Saturday, February 27, 2016

Driscoll on twitter 2-25-2016 "Forgiveness takes on person. Reconciliation takes two."

I generally have no interest in or use for Twitter.  Twitter has been one of those things that people get into and a line from Jane Austen's Emma just sticks with me, where half the people in the world take pleasure in things the other half can't even understand.
Forgiveness takes one person. Reconciliation takes two.
2:52 PM - 25 Feb 2016

Sometimes reconciliation takes a few more people than that, of course.

Joyful Exiles has been up since March 2012.  Also up since 2012 is Mark Driscoll's October 1, 2007 presentation to some leaders in which he said ...  :
October 1, 2007

... Too many guys spend too much time trying to move stiff-necked obstinate people. I am all about blessed subtraction. There is a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus and by God's grace it'll be a mountain by the time we're done. You either get on the bus or get run over by the bus (those are the options) but the bus ain't gonna stop. I'm just a, I'm just a guy who is like, "Look, we love ya but this is what we're doin'."

There's a few kind of people. There's people who get in the way of the bus.  They gotta get run over. There are people who want to take turns driving the bus. They gotta get thrown off cuz they want to go somewhere else. There are people who will be on the bus (leaders and helpers and servants, they're awesome).  There's also sometimes nice people who just sit on the bus and shut up. They're not helping or hurting. Just let `em ride along. You know what I'm saying? But don't look at the nice people who are just gonna sit on the bus and shut their mouth and think, "I need you to lead the mission." They're never going to. At the most you'll give `em a job to do and they'll serve somewhere and help out in a minimal way. If someone can sit in a place that  hasn't been on mission for a really long time they are by definition not a leader and so they're never going to lead. You need to gather a whole new core. [emphasis added]

I'll tell you what, you don't just do this for church planting or replanting, you know what? I'm doing it right now. I'm doing it right now. We just took certain guys and rearranged the seats on the bus. Yesterday we fired two elders for the first time in the history of Mars Hill last night. They're off the bus, under the bus. They were off mission so now they're unemployed. This will be the defining issue as to whether or not you succeed or fail.

So if reconciliation takes two people and it's been about nine years since the 2007 re-org Driscoll can tweet pious bromides about how reconciliation takes two people but reconciliation's easier to do if you're in the same state, assuming a person wants to reconcile.

But to go by other tweets Driscoll has done on forgiveness we can't simply assume reconciliation is seen as "necessary". A key perceived benefit of forgiving someone can be that you free yourself to move on with your life.
Forgiveness is a gift to your offender...and to yourself, freeing you up to move on with your life.
5:25 PM - 16 Jun 2013

Around that same time Driscoll also tweeted this opaque axiom, possibly intended for Mars Hill insiders since it seems to have nothing to do with the rest of the stuff you'd find in his twitter feed from that period.
Healthy transitions in relays & leadership come down to the handoff. Train up your successor.
Don't chuck the baton & storm off the track.
1:20 PM - 17 Jun 13

Now after the October 2014 resignation of Mark Driscoll it could sure seem to a lot of people that a healthy transition is not exactly what happened or there would still be a Mars Hill today.  It seems as though what Mark Driscoll did in resigning could be described as chucking the baton and storming off the track rather than going through a healthy transition and a hand off that allowed the relay to continue.  It's tough to know how cogent the analogy is since Driscoll always seemed more baseball than track and field. 

But it sure looks to a lot of people like Mark Driscoll chucked the baton and stormed off the track rather than comply with the restoration plan he told Brian Houston he agreed to submit to.  Did he?  Did the BoE get to finish their investigation?  Was there even a report?  The fact that there is no longer a Mars Hill raises the question of how healthy the transitions have been. Even if the transitions have been healthy it's hard to shake the sense that in later 2014 Mark still chucked the baton and stormed off the track.  For a guy who spent his years at Mars Hill telling people to live for a legacy he seems less than eager to discuss his legacy these days. 

Finally ... here's another tweet on forgiveness from 2013. There are more caveats about what forgiveness is and isn't that Driscoll shared over the years.  Forgiveness doesn't entail reconciliation, obviously, it can also be a gift you give to yourself  so you can move on with your life (which may also not entail any reconciliation).  And there's an extra thing, forgiveness doesn't mean you can't avail yourself of law enforcement to punish the person who offended you, too.
Forgiveness is not covering up sin committed against us. If a crime is committed, you can forgive someone & still call the cops.
10:38 AM - 17 Jun 2013

Forgiveness does not, as some say, preclude temporal consequences.  Okay, that can be given ... but it's interesting to wonder whether or not this lexicon of what forgiveness is and isn't is easier for a person to be on the giving end rather than the receiving end. 

After all, it's easier to be on the "giving end" of a forgiveness that 1) may forgive but severs relationship, 2) "moves on" literally and figuratively, and 3) even invokes the power of law enforcement to punish the sinner after "forgiveness" has been given than to be on the receiving end of that kind of forgiveness.

And for a guy who up until recently said "It's all about Jesus", would Mark Driscoll want Jesus to extend THAT kind of forgiveness to him?

