Saturday, June 25, 2016

Snyder and company look at changing course in the wake of Batman vs Superman getting pilloried, a lengthy divergence on to the problem of Bucky in Civil War

“For me, it is a really personal movie,” Snyder told Uproxx of Batman v Superman and the negative reaction to it. “When [that movie] came out, it was like, ‘Wow, oof.’ It did catch me off guard.” Of the film’s sequel, he told Vulture, “I have had to, in my mind, make an adjustment. I do think that the tone of Justice League has changed because of what the fans have said.” The tone of Batman v. Superman wasn’t totally surprising considering Snyder’s oeuvre—his past films, including the comic-book adaptations 300 and Watchmen, were similarly grim. But Warner Bros. has too much riding on these movies to let one flop define the franchise; hence, the damage control.

“We learned that people don’t like seeing their heroes deconstructed,” the Justice League producer Deborah Snyder (Zack’s wife and producing partner) told reporters, claiming the sequel would be a “more inclusive” film than Batman v. Superman
Deconstructing the heroes is fine provided we get the sense that it's actually those characters being subjected to deconstruction. Somebody somewhere wrote at length about how incompetently Snyder's film invoked both canonical moments in DC comics and religious concepts from the Judeo-Christian tradition.  You can't exactly just magically transform two of the most iconic deaths in the DC continuity from the last thirty years into the meet-cute that successfully launches a Justice League franchise, not the way Snyder's film failed to do it. 
Still, in a half-hearted defense of BvS presented on its own poutier-than-Nolan terms, it's more psychologically plausible Batman would want to kill Superman just to be safe than that Steve Rogers would think that Bucky was worth sparking an intra-black ops government show down in Civil War, though, even if I had more fun watching the latter film.  The recent Captain America film managed to get its characters but it embodies a weirdly American ethos that if you didn't have a choice about what you did then you're automatically off the hook for what you did even if what you did was kill a ton of people.  When Bucky asks Cap if he's worth all the trouble in the film Civil War the script insists that he is.  Why?  Because Steve Rogers concludes that the murders Bucky committed when he was in the Winter Soldier program were murders he shouldn't be held responsible before because he didn't have free will?  Even Bucky considers that a problematic defense since, all told, Bucky still killed those people.

But, and here's the big but that's stuck with me since seeing the film, if Bucky considered himself morally culpable for murders he committed in the Winter Soldier program, couldn't he have turned himself in?  Black Panther apprehends him so in a way neither Tony Stark nor Steve Rogers did anything much at all except get into shoving matches while Black Panther captured Bucky and/or Bucky ... did Bucky turn himself in?  The post-credits sequence would seem to imply as much but it's not clear to me as I remember it a month-ish later.

In the original comics run Captain America turns himself in.  That's not what we get in the film version.  It's not that the plot points of Civil War make no sense within the terms of the actions of the plot.  The plot points as they happen are as reasonable as clockwork. The motivations of Rogers and Stark are crystal clear and internally consistent with their character arcs.  Stark has gone through multiple stories in which his hubris led to disaster that hurt himself and others, so he wants to be accountable. Steve Rogers volunteered to serve the cause of justice and fight bullies only to discover that the people he thought were the good guys could turn out to be bad guys.  Even guys whose motives he doesn't doubt have made decisions with consequences he found bad.  SHIELD turned out to be infiltrated by HYDRA and Stark's ill-advised Ultron project threatened the world.  So Rogers' motives make sense. 

