Saturday, June 18, 2016

"From the margins: women's writing and unpaid labor" ... some glum ruminations on art as leisure activity that keeps getting transmogrified by rhetoric into a priestly vocation ...
...Yet I heard from these women again and again that they assigned the greatest value possible to their writing precisely because they were aware no one else would do so, and because writing is real work. This valuation, unconsidered by the market, can instead be measured in terms of time, emotional energy, curiosity, focus, exchange of ideas: elements women know have essential currency in their lives. Even while raising a toddler, S. gets up to write in the mornings before her teaching job. That her writing is the labor of least immediate need – if she didn’t do it, her family wouldn’t go hungry or become homeless – doesn’t push it to the end of the to-do list. G. told me that she “tries not to compromise for anyone,” which means that writing trumps hanging with friends. K., who turned to freelance writing and editing after failing to find steady work in her new city, says that although she is apt to prioritize nonfiction assignments that pay, her fiction is what has “long-term value” for her: she hopes to get paid for it someday, but in the meantime she likes to remember that the value of writing is ultimately measured by the impact it has. “You don’t know where words will go,” she said, especially given the democratic access made possible by the Internet. [emphases added]

There's ... possibly some cognitive dissonance in deciding to value your writing because you perceive that no one else does but to keep writing all the same in the hope that it will have an impact.  There doesn't have to be, of course, but all art is a social activity to some degree or another.  You choose to value the art you make because you know that, right now, no one else does.  That might be why, as Matanya Ophee put it in something he wrote years ago, when you get down to it you have to concede that all publishing is ultimately some variation of vanity publishing.
In 1938, writing Three Guineas, Virginia Woolf bemoaned to her imaginary correspondent the fact that in order for women to receive an education that would allow them to earn a living, already a struggle, they had to subject themselves to the very values of competition and domination they hoped to escape by wriggling out from the financial grips of men. Women who have the education and privilege to earn their own money and spend it on time devoted to non-market creative production are in some ways acting out Woolf’s dream. Every time we sit down to write, often in the economic margins of our own lives, we choose ourselves and our work over activities whose value has been set by others. Simultaneously, we determine a value scale for our writing that’s different from the one set by a magazine’s pay rates, a tenure committee, or the book-buying public.

 This value scale is reflected in women’s goals for their writing. When I asked the women I spoke with about the endgame of their work, their responses were civic and existential, not just commercial: to create books people read and want to talk about, to exchange ideas, to make beautiful things. Not that we should knock commerce: for women especially, the passive income that can come from a successful book is yet another way of establishing the fiscal independence that can lead to cultural influence with fewer strings attached.

Woolf would enjoy this above all about the growing cadre of female “writers and _____.” We have found a way to continue our own education, and each other’s, by creating work that exists somewhat outside the economic influence of a society where we still only count sometimes. Our society sends women a gloppy salad of mixed messages: extolling mothers while denying them paid family leave, encouraging creativity only when it’s applied to saleable products, and keeping the cost of education high enough that students can barely afford to exchange ideas for fear of losing the job opportunity that pays their loans back. Amid all of that noise, we’ve still managed to create spaces – an hour here, an afternoon there – where only our work and its impact matter. [emphasis added] But nothing comes from nothing: the ability to do that is a natural extension of our ability to participate in the labor force at all. As Woolf put it, once a woman earns her own money, “she can declare her genuine likes and dislikes. In short, she need not acquiesce; she can criticize. At last she is in possession of an influence that is disinterested.” Criticizing and influencing now means something more than writing alone in a room: somewhere in that zone of fiscal and ideological independence, we have to take seriously our responsibility to value our work – and each other – loudly, especially when others won’t

This piece reminded me why Joan Didion considered feminism to be more or less a waste of time.  There were more important things and more interesting things to write about, for Didion, than some imaginary sisterhood.  One of the things I've read from Scott Timberg over the years is a polemic that has it that if we're not careful production in the arts will be a leisure activity.  Debra cash considered it a good line.

“If we’re not careful, culture work will become a luxury, like a vacation home,” Timberg writes. It’s a good line, and one that anyone who values a diverse cultural ecology would want to affirm. What he doesn’t want to admit is that, absent direct patronage, professional culture workers have often depended on outside sources of income. For some it was the second job (in the post-war period, that job was primarily teaching, a job indirectly subsidized by the government in the form of the G.I. Bill fostering a new population of students). For others, it was something unrelated (meet pediatrician William Carlos Williams). For many (more than we have usually acknowledged and certainly more than today’s BFA and MFA students are aware) it was a trust fund, family member, or a spouse of means. That cushion made it possible for a talented person work on a novel or a painting until the work could earn respect, if not a proportionate wage for the work the artist put into it. Maybe the market would respond, and maybe it wouldn’t, but at least the creative person had a chance to find out.

But I consider it stupid and dishonest.  "culture work" has always been the luxury of people in societies who didn't not have to worry about presently dying of starvation, malnutrition, pestilence, war, etc.  The arts have always been the product of leisure. 

I'm on the fence about "the culture of free".  Part of why I'm on the fence about it is that I'm not sure I think artists (read that as writers, musicians, poets, etc) should be able to make a living in the arts.  What if the arts scene that was celebrated in the last half century or so was a kind of cultural bubble, a side effect of the wartime and post-war production explosion?  What if, as some folks have proposed, the proliferation of certain types of avant garde activity in the Western arts was in some way bankrolled by the CIA?  Don't snicker too much, there's an actual book on this topic I'm planning to get to later this year. 

Ever since Miyazaki's The Wind Rises came out a few years ago I've been thinking about how film critics said it was a film about the nature of art ... but nobody seemed willing to take the simple step of proposing that what that film might say about art is that it is invariably the servant of an empire, no matter how idealized and idealistic it may be to those who work within whatever "art" may be.  Which would you choose, Caproni asks Jiro in one of Jiro's vision/dreams, a world with ... or without the pyramids?  The question is a haunting one because it is a question that, historically speaking, we've always had only one answer for, we live in a world with pyramids.

Long, long ago scribes were uncommon.  Scribes were part of an elite, part of a religious or political elite.  There were whole empires in which the capacity to read and write was guarded as a privilege not to be dispensed to the rank and file and the masses.  We live in an era in which writers seem to want that scribal/priestly caste's halo.  If we can't get that veneration from others ... we'll bestow it upon ourselves? 

When so many critiques of institutional and informal power consist of the proposal and observation that there's ultimately no such thing as "disinterested" speech ... it seems weird to propose that "now" women can arrive at what Woolf presented as an aspiration.  How sure should we be that we want to live out a highbrow perspective?  I mean, if you're into that, great.  I have some highbrow tastes myself.  It's just that ... it doesn't seem like criticizing and influencing have changed all that much.  No one "counts" all the time.  "Counting" is a sometime process even for the most powerful man in the world. 

Sometimes it's helpful to remember that if today writers keep saying stuff to the effect that the words they can write down can/could/would/should/will have the power to change reality as we know it and that seems a bit overhyped ... that's kind of one of the ineradicable undercurrents of humans writing.  The hope and ambition that the written word could change the world as we know it probably goes back as far as the world's first written word. 

some extra reading for the weekend, academic writings that discuss Sor's approach to sonata form (finally! there are treatises you can find on this stuff)

This one ...

A Performance Guide to the Multi-Movement Guitar Sonatas of Fernando Sor and Mauro Giuliani
Rattanai Bampenyou

This one discusses Sor and Giulani, their formal sonatas and performance notes about playing those sonatas.  While I would have suggested (as I have here at Wenatchee The Hatchet) including the etudes in E flat and C major as examples of sonata form in Sor's work, this treatise was a fine overview of the "official" deployment of sonata in Sor's work. 

Particularly interesting to me is reference to academic treatments of sonata and 18th century approaches to music by William E Caplin James Hepokoski and Warren Darcy that got mentioned in Bampenyou's treatment.  I've seen reference to Caplin's writing on sonata form over at Kyle Gann's blog and plan to check out Caplin's work.  The Hepokoski/Darcy work is referenced as presenting a range of potential sonata forms, and THAT sounds fascinating.  Charles Rosen wrote decades ago that there wasn't a fixed sonata form but it seems Hepokoski and Darcy got around to building a general taxonomy of types of sonata forms that has probably been overdue for a generation.