Ellul on the necessity of vertical stratification in a party for propaganda, some thoughts on Mars Hill as a propaganda culture by means of The City and small groups

Translated from the French by Konrad Kellen & Jean Lerner
Vintage Books Edition, February 1973
Copyright (c) 195 by Alfred A Knopf Inc.
ISBN 0-394-71874-7

page 216

... propaganda demands vertical liaison among the party's organizations. This vertical liaison permits both homogeneity of propaganda and speed of application; and we have seen that speed of action or reaction is essential to propaganda. Conversely, in view of the effect of propaganda in creating isolated social and local groups, any horizontal liaison inside the party would be disastrous. Those at the base of the party would not understand why one propaganda is made in one place, another elsewhere. On the contrary, the partitioning by propaganda must correspond to a partitioning within the party, and the only liaison system must be vertical.

Ellul wrote that the most amazing instrument of propaganda was the small group.  In the small group a homogenous social experience was possible and it was possible to have all the interpersonal life necessary to form a tight bond on the one hand and be a useful instrument for a partisan group on the other.  In the earlier years of Mars Hill the idea of small groups or studies, in the wake of Dead Men at least, was that people could join groups that were discussing parts of the Bible members wanted to learn more about.  In a few years, however, the small groups became re-organized around discussing whatever Driscoll was preaching, in itself a crucial step toward transforming a small group into a potentially autonomous unit that could discuss scripture in a way calibrated to the needs of the group toward using the small group as a way to reinforce discussion of Mark Driscoll's teaching.

I was in a group that met just early enough in the week (not that Wednesdays were necessarily "early") that at the group I was part of we might at times abandon any pretense of discussing the sermon.  The group leader might just say "Eh, we all heard the sermon.  How's everybody doing?  What's stuff we should pray about?"  I liked this group, quite a bit actually. 

That was ten years ago, though.  In 2007 with the re-org everyone was expected to pick a campus affiliation and stick with it.  The City got introduced and affiliation ensured that you only got the information pertinent to your campus affiliation. Access to everything else was eliminated.  Under the second era of Midrash (from 2002 to 2007 prior to the re-org) it was open access across all locations during the start of multi-site.  When the firings took place this became a problem, apparently--it was too easy for hundreds of people to communicate across the culture.  The Midrash got shut down and replaced by The City.

Was it Munson who once said that The City was the ideal top-down communication platform for elders to let Mars Hill know what was going on?  Maybe.  Fuzzy there.

But what was less fuzzy was that if you had a community group affiliation with Ballard while actually attending Lake City you could discover in 2009 that what the Ballard attenders were talking about was a sermon you hadn't even heard yet.  That's the kind of situation I was in.  I hadn't stopped attending entirely but I didn't formally renew membership, either. By accident of circumstance I was discovering that while I'd hear about layoffs about once every 12 to 18 months from the Ballard side of things I'd hear from the Lake City side that things were so financially stable "we" were subsidizing Ballard at times to help them out because they had some troubles. 

From a donor cultivation perspective it seemed there was a potentially clear explanation for this--the people who were faithful attenders that actually had money perhaps switched to Lake City while Ballard got the less committed visitors who were there for the Mark Driscoll show.  That's how it seemed circa 2009.

But with some help from Ellul it's now possible to look back and say that what was happening to me could be described as a "horizontal liaison".  Mars Hill had committed to meteoric growth and to top-down information partitioning to go by how they ran The City.  Having been at Mars Hill since later 1998 and not interested in burning bridges I'd managed to cultivate a network of people I knew across a good number of the campus sites.  By later 2013 the leadership of Mars hill was certain who blogged at Wenatchee The Hatchet.  What they apparently didn't know was how many sources were leaking content from The City to Wenatchee The Hatchet; who they were; and how it was done.  It was reported that at least one person within the leadership culture of MH was willing to speculate a hack.  That was never the case.  Sources volunteered content.  What wasn't volunteered, by and large, was information I could look up myself because my City access wasn't revoked until the spring of 2012.  How on earth did Wenatchee The Hatchet have City access?  Recruited for beta-testing in the pre-launch phase, that's how. 

In the kind of leadership culture that evolved at Mars Hill Mark seemed to be concerned with who was going to lead the mission.  The nice people who just sat on the bus and shut up and didn't do anything (as Mark defined "anything") could just be allowed to ride along.   They wouldn't get thrown off the bus because they weren't even pretending to have an interest in driving the bus.  They weren't opposing the bus, either, so there was no need to run them over with the bus.  And because they just sat on the bus and maybe helped out in a limited way it didn't occur to the leaders that maybe an impossible-to-fully-identify group of people just sitting on the bus could, if you will, take detailed notes about what the bus driver was saying about where the route was going and share that.

At a social media presentation Driscoll gave in 2013 he mentioned that a lot of the traffic to Mars Hill sites could fit into the "long tail", older stuff Mark had said or written that people were still looking up.  As Wenatchee The Hatchet began to carefully document historical revisions to the story of Mars Hill (and mined Driscoll's sermons for history of real estate acquisitions and leadership appointments or lessons on spiritual warfare that figuratively and literally demonized dissent against executive leadership) stuff began to get pulled from the Mars Hill media library.

But by the time that started to happen other avenues of "horizontal liaison" were possible.  People within Mars Hill began to figure out that they could not only communicate across the campuses within but also share information with people considered outside Mars Hill. 

The beginning of conflicting and irreconcilable accounts from the top down may have started as far back as the 2007 trials.  Longtime readers may recall Wenatchee The Hatchet published an email from an executive pastor sent prior to the trials that explained a "reconciliation process" had been completed.  Later in 2007 there was the order to shun, so much for reconciliation process. 

Which ... thematically ... could get us to something recent on Twitter.