It's that there's a disconnect between the plot points as clockwork and their reflection of the character motivations of Bucky.  Considering that the plot points revolve around decisions made about Bucky Barnes the character is too much a cipher to account for those decisions.  Sure, in some sense Steve Rogers would feel a sense of attachment to the one person in his generation he still knows.  What some would call generational narcissism is probably unavoidable.  It's a little hard to completely square with the idea that Steve Rogers, he of Greatest Generation thought life, could just presume the best about the mental state of someone who ended up being a Soviet puppet.  If any one between Rogers and Stark would be in a position to get that Barnes could be culpable for crimes as crimes while having not been able to control his own actions it would be the technocratic Stark.  That seems to be inherent in the tossed off joke Stark makes to Barnes about being the Manchurian candidate.  R
 I guess I'd put it this way.  The recent Captain America film has a Steve Rogers who's thinking through the ethics of how to deal with Bucky not as a soldier at all but as someone looking at it from a criminology standpoint.  In terms of war and espionage it wouldn't MATTER why Bucky Barnes became the Winter Soldier.  When a former asset becomes a liability you have to deal with the person in the terms of war.  Steve Rogers' firm belief that someone who murders but in a state of not being able to control his/her own actions would make 100% sense if this were Batman.  Batman's the kind of character who already refuses to kill (mostly), and is the kind of character who would consider issues of criminology and forensics.  But the rules of law enforcement are still not the rules of war, even if they overlap in creepy ways in modern societies.  So I guess a way to articulate a problem in how Cap deals with Bucky is that he seems to think about it like a cop rather than a soldier, and a cop bent on the most reformative/restorative form of discipline possible.  Considering the generation Steve  Rogers was born from ... it's a little tough to get why he lands that way sometimes.

at Slate Rebecca Onion asks "Where is the Uncle Tom's Cabin of gun control" fails to grasp why there probably can't be one, the nature of American dystopian literature

The biggest problem isn't in the realm of the problems Onion and others proposed in the article.  Guns are interesting but anything can be interesting.  The idea that somehow guns are "magic" forgets that lots of folk remedies that rely on the placebo effect are "magic" and people go get those whether or not they improve a person's health. 

American dystopian literature has primed us for generations to see just about any form of social engineering that steers us as individuals away from what our heart wants as tyranny by default.  This is prevalent enough from the left and the right that pretending that we could have an Uncle Tom's Cabin for gun control can only happen if you insist that it's possible to write a narrative in north American literature making a case for tighter regulation of something at the behest of the state.

Remember that internet meme that proposed that people wanting access to guns have the same restrictions to gun access that those who currently would seek an abortion would have?  How many people who pass around that meme want those restrictions on access to abortion to still be in place?  In social and philosophical terms access to pre-emptive use of lethal force can be the same coming from the left or right when individual liberty is an issue.  The population of the United States is too large for there to not be those who use civil liberties to harm others.  The radicalization of disaffected males who can't assimilate into mainstream society can't get solved by banning access to certain weapons, even if we could all agree that curtailing access would be a good idea.  If it turns out that people can abide by the rules right up to the points at which they kill, the problem may not merely be in what gets prohibited.

Abortion reveals a comparable cognitive dissonance in American society.  People had access to abortion before it was made legal.  People had access to alcohol when it was illegal.  But an analogy between access to arms and access to abortion seems most telling of our cognitive dissonance.  The term "reproductive rights" has become a popular circumlocution for the option of not bringing a pregnancy to term and some have argued that abortion is a social right.  But what is abortion if not the pre-emptive use of lethal force to ensure someone is never born?  Yet a rape culture is described as one in which men believe they have a right to sex and sex is the process of reproduction.  How is it that abortion is a reproductive right on the one hand and yet the concept of reproductive right is considered the reason for rape culture when the other half of the human species is discussed?  If rape culture is one in which men think they have a right to reproduce (i.e. to sex) what's the flip side with a right to not carry a pregnancy to term?  It could seem like a double standard based on the nature of the claims that have to be made about rights to sexual reproduction. 

But it's not a double standard if there's a unifying American ethos in which the right to use pre-emptive lethal force to defend your way of life is involved.  To the extent that those who choose to defend abortion by saying the fetus isn't even human to that extent we could propose that this could correspond to wartime propaganda in which enemy combatants aren't considered truly human and can therefore be killed not only with a sense of self-granted impunity but with moral license.  You're not killing someone so much as making the world a better place.  Whether it's an American soldier fighting abroad or an American citizen ending a pregnancy the act of valor, from within this unified ethos, could be the same.  What's being defended is the American way of life.

So it's interesting that a joke on the internet comparing access to guns to access to abortion has circulated but without seeming to think through the direct conflation of the use of pre-emptive lethal force as an embodiment of the practical American ethos for both the left and the right.  We reserve the right to kill in advance whomever might threaten our current way of life and if that right were to be taken from us or even subjected to some form of regulation by the state, well, that's tyranny.

