Friday, December 18, 2015

Fighting for the Faith revisits Driscoll, discusses the new corporate re:launch of Driscoll, notes that this is a corporation and not actually a church.

but first ... he discusses that kinda weird version of "Silent Night" Hillsong went with.  Let's just say it's a long way from a German dude with an autoharp.

Chris Rosebrough notes the obvious but necessary point that this entity Driscoll has going may be called The Trinity Church, but it is a corporation that has no members.  This is a corporation rather than a church.

Now, to be clear, it has never been clarified by Mark Driscoll what the nature of the trap was that had been set. 

It is worth revisiting that Driscoll left Mars Hill after, by his account to Brian Houston, agreeing to submit to a restoration/disciplinary process given to him by the board of Mars Hill.

If Driscoll never defines what "a trap has been set" even means then there's plausible deniability across the board about everything except the assertion that God audibly released him from ministry.  We've discussed how in the course of biblical narrative literature the guys who get verbal releases from divinely appointed jobs are guys like King Saul.  Guys who get divine notices that "a trap has been set" don't get to escape them.  If anything, Mark Driscoll seems to have skimmed over that for particularly wicked and self-serving rulers who abuse their power, prestige and social authority to get what they want rather than serve the good of the regular people God occasionally permits a lying spirit to delude said king into going to his doom.  That's how it went with Ahab, after all.  So even if Driscoll sticks with the 2015 narrative that God told him he could quit that wasn't what he led with in 2014 when he wrote his resignation letter, which was full of "godly counsel" from men and women across the country.  In 2014 the wording of the resignations uggested an informal behind-the-scenes poll had been taken and the conclusion was it would be good to quit.  Robert Morris volunteered that he played a role and that he and Mark Driscoll agreed Mark should step down for a season. 

Then in 2015 suddenly, lo and behold, God told Driscoll to quit.  Well, if God told Driscoll "a trap has been set" Driscoll's resignation could catalyze whatever that trap is.  After all, in resigning in the way he did Mark Driscoll destroyed any last vestige of credibility he had as someone who would opt to live by the kind of submission to spiritual authority he'd spent his public career admonishing others to follow.  And now?  The "church" that exists in a box at a UPS Store in a mall in Phoenix, Arizona could be described in any number of ways but as Chris Rosebrough has put it, it's a corporation, not a church.


There's been some guesswork that Driscoll would re:brand and re:launch as soon as he could manage.  At one point I'd guessed he'd rely on "covering" from people in Texas to re:locate to the OC.  That was largely mistaken guesswork and yet with Jimmy Evans there does still seem to be a decent presence of the Lone Star State.  One of the lessons learned from On Mission LLC is that Driscoll was willing to incorporate in Colorado while doing activity in another state, Washington, when the time came to roll out Real Marriage.  Of course Driscoll's in Phoenix now and the UPS box that with "church" in the corporation name is also in a shopping center in Phoenix. But if the church is pending a launch in January Driscoll doesn't have the resources to pull off a launch.  The place is in a mall.  Rent theater space?  That's been the "new" and edgy thing to do. 

an intermittent crisis in how much science there is in the findings of social science, thinking back on some coverage shortfalls
By all the evidence we have to date, I think we have to conclude that most social psychology findings are false. That’s what the data is telling us. A failure to replicate is not decisive evidence that a finding is false, but in most cases the replication attempts are higher quality studies than the originals, with larger and often more representative samples. There is no reason to grant greater epistemic standing to an original study over a replication attempt, and there are many reasons to do the opposite.
A recent paper (PDF) by Rohrer, Pashler, and Harris illustrates why we might be overvaluing original research. They attempted to replicate the findings reported by Caruso, Vohs, Baxter, and Waytz (2013). Caruso et al. claimed that momentarily exposing people to background images of money on a computer screen before an experiment made them endorse free market systems and “social inequality” more than people who were not exposed to the money image.
Rohrer, Pashler, and Harris re-ran four of the five studies from the Caruso paper, using much larger samples. They even ran one of the studies three times. They found none of the effects reported by Caruso et al. Participants exposed to the money pictures didn’t endorse free markets any more or less than participants who never saw the money.
In discussing their resounding failure to replicate with the Caruso team, they discovered a shocking fact: the Caruso team had conducted nine studies, not five, but they only reported the five that confirmed their desired hypotheses. In their paper, they failed to disclose the other four studies that didn’t go their way. They also failed to disclose two outcome variables that were meant to test their hypotheses, but which showed no effects. So out of eleven tests, five supported their hypotheses and six did not — they only reported the five. Readers would have no idea that there were six other tests that showed no results. (For details, see the Rohrer et al. paper.)
That kind of malpractice needs to be purged from the field immediately if we want to be taken seriously as a science. We absolutely cannot do that. Failure to disclose null results undermines the validity of the statistical methods we use to report significant results. (For more on how this works, see Daniel Lakens’ work.) If this malpractice is widespread in the field, there would be little reason for anyone to believe social psychology findings, irrespective of any other issues — it would be irrational and mathematically incompetent to believe published findings in that case.
Another factor that could explain why most findings don’t replicate is that we’re using invalid samples — most commonly, college kids from one university in one country (and only those taking Intro to Psychology, adding additional skew.) This was never a justifiable practice, and it’s strange that it’s persisted so long. College kids from a single campus are artificially homogenous on many variables that could interact with the variables researchers are studying. This creates a synthetic low-variability and low-noise context for our analyses, making us more likely to find an “effect” that isn’t real in humans as such. We can’t credibly make claims about human nature from such
unrepresentative and skewed samples. This is obvious to everyone outside of social psychology, and it has a serious impact on our credibility as a field, so I hope we can move forward quickly here. Research based entirely on college kids should be valued much less than debunking false findings — in that case, I agree wholeheartedly with the Union professor.

Not exactly new, this stuff, but striking.  There have been discussions of how a sample size that's too small is already worthless for stasticial and scientific purposes. 

After all ...

The question of whether deceiving test subjects is acceptable for the sake of verifying a hypothesis is its own philosophical and ethical question.

At least when a televangelist quotes a Bible verse out of context you can go look that up.  If social scientists don't disclose null test results and use deception to get results they present as a finding then there's a sense in which, these days, the snake oil preacher may be llying to you but at least you've got a better chance of guessing that's the game. 

Work in the social sciences is certainly valuable.  Not arguing against the socials ciences at all. But when enough questions are raised about the statistical viability, the ethical norms, and the lack of replicatable results it might be fair to ask whether social science can be taken in diretions that don't land so readily into these failures of both ethics and science.

Jonathan Haidt has said and written plenty about how one of the big problems in the social sciences in the United States is how WEIRD it is (western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic, which can in turn be simplified into rich white egalitarian liberals with a few variations).  Even if the sample size at a college, often one college, is high, by its very nature asking a bunch of kids who can go to college what they think about stuff is going to be something other than a representative sample of anyone who hasn't been to college or even made it through high school.  There could be an elite echo chamber effect going on in all that.