Friday, February 26, 2016

at Get Religion Julian Duin observes that the Daily Beast feature is the best of the lot

Now to the Daily Beast story. While I wouldn’t call this first-person news feature the most objective, balanced reporting on the planet (That “a macho, vengeful God” reference? Get serious), the reporter did more shoe leather reporting than other outlets in getting quotes from former followers in Seattle. She combed through former members’ blogs, interviewed folks who used to attend Mars Hill and contacted some of the church leaders listed on Driscoll’s new Phoenix church site

Of mainstream coverage summarizing what has happened, yes, it's the best overall one so far.  So far the best coverage done by secular publications has, easily, been The Stranger. 

Of course here at Wenatchee The Hatchet some effort has been taken to document things as they happen but, you know ... blogs.  They don't count in the same way as a publishing platform the way a magazine does.

Terry Mattingly has a piece from back in 2014 that seems worth quoting:

In other words, if Mars Hill is a kind of mini-denomination of its own, who has the legal, as well as the doctrinal, right to investigate and then pass judgment on its founder? You can see hints at this confusion at several points in the Times report.

Since Driscoll would go on to resign in October 2014 the answer as to who had the legal and doctrinal right to investigate and then pass judgment on the founder was, ultimately, just Mark Driscoll.  We'll potentially never know what the Board of Elders appointed to assess Driscoll may have ever decided because it's not even entirely clear they ever even completed their investigation.  The Board of Overseers or the Board of Advisors and Accountability weren't the same as the BoE.  It seems a bit optimistic to hope that Matt Rogers (who was on both the BoAA and the BoE in the final formal year of Mars Hill) would talk to Julia Duin about what was going on. 

Kerry Dodd hasn't stopped listing himself as the president of Mars Hill just yet ... .

transitions, Caleb Walters lists his role with Mars Hill in the past tense while Kerry Dodd is still president, at least in LinkedIn terms

The inactive date for the corporation formerly known as Mars Hill is still pending.

I would have thought now that we're on the eve of March it'd be otherwise
but Kerry Dodd's not listing himself as a past-tense person at MH either

President and General Manager

Mars Hill Fellowship, Inc.
– Present (1 year)
- Keen management to daily operations to guarantee proper handling of all legal affairs and creditor obligations
- Tactical administration to the liquidation of real property and other assets; along with the distribution of net assets
- Recognition for the successful launching of 11 new independent entities by separating the organization from its 15 operating locations
- Appointment as corporate president of the board of directors; as well as promotion to general manager, in charge of leading the transition team in settling the affairs of the corporation toward the distribution of net assets and dissolution

Chief Operating Officer | COO

Mars Hill Church
(1 year 3 months)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Ellul on the shift an individual makes from adhering to propaganda to embracing the propaganda of the "enemy" in the face of doubts--a possible explanation of what the "cage phase" is.

Long ago when I was reading Internet Monk I remember coming across a memorable phrase, "cage phase".  Reading Ellul recently has, perhaps, provided an illuminating potential way of describing the emotional/personal dynamics of this "cage phase" in terms of a person's relationship to competing propagandas.  Ellul warned way back in 1965 that it's foolish to think that propaganda for Team A will be canceled out by propaganda from Team B because as socal manipulation propaganda's effects can be cumulative.  A person overwhelmed by mass media messaging can reach a saturation point where one of two decisions become psychologically likely.  The first is to check out in resignation and the second is to pick a propaganda that you embrace whole hog while rejecting the others.  If, over time you have doubts about the team you picked well ...

Translated from the French by Konrad Kellen & Jean Lerner
Vintage Books Edition, February 1973
Copyright (c) 195 by Alfred A Knopf Inc.
ISBN 0-394-71874-7

page 190

Moreover it is possible to provide successive stages for the individual. While he is still a solid member of a group, propaganda can introduce a factor of ambiguity, of doubt, of suspicion. But the individual finds it very difficult to remain long in such a situation. Ambiguity is painful to him, and he seeks to escape it. But he cannot escape it by returning to his previous certainties and total blind allegiance to his former group. This is impossible because the doubt introduced can no longer be assuaged while the individual remains in the original context of values and truths. It is then, by going over to the enemy group, by compliance with what provoked the ambiguity, that man escapes that ambiguity. He then will enter into an absolute allegiance to the truth of the enemy group. His compliance will be all the more radical, his fusion with it all the more irrational, because it is a flight from yesterday's truth and because it will have to protect him against any return to, memory of, or nostalgia for the former allegiance. There is no greater enemy of Christianity or Communism than he who was once an absolute believer.

Anyone get the impression that this could describe just about any "cage phase" embrace of just about anything?  It sures seems applicable.

and it doesn't just so happen ..

Of course there's another potential application of this observation. It's not just that someone who was once some kind of Christian or communist might be a sworn adversary of those beliefs.  Ellul's proposal could apply to any ideology that could be disseminated by way of propaganda.

For the sake of a thought experiment let's take Mars Hill.  If someone were inside Mars Hill and perceived it's core to be complementarianism because young guys found a sense of purpose then if the seed of doubt were arguments for egalitarianism or feminism then, in Ellul's proposed possible rejection of propaganda, the person who bailed on Mars Hill might embrace egalitarianism and feminism not necessarily "just" because the person sincerely embraced that because of the dynamics of propaganda and the way a human acclimates to propagandistic dynamics.