Bampenyou's treatment suggests that as 21st century musicology and musical analysis can manage to shake off the 19th century oversimplifications about sonata and fugue, and we work to get a sense that sonata and fugue were not so much fixed forms as flexible thought processes, it may be possible for guitarists to do more scholarly work in exploring the ways guitarist composers approached sonata form.  I've already blogged years ago that you can't take the strict "textbook" sonata concept promulgated in 19th century and earlier 20th century lesson plans and make sense of what Diabelli did in his Op. 29 sonatas where, for instance, he never brings back his first theme material in the recapitulation of his first movement for the F major sonata. Rather than seeing this as a "failure" to write a "good" sonata form, it's nice to see scholarship has come around to being able to recognize that this would fit within the range of compositional choices available to composers. 

So we could maybe even gamble on saying that when Chopin didn't bring back primary theme material in his B flat minor piano sonata it was less a deviation from the range of "norms" than it was a less "probable" choice within the range of what was expected of a "good" sonata form in 19th century terms.  But that may suggest, to me at least, that Chopin had a firm enough of a grasp of what his options were that he didn't feel obliged to follow what were arguably 19th century misconceptions about what sonata form "ought" to do.

Perhaps one of the reasons that the 19th century theorists misunderstood the sonata form or "first movement" form is that by the 19th century a number of interpretive/performance decisions had been made that led to a kind of conceptual compression.  In earlier sonatas you'd play the exposition twice and that repetition was structural and not simply ornamental.  The development and recapitulation might get repeated, too, but many of these repeats were not observed in a lot of performances (and recordings).  These repeats could be skipped because, basically, there's a conceptual compression that can take place.  Once we have the idea that we know what a sonata is supposed to sound like we don't "need" to repeat the exposition to know we've heard an exposition.  We don't "need" to observe the repeats even if they are clearly written into the score. 

Eventually compositional practice in continuing to work with sonata form could emulate the performance practice but it's possible that by the 19th century the practical compression of the formal elements of sonata movements led to a point where the nature of what was going on in terms of 18th century practices led to a misreading by 19th century theorists.  That over time many composers chose primary and secondary themes with contrasting qualities could lead 19th century theorists to conceive of sonata form as a clash between themes and their characters rather than a discourse built on contrasts in tonality--any long-term study of the music of Haydn would reveal that thematic contrast is not really a requirement in his sonata forms.  He wasn't the only composer who played with monothematicism as a guiding process in sonata forms but he's easily the most famous. 

Leonard B. Meyer wrote in the last century that in the drive to explore music as innovation scholars overlooked the component of choice, of what choices are made and within what contexts.  Meyer stated that the Romantic era theorists imagined sonata form as a "plan" rather than a "script".  I'd write more about that but I'd need to go dig up actual quotable references before I feel like doing that.  So, instead ... we'll get to the other academic paper ...

Fernando Sor's Evolution as a Performer and Composer as Reflected in the Revisions of the Grande Sonate, Op. 22
Lars Rosvoll

And, yeah, that's exactly as treatise-y as the title suggests.  :)  I read both these treatises a while back and really enjoyed them.  I've got books to keep on my readerly radar about sonata form that I'll at some point get to. 

Now if comparable academic treatments of sonata forms as explored by Diabelli, Carulli, Matiegka or ... maybe even Molitor got written that'd be a nice step forward for academic study of the guitar literature.  You could easily write a treatment of Matiegka's appropriation of Haydn's works in his output.  I've been thinking about writing such a thing for a while, actually, because I might have more Haydn music than any composer except perhaps Bach ... no ... actually that's probably not true.  I have a LOT of Haydn in my listening stock. 

So, anyway, there's some cool stuff to read on Sor's guitar sonatas if you're into that kind of thing, which I obviously am.

HT Jim West: The Role of Women in the Making of the Messianic Dynasty by Rachel Adelman
The Role of Women in the Making of the Messianic Dynasty

Some reading for your weekend, if you like.

Sandow at Arts Journal proposes that classical music doesn't do African American musical idioms but I've got my doubts about this--what if the problem is "classical" has rejected vernacular/pop idioms and the abjection of black American music was just part of that?
One reason Hamilton hit so hard, and seemed both so current and so right, was that its music was hiphop.
But classical music doesn’t do hiphop. Or any other African-American musical idiom. Oh, something might creep in, now and then, but it’s coming from outside.

I have my doubts about this. Serious doubts.  It's not as though ragtime, for instance, hasn't been in any way connected to the "classical" tradition, for instance.  Or does that not "count" because of the observable influence of European parlor music?  It's still a potentially live question whether or not classical music does vernacular American musical idioms as a whole.  Plus ...
and one of the misconceptions George Walker has lived with for half a century is the assumption that a black musician "must" play jazz. 
and here's a link to an interview with Ethan Iverson, through whose blogging I learned of George Walker's music.
Walker's piano sonatas are pretty cool, by the way. 
Walker's no more obliged to write music that people would say has to sound "black" than to write music that has to sound "white".  One of the misgivings I have had about the rhetoric of "cultural appropriation" as applied to musical idioms from people of color is that when there's a complaint about cultural appropriation this seems to forget that if we listen to how Ellington dodged the attempt to define his music as "jazz" we'll miss something--in his history of Western music Richard Taruskin said that there are two broad camps on the issue of ethnomusicology that could be described as essentialist and social constructivist.  There are those who would say race is a social construct and those who consider there to be something essential in a race that is reflected in the music. 

The terms themselves would probably convey their meanings easily enough.  The way they often get used ... it can sometimes seem as if one of the simplest problems with any "essentialist" reading is that it requires people to be put in a "bucket" based on race.  I've been reading Ted Gioia's book on the Delta blues and he wrote that while there was some possibility Charlie Patton had Native American in his lineage that didn't matter because in Patton's part of the South he was a black man.  And that can sum up the limitation of an essentialist approach to the arts and to even defining race.  If you come from a mixed race lineage do you have to "pick" which lineage is "really" yours?  Why?
But it seems to me that when I try to remember how Ellington appealed to the history of his race in describing the music he wrote it was as if he made an essentialist appeal for the motivation to write the music but didn't necessarily invoke essentialist terms for the music itself which, I would hope this is obvious by now, he hoped anyone and everyone could appreciate. It's impossible to overlook the "cultural appropriation" of a quote from Chopin's B flat minor piano sonata funeral march at the end of "Black and Tan Fantasy".  Was that an improper cultural appropriation on the part of one of Ellington's musicians?  No, it was a brilliant musical joke that's part of a jazz classic. 
As Rod Dreher was arguing in the last year cultural appropriation is pretty much the whole history of art.  I'd take an extra step and suggest that what J. S. Bach did when he assimilated aspects of the German, French, English and Italian styles and maybe some Polish folk tunes here and there he was undertaking a culturally appropriative project.  Cultural appropriation certainly happens in the contexts of empires but in that sense all art reflects the empire of its time and place and the "mainstream" is the assimilative project that results.  Blues and country are more the mainstream now than classical music and if classical music has had a public relations problem it is more likely that it has looked down on vernacular and popular styles as a whole in a way that wasn't even observably the case in prior centuries. 
Now classical music may have a long history of doing African-American musical idioms BADLY but that's not the same thing as saying it's never found a place for vernacular or folk music.  It may not have helped that essentialist narratives have too often guided how "we" have tried to talk about musical idioms and disciplines.  Back when I was in school some teachers had a supposition that blues and jazz had this form/function relationship in which the vernacular idioms wouldn't "fit" with sonata or fugue.  I've never agreed with that idea.  I think that blues and country could ... if not easily fit into the formal/developmental parameters of sonata or fugue, they could still fit.  The only reason you "can't" write a fugue based on blues riffs or country licks is not because it actually can't be done but because too many people have dumped blues and country into some category where it's not allowed to inform 18th century contrapuntal procedures and vice versa.  But I'll just assert here that there are moments in Haydn string quartets where I heard a laconic I IV V progression and melodic riff that could have fit into a Hank Williams Sr. song.  Somewhere in the mid-50 opus numbered quartets. 
If Sandow's take is classical music needs to take an anti-chauvinist stance with respect to any real or perceived divides between "art" music and "popular" music I'm totally on board with being an anti-chauvinist.  I've gone so far as to argue, as a Christian that there's a theological/doctrinal/ethical imperative to side with the anti-chauvinist position.  Non-Christians are, of course, free to have some other reason to object to the chauvinist stance in which "high" art gets to look down on "low" art, or the middle-brow.
But to say so sweepingly that classical music doesn't "do" African American music ... I think that's a harder generalization to either make or defend.  Alex Ross wrote something about Wagner and his music and our popular imagination a while back where he proposed that the racism we read on to the Wagner cult may tell us less about them in the past than about us now. 
If race is a social construct then there isn't a white or a black way to use an augmented sixth chord and the conceptual/lexical possibilities in styles can be approached as art that is informed by a history of a group without collapsing the music itself into that history.  I've got no beef with an essentialist narrative for why blacks, whites and other colors of people write the music they do or how they draw inspiration to write music that expresses where they've come from, but if as some argue, race is a social construct, then musicology could maybe run with that.  Our musical notation system has its limits, obviously, but that wouldn't mean that just because live performance involves microtonal variations that our notational system can't account for that American blues somehow doesn't follow "the rules" of Western music.  The history of musical theories in the West has, at least up until the innovations of the 20th century, tended to be more of a post hoc explanation of what people liked to keep listening to than a prescription.   As a post hoc exercise in figuring out why "we" keep coming back to Haydn string quartets or blues by John Lee Hooker we're no more obliged to act as if there are "rules" that dictate what they "should have done" than to explore what they actually did in the stuff we like. If that means at some point we have to shake off some more vestiges of German Idealism, so be it. 