Now why could this matter?  Well, let's just give a local example.  Anyone remember how people theorized that the appeal of Mark Driscoll was his being a macho Calvinist?  He didn't always have that thing going because in the earliest years of Mars Hill he wasn't even really all that Calvinist.  The pitch he had, if you go back and look at how he promoted himself to Mother Jones, was appealing to generational estrangement.  Dads failed us by not being there so we gotta band together and follow Jesus.  Driscoll was targeting young men who he felt needed ambition and purpose in their lives. This was not necessarily explicitly about red state politics.  Driscoll was making an appeal to give guys a purpose and that purpose was going to be, as it turns out, Mars Hill.  As Roy Baumeister has put it, men are distinctive for being interchangeable and disposable within a cultural apparatus.  Driscoll's spiel was to make a case that if "you", young man, join our movement, you will not be disposable but will play a vital role in a movement to make a better future.

I ought to know, I bought it.  :( 

One of the big failures of progressives and secularists when discussing Driscoll has been an inability to take his ideas seriously.  There are some obvious reasons for that but they're unfortunate dismissals.  Why?  Because if you want to reduce the likelihood of another Driscoll or a re:surgence of the one we already know about you have to do something besides address what you assume Mark Driscoll's appeal is.  If you assume it was only an appeal to right wing bigotry you'd be wrong.  Bigotries abound all over the political spectrum.  Driscoll worked because he had a populist appeal and made a generational appeal.  He targeted a demographic that was generationally estranged, felt a need to belong, and wanted to contribute positively to the future.  That's every generation ever.  The great danger is telling ourselves we wouldn't fall for this.  Any given generation will be likely to self-identiy as fixing the world's problems.  Those of us who were 20-somethings decades ago were sure it was gonna be us.  Where others failed we would succeed.  Go Mars Hill.

Well, wait, where is Mars Hill now? 

Right, exactly. 

If there's a crisis of procedural ethics and replicability in the social sciences then it may be that the people least qualified to talk down to and about religious conservatives in the United States could be vocational social scientists. It shouldn't be that way if it is that way, but it's a possibility that may be worth considering. 

People who are part of movements like Mars Hill may avoid talking to journalists and academics not "just" because they are evangelicals with conservative conceptions of Christian dogma (but not necessarily in politics), it may also be because they had doubts about the honesty and ethics of journalists and academics who said one thing in conversation with them and then published another for the periodical. 

Why this particular soapbox here?  Because if you boil down Mark Driscoll's aspirations and interest they boil down to a social gospel. He wants to formulate a message that will inspire guys to soldier through being husbands and fathers and to see that as a worthy aspiration.  Instead of presuming to know why he's embracing what would seem to be red state values, consider that he's said a few times that his interest is to keep young guys from resorting to violence.  His social gospel is crude, but it amounts to this--if young guys are happily married young and getting laid all the time and have children to feed that drastically reduces the likelihood that they will engage in anti-social or destructive behavior.

If all you see is the heteronormative parts you'll miss out on the part where it's possible to conceive of ways of solving the problem of the social identity of working class males who might be tempted to violence in other ways.  If you can figure out what's at the heart of his social gospel message then you have a better shot at coming up with a more compelling alternative solution to the problems Driscoll thinks he's trying to fix.  Take that nebulous "father wound". He's been selling that line for more than a decade and he's shown he's' not competent to solve that problem on his end.  Roy Baumeister has written that the conundrum of individual male identity is that the individual male is disposable.  There are also no rites of passage that are clear-cut indicating the transition to manhood, as some who were at Mars Hill have put it. 

Instead of seeing the critique of radical individualism as a sign of reactionary politics (which it can be, but it could lead to other things), look at how the appeal is to social identity. Mars Hill gave people roles and if people in the academy are too ensconced in what Haidt called WEIRD ethics then it will be inconceivable for these sorts of scholars to understand the appeal that Mars Hill had because in their college-attending and teaching based perspective they have their social identity formulated by being in academics, not as part of a church.  But historically and globally which form of social identity is more likely to fit ordinary people, being an academic or being part of a church?

I've stonewalled people over the years and in a select few cases I've talked with people freely.  Those people were the ones who told me up front exactly where they landed on religion and politics.  It was not necessary to be a religious liberal or conservative.  It wasn't even necessary to be religious.  It wasn't necessary to be a political liberal or conservative as such.  What was necessary was to state where you land and what your interest in the subject was and to demonstrate a willingness to do meticulous, fact-checked research about what actually happened.  I'm less interested in taking sides left and right on doctrine or policy than in talking with the people who are stubbornly committed to documenting the facts as they happened regardless of whether or not they went in a direction any of us may have wanted to see. 

Jose Duarte's rants strike a chord here because theyh get at a concern I sometimes have, that we can't be sure that academics who might opt to write about Mars Hill haven't already made up their mind what they want to say before they even start the research.  Let the study of the subject change how you think about it.  I certainly don't think about Mars Hill the same way now that I did ten years ago.  Ten years ago I was fairly happy to be there!  Ten years ago there was a Mars Hill. 

It can be very easy for this or that team to talk about the "narrative" as if it's something the other team does.  There's a right narrative about Mars Hill and there's a left narrative about Mars Hill but fr anyone who was actually AT Mars Hill there was a lot more political diversity than would get reported by The Stranger or the Seattle Times.  There was more theological diversity than might have seemed to outsiders. 

The most dangerous mistake you can make about a movement like Mars Hill is the one we made while we were in it, looking out at everyone else we think we're different from and saying "Yeah, well, we won't make those mistakes."

another thought on the Jimmy Evans self-fullfilled prophecy about Driscoll going from angry older brother to father ... the precedent of angry older brothers as sinners judged by God for the evil in their hearts

I was trying to make sense of everything that was going on and what I was to learn from it and I was sitting in a pastors conference with a bunch of charismatics and pentecostals because they tend to be the most encouraging and loving I’ve found. And so they invited me just to come and observe and learn and not teach but just to learn and so I was there at this large pastors conference and I’m sitting, you know, near the front row, and I’m just kinda on the verge of losing it all the time, emotional still, and this pastor gets up and says, well before I speak, I have a word for Mark Driscoll, and I was like, aw man, I do not want a word. I just want to sit here and be anonymous and not get the prophetic word. And so, he got up and gave a word that was a word from the Lord and it just cut me to the heart. And what he, the basic gist of what he said was, you left ministry as an angry older brother and you’ll return as a loving father.

And then he pulled me aside afterword in his Ford truck cause that’s where the Shekinah Glory dwells and the good stuff goes down. So we sat in his truck and he said, you started off as a guy who was angry with some bitterness and you attracted a lot of angry bitter young men with father wounds and they picked up on your tone of anger and bitterness.

Are articles of incorporation featuring Jimmy Evans and Mark Driscoll where the Shekinah Glory dwells, too?

See, the thing here is that Mark Driscoll's gone back to Ecclesiastes, one of the first books he preached through.  He's bringing back all his old stuff with a few redactions here and there.  If Driscoll's supposedly coming back as a loving father why's he so dependent, even now, on recycling so much of what he did in his angry older brother phase?