The way to write an Uncle Tom's Cabin for gun control would depend less on making the case that individuals with guns kill too many people and more on selling us all on the idea Americans have a distorted understanding of what liberty means.  The trouble is that the American ethos about the legitimacy of using lethal force is such that to make such a case could boomerang back on other issues.  How would a progressive argue against access to guns while defending access to abortion as a social right when in both cases access to life-ending power is involved?  Well, the fetus is just a clump of cells. How would a conservative argue against abortion as dehumanizing babies make that case consistently when dehumanizing enemy combatants is a given?  Well, the enemy is against our way of life.  Both gambits commodify humans and dehumanize them.  A person could reach a conclusion that the American left and right are too morally bankrupt to have a basis from which to explore these issues.  When we have these two sides vigorously defending the right to have the option to kill it makes it seem profoundly unlikely there will ever be an Uncle Tom's Cabin for gun control.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

long excerpts from a Kyle Gann presentation on John Cage's 4'33"
The history and exact nature of 4'33" are shrouded in enigma, mystery, and ambiguity, which seems odd for so famous a piece from only sixty years ago; but it is worth emphasizing that 4'33" became famous rather slowly. Cage's 1961 book of essays Silence, which vastly expanded his reputation, mentions the piece only twice, and never by title, but as "my silent piece." Not until a decade or two later did it become the central icon of Cage's reputation.

We see the basis for the division into three movements here in the original program from the premiere at the Maverick Concert Hall just outside Woodstock, New York, on August 29, 1952.

The question becomes even murkier when we go back four years earlier to a lecture Cage gave at Vassar on February 28, 1948. On that date he announced some upcoming plans:

I have... several new desires (two may seem absurd, but I am serious about them): first, to compose a piece of uninterrupted silence and sell it to the Muzak Co. It will be 3 or 4 1/2 minutes long - these being the standard lengths of "canned" music, and its title will be "Silent Prayer." It will open with a single idea which I will attempt to make as seductive as the color and shape or fragrance of a flower. The ending will approach imperceptibly.[2]

Here, four and a half years before 4'33", we have the first announcement of a plan to write a piece consisting of silence. (The other "absurd" plan is to write a piece for twelve radios, which he did in 1951.) Note, moreover, that Silent Prayer is not really 4'33", and is confusingly described. "It will open," Cage says, "with a single idea which I will attempt to make as seductive as the color and shape or fragrance of a flower." How can a silent piece open with any idea at all? And again, "The ending will approach imperceptibly."

And note the intention to sell the Silent Prayer to the Muzak corporation. The Muzak company was founded in 1934, its name a combination of music and Kodak. The practice of piping Muzak into restaurants, office buildings, subways, and other public spaces grew phenomenally in the late 1930s and '40s, and many people, professional musicians in particular, were horrified by it. Studies found that Muzak in the workplace relieved worker fatigue and lowered absenteeism, but many people considered it not only a degrading misuse of music but an invasion of privacy. Lawsuits resulted, and in 1952 - the year of 4'33" - the case against the Muzak corporation went to the Supreme Court. Muzak won. Writing for the majority, Justice Harold Burton wrote that broadcasting music was "not inconsistent with public convenience, comfort and safety.'"[3] Justice Felix Frankfurter, however, hated Muzak so much that he felt it necessary to recuse himself, and Justice William O. Douglas, in his minority opinion, stated that, "The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedom."[4]

Cage's politics in the 1930s were highly anti-corporate, and he wrote that "there seemed to be nothing good about anything big in America." So Cage's original idea for 4'33" was to sell it to Muzak to create a respite from corporate-imposed forced listening. [emphasis added] Muzak at the time was played from 78 rpm vinyl records, which could hold about three minutes of music on a 10-inch disc, or four and a half minutes on a 12-inch disc, thus accounting for the lengths of time Cage predicted for his Silent Prayer. So think about this: in 1948 Cage speculated about writing a four-and-a-half-minute silent composition.