Slate "The media keeps misfiring when it writes about guns"
It’s a little surprising that Mother Jones conflated the two in its Orlando coverage. The magazine tends to be scrupulously sober-minded about guns; its database of mass shootings is thorough and resists the urge to inflate fearmongering statistics. Less surprising, perhaps, are Rolling Stone’s errors. The magazine’s claim that it’s easier to get an assault rifle than an abortion is particularly egregious, since assault rifles are regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934 and require a lengthy permit process that is handled by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Do you want an M16, the military version of the AR-15? Expect a wait of seven to eleven months.
In the Washington Post this week, Eugene Robinson wrote, “When the framers wrote of  ‘arms,’ they were thinking about muskets and single-shot pistols. They could not have foreseen modern rifles or high-capacity magazines.” A few problems with this. First, gun enthusiasts will be only too happy to educate you on the existence of the Girandoni air rifle, which dates back to 1779, 12 years before the Second Amendment was ratified. It used compressed air, not gunpowder, and could hold 20 bullets at once. Lewis and Clark had one with them when Thomas Jefferson sent them out to explore the West. Second, we can argue all day about what the Framers—all now dead for 200 years or so—intended with the Second Amendment. But it seems disingenuous to argue that, in crafting a document that has largely served us well for more than 220 years, they couldn’t imagine improvements in gun technology.
If the media wants to work toward actual solutions for gun violence, to do right by the people who are senselessly murdered, they need more than righteous indignation. They need to be better informed and more willing to engage honestly with their opponents.
This week has been a week for the left and right to advocate for the kind of police state they think we ought to have.  I'm skeptical about a lot of ideas espoused by folks from the libertarian camp because I think that the baseline for human group behavior tends toward authoritarian/conformist/totalitarian rather than individual liberty.  Granted, libertarians seem to get that this can be the frequent baseline.  So to the extent that they argue for limits on government power I can appreciate that.  Neither the left nor the right have convinced me in the last thirty years that what they ultimately want ISN'T functionally totalitarian.  There seems to be a sentiment that says "it's not tyranny if my team came up with the idea" that becomes "tyranny!" when the other side implements the policy.

This feels like the most pernicious aspect of partisan loyalty in the two-party system of our era, that the kinds of people who vote red state or blue state across the board who envision that the ideal future would be one in which their party dominates every level of governance don't realize that in emotional, spiritual and intellectual terms what we used to call that in the previous century was a totalitarian mindset.  Aka one party.  The kinds of people who take to the internet to advocate for their ideological/political causes often as not (more often, it seems) want what looks suspiciously like a totalitarian regime in some form or another. 

The Slate piece that compared the eventual banning of these and those firearms to the eventual abolition of slavery came off like a smug argument in bad faith.  The propaganda of the left and right white establishments has camped out on slavery as a comparison point.  Perhaps as whites are demographically less the "mainstream" one of the necessary aims of propaganda for the probably still mainly white rich male power bases in the two party system is to successfully make the case that the OTHER party is more racist overall in its core convictions than the one who's making a pitch for your loyalty.  But it's not a contest, both lose.  But it's interesting to read the polemics all the same because whether it's Jacobin making a case that neo-cons were basically Jews who betrayed the interests of blacks because they feared that affirmative action and quotas in academia would harm their unusually large hold on formal power in American academics or conservatives reminding everyone of the racist element in eugenics as a progressive cause the end game seems awkwardly clear, don't vote for those racists, vote for us.  But if racism was so endemic as to be entrenched across the divides then pretending that "we" aren't all connected to it doesn't matter.  Even if we distinguish between racism as racist views married to institutional and informal power on the one hand and racist views in which a person can demonize another race that might have power the core problem doesn't go away.

What seems to keep coming up is that one the one hand we have partisans who complain about how violence has been directed to one group or another in a way that is unjust ... but then we still can't shake off the act of scapegoating.  That seems to be one of our core problems as humans.  Gays were shot and killed in the last week and ... if we ban something then at least they will be killed in less gruesomely efficient ways. 

But for Slate contributors to compare banning guns to ending slavery seems specious.  The nearest comparison point of banning access to THINGS, rather than ending institutional prohibitions that disenfranchised whole groups of people, would be the prohibition of alcohol or the war on drugs.  Some have gone so far as to say that if you end the war on drugs you'll end the formal excuses used by law enforcement to keep institutional racism alive. 

People scapegoat and when they scapegoat they will feel that whomever they're scapegoating maybe isn't even being scapegoated, it's just giving those bad people whatever payback is what they deserve for being evil.  That's just how people seem to be, especially when they say that the truth of their nature is otherwise. 

Over the last twenty some years of my rather humdrum life I have considered and rejected the axiom that man was born free but everywhere is in chains.  No, chains are what we want.  You will never convince the sheeple to wake up by telling them they're sheeple.  No, they'll hear you say that and if you tell them to stop drinking the Kool-aid they will drink another gallon just to spite you.  We are conformists as humans, we are drinkers of Kool-aid.  You're more likely to get people to second-guess themselves not by saying "don't drink the Kool-aid" but by saying something more like, "Look, I know we like to drink Kool-aid because that's something we observably do but ... why should we drink THIS Kool-aid? What is it about this one that makes its flavor so appealing?"  This approach doesn't tell them to stop drinking the kool-aid, you'll notice, it suggests that there might be a more appealing flavor to try.  The miserable, tragic paradox of those who would insist that people choose another way is they so frequently take up the incendiary rhetoric that would simultaneously insist that those they hope to convince have no other morally acceptable choice. There may in the end be no more tyrannically uncompromising rhetorical idiom in contemporary internet discourse than that which talks about human freedoms. 