Mark Driscoll left ministry after having been submitted, by his own account, a restoration plan that would help him deal with a set of sins the Mars Hill Board saw in his life.  By claiming the "God said I could lave" card and bailing on that restoration plan Mark Driscoll not altogether unlike Andrew Lamb, decided to bail on the restorative disciplinary process Mars Hill leadership gave him.  If Andrew Lamb confessed of his own initiative, Driscoll merely conceded things like "maybe I made a mistake" to Janet Mefferd when she challenged him on whether his books had plagiarism in them or not.  Driscoll's reaction also included, for those who heard the audio, saying to Mefferd he thought she was being "accusatory and unkind". 

Driscoll left as an angry older brother, perhaps, but if he's going to quote someone invoking the imagery of an angry olde rbrother let's not forget a couple of things.

Obvious points, really.

Who's the first angry older brother in the Bible?  Cain

Who's the older brother who got angry because he was cheated of his birthright that he thoughtlessly sold for a bowl of stew?  Who was described as passed over for the younger for the sake of a promise?  Esau.

Who's the angry older brother in one of Jesus' parables?  Yep, we know that one, the one who was angry that his profligate younger brother was restored and he had to split the inheritance with this jerk. 

The problem with older brothers in the actual bible is they are often presented as bad guys who don't really love the Lord or the things of the Lord and who treat them lightly or with disdain.  Some of them harbor unrepentant sin and murder in their hearts for a long, long time.

Driscoll can re:cycle and re:brand all he wants. He still left mars Hill before the restoration process could be completed.  If the people of Mars Hill were willing to consider Andrew a wolf for refusing to comply with a disciplinaryh plan after he confessed, how much more could Driscoll be considered a wolf for never confessing the extent to which books with his name on them did not give credit where it was due going back as far as eleven years, books that have been retroactively changed to deal with the plagiarism scandal?  Consider that Driscoll not only bailed on a restoration process at Mars Hill he even claimed God told him he was released, even though the previous year he warned Mars Hill to not trust any old guy who says "God told me" but to observe whether the person submits to godly authority in a godly way.  Driscoll does not seem to have seen fit to follow that paradigm in his own life. 

It's a shame.  Driscoll has come to embody at every level everything he warned us ten years ago to run away from in a self-described spiritual leader.  And now his kids can one day end up on the internet and read about how Poppa Daddy wrote about "using your penis".  To date Mark Driscoll has never repudiated the substance of what he declared as William Wallace II. He's said "I dont' feel the same way".  So what.  Does he still think the same way?  When he tweets about Ecclesiastes 9:9 and says your wife is a reward for your toil, that trophy wife theology suggests that Mark Driscoll hasn't changed in any meaningful way. That his wife doesn't think he's said or done things that could be construed as misogynistic is hardly a surprise, but Driscoll's tweet of trophy wife theology proves her wrong anyway.  That's a tweet from this year, folks.

If Driscoll says the Bible doesn't have anything to say about young men ... well, we can get metaphorical but ...

1 John 1:23

I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one.

Mark Driscoll's Bible still seems to be a sock puppet that always agrees with him, hat tip to a remark made by one Nick Bulbeck.

courtesy of Rod Dreher, toxic and imcompetent coworkers, beware the strict rule followers and rule invokers.

Finally, if a person is dead-set on following rules, there may be reason to worry. Even though it seems counterintuitive, Housman and Minor said that those employees who claimed in the questionnaire that rules should always be followed with no exceptions (as opposed to those who said sometimes you have to break rules to do a good job) were the most likely to be terminated for breaking the rules.

"It could also be the case that those who claim the rules should be followed are more Machiavellian in nature, purporting to embrace whatever rules, characteristics  or beliefs that they believe are most likely to obtain them a job," they theorized. "There is strong evidence that Machiavellianism leads to deviant behavior."

HT Jim West, Richard Goode piece on how Joseph would have been within cultural norms and options to have instructed the baby Jesus be killed by abandonment and exposure, some background to Matthew 1:21

HT Jim West, Richard Goode explained in an essay how there's a grisly backstory to what one of Joseph's options was in Matthew 1:21


Therefore, Mary’s unexpected pregnancy was not only a violation of sexually appropriate behaviour, but it could have also have been seen as a betrayal of the two family groups involved and the agreement that bound them together. Joseph’s response to this news would directly impact upon the wider kinships groups and would have risked pitching one family against the other.*


Within the patriarchal structure of antiquity, the ultimate decision of whether a baby should live or die rested in the father’s (or head of the household’s) hands. In a world where offspring could become a dangerous drain upon a household’s resources, infanticide was high.

It sometimes seems that we only tell ourselves we're more advanced and ethical than people from the Bronze Age. Now some pious readers may rush to say Jews didn't do things the way the Romans and the Spartans did.  Well ... about that ... don't forget that in the prophetic literature infanticide and child sacrifice were condemned as things Israelites were all too willing to do prior to exile.

Care must be taken before indiscriminately drawing parallels between evidence from the late Roman period and applying it to late Second Temple Judaism. However, as Faerman et al’s (1998) report indicates, this is far from an isolated incident and not restricted to one particular period. Forms of infanticide appear to be have been present (and recognised) within Palestinian Jewish tradition, even though precise attitudes to it are hard to discern (see Murphy, 2014).

So Joseph could have instructed Mary to bring the child to term but abandon the child to die of exposure.  Joseph decided not only to take Mary as his wife but to let the child live even though the rumors of "isn't this Mary's son" and the attendant accusation of bastardy for Jesus' paternity would follow the family names perpetually.  So Joseph, as recounted in the Matthew narrative, chose to value the life of the child that wasn't his over his reputation and that of the clans that had arranged the marriage.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Kyle Gann vents about the homonogenity of student music in academia and about how a loss of ideological concern and a los of "isms" seems to have partly led us to this point (if I read him rightly).

Yesterday I attended a concert of music by student composers. None of the pieces were atonal. None were minimalist. None were postminimalist. None were spectralist. None were written according to any kind of system. All except one had big romantic gestures. Chords crashed down in the piano. If there was a cello, which there usually was, it came barreling up off the C-string into its highest register and then played harmonics. Everything was big, impassioned, virtuoso gestures. And before, during, and after the concert the faculty ran around congratulating themselves on how wonderfully diverse in style the students were.

I asked my savviest colleague what he thought the students were most influenced by. “Hollywood,” he replied.

A few updates later the clarification of which Hollywood was provided.  Not the rowdy kitsch of Korngold or Hermann or even Castelnuovo-Tedesco (though 2 things: 1) he ghostwrote a lot so we may never know how much he wrote for films and 2) C-T's influence may live on in a composer's whose work is famously attached to a tentpole franchise movie called Star Wars).  Nope, Hans Zimmer.  There's composers I like less for film than Zimmer (I was going to avoid the new Fantastic Four film just because I'd read Glass helped compose the soundtrack and I saythat as someone who grudgingly concedes Glass has written some okay film music. 

a few additional excerpts:
When the students write the way the faculty teach them to, the faculty tend to be satisfied with the range of stylistic diversity ...