For folks with more ... traditionalist aesthetics, John Cage in general and 4'33" in particular can be a popular punching bag.  Francis Schaeffer zeroed in on Cage in one of his books about half a century ago.  Roger Scruton has regarded Cage as a charlatan, more or less.  I like some of the prepared piano music, actually.  Cage isn't going to become one of my lifelong favorites (Ellington and Haydn and Shostakovich and J. S. Bach have a few of those slots).  All the same, aesthetically conservative Christian types tend too quickly to misrepresent where Cage was coming from.  It's one thing to not really agree with Cage on matters of aesthetics, politics, religion or sexuality or any other topic, it's another to not even bother to consider the possible background that led to the publication of his most notorious piece.

Reading that Cage's piece was at least partly inspired by a loathing of Muzak and background music being unilaterally pumped out of speakers in public settings might show us that Cage might have a couple of points in common with some of his right-side critics ... unless folks who tilt right in aesthetics and politics WANT an endless rotation of Mariah Carey and Journey singles in the grocery store.

This is not, to be very polite about it, the kind of historical background about Cage's work you might come across in a Francis Schaeffer book.  Even though I was strongly influenced by Schaeffer's writings twenty years ago I think it's long overdue that evangelicals in general and Reformed Christians in particular formulate a way that Christians, let alone Christians interested in the arts, interact with arts history in a way that can, where necessary, set Schaeffer's polemics off to the side.  I've seen some ridiculous claims made by Christians over the last fifteen years, such as that the major/minor key system is "robustly Trinitarian".  Now whether or not I completely agree with Iannis Xenakis' complaint that the church modes were misunderstood as scalar patterns in diatonic terms rather than prevailing patterns within hexachordal ranges ... eh ... I'm rusty on Xenakis by a long, long shot.

The point is, basically, that too many people in the era of the internet want the shortcuts to their foregone conclusions.  We can do better than that, and in this case I think that what would be fair to John Cage's music, whether you happen to like it or hate it, is to move beyond some of the facile tales that have emerged around it.  With the 50th anniversary of Schaeffer's trilogy coming along fairly soon one of the things I've been trying to do is to sort of reassess the strong points and weak points of some of the things he wrote.  Some of the weaknesses are spectacular while some of the more salient points were awkwardly under-developed.

answers to questions you didn't ask? How come comments are so infrequent?

Well, it's really simple.  Comments tend to be where otherwise okay sites descend into their lowermost depths.  It's in what comments get allowed that a blog will descend to whatever the lowest common denominator is.  For a blog that has documented the history of Mars Hill off and on over the last ... decade ... this has meant that comments offered about specific people with specific claims that, were they to be made in public at all should be in a court and not on the internet, have sometimes been submitted.  And they've been deleted.

So don't be too shocked if your comments more often than not don't appear.  There's a lot of stuff that doesn't need to appear here so much as it needs to appear for the public record in the most verifiable ways possible.  As a number of people know by now I've stonewalled a few people over the years.  I've allowed some folks to make comments when I've felt it was appropriate and informative, even in cases where it could be very easily surmised I'm not on the same page as some of them.  But in case folks need reminding, there's no obligation as such to publish comments just because people leave them.  This has been the kind of blog where, yes, I admit I have even actively discouraged and disabled comments from showing up.  It doesn't aid the interest of trying to provide a journalistic/historical survey of the life and times of Mars Hill to let people just say here what they can say elsewhere.  Odds are pretty good you all know where those other internet venues are by now anyway.

There are types of discourse in the public sphere where allowing commentary free for alls damages that kind of discourse.  Documenting things as they happen isn't the same as giving people some space to vent about how they feel or to vent about what they specifically think and feel about specific people.

One of the things that has begun to be abundantly clear is how many people in Mars Hill leadership and at large have known perfectly well who writes at Wenatchee The Hatchet.  It's not exactly a mystery and as I've written in the past the degree to which the blog seems anonymous has been less for my benefit than for those people who were still within Mars Hill in the past who I felt should be spared the possibility of some kind of punitive responses from leadership.  Conversely, that people at the highest echelons of former Mars Hill leadership have known who Wenatchee The Hatchet is kind of raises again the question of how seriously we should take the statements of "we're not entirely sure who they are".  If leaders at Mars Hill knew who writes at Wenatchee The Hatchet why wouldn't they know the names of people who got fired from Mars Hill over the last seven years?  Or did they fire so many people they can't even keep track of them all?