 If while within a setting like Mars Hill a person got the impression that the "enemy" was a high church liturgical approach or Orthodoxy or Catholicism then in the process of eliminating ambiguity a person could embrace the "enemy" and go for Orthodoxy or Catholicism.  If someone inside a setting like Mars Hill where many a lad embraced some variant of libertarian economic ideas and market idealism a person might embrace progressive economics and politics as an abjection of what was once perceived to be the central cultural "point" of Mars Hill. 

The collapse of Mars Hill, if you will, as a propagandistic apparatus, could well have left people in Seattle more progressive than they otherwise would be in the sense that those who discovered that Driscoll's blue collar shtick was potentially just that, might either reject that or ... paradoxically embrace progressive ideals by doubling down on what they believe to be a "real" working class ethos that would contrast with what seemed to be a ploy on the part of Driscoll's years of talking about guys swinging hammers for a living. 

Changing your convictions through an intellectual, social, emotional and spiritual struggle is certainly valuable--but Ellul's writing could be a useful caution that merely shifting from one hard and fast position to another is not a sign that you have stopped "drinking the kool-aid", it might be a sign that you're drinking more sugar-water than ever but for a different team.

Anyone who leaves a cultural setting like Mars Hill was may have already gone through a "cage phase" or two.

I know there are those who might think it's too abstract and too esoteric to discuss the history of Mars Hill as if it were a propaganda machine and perhaps it's off-putting to describe Driscoll's public career in terms of propagandistic methodologies rather than attempting to analyze his ideas in psychological terms or trying to discern his motives.  His motives are not something that can be too easily surmised.  The resignation of 2014, when all the stories shared about it by Driscoll and others, seems too opaque and too impulsive to bother attempting to explain even on its own terms 

On the other hand, discussing Mark Driscoll's persona in terms of propaganda may be a useful approach.  Why?  Because apart from whomever he's had meals with in the Phoenix pastor scene the most common way people are going to have contact with Driscoll is by way of technology, by means of the mass and social media platforms that Ellul described as inherent in propaganda.  A "regular" person may be as connected to Mark Driscoll as he or she would be to, say, Taylor Swift or George Clooney, which is to say not in the way that a real friend would be.  To borrow a polemic evangelicals have used about certain types of entertainers ... there's a pseudo-intimacy, an illusion of intimacy and personal connection that can happen in propaganda.  It's not necessarily "Big Brother", it could also be an illusory sense of connection to a popular musician or movie star. Or ... some other kind of star, perhaps. 

So many people have tried to get at what they felt the mentality of the scene was it can be easy to miss that a lot of the scene was mediated by mass and social media.  Remember that at its peak most people who called Mars Hill their church home were hearing a sermon mediated by a disc that Driscoll preached a week or so earlier that got filmed and re-mastered for distribution at the sites.  In church service terms that's like watching an episode of Blues Clues on a Friday when the episode first aired on a Monday within the same week.  But for those who called Mars Hill home they sincerely thought of Mark Driscoll as their pastor.

So in keeping with the thematic arc of this post it's not too huge a surprise that many people who left Mars Hill gravitated toward higher liturgical traditions, perhaps in part because church mediated by screens really isn't church in quite the same way that a church service where the pastor or priest presents eucharist.

By now it's probably clear to those who have trudged through these posts inspired by Ellul that any megachurch could be described, almost by definition, as fitting the working definition of a propaganda machine as outlined by Ellul. It's not that liturgical churches can't participate in propaganda, that's hardly true at all. On the ther hand, if a church chooses to forsake propaganda a church that isn't a megachurch will have an easier time of it by dint of not being defined in practice by using the tools of propaganda. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Driscoll shared a story about how his house was hit by a falling tree, which house? The one he told Russ Bowen was "wrong address, I don't know"?
By KOMO Staff |Thursday, August 28th 2014

 Driscoll's reaction to Russ Bowen's enquiry sounded like "Sorry, bro. Wrong address. I don't know."

Transcript | Mark Driscoll | Thrive 2015-05-01
See Links to Timestamps at the end of this doc.

Things really escalated when the media showed up and blocked the driveway to the house, seeking an interview and brought a helicopter overhead to flush me out for an interview.  My kids had been outside playing and, uh, all of a sudden we heard this helicopter over the yard and so we pulled the family into the house and tried to figure out how to not be in front of a window because we didn’t want to be on the news and didn’t know what was going on, to be honest with you. 

That night my oldest son, he was 8 at the time, he came to me downstairs, my wife Grace was cooking dinner and uh, he had on this jacket, it was a military jacket with patches down the side.  He had his AirSoft gun and I said “What are you doing little buddy?” He’s nine now.  And he said, “Dad is this jacket bullet-proof?” (crown groans) And I said, “Why’s that little buddy?” And he said, “Well, if the bad guys come, I want to be able to protect the family.” [4:59]

I didn’t know that he – he didn’t know it was a news crew. The only thing he’d ever seen were the uh, um, the bad guy movies where they come in helicopters and shoot everybody.  It took months.  He would have night terrors. He wouldn’t sleep in his room.  He wouldn’t take a shower, get dressed in his bedroom by himself. Something we’re trying to encourage him through.  Just real fear came into him.  The kids wanted to sleep outside in a tent one night.  We told them no, because as soon as we had the tent set up and were going out to sleep in the tent, the media posted the address to my house as a new story which I felt like we were in danger again so I grabbed the kids and left for the night and went to a hotel for a couple days.  Then came back and I preached what would be my last sermon -- I didn’t know it would be my last.  The New York Times was there.  It was a big media situation.