Fidelity to any kind of -ism or movement is seem as an anachronism anyway. Once you declare all ideology invalid, what metric is left but success? I think the students are very aware what kind of young composers are getting a lot of attention lately, and it’s generally the ones whose music makes a lot of noise and allows for expressive virtuosity.

and then ...

UPDATE 2: Heavens, more than 1100 hits and so many responses!, to what I thought was a spur-of-the-moment throwaway post. While I have everyone’s attention let me underline one point, and not my main one; my main one was well stated by Stefan Hetzel in the comments, that even student works should have something individual about them that mattered strongly to the composer. The 1980s, with its fight amongst serialism, minimalism, and neoromanticism, is conceived by young composers today as having been a living hell. Today, when one is so bold as to mention postminimalism or any -ism except spectralism (because it’s European), everyone yells “Boo! Hiss!” and forces you to admit that no such distinctions are valid, music is only music, and we’re all individual, like snowflakes. Yet the existence of musical movements did chart out a realm of musical diversity, and drew contrasts between different philosophies of how music could or should operate. Take all that away, tell students that there are no differing philosophies, no schools of thought, and what is there left for them to do, except do their competitive utmost to become, by age thirty, the number-one purveyor of virtuosically emotive gestures, since that is the behavior rewarded by new-music performers and music critics? I realize that I am in a tiny, microscopic minority on this issue, and that there are likely no younger composers at all who agree with me. But I find the prevailing anti–ism, anti-movement consensus anti-intellectual and anti-art. I am a dinosaur, overdue for my extinction, no doubt, but at least you can’t accuse of me of groupthink. And we are seeing the erasure of all philosophical barriers result, I think, in an increasingly stultifying homogeneity – at just the time in which diversity is ideologically prized as being the highest good.

An interesting expansion that could emerge from this is that there is, ultimately, no such thing as music that is truly "beyond category". Ellington formulating the witty phrase in reaction to writers who kept wanting to pigeon-hole his work in a way that he felt both limited and misconstrued the nature of what he was doing  had its time and place, but it's not a formulation that works if we attempt to abstract it into some kidn of universal repudation of category.

Bein gthe dour Calvinist that I am, I can rephrase this--did Jews and Gentiles stop being Jews and Gentiles when Paul wrote epistles to churches that had both kinds of groups?  Nope.  Paul wrote to some early Christian communities that were having some struggles accepting and living with the kind of diversity that existed in their communities.  Paulw rote epistles to address how, through Christian doctrine and understanding Christ, this diversity could be lived with and certain ethical problems in the communities solved. 

It's interesting that Gann described how the student works were unified by a kind of aspirational virtuosic emotionalism.  How in spite of living in a time and place that ideologically prizes diversity and variety above all else that everything has begun to sound homogenous  ...

so was Dwight MacDonald right when he wrote his polemic in "Masscult and Midcult"?  Was he right to worry that the rise of the middlebrow realm of entertainment would damage both folk art and high art?  MacDonald's assertion was that if we looked at some of the groups that most drastically influenced the arts they tended to be dotted by small and factious groups in geographically small areas. There was a lot of strife and competition and artists and writers and painters in these contexts egged each other on in adversarial or cooperative relationships to create stuff that ended up in the Western canon.  The tension between vibrant individual iterations of art and a communal tradition never goes away.  We have more opportunity for individual voices to be heard but if pop songs are any hint there can be a whole lot of people whose deepest feelings and thoughts can be expressed in the same rotating arrangement of four chords.

I-V-vi-IV and so on.

In an era in which nobody is eager to express loyalty to an "ism", Gann has been proposing that those isms so many of us don't want have been the engine of artistic activity.  Well, maybe, and there might be something to the worry that once we aspire to a music that is "beyond category" as an ideological formuation this would not stop a lot of music from all sounding the same. 

And from the link in update 2 ...


The really sad thing is, I think, that the kneejerk adamant resistance to new movements indicates a loss of faith that new perceptions are possible. “I refuse to participate in your culture of word games,” means “I no longer want to build this culture up, I’m ready to start tearing it down.” Impressionism happened because a bunch of people realized about the same time that realistic art didn’t do justice to the way we really perceive color. Totalism happened because a bunch of people realized that, within minimalism’s stripped-down context, it was possible for people to perform and keep in their heads several tempos at once. A person convinced that there will be no more movements is a person for whom the history of culture is basically over, a person who believes that everything possible has already been perceived, and that there are no new avenues left open to us. We whine about the sanctity of the individual, but art grows by leaps and bounds when groups of people start to have collective realizations. 18th-century music sprang out of a 30-year slump in 1781 when Mozart and Haydn started copying and combining each other’s ideas – neither of them had been able to do it alone. Wagner’s music burst into flames when he discovered Liszt’s harmonic innovations. Modern art changed forever when the Abstract Expressionists started meeting every night at the Cedar Bar. Occasionally one person creates a compelling new language on his own, but it’s extremely rare. There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in our music, and consciousness of those things is not likely to dawn on only one person at a time. Artists need each other, and the anti-ism diehards want to imprison them each in solitary confinement. A sense of creative community, so crucial to the development of an art, is devalued by the ideology that pooh-poohs purported movements.

If there's a homogeneity in student music that reflects what teachers teach then is the prudent thing to do these days to not get near the academy? 

weird and fun riffs on Star Wars ... Luke as jihadi (weird) a ballad of Piett (fun)

Of all the strange riffs on the net about Star Wars one of the strangest ones is ...

Luke was radicalized into a jihadist by some old bearded guy in the desert.  A lot has to be rested on the ignored fact that in the original Star Wars trilogy Luke DOES NOT WANT to kill his father even though he's pressured to do so implicitly by Yoda and explicitly (or as explicitly as permitted) by Obi Wan Kenobi.  To reformulate this in more contemporary pop cultural terms, Sokka tells Aang he's got to kill the Firelord but Aang doesn't want to do it.  Ignoring this sort of narrative detail breaks an argument, so the idea that Luke was radicalized into being a terrorist against the Empire is a little tough to sell when it skips over one of the most patenty obvious things about Return of the Jedi.

But since that sort of pop culture riffing is less about taking the films on their own terms than transforming them into fodder for political screeds ... favors can be returned and so they were.

Meanwhile for those interested in a riff on something from the actual films. :)

a few belated thoughts inspired by Ethan Iverson's Ducal Updates--a shift in paradigms from organicism and procedural development to expanson and juxtaposition

Reading Iverson's reactions to Terry Teachout's book has been interesting.  Much has been made by a number of jazz bloggers about Teachout's verdict that Ellington never mastered the techniques and concepts applicable to large-scale and long form composition.  I've been wondering if perhaps Teachout could have benefited from a reformulation of where he may have been going.  This idea was prompted in part by Teachout's observation that Ellington, like Beethoven and like Stravinsky, was not necessarily a gifted melodist.  Well, what a melodist is might be overly defined by a theater critic with a frustration about the pervasiveness of the commodity musical but let's riff on something.