Over at Triablogue, Steve raises the problem of how eternal subordination/eternal generation of the Son ends up being superfluous to the complementarian position if complementarianism isn't supportable at the level of biological/social reality

I'd like to comment on a subset of complementarians who ground their position in the eternal subordination of the Son, which, in turn, is grounded in eternal generation. For discussion purposes, let's stipulate eternal generation.

i) The direct way to underwrite complementarianism is to say that while men and women are alike in many ways, and can do the same things in areas where they are alike, men and women are naturally dissimilar in certain significant ways, and social structures ought to reflect and respect those differences. Men and women have certain physical and psychological differences which, at least in part, undergird complementarianism

Another way to potentially put this, perhaps, is to suggest that if complementarianism can't be established on the basis of some form of "natural law" or observation about nature then  ...
ii) The question, then, is whether these natural differences are sufficient or insufficient to justify complementarianism. If sufficient, then the eternal subordination of the Son is superfluous to complementarianism. The natural differences between men and women are adequate to warrant different treatment. Treat like things alike, and unlike things unalike. That's a stand-alone justification for the position. It requires nothing else.

iii) But suppose the natural differences are deemed to be insufficient. In that event, appeal to the eternal subordination of the Son functions as a makeweight. If, however, the natural differences are insufficient to justify complementarianism, then it's hard to see how invoking the eternal subordination of the Son will shore up that deficiency. [emphasis added] ...
I'm translating a bit here, so to speak, but the proposal is that if complementarianism can't be defended at the "lower level" of anthropology then trying to raise the bar or defend it at the higher level of intra-Trinitarian dynamics won't get the job done, either, especially since by definition we Christians have to grant that the being and nature of God is frequently incommensurate to what we can say about ourselves as humans.
Something else Steve has mentioned that's worth quoting is the observation that while a consensus report has had it that this has been an intra-Calvinist debate ... :
ii) Some commentators have framed the issue as an intra-Calvinist debate. But that's questionable. For instance, Bruce Ware is an Amyraldian Molinist who denies divine impassibility. Likewise, I don't know if all the various contributors to One God in Three Persons: Unity of Essence, Distinction of Persons, Implications for Life are Calvinists. By the same token, I don't know if Denny Burke is a Calvinist. 

iii) In addition, I suspect many or most contemporary NT scholars reject eternal generation (and eternal procession) because they reject the traditional interpretation of the standard prooftexts for eternal generation (and eternal procession). If so, Calvinism is not the differential factor. 
In other words, let's not be too quick to assume this has been an intra-Calvinist debate since Amyraldian Molinism isn't exactly traditionally Reformed.  Now it does seem like it might be slightly safer to say that there's been some differences between Baptists and Presybterians in some settings, perhaps, but this is still a sweeping generalization, too. 
The trouble is that sweeping generaliations are kind of what humans make on the internet. It's hard to shake it even if you're trying not to and many people aren't trying not to.

Friday, June 17, 2016

HT Jim West, a longform piece at Atlantic Monthy about the Jesus' wife fraudulent manuscript Prof. King got behind

for the TL:DR scene, if it seems too good to be true ... or, rather, we could say that the quest for novelty in America is so toxic now that American academics (for want of a better word) can embody it now as much as a tabloid.
To sum up: are simple statements of academics, dealers and collectors, eventually accompanied by unchecked and/or not publicly available documents, sufficient to prove provenance in scientific publications of recently emerged texts? Personally, I do not think so, especially after what we have been seeing in recent years and in the wider context of a market inundated by an increasing stream of objects coming from Egypt (You want number and graphs? Then read e.g. D.W. Gill, ‘Egyptian Antiquities on the Market’, in: The Management of Egypt’s Cultural Heritage, edited by F. A. Hassan, and al., vol. 2: 67-77. London 2015).

This story invites all of us – members of editorial boards in particular – to reflect very carefully on documenting provenance. Imagine a different, and more sinister scenario, one involving someone who smuggles a papyrus, or buys it illegally, and then offers it to an academic so desperate to publish to avoid checking provenance in depth: in this case, if the academic is based in the United Kingdom, he can risk to be charged with an offence under section 328 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 connected with money laundering, because his publication or opinion facilitates exchanges of criminal property. (You don’t believe me? Then read J. Ulph and al., The Illicit Trade in Art and Antiquities. International Recovery and Criminal and Civil Liability, Oxford 2012, esp. pp. 110-111).
Now, my fellow academics, ask yourself once again: would you publish a papyrus without solid, documented provenance for a flashy appearance on the media and one more article out?

Thursday, June 16, 2016

recent Atlantic feature about She-ra opens with one of the more readily disputable claims about animation in the US of the last forty years "The 1980s were a golden era for TV cartoons". I beg to differ

The 1980s were a golden era for TV cartoons. Animated shows including The Smurfs, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and The Real Ghostbusters featured vivid landscapes and a variety of strange heroes, from blue forest people to human-cat hybrids to sewer turtles. But they had one significant thing in common. As the writer Katha Pollitt noted in The New York Times in 1991, most cartoon series featured a legion of male characters but only a single female, a phenomenon that Pollitt called the “Smurfette Principle.” Because the animation industry and the children’s toy market were so closely linked at the time, the trope of a token girl amid a troupe of boys dominated not only television, but also the shelves of toy stores.
having actually been a kid from that time the era was not exactly a golden era for TV cartoons.  It was a golden era for fully integrated mass media marketing campaigns that had as their singular aim the promotion of toys, video games, and things like that ... but in terms of animation as an art form that aspired to more than making new ways to sell Diaclone toys that's another matter.
The article focuses on She-ra as a kind of proto-Powerpuff triumph.  The thing is, the case that cartoons were some kind of boy-centric thing comes off as slightly overstated.
it's been drubbed by film critics but the Jem and the Holograms live-action film suggests that for those who remember the cartoon from the 1980s it was not strictly some boys' club.  The existence of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is predicated on its 1980s-era forebear.  The Care Bears got TWO movies inside of the Reagan era and an animated show.  Rainbow Brite had an animated show.  Strawberry Shortcake had an animated world to explore.  The fact that middle-aged men with more money than aesthetic sense may keep giving Michael Bay an incentive to make Transformers movies isn't in itself a proof that the 1980s were a golden age for `toons.
This day I considered the shows from the 1980s I could remember readily.
There was a Care Bears show.  Lotso from Toy Story 3 was, a rumor has it, intended to be an evil Care Bear. 
How about Pole Position? Remember playing that video game?  Check out the cartoon series!  If your tastes veered more toward Pac Man or Donkey Kong (and associated games) there were cartoons for those, too.  If we wanted to float the idea that cartoons could incorporate primarily minority cast characters there's always Rubik the Amazing Cube but the show was, to put it nicely, nothing more than an advertisement for, you know.  Dan Riba would go on to work on far more memorable stuff later!
Actually ... as animated spin-offs from a live-action tie-in go ... Mister T had a catchy theme song and is a couple of steps up from Rubik (in my opinion, obviously).  Maybe people won't remember Cavadini's work in this cartoon but maybe they'll remember her (deservedly so!) for her work as Blossom.
Then there's Turbo Teen. There's the Gary Coleman Show.Thundarr the Barbarian was pretty solid for a Ruby Spears production.
And who could forget Alvin & the Chipmunks from the 1980s?  And that franchise spawned a few live-action features, as did, obviously, the Smurfs.  Now we could easily establish that in the 1980s some juggernaut franchises emerged that led to many live-action films being made in this century film critics wish they didn't have to review ... but to say of that age of Reagan that it was a golden era for TV cartoons ... that's not how I remember it and I was a kid in that era.  If you want to get the Gummi Bears adventures on disc I'm sure you can.  Surely, by now, you're sensing a theme with variations.
I mean, once you get past the obvious toy commercials like G. I. Joe, Transformers, He-Man ... when you factor in Thundercats and Silverhawks it's ... still hard to say confidently the 1980s was a golden era for TV cartoons.  There's those, and Ducktales and Tailspin were memorably solid shows.  Disney's TV line was far more steady in the 1980s than its feature film `toons.  The franchises that keep coming back with live-action films are the ones that had genuinely bankable toys.  I'm not reading anything in any trade magazines (even if I read those) about a Gummi Bears revival just yet.  The Jem movie may have been pilloried by film critics but somebody thought the premise could work.  And Jem could be said to have taken up an element from, say, Josie and the Pussycats. 
Whereas in the 1990s we can throw in The Simpsons, Batman: the animated series, Animaniacs, Tiny Toons, Tailspin, Gargoyles, Superman: the animated series.  Beavis & Butthead, Freakazoid, The Powerpuff Girls, Ren & Stimpy, Static Shock, and South Park.  We could even throw in Transformers: Beast Wars and that's not even remotely comprehensive for a list. 
If you want to make a case that there was a golden era for TV cartoons the 1990s seem like a stronger candidate.  While Maria Theresa Hart is welcome to think of the 1980s as a golden era for TV cartoons, for this kid who was around for that era there was a lot of cut-rate stuff.  And arguably things have gotten vastly better as people began to treat animation as an art form that had a purpose besides getting kids to persuade parents to shell out money for toys, video games, snack foods and so on.  It's just impossible for me to see the 1980s as a golden era for TV cartoons.  The golden era for animation for TV toons was the 1990s.  For that matter even feature animation in the 1980s was often not that good.  The Transformers movie from back then is barely ... you know ... I have to admit I could never finish watching it.  The Bayformer films hold up better.  Whereas I'd watch The Last Unicorn again.  And in the 1990s?  Well, some studio called Pixar made some film about toys and, in contrast to the 1980s precedent, got it to have some more artistic weight to it for ... some reason.  It's not that you can't make animation that ends up selling toys, it's that there's other stuff that has to happen, too.  Jem was not the token girl, for instance, she was the whole point of her show. 