So, comments ARE permitted but they automatically go into moderation and it'd be advisable to not assume the comment will show up.  There are other writing projects I've been tackling and other projects that aren't necessarily prose I like to tackle from time to time.  The idea by now was that there wasn't even going to be anything Mars Hill related to blog about any more except maybe a few posts here and there on the spin-off churches to find out how they're doing.  Well, Driscoll's continuing to seek the spotlight and recycle his old hits and this RICO thing sorta happened.  Whether anything comes of it remains to be seen.  Meanwhile, don't feel too heartbroken if you want to make comments here and find they don't show up. 

HT Jim West, a case that the church father Gregory of Nyssa was an early advocacy for what could be called Christian anarchism

This post is specifically for you, Jeff, if you haven't come across this little essay already.

Monday, June 20, 2016

a brief consideration in light of Sutton Turner's statement in response to the RICO filing
The sole purpose of filing the lawsuit was to disparage my character. [emphasis added] 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.

But if the sole purpose of filing the lawsuit was to disparage the character of one person why were there two listed defendants?  Why were there a variety of named non-party co-conspirators?  This particular assertion seems, to put it nicely, implausible on its face.  It's possible to have questions about the RICO suit at all kinds of levels while rejecting this particular assertion as absurd on its face.

Remember RICO Lawsuit Filed Against Former Leaders of Mars Hill Church; ECFA Named As Co-Conspirator?

When the word "defendant" appears in plural form then it seems pretty obvious that the sole purpose of filing the lawsuit can't have been to disparage the character of one person, or does it?

update/newsletter from Mark Driscoll Ministries ... a kind of reminder of warnings from Driscoll past, back in an earlier decade.

the stuff about the father wound influencing Christians to have a problematic view of God as Father because they have themselves had a fraught relationship with a father or an absentee father is ... well ... it's kind of pedestrian as it goes.  Over time Driscoll's picked up the capacity to say the same thing through ... the nice way of putting this would be levels of synthetic parallelism that reach redundancy levels quickly.  The less nice way of putting it is that his speech mannerisms have tilted away from Reformed pastor more in the domain of Mojo Jojo's triple-speak ... only without being funny.

The proposal around minute 5 Driscoll makes that idolizing spiritual fathers actually happens in evangelicalism ... okay, actually, can agree with that point.  That is, if anything, the problem with anyone who at this point could take Mark Driscoll seriously as a pastor.  I've been pretty clear that had Mark Driscoll sought to change paths from his earlier ways that removing himself from ministry for half a decade and submitting to being a nameless rank and file member of a church he wasn't a founder or co-founder of would be helpful for his spiritual health.  That's not what Mark Driscoll has opted to do.  In spite of Mark Driscoll having warned a decade ago that ... (dead link, though, alas)
Part 3 of 1st Corinthians
Pastor Mark Driscoll
1 Corinthians 1:10-17
January 22, 2006

Some of you have teams that you consider yourself to be on, theologically or philosophically insofar as how church should be done. And what happens is that certain Christians get elevated like rock stars, and it’s not good. It’s not good at all. I know one church the pastor’s name is the domain for the church website. That’s not good. Like if it was and that was our website, you’d go, “You know that’s a little much.” That’s a little much, because if he gets hit by a car do we gotta get a new name? That seems that the church should be more than a focus on one person. That’s why to be honest with this church I try not to show up and speak at every event.
It’s amazing how few Christians have a pastor and have a church that they actually are connected to, involved in, and growing in. There is a growing number of people who profess to be Christians and just claim to be on Team Jesus. “I don’t need a church. Just me and Jesus, we hang.” These are people who have no respect for spiritual authority. They don’t have any real heart to show up and contribute to and benefit their church. They just tend to be people who are very – quite frankly – arrogant and proud. They’re so close to Jesus and they’re so much like him that they don’t need anybody else

Driscoll has Mark Driscoll Ministries these days.  He bailed on a restorative disciplinary plan that, by his account, the board of Mars Hill set up for him.  In 2014 the explanation was heeding wise counsel and having concerns about family safety.  By 2015 the story had been supplemented with claims of divine permission to leave Mars Hill, basically. 