So, the kids were like, “Dad, we just want to sleep in a tent in our house.” So we slept in a tent.  I didn’t really sleep, but the kids -- the younger kids slept.  Woke up in the morning and somebody on the other side of the fence was throwing large rocks at my kids at about 6:30 in the morning.  And at first, I didn’t know what it was and then the dog thought we were playing fetch and started picking up these rocks and it dawned on me, like rocks are flying at my kids in the yard.  So we filed a police report and went away for a little bit. Came back and there was a bucket of nails all over the driveway.  Picked those up um.  ...

First thing, for those who don't recall local radio host Dori Monson was not able to confirm the rock-throwing incident took place after consulting Woodway authorities.

a commenter later added an update that something happened of some kind.
Throckmorton was able to follow up

But the confirmation of a rock-throwing incident at the house in Woodway, if true, highlights that Driscoll wasn't giving Russ Bowen an honest answer in 2014.

Now keep in mind somebody how sounded astonishingly like Mark Driscoll told Russ Bowen "wrong address" when Bowen tried to ask a few questions.  And a dog got released.  That was in August 2014.  By May 2015 somehow things changed.  Driscoll was sharing a story about a helicopter overhead trying to flush him out for an interview. What wasn't the house in 2014 was the house after all in 2015. 

So there's already a conundrum Mark Driscoll created for himself in how he replied to Russ Bowen.  If the rock incident happened at the Woodway house then Driscoll couldn't honestly have told Bowen "wrong address".

Last year there was a substantial windstorm in the Puget Sound area and one of the areas effected by that storm (August 2015) was Woodway.

This might have been the reference Driscoll made in his recent presentation in Wenatchee.

February 22, 2016 by Warren Throckmorton

Yesterday, Mark Driscoll spoke at Grace City Church, an Acts 29 church in Wenatchee, WA pastored by Josh McPherson. McPherson, who is Acts 29’s Network Coordinator for the Pacific Northwest, must really believe in Driscoll’s comeback because I suspect he is hearing some noise about it.
I put my house on the market. I'm thinking, "Okay, my house will sell." I gotta go down and I'm--we can't get the kids into school. The school's are already full. We're there too late because the school districts are different between the northwest and the southwest. We're renting a place temporarily. All my stuff, all our stuff, is up in our place in Seattle. Our house is on the market. Our house is not selling. ...

and I was in Arizona trying to figure out what the next season of life looks like with elementary, junior high, high school, college and my phone alarm starts going off and I assume somebody broke in or whatever. So I send my realtor over. My realtor calls me and his voice is trembling and he sends me this photo. He said, "I'm standing at your house and here it is." [audience reaction of dismay, apparently at a photo] Yeah,that--that's my house. Or WAS my house. And a 200-foot tree fell on my house and crushed our bedroom. Our bed is under that rubble. If my wife and I were taking a nap at 1 o'clock on a Saturday we'd be dead.

So I flew up late at night. I go to the property all the power's out. I'm there with a flashlight. It's pouring down rain and I'm going through the rubble that is our home and I'm glad that nobody in my family died. And I'm thinking, "How--this is all my equity. This is what I was going to use to relocate and provide for my family. And, and here it is." And now I live in another state so how am I supposed to fix this?

I remember sitting at the house, actually, outside in the rain looking at what used to be my house.  I'm like, "Okay, Lord, this family is my responsibility." My stuff is in this house. My family is in another state. We don't have a permanent place to live. I can't find a school for my children. All of our equity and wealth is in a destroyed home and I'm unemployed. ...

And I remember just standing there in the rain just like, "Father, Dad, I need help now. I need wisdom. I need provision. I need a path forward. I accept responsibility for the well-being of my family. But how to proceed forward, Dad, I'm not entirely clear on. I could really use your help." And God's a good father and he has answered that prayer and He's taken care of our family. And, actually, the good news is we closed this  house last week and it got fixed and somebody bought it who was willing to take that off our hands and allow us to move forward with our lives.

Well, though it seemed a bit unclear bordering on unlikely yesterday, reviewing weather coverage in the last year easily yields the following:
August 30, 2015

Snohomish County PUD continues to make progress in restoring power to residents in Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood, Edmonds and Woodway. PUD reports that 55,000 households remain without power. Crews will continue work throughout the night.

So that a storm caused damage across Woodway is easily established for late August 2015. 

But there's a possibility that the house didn't really formally belong to Driscoll, after all.  Didn't the house get gifted to the Downs Family Revocable Living Trust by Future Hope Revocable Living Trust in 2013?

So if the Downs Family Revocable Living Trust financial instrument had Melanie Thompson designated as its trustee how was this house at Woodway Mark Driscoll's house?  Some say the potential use of a revocable living trust is to obscure who the real owner of a piece of real estate is so "perhaps" the Woodway house was always Mark Driscoll's house, it's just it wouldn't seem to be the case on paper.

So maybe Driscoll wasn't exactly lying to Russ Bowen ... but then if he wasn't misrepresenting the strictly factually accurate situation then the circumstances in which the Woodway house that wasn't Mark's when Bowen came to visit has apparently been the Driscoll house in Mark's stories on the road two calendar years in a row.