a follow up on Resurgence as distinct from Resurgence Publishing Inc. Turner warned in March 2012 MH was in a financial mess, but by May 2012 Resurgence Publishing, Inc was set up and Mars Hill Music was announced as the new Christian music label gunning to take over Christian radio.
For me personally, everything culminated at the end of 2006. Despite rapid growth, the church was not healthy and neither was I. My workload was simply overwhelming. I was preaching five times a Sunday, the senior leader in Mars Hill responsible to some degree for literally everything in the church, president of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network which had exploded, president of The Resurgence, an author writing books, a conference speaker traveling, a media representative doing interviews, a student attending graduate school, a father with five young children, and a husband to a wife whom I have adored since the first day I met her and needed my focus more than ever. [emphases added] I was working far too many hours and neglecting my own physical and spiritual well-being, and then I hit the proverbial wall. For many weeks I simply could not sleep more than two or three hours a night. I had been running off of adrenaline for so many years that my adrenal glands fatigued and the stress of my responsibilities caused me to be stuck “on” physically and unable to rest or sleep. After a few months I had black circles under my eyes, was seeing a fog, and was constantly beyond exhausted.

so by Mark Driscoll's account he was president of The Resurgence, whatever that was, during 2006.  He was blogging a bit in 2006 at The Resurgence.  There's tagged posts of some of the stuff he had to say about Jenna Jameson, Adriana Lima and ... there was kind of a pattern going there for a while. There was something about Oprah, of course, and something sorta tangentially associated with Ted Haggard that wasn't really about Haggard so much as Driscoll soap-boxing.. It became apparent that if given the opportunity to regard women in the modeling industry as industrious marketing representatives in the advertising industry (a la Suzy Parker) or as dumb women who can't spell the word "contradiction" that Driscoll chose the latter option.  But since Resurgence web pages seem to have been assimilated into Resurgence Publishing Inc. assets ...

Thank you for visiting the

Mark Driscoll Ministries recently purchased The Resurgence and all of its assets in a public auction conducted by a law firm. We are excited to reestablish this site, but it will be some time before we are able to catalogue and determine what will happen with the content. In the meantime, if you would like the latest information on The Resurgence and Pastor Mark Driscoll please visit The site contains his latest Bible teaching, speaking calendar, and an option to sign up for weekly updates via the newsletter. You can also follow @pastormark on twitter.

It would seem that while for a time there weren't robots.txt for a lot of the Resurgence links robots.txt may be back.

The Resurgence has not always necessarily meant Resurgence Publishing, Inc.  There has never been a UBI registered number for The Resurgence, so functionally it was essentially a subsidiary of Mars Hill.   Resugence Publishing, Inc. is now inactive.
UBI Number 603207560
Category REG
Profit/Nonprofit Profit
Active/Inactive Inactive
State Of Incorporation WA
WA Filing Date 05/17/2012
Expiration Date 05/31/2015
Inactive Date 09/01/2015
Duration Perpetual
President,Secretary,Treasurer,Chairman TURNER, JOHN 1411 NW 50TH ST

It used to be the Resurgence had an online bookstore through which you could get books, some of them being books from the Re:Lit imprint that was mostly, if memory serves, published via Crossway.

For sake of review there was this Re:Lit line of books ...

Re:Lit Books by Crossway include
Community: Taking Your Small Group off Life Support by Brad House  September 7 2011
Disciple by Bill Clem September 7, 2011
Note to Self by Joe Thorn
A Meal with Jesus by Tim Chester April 7, 2011
Redemption by Mike Wilkerson January 5, 2011
Rid of My Disgrace by Justin & Lindsey Holcomb January 5, 2011
Church Planter by Darrin Patrick August 12, 2010
Doctrine by Mark Driscoll September 1. 2011
Leaders Who Last by Dave Kraft February 3, 2010
Scandalous by D.A. Carson February 3, 2010
Religion Saves by Mark Driscoll June 5, 2009
Vintage Church by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears December 23, 2008
Death by Love by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears September 12, 2008
Total Church by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis August 21, 2008
Vintage Jesus by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears February 11, 2008

Turner recently stated:
In the lawsuit, Jacobsens/Kildeas state that I financially benefited from the sales of the Real Marriage This is completely false. As stated previously, my role of President of Resurgence Publishing began after the publishing of Real Marriage. Resurgence Publishing was not financially or contractually linked to the publishing of Real Marriage. Furthermore, I was not involved in the legal entity (On Mission, LLC) that did financially benefit from Real Marriage

Perhaps a more basic question could be asked, whether or not Real Marriage was made available in any way through the Resurgence online bookstore.  This would have been the easiest thing in the world to establish if robots.txt weren't in place and precluding the possibility of using something as simple as The WayBack Machine to prove that the book Real Marriage was never sold through the Resurgence online bookstore. For instance ... that James sermon series study guide was available at the old Resurgence online store, not that this link will work now.

But that's neither here nor there.

What's peculiar about the filing date of Resurgence Publishing, Inc is that it was May 2012. That's a couple of months after a memo Sutton Turner wrote that addressed the financial mess Mars Hill was said to be in in early 2012.  One of the comments in that memo was that the ReLit thing was not sustainable.
4. Mars Hill Music is not sustainable as currently operating.
5. ReLit is not sustainable as currently operating.

Whatever it was about Re:Lit that was not sustainable as currently operating is not clear.  Since the Re:Lit line of books was done through Crossway it's not even clear how it could have been unsustainable for Mars Hill if Mars Hill wasn't even the party publishing the books.  And if the Re:Lit line wasn't sustainable how was setting up Resurgence Publishing, Inc. going to make it sustainable? A libertarian might liken this situation to a government that decides that because the FBI failed to stop a catastrophe that a new department needs to be made to handle the situation, perhaps?

Whatever wasn't sustainable about the Re:Lit line of books that at one point had been published by Crossway, Resurgence Publishing, Inc. had a filing date of 5/17/2012.  That's two months after that memo on the financial mess Mars Hill was in. 

For that matter ...

Head’s up: we’re starting a record label, and we’re gunning to take over Christian radio.

In May 2012 somebody announced Mars Hill was starting a music label and they were gunning to take over Christian radio.  Whatever case was made for the Re:Lit line being unsustainable or the Mars Hill Music project being unsustainable.

One of the things Turner wrote in his March 17, 2012 memo was ...

19. Doing anything that is not Making Disciples, Training Leaders and Planting Churches is not

So how did the announcement of a nascent music label and the filing for Resurgence Publishing, Inc. fit into making disciples, training leaders and planting churches in a sustainable way if the Re:Lit line of books was already in some sense not sustainable in its then-current form?  Given that the fiscal year for Mars Hill was in the summer, the announcement of Mars Hill's music label and the creation of Resurgence Publishing, Inc. was within the fiscal year 2012 about which Turner had written that anything that wasn't primary mission needed to go.

But it can sure seem, looking back on things from 2016, that some stuff got started or announced anyway that had very little to do with the basic operations of Mars Hill.  Turner wrote in 2015 that when leaders make decisions you don't agree with you go along with it.  It's not inconceivable that somebody at Mars Hill's upper echelons of leadership was committed enough to keeping a book publishing project alive and a music label alive by dint of having cast those as part of the foundational vision from the dawn of Mars Hill that some form of those projects was expected to be kept on a back burner even if the front burner situation had changed.  Or that's an educated guess.


