now, Cross and Crown still meets at 1401 NW Leary Way in Seattle. I wonder where they will go next.

When the press release emerges that will be interesting to see.  As noted before, Wenatchee heard that this lately announced development was in the works.  Before today there was nothing close to a formal verification of the report so it didn't merit a post before.  Now it does, and it will certainly merit a post when the formal press release appears.

Whether the purchase of the Ballard campus will include the purchase of the corporate HQ real estate has not yet been cleared up.

sort of update
UPDATE 02-15- 07.43PM

from one mapleleaf1234

Mars Hill has been unable to sell the U-District Church due to zoning regulations. (It can be used as a church and nothing else). Mars Hill has gifted that church building to Cross and Crown, who will be moving there. Not sure if Quest is buying or leasing the Ballard building.

Which wouldn't be a surprising seeing as how not thoroughly investigating zoning restrictions on real estate was how the MH elders bought the boondoggle that the MH corporate HQ estate turned out to be.  Whether Quest is buying that 51st street property hasn't been addressed yet but the zoning restrictions have "probably" not going away. 

Meanwhile, it seems plausible that the U-District real estate hasn't managed to sell or can't sell and could get gifted to Cross and Crown.  It's not "that" far from MH Ballard as it was. 

One of the last things to get fielded about the MH U-District real estate would have been ... from September 7, 2014

Revisiting the promotion of 2013's A Call to Resurgence in light of a recent campus closure announcement.