It seems as though there's a risk in sharing stories in 2015 and 2016 about that house in Woodway.
If it wasn't Driscoll's house in 2014 then he wasn't exactly lying to Russ Bowen on camera but if it really was Driscoll's house then even if some kind of paper arrangement ensured the real estate formally belonged to the Downs Family Revocable Living Trust but it was really ultimately Mark Driscoll's home then Driscoll lied to Bowen by implying there was a wrong address or misunderstanding in 2014.  By 2015 Driscoll had tales on the road of how the media published the address to his house and sent a chopper to fly over the place and here in 2016 Driscoll's shared a story about how a big tree fell on the house and would have killed him and Grace had they been in the bedroom that was once theirs.

Fortunately nobody died. Unfortunately Mark Driscoll, in sharing this more recent bit of news about the real estate, presented what seemed to be the Woodway house as his house in a way that still suggests he was not being honest with Russ Bowen back in 2014. 

Since it would appear by the measurement of Mark Driscoll's own teaching on the subject he could be said to have lied to Russ Bowen ...

If you’ve read this far, I’m certain the Holy Spirit has convicted you of lying somewhere, sometime in your life. I’m guilty.

Of lying? Of being a liar?  Was Mark Driscoll really admitting that much? In his discourse on deception he stopped short of saying that Mr. Spock implying something was lying and there may well be those who think Driscoll's response to Russ Bowen was by some technicality not a dishonest answer. Or perhaps it could be suggested that to protect the kids a dad might lie.  There's casuistry within the Judeo-Christian tradition on those kinds of issues.

But for as emphatically as Driscoll said "wrong address" in 2014, some of his most poignant and pointed appeals for sympathy have centered around the condition and location of the house he wouldn't confirm to Russ Bowen of KOMO news was his. If the house wasn't the Driscoll house then it wasn't honest to say so and if it was the Driscoll house it wasn't honest to even imply otherwise.  Driscoll could have relied on the old standby of so many who have refused to talk to members of the press "no comment". 

Since Mark Driscoll registered practically every sermon he ever preached going as far back as 2001 under his own name rather than that of Mars Hill; and since Driscoll registered the copyright to himself or a corporate stand-in for nearly all of his books that are all still in print and getting translated into a variety of languages it's just a teensy bit difficult to believe that "all" the wealth and equity of the Driscoll clan was in that house in Woodway.  For what purpose was the On Mission LLC set up years earlier if "all" of the Driscoll wealth was loaded into that one house in Woodway?

On Mission LLC still exists as an entity in good standing in Colorado, doesn't it?

It may make for a more dramatic narrative to say "all" the wealth of Mark Driscoll's family was in that house in Woodway (if that's the house Driscoll was referring to in his recent sermon), but not counting the intellectual property Driscoll has in sermons going back to 2001 on or all of his published books would seem to be skipping over the most valuable part of Mark Driscoll's assets.  Without those there'd be no 1 Corinthians series of 33 sermons from 2006 to bring back online at Mark Driscoll Ministries, would there?

POSTSCRIPT 02-24-2016 06.45pm

Remember a link that assessed Driscoll's value as around 2.5 million?
plug in the parcel # 00704300000600 into ...
and for 2015 Taxable Value Regular was ...

So perhaps like a Calvinist (if Driscoll would still call himself one) "all" doesn't seem to literally mean "all".

If "The Bible has nothing good to say about young men" why didn't Mark Driscoll notice that back in 2007 when he made Jamie Munson legal president of Mars Hill?
from Mark Driscoll sermon preached recently
The bible has nothing good to say about young men.

Now, sure, people have contested the reliability of this sweeping assertion.  Driscoll mentioned that "young men" meant anyone under 40.  So by the account of the synoptics Jesus died as a "young men" and he was sinless.  So there's one young man in the Bible there.  There's the advice to Timothy not to let anyone look down on him because of his youth, a verse that Driscoll seemed more swift to remember and quote circa 2000. 

But let's consider all this from another angle.  Mark Driscoll made a young man who was a convert to Christianity of the Driscollian kind into the legal president of Mars Hill back in 2007.  Jamie Munson was made president of Mars Hill back then and let's recall that when the termination and trial process got rolling Munson mentioned that grounds for immediate dismissal included not trusting or respecting the spiritual authority of executive leaders (e.g. guys like Jamie Munson or Mark Driscoll). Driscoll was, what 37 or 38 in 2007?  He, too, fit the definition of "young man". 

So if we take this axiom seriously that the Bible has nothing good to say about young men then when Munson claimed that a total lack of trust for executive leadership was an issue perhaps it could be said in defense of Meyer and Petry that "if" Driscoll's axiom is right and that the Bible's got nothing good to say about young guys then why SHOULD Meyer have trusted Munson or Driscoll's judgments regarding the 2007 by-laws?  Driscoll's axiom this year might suggest that the distrust from a previous decade is vindicated by Mark Driscoll's own axiom.

Given that there is no Mars Hill, and given that in the throng of praise for Sutton Turner a recurring thread from former MH employees was to praise his willingness to make tough decisions that saved Mars Hill from barreling over a fiscal cliff ...

it would seem that Driscoll's sweeping axiom about how the Bible's got nothing good to say about young men simply raises the question of why anyone thought he, as a young man, was ever suitable for ministry. SOMEBODY thought he was.  He surely thought he was and even claimed God told him to start planting churches. 

Driscoll celebrated making Munson president in a presentation he gave in 2008. It was in a Q&A session you probably better not bank too much on finding over here. It used to be ....