For those who may not remember, May 2012 was also when Dave Bruskas told MH people there had to be rough layoffs that were non-negotiable a few days after the Driscolls bought a house in Woodway.

so a bunch of people got cut loose in the first half of 2012 in the wake of Sutton Turner's March 2012 memo ... and yet Resurgence Publishing Inc. got started and Mark Driscoll was happy to announce the start of a Mars Hill music label? 

Of course Mars Hill Music circa 2012 became Mars Hill partnering with Tooth & Nail in 2013, so the music label thing was a bust again.  But it does keep us coming back to a question of why, if Turner was correct in noting how risky the financial situation was for Mars Hill by March 2012, the executive leadership was okay with announcing a music label in May 2012, the same month that Resurgence Publishing, Inc. got started, the same month people got laid off and that Mark Driscoll got a house in Woodway.  It seems hard to find a greater gap between institutional dread and personal ... optimism within the history of Mars Hill. A person could be forgiven for wondering if in some moments somebody in the leadership culture had a vision that was completely divorced from fiscal reality.

revisiting Turner's account of MH governance and its problems, it's hard to shake the impression that he bent over backwards to blame systems rather than the people that designed the systems in his 2015 posts

Mars Hill RICO – Never Served

Yesterday, my attorney filed a motion to dismiss the case that was pending against me. Even though the Jacobsens and Kildeas (Plaintiffs) and Brian Fahling (Plaintiff’s attorney) filed a 42-page document with the court and conducted TV interviews, they never served me with the lawsuit.
So effectively, we don’t have an active lawsuit because under Washington law they have 90 days to file, which has since passed.
Here are some of the important points in my response to the Court from yesterday:
  • The sole purpose of filing the lawsuit was to disparage my character. The Jacobsens, Kildeas, and Brian Fahling acted in bad faith and the case should be dismissed with prejudice as a result of this bad faith. In addition, attorney fees and sanctions in the amount of $4,240.00 should be assessed.
That claim seems pretty confident, to state that the sole purpose of filing the lawsuit was to disparage the character of Turner. 

It was never clear whether or not the RICO was ever going to move forward and though a few commenters here and there suggested it might be something to talk about or get behind it's only been something to discuss here when something gets discussed.  So since Turner's brought up a few things it's back on the set of topics to discuss.

Throckmorton has a post up today, at which Turner has made a comment. One of the things that might be worth mentioning is that in Turner's account of Mars Hill governance it seems he concluded substantial changes to governance needed to be made.

It may be worthwhile to revisit things Turner has written about the history of Mars Hill from 2015:
Posted by on
In April 2011, I joined Mars Hill as the General Manager and reported to the Executive Pastor. [emphasis added] I had enjoyed the teaching via podcast from overseas since 2007. My family and I looked forward to attending and serving in the church that we had enjoyed from afar, a church that loved Jesus and preached the gospel. I looked forward to using my gifts and experience to further the mission of Jesus through the local church.

When I arrived at Mars Hill, the financial books were a mess. During my first week, I asked the finance director to bring me the financials. He said he could provide me with September 2010 because they were about to close out the books for October. Financial reporting was six months behind. [emphasis added] I thought, “How do they know how they’re doing financially?!” The finance team handed me a bank statement. (If you are in finance or accounting, you just cringed as you read the last sentence.)
In July 2011, a new marketing proposal was already in the works at Mars Hill: ResultSource. I learned of the project from the manager who was overseeing it. ResultSource was a marketing practice that purchased books through small individual bookstores that would qualify the book for the New York Times Best Seller List. Then, these books would be shipped to Mars Hill and sold in our nine church bookstores. It was proposed that being listed on the New York Times Best Seller List would increase the awareness of the church, support the upcoming sermon series, and increase church size.
Shortly after the decision to execute the ResultSource marketing plan was made, my supervisor resigned. After him, I was the highest-ranking employee in administration. The decision had been made but the contract hadn’t yet been signed. On October 13, 2011, I signed the ResultSource contract as General Manager a full month before being installed as an Executive Elder. After signing the contract, I emailed an elder, stating my frustration with having to be the one to sign the contract when I had voiced my disagreement with it. [emphasis added] But few in the organization (or in the media since then) knew of my disagreement. When you stay in an organization and you do not agree with a decision, you have to own that decision as your own. Unfortunately, I will always be linked to ResultSource since my name was on the contract even though I thought it was a bad idea. If given the same opportunity again, I would not sign the ResultSource contract, but honestly, my missing signature would not have stopped it. Someone else would have signed it anyway since the decision had already been made.

I knew if I left Mars Hill, the likelihood of decisions like ResultSource would only continue. Through prayer and confidence that Jesus had called my family and me to Mars Hill Church, I decided to stay and change the decision-making process so that decisions like ResultSource would not be made again.

A few brief thoughts. Turner explained that basically Mars Hill was a fiscal trainwreck when he arrived on the scene in 2011.  Since nobody has contested the reliability of this account and quite a few people have corroborated the account we'll have to take it as the semi-official account of Mars Hill financials from 2011.

The other thing to observe is that by Turner's account he was the highest ranking employee in administration after his supervisor resigned.  The highest profile resignation in later 2011 was former Mars Hill president Pastor Jamie Munson.  Since robots.txt is still in effect after all this time, we'll have to settle for WtH's preservation of the material over here:

It would seem that although the Result Source contract that was signed had the intent of promoting a book by Mark and Grace Driscoll, it seems Mark Driscoll was not the highest-ranking employee in administration whose signature was required to make the deal a done deal.  Turner seemed convinced in his 2015 statement that even if he had not signed the contract this would not have stopped ResultSource from having been used.

This has raised the question we asked back in 2015, who WOULD have signed it in Turner's absence?  Turner's story simply raised again why that other person didn't sign it.  Turner didn't address that, rather, he described how he decided to stay at Mars Hill and change the decision-making process so RSI would not be repeated.

Cumulatively this narrative could seem to throw Jamie Munson's reputation under the proverbial bus by way of explaining how Sutton Turner reasoned his way through to signing the Result Source contract.  Munson was president of Mars Hill from 2007 to 2011, after all, so if Mars Hill governance came to be characterized by conflicts of interest systemic enough to merit a governance change
By Board of Advisors & Accountability
March 7, 2014

Changes to GovernanceFor many years Mars Hill Church was led by a board of Elders, most of whom were in a vocational relationship with the church and thus not able to provide optimal objectivity. To eliminate conflicts of interest and set the church’s future on the best possible model of governance [emphasis added], a Board of Advisors and Accountability (BOAA) was established to set compensation, conduct performance reviews, approve the annual budget, and hold the newly formed Executive Elders accountable in all areas of local church leadership. This model is consistent with the best practices for governance established in the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability standards. Mars Hill Church joined and has been a member in good standing with the ECFA since September of 2012

It's tough to read that statement as saying something other than conceding that Mars Hill had a governance system from the 2007 to 2011 period that was characterized by insiders who were in the church culture who were not able to provide optimal objectivity. Further, you don't seek to eliminate conflicts of interest and set the church's future on the (course?) o fthe best possible model of governance if you think things were hunky dory.  It's worth bearing in mind for those who read the whole timeline at Joyful Exiles that Meyer and Petry were terminated in connection to objections to the by-laws Munson reportedly drafted in 2007.  If Munson drafted the 2007 bylaws (and that's not entirely clear since in a 2013 video Mark Driscoll said HE drafted those bylaws, apparently).  So whether it was Jamie Munson or Mark Driscoll or some combination of the two seems less material than Sutton Turner's conclusion, apparently shared by the entire BoAA in 2014 (which did not include Munson by that point, obviously) that the MH governance as it existed by 2011 when he arrived was in need of dire revision.

What changes got made?  Turner discussed that in his part 2.

...  In my first months on staff at Mars Hill Church, the ResultSource contract was approved even though I had advised my direct supervisor against it. I don’t know who approved the plan. I don’t know what process was conducted concerning the decision, even after reviewing the board minutes for that time frame.  [emphasis added] I do know that it showed that the process of making big decisions at Mars Hill was flawed and should be fixed.