What Ellington and Stravinsky may have in common could be highlighted by an observation in an Ethan Iverson interview with another person, the composer George Walker.

There is much in Stravinsky that is striking. After his early Symphony in E flat, his works are consciously formatted with new material that is juxtaposed  (that is without any connective elements). This approach deviates from the classical concept of organic development.

What Ellington and Stravinsky were masters at was a compositional approach that involved juxtaposition of contrasting or complementary episodes rather than composing in a way where everything is unified in some obvious or subterranean way the way we'd see in a work by Beethoven or Sibelius or even to some degree Charles Ives.  Teachout may be perfectly right to say Ellington did not master the concepts and tools of long-range large musical form if by this he was meaning to say that Duke didn't go in for what the musicologist Leonard B Meyer described as organicism.  Organicism could be likened to the idea that the bggest tree grows from the small seed, that the way a work of art or music emerges should reflect organically on the nature of the catalyst, the inspiring material.  Take the Hammerklavier and its relentless and obsessive outworking of median relationships in keys and in melodic gestures and the ancor pitches in the giant closing fugue.  Thirds across the board.  Ellington didn't approach composition like that.  Neither did Stravinsky, it seems.  George Walker pointed this out about Stravinsky in an interview with Iverson and it seems Iverson could have brought that observation to bear in a rebuttal to what he felt was an overextension of a critique from Teachout about Duke's shortcomings.

From the standpoint of Romantic era compositional ideologies, yeah, Ellington's use of juxtaposition rather than organic development of an idea could be taken as a shortcoming.  But .... Charles Rosen once quipped that the Romantics were so busy trying to prove they mastered long forms they sometimes overlooked that their genius was for miniatures. 

Now I largely agree that Ellington's longer forms are not as compelling as his unmatched miniatures but then that can be the case with a lot of Romanti era composers from Europe, and much of that music I find annoying.  I prefer the Classic era composers because they tended (Beethoven clearlye xcepted) to have more pop musical senses of attention spans.  Haydn and Mozart have their strucutres but their episodes within the structures tend toward proportions not unlike those of pop songs.  From Beethoven and beyond (and well before cinema or TV) we get longer and bigger.  It was as if the 19th century art music composers had to biggie size everything and Meyer's proposal was this was to obscure their reliance upon the formal and syntactic conventions of the 18th century.

Except when we get to geniuses like Ellington and Stravinsky we're looking at composers who could be aware to oen degree or another of the development of organic ideas and processes but just not use them.

If Teachout had finessed his case to include something like this set of ideas I think he could have said what he seemed to be trying to say in a way that would be less controversial to jazz fans.  It would also have given space to observe that the shortcomings in Ellington's approaches to long-scale forms as recounted by Teachout could also be applied (as Iverson duly noted) to a lot of 20th century classical composers. 

But Iverson and Teachout manage to be pretty nuanced and careful in how they say stuff even when they say stuff I can't really agree with.  But in thise case their conversations about Ellington were intriguing and I think, however wildly belatedly, Iverson's interview with George Walker provided a key to getting a sense of where Teachout and Iverson were coming from from a composer whose work I'm glad to know about through Iverson's blogging. 

Throckmorton revisits a Jimmy Evans prophecy that Driscoll would go on to be part of another, greater ministry--and Evans is a director at a pending church, perhaps revealing the great power of the prophecy was its self-fulfilling element
If you click the Instagram link in this tweet, you will come to a picture of Evans talking to a standing Driscoll in the front row of the crowd. According to Greenwood, Evans said:
You lead a great movement as a brother, you will lead a greater one as a father, your later years will surpass your younger.
The nice thing about prophetic claims is that they can be checked. If Evans is referring to Mars Hill Church as “the great movement as a brother,” then the claim is debatable given that Driscoll left the church in disarray and about to fragment. If Evans meant Acts 29 Network, then it obvious that the claim is wildly inflated in light of the network’s removal of Mars Hill due to Driscoll’s actions. In light of the facts, one could easily predict that his later years will surpass his younger.
Any port in the storm I guess. The apostolic crowd appears eager to incorporate Driscoll into their tribe

Mark Driscoll once preached in a sermon that sometimes you have to be the answer to your own prayer
I’m gonna say something that will sound crazy, but stick with me. Boaz prays that God would bless her in every way. He is essentially saying, if I might extrapolate, “I pray that God would give you food. I pray that God would give you a home. I pray that God would give you friends. I pray that God would give you love. I pray that God would give you a husband. I pray that God would give you children. I pray that God would bless you in every way that God can bless.” Did that prayer of Boaz come true? Did God answer that prayer? Yes. Who did God send to answer the prayer of Boaz? Boaz. I will argue, based upon this text, that sometimes we need to answer our own prayers.

Well, Jimmy Evans, as a director of The Trinity Church (which for the time being must meet in the alternate universe dimensionality of a box at a UPS store in some kind of mall, at least for now) may subscribe to the virtue of self-fulfilling prophecies.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Doug Wilson and company retracted book in wake of plagiarism

You can go read the whole article at your leisure.   Wilson publicly apologizing and Canon Press retracting the book is certainly more than what Mark and Grace Driscoll opted to do about Real Marriage

Monday, December 14, 2015

a few links from here and there

Scott Timberg can probably go back to resenting Taylor Swift now.

more from the vault, Noah Berlatsky on why writing for hire is not spiritual debasement

The part about losing your voice by writing in another ... eh ... not sure about that.  Everyone imitates and your voice is your voice even if it turns out to be derivative in some fashion.  It's not like Mozart stopped being Mozart because he emulated Haydn, for instance.  There's a possibility Berlatsky didn't necessarily raise that might be worth raising, maybe some people discover through years of imitation that that imitation has become their voice.  They didn't "lose" their voice, they just found out what it was and didn't like what they heard, perhaps?

And as a Haydn fan just about everything Haydn ever composed for the Esterhazy court could be considered "work for hire" in the sense that he was compensated for labor rather than pieces of music in particular.  As H. C. Robbins Landon summed it up, many a Haydn composition that was published in the composer's life got published by what would now be considered pirated versions.  Since Haydn got a pretty boss financial compensation package he could literally afford to not care a huge deal if his work was pirated out to places where he became a celebrity.

The tension between artistic freedom and financial compensation will probably never go away.  Maybe all we artists and writers and musicians and composers want that unicorn of complete creative freedom within a world where we get paid and get famous.  Yes, well, only a tiny number of people were that lucky ... and Haydn was apparently one of them. 

as "caught between to ideals impossible to realize in the real world", Kyle Gann has sounded off a bit on a history of American symphonic music and American music criticism over here

Critics could create this amazing double bind in which if an American was too obviously indebted to Beethoven that was slavish imitation but if the music spurned the influence of Beethoven it did not pay homage to the eternal verities.  Not a bad gig for the critics who would eat their cake and have it, too.