"Jamie Munson is head of the elder board. Jamie Munson is executive pastor. He is legal president of the organization. And for me, to be honest, it was the most freeing, liberating thing I could have dreamed of because now I don't have all that conflict of interest. I can be friends with someone but I don't have to fire them, do their performance review, and decide how much they get paid. It's just too conflicting for me." 
See, Driscoll once claimed one of his big mistakes was submitting himself to elders who were young and new and green even though he was the spring chicken of that set on the one hand and, on the other ... it made it all the more inexplicable why he put Munson in charge of Mars Hill if it was a mistake to load the leadership up with guys under 40.

Driscoll made a point of saying when Munson resigned that Munson was always above reproach. Driscoll made Munson president by his own account.  Was Driscoll going to second-guess his own judgment in making a guy as young as Munson president of Mars Hill?

Monday, February 22, 2016

Driscoll mentions re-release of a 1 Corinthians series, 33 sermons that he describes as originally preached in 2007 that were, in fact, preached in 2006
Mark Driscoll Feb 22 newsletter 2016

I had a job as a concierge and a belhop at a hotel when I was younger and I kinda had this view of God as a concierge and a belhop. You tell him what you want and he goes and does it and if he doesn't do it, well, then he's not very good at his job.

Is he sure he doesn't still have that view?

But that's not necessarily what we're going to look at here.  Driscoll mentioned there's 33 sermons coming back, the 1 Corinthians series that describes as dating from 2007.

Uh ... 2007?  Had to listen to it a few times to be sure he really mentioned that year.

 Let's go back and consider what sermons were preached in 2007 by Mark Driscoll.

There was Redeeming Ruth (January to February 2007); there was Nehemiah (February to September 2007) with some Titus (July 2007) and The Rebel's Guide to Joy (a Phillipians series from October 2007 to December 2007).

There was no 1 Corinthians series.

That was all in 2006, January to September 2006.
Acts 18:1-18 | Pastor Mark Driscoll
Part 1 | January 08, 2006
1 Corinthians 16:1-24 | Pastor Mark Driscoll
Part 33 | September 24, 2006

You can see for yourself since, at least for the time being, robots.txt isn't getting in the way.

I would have thought that the guy could remember the dates for his own sermons.  It'll be interesting to learn how much content remains from the series, since it was in the 1 Corinthians sermon series from 2006 that discussions about sweet real estate acquisitions came up.

Jonna Petry publishes brief addendum to "My Story", states that Driscoll has not reached out to the Petry family since Joyful Exiles began.


Recently Mark and his supporters report that Mark has made amends with those he hurt. For the record, Mark has not contacted us or anyone we know regarding his egregious actions. Countless people and families have been harmed, an entire church of thousands, not to mention the damage done to the witness of the gospel in this city.

There hasn't been any persuasive plausibility to the "we're not entirely sure who they are" claim Driscoll made back in 2014.  If Sutton Turner could invite me (if by proxy) to a Vision Breakfast there's no particularly clear reason why the executive leadership of Mars Hill, up to and including Mark Driscoll, wouldn't have an idea who Paul Petry is. Driscoll couldn't tell people on the road that a conflict from years ago came to light and still be an honest man if it was true that 'we're not entirely sure who they are", can he?

Driscoll preached recently on men and godliness.  He talked a bit about how the man is the head in the marriage covenant as the head of the household.  Mars Hill was once a church in which the elders had a covenant relationship (so it was said) with the body that was the church.  Driscoll was the president and that would imply headship over the body that was Mars Hill.

If Driscoll wants to keep running with these kinds of metaphors then Driscoll can be seen as a head that decided to leave its associated body, a disembodied head rolling along from state to state doing speaking engagements. 

If Driscoll's still holding the line on how headship means who a man's children date is his responsibility and even maybe the grandkids ... that does invite a question as to why, when the plagiarism controversy erupted, Mars Hill PR thought there was any reason at all to mention some people helped with the assembly of the Trial study guide materials.  If it was just Mark Driscoll's name on that intro it was Mark Driscoll's responsibility as head.

About ten minutes in Driscoll talked about putting his house on the market.  Which house?  The one in Woodway?  He hasn't technically owned that since it was gifted to Melanie Thompson back in 2013.  Now, to be sure ... the taxpayer on that real estate has changed.

parcel # 00704300000600

it's no longer Thompson listed, even if the Downs Family Revocable Living Trust still owns the property.  The taxpayer changed 2/16/2016

But remember how Mark Driscoll was approached by Russ Bowen at that house and claimed it was a wrong address?  watch the video at about 0:50

Okay, so maybe Driscoll lied to Bowen about whether it was the Driscoll house in 2014 before regaling folks at Thrive with tales of the chopper flying above the house and scaring the youngest Driscoll kid.  But then technically the house wasn't owned by a financial instrument set up by Mark Driscoll. 

In which case that can't be the house that was recently sold, can it?  Unless Driscoll referred to the Woodway house "as if" it were his house even though he hasn't formally/legally owned it on paper since 2013.  Unless, of course, there's a possibility that the ownership on paper was just that and that the Driscolls and the Fab Five lived in the Woodway house through 2014 in spite of the on paper ownership.  Some have proposed that the advantage of having real estate owned in a trust is that it can conceal who really owns/lives at the real estate.

But it certainly wasn't the old real estate at Montlake.

The Driscolls sold that back in December 2014 not long after Driscoll resigned.