The long-term trouble with this is that if Mark Driscoll wants to keep on being a father figure it's going to be tough to live down the appearance that when it comes to submission to church discipline and roughly two decades worth of instruction in the public sphere about how Christians ought to lovingly and faithfully submit to spiritual discipline as church members that the pending launch of Mark Driscoll's next church project can seem, even predicated on the precedent of Driscoll's own teaching, on a distressing double standard. 

Also note how he talks about the Reformed movement, that he would share much in common with and have many friends in.  He's starting to let go of the Reformed label.  This is to be expected.  If anything he could have been more aggressive and assertive in abandoning any formal associations with Reformed Christianity.  Even though he might be right that some folks in the Reformed scene idolize their heroes this was a guy who in the midst of Dead Men sessions said there was the Calvinist way to interpret the Bible and then everyone else.  Driscoll himself has been more than just a little guilty of conflating his own interpretation of any given biblical text with what he takes to be the plain meaning of the text. 

At this point if anyone were to say on Mark Driscoll's behalf that discussing him is beating a dead horse the problem is simply this, Mark Driscoll insists on remaining a public figure in some kind of ministry who is continuing to wield mass media and social media tools to keep his brand going.  There are any number of guys who were in leadership at Mars Hill who, after Mars Hill collapsed, left formal ministry.  Others remained in vocational ministry but have become part of traditional denominations, whether evangelical denominations or even in some cases more mainline. 

When Driscoll promoted his "limited unlimited atonement" he announced he was what's sometimes called Amyraldian.  The short version is "not historically Reformed in terms of vocational ministerial views".  So Driscoll has, despite the benefit from the association with the label, never been demonstrably all that Reformed in the end.  So it's hardly a surprise that he's begun to speak more and more as though he weren't really part of that team because, finally, he's being a bit more forthright about his Reformed connections being Reformed connections more than what might called convictions.

So when Driscoll ambles through minute 6ish about how bad some of the venerated saints of evangelicalism were though still mightily used of God ... think of that as a halo effect.  Should it turn out, by a kind of implication, that Mark Driscoll had research help to assemble his books; should it have turned out he let Mars Hill church contract with Result Source to rig the New York Times bestseller list for a marriage book that lacked some citation credits the first time around; if it turned out that Mark Driscoll was maybe guilty of being arrogant and angry in ways he'd described as being demonic and satanic for others in the abstract circa 2008 ... but not ultimately disqualifying HIM from vocational ministry in 2014 ... it might be worth remembering that for Mark Driscoll to be vodcasting on how guys venerated as heroes to some evangelicals have feat of clay can come off like a double standard and special pleading at the same time.

About minute 8 Driscoll gets to how sometimes we can demonize fathers and father figures.  He keeps it abstract.  This doesn't sound like the way Driscoll was ten years ago or more.  Has Driscoll idolized or demonized any father figures?  There was once a time ... before this millennium started, where Driscoll might sometimes talk about how he had dropped the ball on these kinds of things. 

So by 8:40 he's talking about forgiveness and how forgiving your father releases the father wound and releases you ...  and there's a bit about how you can end up emulating the failures of your fathers by lashing out at them and ... 

Driscoll spent years describing himself as being a kind of father to Mars Hill.  Driscoll's abandonment of Mars Hill could be compared to a dad bailing on his kids.  It's possible for a person to get the sense that there's a subtext in all of this Father's Day stuff about father wounds and forgiving fathers physical and spiritual regardless of whether or not they've displayed any repentance.  By 10:13ish in this recent vodcast Driscoll's talking about how when we forgive those fathers physical and spiritual that releases us to have a relationship with God the Father. 

But, see, that's all on you. 

This is still the Driscoll who screamed "How dare you!?" a few years back?