In 2011, the Board of Directors was made up of men that were local church pastors within Mars Hill. I was not a board member at the time, so I do not know any of the specific deliberations on ResultSource. At the time, I did not care who was to blame for making the decision, and I don’t blame them now. (As you will see, the flawed governance structure contributed more to the situation than the individual decision-makers.) [emphasis added] Within weeks of the decision to use ResultSource, my supervisor had resigned. Within months, I was installed as Executive Elder (a position that would have allowed me to better voice my concerns on the ResultSource decision just months prior). At that point, the decision was done and in the past, but Mars Hill could certainly learn from it. My goal over the next few months was to restructure the decision-making process and the board that made those decisions.


When I looked at Mars Hill in the summer of 2011, many of its board members had limited large organization experience and that experience was solely at Mars Hill. Few had any business experience and some had no college education. [emphasis added] I do not comment on their background as a personal critique but to show that they needed outside help to enhance their experience and perspective.

This looks like smoke in mirrors in the end.  Think about it this way, Turner said the problem was the decision-making process or the governance structure more than the individual decision-makers, if we've read this rightly.  Okay ... well, who designed the governance?  Depending on what accounts we consult it would seem from the cumulative documentation at the Joyful Exiles timeline, Jamie Munson was the prime mover/author of the bylaws that dealt with Mars Hill governance by the time Sutton Turner arrived.  So if Munson was the primary architect behind a governance system that led to the flawed decision to contract with Result Source then Turner's potentially been too evasive as to who was responsible, even if indirectly in terms of the responsibility being that of whomever designed the procedural systems.  Either Jamie Munson drafted the governance that led to what Turner considered to be a bad decision or Driscoll drafted the governance or Driscoll and Munson did so, but there's not a whole lot of room left to consider other parties at the moment.  If Driscoll's "Stepping Up" video account is the authoritative one then none other than Mark Driscoll may have orchestrated the governance system that, by 2011, Turner concluded was problematic.

It's also difficult to escape the fact that by 2011 the majority of Jamie Munson's organizational experience was within Mars Hill.  What's more, it's impossible to escape the fact that according to Mark Driscoll's account a decade ago in Confessions of a Reformission Rev, one of the most substantial moves to develop Mars Hill by way of purchasing what was once the 50th street corporate headquarters was Munson's idea.  And since Munson's listed his formal education being graduating from Hellgate highschool

It would be hard to shake the impression that if we were to look at just one former Mars Hill leader who embodied the concerns Turner had about how the Mars Hill leadership culture was full of guys who had mainly intra-Mars Hill leadership experience and lacked formal collegiate education you can't get more obvious than Jamie Munson finding someone who fits "all of the above".

Back to Turner ...

But six months before the public spotlight, this new board of outside leaders, who were unassociated with the ResultSource decision, evaluated the proposal afterwards and made the right decision: it was a bad idea and it was wrong.

But in the end even one of the members of the BoAA concluded the BoAA itself was incapable of doing what it was intended to do, that would be Tripp.  And as has been discussed at some length here elsewhere, one of the ironies of Turner's remodeled board was that it ended up being full of guys who had as much or more insider/advisory history within Mars Hill than perhaps even the board he'd replaced.  But that's something to peruse at your leisure with help from blog posts tagged "boaa".

Part 3 ..

Part 3 was where Turner vented some steam about Tripp's critique of the BoAA being incapable by its very nature to achieve what it was supposed to achieve.  Turner mentioned something:
... Early on, Mars Hill chose a path that every pastor was also a governing elder, which worked when the church was smaller.  At that time, Mars Hill’s governance required plurality, or unanimous agreement, of all elders on any decision (there were no clear directions on what decision required plurality). Those early leaders had not thought Mars Hill would reach 14,000 in attendance. As it grew by God’s grace, more pastors were needed to shepherd the flock. Those pastors were also governing elders, which meant at one point, decisions required unanimous consent of over 20 elders. This also gave veto power to any one elder.

The problem is that you can go to the old pre-2007 bylaws and compare them to the 2007-2011 bylaws there was no need for unanimous agreement, a simple majority was considered sufficient.  The 2007-2011 bylaws consolidated more formal power to the executive elder group, which was free to acquire real estate and contract without necessarily having to bring in the rest of the elder board.  Turner's account attempted to pin the blame on bad decisions on a governance system but he skipped past the part where the guys who, by various accounts, had the largest roles in re-architecting the governance of Mars Hill toward this bad end, were the guys who worked for, basically.  Driscoll's old jokes about plotting world domination with the co-founding partners who founded Mars Hill may be taken as pure jest but it still suggests the possibility that Turner may have been amiss in presuming that the early leaders had not thought Mars Hill would reach 14,000 in attendance.  Driscoll was vision-casting a movement that would start a publishing house, a bible college, a music label and a church planting network even before Mars Hill had 400 people.  That's been documented amply by the 2011 film God's Work, Our Witness.

To be nice about it, it often seems as if Turner spent time in 2015 trying to explain the history of a church culture that he may not really understand.  For some more on some difficulties in Turner's account vis a vis people who were at Mars Hill before he ever showed up ....

One of the things that's still funny to me is that Turner seemed to think it was somehow weird of Tripp to advise local elder governance for Mars Hill campuses ... as if Turner had never come across a Presbyterian who would think like a Presbyterian about church polity ... but I digress.

Now it may well be Turner believes the suit was filed solely to discredit him ... but it's hard not to remember that when he posted away in 2015 he looked to this writer like he was stopping just short of throwing Munson's reputation under the bus and impugning the competence of the entire governing culture of Mars Hill circa 2011.  And the problem with expressing reservations about the degree to which Mars Hill seemed to be run by elders who were insulated insiders with no real-world experience managing large organizations or businesses is that the higher up the organizational chart we go the more impossible it is to avoid considering that Jamie Munson had a high school education and apparently no more and that, as Mark Driscoll said on the road a few times, he'd never been a formal member, exactly, of any church he hadn't started himself.   And, of course, by Driscoll's 2013 account as preserved for us by Throckmorton, for instance, Mark Driscoll claimed he was the one who had to go back and rewrite the bylaws and constitution of Mars Hill for the sake of his marriage.  So if that's true then, well, it'd be impossible for Turner to have written all that he has written about the shortcomings of Mars Hill governance without saying that Mark Driscoll's governmental design was ultimately the core problem.

But then if that's the case that'd be something we could agree on, wouldn't it?


One of the things that's worth further investigation, if possible, is the mention of Resurgence Publishing.  The thing is ... there was some kind of Resurgence back in 2008.
October 4, 2008

Pastor Mark Driscoll here from Mars Hill Church and President of The Resurgence with my good buddy, dear friend, and fellow elder at Mars Hill  Tim Smith.
So there was a Resurgence of some sort, if not necessarily the publishing company (and there was the old defunct Resurgence Training Center, too).  The thing worth noting is what Mark Driscoll said about himself, that he was President of the Resurgence in 2008, whatever it was, publishing company or now.  So one of the questions we may want to ask and seek an answer for is whether that Resurgence circa 2008, whatever it was, has anything to do with Resurgence Publishing circa 2012.


Having looked over the Washington State Secretary of State UBI search options, it turns out there was never a "Resurgence" UBI other than the publishing company, which strongly indicates a lot of what was known as The Resurgence was simply intra-Mars Hill differentiation, which will be the topic of a pending post.

in the wake of the Orlando shooting Mark Driscoll shares about 14 kinds of suffering in the Bible courtesy of recycled content from his old book Who Do You Think You Are?

In the wake of the Orlando shootings the internet has erupted with the usual sort of activity and people are advocating for the usual things.  Even the admonitions to go do something aren't unusual.  To go by how folks are advocating on the internet it would seem that the solution (assuming there is one, really) is that if we just got the red-state police state or the blue-state police state things would get better.  I confess to being so jaded, pessimistic and fatalistic about stuff that proposing more profiling and more bans won't change things but that Americans on the internet basically want a totalitarian regime so long as it's sufficiently "left" or "right" to do what they want it to do for them.

Slate has trotted out a comparison of how since we abolished slavery we can eventually abolish certain uses of weapons or reconceive the 2nd amendment so that it doesn't permit the kind of gun ownership that currently exists.  Of course the comparison is between slavery and gun ownership rather than between prohibiting gun ownership and prohibiting alcohol consumption.  People are probably still more likely to be killed, maimed or injured by drunks at a wheel than by gun users (not that gun users don't kill too many people).  The difficulty seems to be that Americans want all or nothing.