On the other hand ... Driscoll was preaching at a church in Wenatchee and the Driscolls had a piece of property in Chelan.  Perhaps that's the real estate that sold? For those who may not already know, the most widely read post in the history of Wenatchee the Hatchet was a memo that advised Driscoll get a raise to 650k compensation in addition to the 200k housing allowance he already had.

So where ever that old house was it might have been just enough of an operational expense it had to go on the market.

Thing is, it doesn't seem like it was necessarily the house in Woodway or the one on Montlake in Seattle.

Maybe the house in Chelan sold? That the Driscolls had a house in Chelan was something mentioned from time to time but not something that seemed worth nailing down in the wake of the more newsworthy development of a resignation.

If it was the Woodway house can someone confirm via a headline that the house got hit by a tree?
because ... it's listed as delisted since 9/2015

Throckmorton: Driscoll gives presentation at Grace City Church in Wenatchee, an Acts 29 affiliate, which is a reminder that Acts 29 leadership ejected Mars Hill and requested Mark Driscoll get help to address sin in his life

What's been fascinating is that Acts 29 seems to have gone silent about having ever publicly addressed the issue of Mark Driscoll's conduct as pastor at Mars Hill Church.  This in spite of the fact that what they had to say in 2014 was easy to document.  Now?  Scarcely a trace.  Well, we'll have to revisit some material
8/8/2014 reporting by Ruth Moon

Hoping that "the name of Christ will not continue to be dishonored," the Acts 29 church planting network founded by Mark Driscoll has removed the Seattle pastor and his Mars Hill megachurch from membership.

“It is our conviction that the nature of the accusations against Mark, most of which have been confirmed by him, make it untenable and unhelpful to keep Mark and Mars Hill in our network,” said Acts 29 in an online statement signed by Matt Chandler and other board members of the network of 500 churches.
Acts 29 came to the drastic decision "with deep sorrow," according to the statement. "In taking this action, our prayer is that it will encourage the leadership of Mars Hill to respond in a distinctive and godly manner so that the name of Christ will not continue to be dishonored."

Well that online statement mentioned by Moon is gone.  However ... the brief statement can be accessed by way of ...

A Message from the Board of Acts 29 concerning Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church

It is with deep sorrow that the Acts 29 Network announces its decision to remove Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church from membership in the network. Mark and the Elders of Mars Hill have been informed of the decision, along with the reasons for removal. It is our conviction that the nature of the accusations against Mark, most of which have been confirmed by him, make it untenable and unhelpful to keep Mark and Mars Hill in our network. [emphasis added] In taking this action, our prayer is that it will encourage the leadership of Mars Hill to respond in a distinctive and godly manner so that the name of Christ will not continue to be dishonored.

The Board of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network

Matt Chandler
Darrin Patrick
Steve Timmis
Eric Mason
John Bryson
Bruce Wesley
Leonce Crump

There's a bit more on an expanded form of the announcement over here:


As the Board of Acts 29, we are grateful to God for the leadership, courage, and generosity of both you and Mars Hill in not only founding the network but also sustaining it through the transition to this board three years ago. The very act of giving away your authority over the network was one of humility and grace, and for that we are grateful.

Over the past three years, our board and network have been the recipients of countless shots and dozens of fires directly linked to you and what we consider ungodly and disqualifying behavior. We have both publicly and internally tried to support and give you the benefit of the doubt, even when multiple pastors in our network confirmed this behavior. In response, we leaned on the Mars Hill Board of Advisors & Accountability to take the lead in dealing with this matter. But we no longer believe the BoAA is able to execute the plan of reconciliation originally laid out. Ample time has been given for repentance, change, and restitution, with none forthcoming. [emphasis added]

We now have to take another course of action. Based on the totality of the circumstances, we are now asking you to please step down from ministry for an extended time and seek help. Consequently, we also feel that we have no alternative but to remove you and Mars Hill from membership in Acts 29. Because you are the founder of Acts 29 and a member, we are naturally associated with you and feel that this association discredits the network and is a major distraction.

We tell you this out of love for you, Mars Hill, Acts 29, and most significantly, the cause of Christ, and we would be irresponsible and deeply unloving not to do so in a clear and unequivocal manner. Again, we want you to know that we are eternally thankful for what you as a man and Mars Hill as a church have meant to our network. However, that cannot dissuade us from action. Instead, it gives added significance and importance to our decision.

We hope and pray that you see this decision as the action of men who love you deeply and want you to walk in the light—for your good, the good of your family, and the honor of your Savior. Shortly after sending this, we will be informing the members of Acts 29, your Board of Advisors and Accountability, and your elders, as well as putting out a public statement on the Acts 29 website. It brings us no joy to move forward in this direction, and we trust that the Lord will be at work in all of this. [emphasis added]

In sorrow and with hope,

The Board of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network

Matt Chandler
Darrin Patrick
Steve Timmis
Eric Mason
John Bryson
Bruce Wesley
Leonce Crump

So if the executive level leadership of Acts 29 said "X" couldn't it be construed that McPherson has said "not X" by featuring Driscoll at Grace City Church in Wenatchee?

There's two core questions here.

1) why has Acts 29 become so coy about what they were once so publicly firm about in 2014?
2) if Acts 29 leadership hasn't changed their mind and Acts 29 associates were informed of the reasons to consider Mark Driscoll no longer fit for ministry why did Josh McPherson or associates extend a speaking engagement to Mark Driscoll?