Driscoll has to know by now that one of the key motivational approaches he's used to motivate guys, in particular, to become more responsible is to use a combination of rage and shame. Where he may have gotten the idea that screaming appeals to a sense of rage and shame would work in motivating guys to become more responsible would be a matter of some speculation.  Meanwhile, 2016 Mark Driscoll seems eager to share that if you forgive your fathers physical or spiritual then that releases you to be able to relate to God your Father. 

He gets to minute 12 and shares how for twenty years it's all about Jesus and he believes Jesus is the point of the whole Bible (although ... we'll get back to how much he thinks Jesus is really the point of Song of Songs).  But he says Jesus came to reveal the Father.  So, after decades of "It's all about Jesus" Driscoll remembers the first person of the Trinity.  Oh, and have you forgiven your earthly father?  Your heavenly Father?  If you haven't forgiven your earthly father that becomes a demonic root.  We'll perhaps get back to Driscoll's diabology later.  Learning to forgive fathers gives you the relationship with God the Father so that you men can be fathers. 

But ... back in 1998 there was this past Mark Driscoll who said, well ... :

By setting themselves up against their elders, postmoderns are ingeniously adding an anti-establishment spirit to their movement. "I really preach; it's not just three points to a better self-esteem," Driscoll says. "Megachurches have perfect services with perfect lighting. We're a friggin' mess." Driscoll delivers his sermons largely off-the- cuff, and refuses to follow a point-by-point outline like most pastors at megachurches do. "I'm very confrontational," he says, "not some pansy-ass therapist."

Has the new Mark Driscoll begun to sound, a little bit, like what the old Mark Driscoll would have called some pansy-ass therapist? 

As Driscoll's counsel recently filed a motion for the dismissal of the civil RICO suit Driscoll's Father's Day rumination, having spent so many years presenting himself as a spiritual father figure and a pastor of pastors ... might come across to some people who were once at Mars Hill as coming off a bit like ... "possibly" self-serving special pleading that employs a double standard.  It was screams of "How dare you!?" when Driscoll was publicly ripping on abusive men and guys who were lazy circa 2009.  By 2016, after a year or so of controversies that swirled around the credibility of his published books and the credibility and ethics of one of the ways one of those books was promoted, Driscoll has sought to cultivate a kinder and gentler image.  But if he were as committed to being a local church pastor at Mars Hill as he so often used to say he was ... what's he doing down in the Phoenix area?  What's he doing with a ministry that's named after himself?  Now if he can't for the life of him do any other work than recycle his old sermon talking points from a decade ago ... life happens.  It's just that about ten years ago he was still preaching to those of us who were at Mars Hill to be on guard against the kind of guy he seems to have become. 

And his fatherly counsel for father's day?  Forgive your father so you will be released to have a great relationship with God the Father.  Not that that isn't a valuable moral lesson to impart .... it's just that the insistence with which Mark Driscoll keeps hammering away at that point it comes across as something slightly less than traditional Christian ethical teaching about forgiving those who have sinned against us and have repented than a kind of sympathetic magic.  Did Christ teach that when your father sins against you that you should forgive your earthly father in order to have a fuller relationship with your heavenly Father?  Not saying it can't possibly be in there, just that for a guy who said he teaches the Bible there was a bit of a shortage on suitable prooftexts for that specific point.

And it's hard to shake the sense that the Mark Driscoll of 1998 would say this guy is some pansy-ass therapist. 


Driscoll seems so eager to insist upon "forgive your fathers" that he glides over cases where, say, a physically abusive father had died and never repented.  Not that Jim West would keep tabs on Driscoll but his pastorly assessment of the "forgive even if there's no repentance" has been to warn that forgiveness offered when there are no signs of repentance is giving permission, and it's a "forgiveness" you're offering to feel better about yourself rather than to bless someone else.