But Mark Driscoll's above that kind of thing.  He's shared something special this week.

In case it could be of any help, I'm posting this blog as a Bible teaching Christian pastor hoping to help people think and pray through this widespread suffering in their own time of processing with the Lord.  In such times we wrestle with the realities of evil, sin, and death as we pray for the victims, all those affected, and the family, friends, ministry leaders, and professional counselors who are entering into long and painful processes of helping people process this tragedy.

See, had it been just that ... alright.  That second long sentence is okay.

It's just that there's the 14 point list. 

But it's not just that ... go scroll down to the bottom where it's written:

Note: Much of the content from this blog was adapted from the book Who Do You Think You Are?

People who have had loved ones die this week deserve a little bit more than a blog post that is much adapted from a book that was published in 2013.  This was another book, besides Real Marriage, in which citation problems ended up getting fixed.

This could have been better, folks.  There was a kernel in there of something ... something that we might never see because it moved quickly from talking about a recent tragedy and shifted gears swiftly into a recycled list.  Then again .... ten years ago Mark Driscoll transformed the scandal of Ted Haggard into an opportunity to opine on how while some wives letting themselves go didn't make them responsible for their husbands' adultery they probably weren't helping things, either.

So ... compared to THAT, do we call this progress?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Turner posts declarations and response pertaining to civil RICO suit, question, did the declarations and the response state that Mars Hill Global was restricted fund account?

declaration of John Sutton Turner in support of his motion to dismiss for failure to serve pursuant to fed civ p.4.(m)

19. Plaintiffs’ lawsuit intentionally overlooks the fact that Mars Hill Church published financial statements which were audited by independent CPA firms Clark Nuber PS and CapinCrouse LLP. These audits took place annually for many years, including the years of my employment from 2011-2014. All restricted fund accounting, including Campus Fund and Mars Hill Global, was reviewed by Clark Nuber PS and CapinCrouse LLPin these audits. ...

defendant John Sutton Turner's motion to dismiss for failure to serve pursuant fed civ p.4.(m) and for sanctions based on the courts inherent power

1. Plaintiffs’ lawsuit intentionally overlooks the fact that Mars Hill Church published financial statements which were audited by independent CPA firms Clark Nuber PS and Capin Crouse LLP. (Turner Decl. at ¶19). These audits took place annually for many years, including the years of Mr. Turner’s employment from 2011-2014 (Id.).  All restricted fund accounting, including Campus Fund and Mars Hill Global, was reviewed by Clark Nuber and CapinCrouse LLP in these audits.  ...

So, in light of the old controversy about Mars Hill Global ... does the response clarify that Mars Hill Global fund was restricted fund accounting? It seems pertinent because, at least as reported by Warren Throckmorton a while back..

Alex then asked Dean:
I couldn’t tell from the FAQ on what the church spent on missions from 2012-14 and where it was spent. Is it possible to break down the yearly giving for those years to the Global Fund and what it was spent on?
Dean replied:
Despite what you may have read on blogs, we never had a separate fund for Global so we don’t have separate accounting for Global. We have used some confusing communications in the past, and have done much to correct that, but Global has never been a designated fund. We do spend money on church planters in Ethiopia and India (as indicated in the FAQ), but we don’t provide specific accounting of our different expenses. Just like we don’t provide how much we specifically spent on pens and tape, we don’t break out other expenses. I hope that makes sense.
No, to me, it doesn’t make sense. Dean later modified his statement about the Global Fund’s separateness, but even here the statement flies in the face of the statement on the FAQ page. On that page, Mars Hill claims:
In 2012- 2014 expenditures for church planting efforts in India and Ethiopia were increased with the preponderance of expenses related to church plants and replants in the U.S.


, I wrote to Dean to ask him to confirm the conversation was legitimate and ask him again for an explanation of the statement that the Global Fund wasn’t a fund. His reply contains a new wrinkle in Mars Hill’s communications regarding the Global Fund. Dean said: Alex and Warren,
I was incorrect to say we never had a separate fund setup for Global. The details of this issue can be confusing, I was confused as well and I gave you a wrong answer, and I apologize. I have done some checking and prior to 2012 we did have a separate fund. However, since 2012 we have not had a designated fund for missions work or international church planting. Beginning in 2012 the term “Global Fund” was used on our website to distinguish between global donors and local church donors. We realized the terminology used was confusing so we changed it to “General Fund (Local & Global). This is explained on our Global F.A.Q. page. 

For a transcript from a 2009 sermon in which Mark Driscoll explained what Global was (at that point, at least) go here:

For reference to a memo published and discussed by Throckmorton as to what percentage of funds could get designated to overseas activity from within Global

For Throckmorton's coverage of MH Tacoma thanking Global in 2014 but not at the time the Tacoma campus was established ... if memory serves that general discussion is over at ...

Unfortunately on account of still active robots.txt you can't actually go to The Wayback Machine and plug in ...

to see what it looked like prior to October 13, 2014. 

So it seems that at one point Global was restricted and at another point it wasn't.  It might still be confusing. 

But lest folks forget, there was at least some clarification of some stuff connected to Mars Hill Global, it seems, back in 2014:
Thank you, Mars Hill Global. Sincerely, Mars Hill Everett.

By: Mars Hill Church
Posted: Jun 05, 2014

Mars Hill Global is made up of 250,000 people around the world who tune in to the Mars Hill Church podcast on a weekly basis. You, our global audience, are praying and giving to Mars Hill Church to see more people meet Jesus, grow in him, and join his mission. One example of what your participation has done over the last year is the planting of Mars Hill Everett in their new home. This letter, from Everett’s lead pastor, Ryan Williams, outlines the specifics of the direct impact you are having on the church.

Thank you, Mars Hill Global.

The last twelve months here at Mars Hill Church Everett have been amazing! Twelve months ago we were setting up in a community college gym; now we worship in our own amazing building. Twelve months ago no one in the city that we minister to knew that we even had a church here; now we have a visible presence in the city we love. Twelve months ago paint fumes filled our Kids Ministry rooms; now the sounds of kids playing and learning about Jesus fill them. Twelve months ago we crammed our leaders into our tiny office space to train and lead them; today we meet in our own building with plenty of room to teach. So much has been happening and it couldn’t have happened without you.

In the last twelve months we have packed up our setup/teardown gear and moved permanently into the city we love! We moved into an awesome building that for more than 90 years was used as an armory for the Washington National Guard. Our auditorium was once filled with soldiers practicing drill; today it is filled with people praising Jesus. We are a predominately blue-collar congregation with great, amazing people. But we are by no means a wealthy church. Our people work super hard and are amazingly generous to the church, but we just did not have the income to fully fund our own down payment and renovation expenses.

There are many beautiful things about being a part of the church of Jesus Christ, but one of the most beautiful things about the church is that we love and serve one another even if we are not in the same local congregation. Paul speaks of this example in Romans 15:26: “For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem.” In this passage we see churches from around the region blessing and serving other churches in need. Mars Hill Global, that is exactly what you did for Mars Hill Everett and we thank you! Your generosity has allowed us to have a visible presence in our city and county. It has given us a building in which to love and care for hurting people and a place to hold services where the gospel will be proclaimed for, God willing, the next few hundred years.

God has blessed your generosity with many amazing stories of redemption. We baptized 28 people at the grand opening of our new building and then we were blessed to baptize 34 people on Easter. Many of these people became believers in our new building through the preaching of the gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit.

The good news of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection is continuing to be proclaimed here in Everett through Mars Hill Church. By God’s grace, many people are experiencing the new life found in Jesus Christ. Thank you for your prayers, love, support, and generosity.
–Pastor Ryan Williams

If all Mars Hill extensions could have been potentially autonomous but intra-MH sites with membership in Acts 29 then this could explain how Mars Hill Global could have been involved in the development of MH campuses in the US even with the "Global" label, couldn't it?  Or perahsp there's some other explaination.

So the recent declarations have clarified that it wasn't always clear and may not be entirely clear to everyone reading things now, for that matter, whether Global was always restricted fund accounting.  It seems that that changed at some point, according to previously reported statements.