Kinda reminds me of Richard Brodypraising Spike Lee's new film for its righteous preachiness while having condemned Inside Out by Pixar for being ... propaganda.  This is the film critic who declared that Michael Bay has and gives more fun than George Miller.  Well, I saw Fury Road and Age of Extinction and there's no deoubt in my mind which of those two movies I'd be happy to see again and it isn't the Transformers one. :(

will "happy birthday" finally public domain?

a detail that has perhaps gone unobserved, Mark Driscoll's collected accounts of his resignation seem to flatly contradict reports from the "Erma Gauthier" account near the time of the resignation, reviewing the accounts
For their part, the Board of Advisors and Accountability said Driscoll had not disqualified himself but was at times arrogant and domineering. About his resignation, they concluded:
Finally, Mark Driscoll was not asked to resign; indeed, we were surprised to receive his resignation letter. 
There may be more to this story.
After the letters from Driscoll and the BoAA, Driscoll’s sister Melanie Thompson commented on her public Facebook page (under the name Erma Gauthier). Her narrative adds a new wrinkle. According to Thompson, “they” (I presume the BoAA) would not let Driscoll preach. Yesterday, she posted Driscoll’s resignation letter and followed it with comments about the BoAA (image of the thread).
Erma Gauthier They would not let him preach

Erma Gauthier Yeah. I think they really did a number on him. Not biblical or keeping with The Word or process.
Reading between the lines, it sounds like Driscoll’s sister is suggesting that the BoAA was not going to allow Driscoll to preach. She could have been referring to the Board of Elders report, but the simplest explanation is a decision by the BoAA. More about the BoE later. In any case, Thompson is not impressed with the work of those who decided what to do about Driscoll. To reinforce her opinion, she points out that the church has the Ballard campus for sale which to her implies that the leadership would keep Driscoll from preaching again.

Something's been nagging at me.  There's a few things in the cited back and forth Throckmorton documented that can't be reconciled with basic statements from other parties.

For instance, in Mark Driscoll's own resignation statement:
You have shared with us that this committee spent more than 1,000 hours reviewing documents and interviewing some of those who had presented charges against me. You have also shared with me that many of those making charges against me declined to meet with you or participate in the review process at all. Consequently, those conducting the review of charges against me began to interview people who had not even been a party to the charges.
I readily acknowledge I am an imperfect messenger of the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are many things I have confessed and repented of, privately and publicly, as you are well aware. Specifically, I have confessed to past pride, anger and a domineering spirit. As I shared with our church in August, “God has broken me many times in recent years by showing me where I have fallen short, and while my journey, at age 43, is far from over, I believe He has brought me a long way from some days I am not very proud of, and is making me more like Him every day.”

Since the leave of absence was a request made at Mark Driscoll's self-described initiative why could anyone imagine that the board somehow would not let Driscoll preach when Driscoll wanted to preach?  Now for those who want to go through the six strands of narrative surrounding when and why Mark Driscoll resigned go here.

It's hard to square this above quoted version of events with what the Driscolls shared with Brian Houston via video earlier this year.
I never got to say good-bye to the church and the people and so what went public was actually the resignation letter that went to the legal governing board that was in authority over me and so, uh, i uh, I know under the circumstances there wasn't a way to do that that would have been, uh, clean or easy. I don't have any criticism of the board. I think that, for the people, that there wasn't closure and I didn't, we didn't get to say anything.

And we didn't expect to resign. I met with the board. There was a whole list of things that were charged by current and former leaders and there was an internal governance struggle and threats of legal action that it got very complicated. And a lot of it was anonymous through the internet so you don't know who is saying or doing what. And so I invited the board to do a full examination, interview anybody, anything, and we woud submit to whatever verdict that they determined.
... When I think about eight weeks we met Friday and Saturday, October 10 and 11. I remember because the 11th was my birthday and so Grace and I were present with the board and they said: "We see in your history of leadership, less in more recent years but particularly in the past, "pride, anger and a domineering leadership style." That would be the exact words they used.  "We don't see anything disqualifying. These are areas we want you to grow. We want you to leadership at the
church soon." They wanted to do some clean up internally. "We want you back on January 4 in the pulpit, give you time to heal, things to cool down, and for some changes to be made."

We agreed to that. I sent in a go-forward plan and then we went home to have birthday cake with the kids. I think it was on Monday night. I was in the bedroom. Grace was in the living room. And so we told the board and told the kids, you know, we come back and ["will do"? garbled] preaching and try and love and serve and, and fix what was a struggling church and God had provided a way for us to do that as volunteers. And so our plan was to come back as volunteers.

And then on that Monday night I was in the bedroom, Grace was in the living room and he spoke to me and he spoke to her in a supernatural way that neither of anticipated or expected. Ah, and so Grace walked in and she said, "I feel like the Lord just spoke to me and said what we're supposed to do." and I said "I feel like the Lord spoke to me and said what we're supposed to do." It's not what we wanted; it's not what we agreed to; it's not what we've planned for. And so I asked her, "Well, what did the Lord say to you?" cuz I didn't wanna influence and she said, uh, she said we're [Grace Driscoll speaks but it's low and indistinct, Driscoll pauses a moment and is urged to continue by Houston] "The Lord revealed to me that , you know, a trap has been set, there's, there's no way, chance we can return to leadership" and I didn't know what that meant or what was going on at the time.  And I'm, I said, [garbled] "We need to resign". So this is not what we anticipated
and a lot of people've thought, you know, "maybe he's another plan" but we didn't. We didn't know what we were doing.

And Grace fell to the floor and she was just sobbing uncontrollably and I'd never seen my wife like that. She was devastated. So we prayed and slept on it and decided we would make sure we got this right. Talked to pastors, those that we trust and sent in our resignation then on, it would have been Tuesday. ...
That's a long stretch of quote.  There are a variety of assertions that could be contested, like how anonymous the criticism was.  For now, the salient detail is that Driscoll said he agreed to submit to the restoration plan.  If by Mark Driscoll's account to Brian Houston he was willing to submit to the restoration plan then the assertion from the previous year that the board would not let Driscoll preach even though he wanted to seems as though it cannot possibly be true. Either that or what Driscoll told Brian Houston was not true. It's conceivable that neither the Gauthier account of events nor the Mark Driscoll account of events is accurate but that's impossible to prove.  In lieu of the likelihood that Mark Driscoll's various accounts are more coherent and explicable, it is most probably with the evidence at hand that it's the Gauthier version that is not accurate.  If it "is" accurate that would cast doubt on the veracity of Mark Driscoll's interview with Brian Houston by asserting that the Mars Hill board was preventing Mark Driscoll from preaching even when he wished to. That does not seem to fit with any accounts from any actual past Mars Hill leaders.
According to this statement made at Sammamish location, the BoE concluded their investigation and wanted to provide a restoration plan for Driscoll. However, instead Driscoll resigned.
The investigation of formal charges against Mark Driscoll has revealed patterns of persistent sin in the three areas disclosed in the previous letter by the Board of Overseers. In I Tim 5:20, it requires that an elder be rebuked for persistent sin. Our intention was to do this while providing a plan for his eventual restoration to leadership. The Board of Elders in agreement with the Board of Overseers are grieved, deeply grieved, that any process like that was lost to us when Mark Driscoll resigned in position and left the church.
Now the tension isn't between what the Board is reported to have concluded and the Gauthier account of "they would not let him preach".  All of that sounds consistent.  A board decided there was some sin in Driscoll's life that, while not disqualifying, needed to be dealt with.  If you've read all the accounts from Driscoll himself and leaders of Mars Hill the story seems pretty unified that they had suggestions and he agreed with them right up to the point where he claims God said he got to quit.