So ... Driscoll's recently plugged teaching about forgiveness can smell a bit like something that would be embraced by a spiritual father figure who abandoned the church he founded.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Throckmorton reports Driscoll counsel files motion for dismissal with prejudice in civil RICO suit

so there's that.
As well, one of the things that has been complex is the fact that a lot of the people that we are dealing with in this season remain anonymous. And so we don't know how to reconcile, or how to work things out with, with people because we're not entirely sure who they are, and so that has, that has made things a little more complex and difficult as well. [emphasis added]
Posted by on
During the past twelve months, an online petition calling for “greater financial transparency from the leadership of Mars Hill” was started and has since been signed by 507 people. While some of those who have signed the petition may have been donors to Mars Hill Global, the overwhelming majority (98%) of signers never gave to Mars Hill Global.

On April 4, 2014, parties whom were led by a former Mars Hill member sent a legal request for the preservation of documents to Mars Hill Church. This type of request normally proceeds a lawsuit, however a year has passed since Mars Hill received the legal notice. Then in August and again in December, these parties threatened legal action against many of the former MHC leadership, including myself. They charge that former leaders misappropriated funds with regards to Mars Hill Global. There are however a few facts to consider:
4. The leader of this potential legal action has not been a member of Mars Hill Church since 2007. He is a CEO of a non-profit that participates in Africa, and Mars Hill once supported this non-profit. There are now four remaining potential plaintiffs listed in the most recent threat of legal action sent in December 2014.

It's been hard to take at face value the 2014 claim from Mark Driscoll to the effect of "because we're not entirely sure who they are" when in 2015 Turner mentioned the details he mentioned.
Over two years ago, a group of former members of Mars Hill Church hired Plaintiff counsel, Mr. Fahling, to send a letter demanding that documents be preserved for purposes of a civil RICO lawsuit. (Turner Decl. at ¶6). Following that letter, the group of possible plaintiffs in the potential litigation changed, but the attorney pursuing the case remained the same, Brian Fahling. (Id.)  Mr. Fahling, on behalf of a group of plaintiffs, sent many demand letters to Mars Hill Church and to general counsel of Mars Hill Church requesting mediation and threatening lawsuits. (Id. at ¶7). These actions by the Plaintiffs cost the church a significant amount of money in legal fees. (Id.). These letters portrayed a desire for resolution and claimed that many other church members, beyond those named as plaintiffs, would step forward and join the lawsuit, if necessary. (Id. at ¶8).

This, again, would seem to raise a question about how accurate Mark Driscoll was being about how uncertain the Mars Hill leadership "we" was about who they were dealing with. 

In other coverage ...

It may not be entirely accurate to say the Mars Hill campuses closed.  They closed as Mars Hill campuses but about ten of them are relaunched/relaunching as independent churches.  The Mars Hill Foundation for Planting Churches is still listed as active according to the Washington State Secretary of State.
UBI Number 603349072
Category REG
Profit/Nonprofit Nonprofit
Active/Inactive Active
State Of Incorporation WA
WA Filing Date 10/30/2013
Expiration Date 10/31/2016
Inactive Date 
Duration Perpetual


1411 NW 50TH ST

1411 NW 50TH ST

That said, that mailing address for the officers could be out of date since it seems that the 50th street corporate HQ building for Mars Hill was a case of deed in lieu of foreclosure

For those who might even possibly care what B-50 Investors, LLC is
UBI Number 603448660
Category LLC
Active/Inactive Active
State Of Incorporation WA
WA Filing Date 11/03/2014
Expiration Date 11/30/2016
Inactive Date 
Duration Perpetual

10900 NE 4TH ST STE 1850

Governing Persons
10900 NE 4TH ST STE 1850
BELLEVUE , WA 98004 

 Then there's ... a potentially not necessarily related ...
B-50, LLC
UBI Number 603447982
Category LLC
Active/Inactive Inactive
State Of Incorporation WA
WA Filing Date 10/30/2014
Expiration Date 10/31/2015
Inactive Date 02/01/2016
Duration Perpetual
Which is to suggest that wherever ... MARS HILL FOUNDATION FOR PLANTING CHURCHES is now located, it probably can't be at the old corporate headquarters, can it?

But it's still listed as active so perhaps Driscoll or Bruskas can answer a question about the foundation? 

Meanwhile, the suit hasn't been something that seems worth reporting on unless things actually happen and since ... well, for want of a better way to put it things are happening, if only in the sense that stuff is being printed, that can be noted.