The gap is in the accounts in which Mark Driscoll claimed to Brian Houston he agreed to submit to the restoration plan and the Gauthier account that seemed to present the board as doing something that was unexpected or unfair.  Since that implication or understanding was so directly and categorically contradicted by the Driscolls' interview with Brian Houston it could conceivably be that the Erma Gauthier account was just wildly inaccurate and contradicted by both reports from the Mars Hill leadership boards generally and Mark Driscoll in particular.  Stranger things have happened. If the Gauthier account "is" accurate, however, then Mark Driscoll's accounts must be brought into question.  Unfortunately given the categorical nature of the assertions in the narratives only one of these two seems to be able to convey an accurate account as things stand.

Erma Gauthier If they were going to let him come back …ever…then why would they sell mars hill Ballard behind his back.
possibly a reference to this news reported by Throckmorton

that the "big box" Ballard was on the market, although the corporate HQ had been on the market as far back as March 2014.

There were reports here and there that MH was looking to move its corporate HQ to Bellevue and the plans to open Mars Hill Schools were widely announced within the Mars Hill scene.  Offloading a piece of property and moving the whole church to a new central location was how Mars Hill ended up at what was once the Ballard site to begin with so it would not seem odd for history to have repeated itself there.  What does seem odd was that anyone could construe a decision to sell Ballard big box in whole or in part as any sign that Driscoll might not be allowed to come back and preach or as a sign of board divergence from whatever Driscoll hoped for.  Driscoll repeatedly talked about how he let certain guys make the big tough or boring decisions so he didn't have to.  If Driscoll was, by his own accounts, already delegating a lot of stuff so as to not end up doing prison ministry from the inside, then a board decision to sell real estate while Driscoll was in a self-imposed break period would not have been "that" odd, would it?

So with respect to the restoration/disciplinary process that may have been initiated by the board, Mars Hill's history of trying to sell real estate is seeming immaterial to the matter of Drsicoll's resignation.

As a final caveat, considering how drastically Mark Driscoll's accounting of basic points about the history of Mars Hill changed over the last decade ... such as whether there were any kids in the early days of Mars Hill or not

... even in the case of Driscoll we an't be 100% certain his narratives can be corroborated.  It's not entirely clear that either the Mark Driscoll accounts, which only introduce divine oracles this calendar year, or the Erma Guathier account about the resignation season are accounts that can be taken without any reservation at face value. This may just be one of those Rashomon things.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

considering the articles of incorporation for The Trinity Church, it looks like Mark Driscoll's once again starting a church--after so many years of assuring Mars Hill "I'm not going anywhere"
Throckmorton links to the following:

STE 1630-434
Date of Taking Office
Last updated

STE 1630-434
Date of taking office
Last updated

STE 1630-434
Date of taking office
Last updated

So Driscoll took office as a director of a church just a few weeks ago, before Thanksgiving basically. Mark Driscoll once said that what he wished he had done differently in the early years was to have been a regular church member and that he had never been a member of a church he didn't plant.
Where is my Honor?
I talked to one guy some years ago—I’ll never forget it—I was new to ministry, and I was talking about Mars Hill. We were just a couple years old at the time, and I said, “Yeah, I hope to be here for my whole life, preaching and teaching the Bible. That’s my hope, man. I want to be with these people for the rest of my life.” I said, “How long have you been at your church?” “Well, I’ve been there a couple of years.” He said, “You know, the way it’s set up in our denomination, every two or three years, they move me from one church to another.” I said, “Wow, isn’t that hard?” He said, “No, no, no. I’ve got two or three years of sermons and I preach them here, and then I preach them here, and then I preach them here, and then I preach them—” and that’s his career. He doesn’t need to study the Bible anymore, doesn’t need to pray anymore, doesn’t need to grow anymore, just plays the greatest hits. That’s cheating.

Pastors who steal sermons from other pastors are cheating. Pastors who expect their people to work and give and don’t work and give are cheating. You need to know that we track the giving of the leaders, not in a legalistic way, but to make sure that we’re not asking you to do something that they’re not doing. There’s nothing worse than parents who look at their kids and say, “Do as I say, not as I do.” That’s cheating. That’s cheating.
July 6, 2010

4. The multi-campus strategy we are using is sustainable and healthy. Being able to distribute as campuses of various sizes and personalities is a bit like the joy of being a father watching children with various resemblances but distinct personalities grow up. Having such a large team of elders, deacons, and members deployed across the campuses is a great relief to me as I see us taking better care of more people than we have ever been able to.

5. My heart is here. While I enjoy the opportunities for ministry that God grants outside of Mars Hill, were I allowed to only do one thing, I would easily and gladly choose to be an elder at Mars Hill, preaching God’s Word and shepherding God’s people. I have zero interest in doing anything other than being a pastor and have zero interest in being a pastor anywhere else. I am very content with where I am and what I am doing, and am very passionate about continuing to press forward together for more people worshiping Jesus more deeply.
From a March 2014 missive, Driscoll wrote the following:
in recent years, some have used the language of “celebrity pastor” to describe me and some other Christian leaders. In my experience, celebrity pastors eventually get enough speaking and writing opportunities outside the church that their focus on the church is compromised, until eventually they decide to leave and go do other things. Without judging any of those who have done this, let me be clear that my desires are exactly the opposite. I want to be under pastoral authority, in community, and a Bible-teaching pastor who grows as a loving spiritual father at home and in our church home for years to come. I don’t see how I can be both a celebrity and a pastor, and so I am happy to give up the former so that I can focus on the latter.

and later in 2014

Thank you for being a wonderful church family.

Today, we are blessed with lead pastors who love Jesus and the people He gave His life for. These men faithfully serve the Mars Hill family.

While I’m still young, I suspect when I’m old I’ll be known for many things—some good, and some not so good. But I hope that the longer God leaves me on this earth, the more I’ll be known for one thing—that I loved Jesus and His Church, the Church He promised the gates of Hell would not prevail against. I may be an author, a speaker, and a thought-provoker; but in the deepest recesses of my heart, I’m a local church pastor, and that’s what I want to give the rest of my life for.

Yet behind the scenes, thanks to the disclosure of documents possessed by Bent Meyer over at Joyful Exiles ... :

page 28 of 110

To date, governance has been structure on the assumption that Mark would outlive us all, yet the reality is that he will not outlive the organization. In fact, he made it clear that under the right pressure or discouragement he would bale [sic], which means the bylaw have to consider what would happen if the next lead pastor, had different doctrinal leanings and a different mission.

Even as far back as 2007'ish there was report within Mars Hill leadership that Driscoll had signaled that under the right pressure or discouragement he would bail. Seeing that Mark Driscoll not only did bail in 2014 but he bailed in a way that was followed up by the dissolution of Mars Hill Church it seems in hindsight that Driscoll's repeated assurances that he wasn't going anywhere were not credible.  His public protests withstanding, it now seems that Mark Driscoll's commitment to Mars Hill was far less fixed than he assured people it was.

This willingness to bail under the right circumstances may even have been confirmed as within the realm of the conceivable even by Driscoll himself when he wrote a letter to the church in 2007.
From "A letter from Pastor Mark Driscoll"
November 8, 2007

page 3 of 145
At the same time I began receiving other lucrative job offers that would allow me to study, preach, and write without all of the administrative duties and burdens for which I am not sufficiently gifted
to be responsible for. For the first time in my life, the thought of leaving Mars Hill sounded very relieving. Since I had given ten years of my life to the church and love the people desperately, it
was obvious to me that something was deeply wrong that such offers would even be intriguing.

So it now seems as though with a fuller documented history of internal correspondence and discussion, the threat of Mark Driscoll bailing on Mars Hill under the right circumstances or with the right external offers or internal pressures had been burbling in some fashion or another for more than half a decade.

Let's consider what Driscoll has said over the years. What was one of the things Driscoll felt was a problem?  How about the bit where he was never a member of a church until he started his own.
That's one practical thing is, I'd never been a member of a church until I started my own. [emphasis added] So I didn't know a lot about church. But I wanted, I knew I was a big personality and pretty intense so I wanted to be under authority but I made a mistake of--how do I say this carefully?--trying to be under the authority of my elders but the truth is all my elders were new and young and green and they would want to help but they really didn't know what they were talking about.

And so what I should have had was a team of pastors outside of the church who were older and more seasoned that could, you know, help Grace and I put life together.

So if Mark Driscoll really felt the trouble the first time around had been he was never a member of a church other than the one he started how is being the director of a pending church plant demonstrate a life of lessons learned and repentance?  A rabbi or two have suggested that repentance looks something like, when you face a comparable temptation to the one you succumbed to earlier, you resist temptation.  By that practical definition of repentance there's not much evidence Mark Driscoll's repented of anything even if he hands most of the preaching duties to Evans or Taylor, whoever those people are.

It's interesting to consider something Driscoll preached in 2014 that's available to consider.

So I want to be careful with this because this can be an opportunity for spiritual abuse. Because sometimes people say, “God told me.” Well, we’ll see, OK? You can’t just pull out the “God told me” card. [emphasis added] Ladies, let’s say you meet a guy and the guy says, “God told me to marry you.” “Interesting, he didn’t tell me or my dad, you know, so I don’t have to just assume that because you say the Lord says that the Lord in fact has spoken.”You need to be very careful. Somebody comes along, “God told me to plant a church.” Let’s check that. All right, you can’t—I mean, 1 Corinthians 14 is clear. If you think you got a word from the Lord, you’ve got to check it by the leaders. So what we’re looking for, if you believe God has told you something, especially to do something that is difficult like this, we’re looking for a godly person—Peter’s a godly person. In godly community—it says he’s with the apostles, they’re all agreed. Under godly authority—they all agree on this. With a godly motive—to talk about Jesus. Doing a godly thing—wanting to minister to people. In a godly way—by being open in public and not hiding anything. So if you believe the Lord has told you something, he may have, but I would ask, “Are you a godly person in godly community under godly authority with a godly motive doing a godly thing in a godly way?” ... [emphasis added]

Just because a Mark Driscoll claims God said he could quit doesn't make it true, it also doesn't make it a consistent living out of the precepts Driscoll spent decades telling others to live by.  To date Driscoll's never really clarified what "a trap has been set" may have meant.

Now there are those who would propose Mark Driscoll didn't hear from God at all.  He made stuff up because he's a con man, they might say. Or they might say he heard from demons.  Well, let's consider the possibility that maybe the words were audibly heard.  What precedent is there in the Bible for people being able to escape from traps once God has said He has set traps for them?  Did Ahab escape the trap that was set for him so he would be enticed to go die?  Nope.  When God warns of an impending disaster it is not necessarily so that the disaster can be avoided.  Joseph did not say the years of famine could be avoided but that they could be planned for.  If we assume for the sake of friendly conversation that Mark is sure God really spoke and arned that a trap had been sset then it's not out of bounds with a knowledge of the biblical literature to point ou tthat generally when God says a trap has been set you're not going to escape it.  Trying to outsmart the trap can lead you straight into it. 

Let's bear in mind what Throckmorton reported from Mars Hill leadership, that Driscoll resigned in a way that was unexpected and that cut short a restoration plan they had in mind.  So if Andrew Lamb was considered a wolf for how he handled things and how he had stories that didn't altogether add up why should Mark Driscoll be viewed with less suspicion than that?  Which is not to say how Mars Hill decided to discipline Andrew seemed just of reasonable ... but it returns to the question of why a guy like Mark Driscoll didn't stick around to cooperate with the kinds of spiritual discipline and submission to spiritual authority he'd spent nearly two decades preaching others to live by ... a standard of submission that, when push came to shove, he metaphorically and literally walked away from even at the church that he founded himself, the church that was the one church he was a member of because he'd never been a member of a church he didn't start.

If this is the next church Driscoll's a member of then it looks like it won't matter what he says in public or even in private, when the chips are down he's only going to keep bein ga member of a church he started or had a hand in starting.

Warren Throckmorton: Driscoll listed as director of newly incorporated The Trinity Church in Phoenix

There have been six distinct narrative threads on how and why Mark Driscoll resigned from ministry at Mars Hill in October 2014.  We've discussed those different accounts.

What was not in question was whether or not Driscoll planned to start another church as soon as possible.  Throckmorton has an update.

Let's remember that as Throckmorton reported things the leadership of Mars Hill stated that by quitting in the way that he did (which was unexpected) Mark Driscoll pre-empted the possibility of spiritual restoration and discipline.  It would seem that Driscoll spent his public ministry telling people to submit to spiritual leadership and restorative discipline right up to the moment where he'd have to face it himself and then quit and only the following calendar year explained, on the road, to the conference scene, that he got direct permission from God to not live by the rules which he preached were binding and serious on others.

As refusal to submit to a Mars Hill leadership proposed restorative plan after someone's sin has been discovered goes Mark Driscoll can be legitimately compared to Andrew Lamb. As reported by Matthew Paul Turner, Andrew was discovered to have sinned, given a spiritual restoration/discipline plan, and then decided he wouldn't go along with that and left the church.  Although that said, the striking differences between Driscoll and Lamb would be that Lamb didn't spent the next calendar year after he quit claiming God gave him direct permission to bail on the church he'd been part of for years; and Lamb didn't start the company that is currently moving toward dissolution.