Wednesday, August 04, 2021

an indelicate set of questions about the CT series moving forward, will the (at times, or often) disastrous legacy of Mars Hill pastoral counseling and "biblical living" pastoral care come up?

The death of John Hoover seems like something that needs to be discussed in the history of Mars Hill.  I didn't know John very well but we came across each other during my time at Mars Hill.  I knew people who knew him but what was going on in John's life but they spoke guardedly about it. He seemed profoundly sad to me for reasons I couldn't even guess at.  With years since those days and hearing intermittently of what has increasingly seemed like the often unmitigated debacle of Mars Hill pastoral counseling I'm thinking that topic will be something the Christianity Today series should look into.  Mars Hill may have not officially billed itself in the "nouthetic counseling" wing but it is doubtless symptomatic of rifts and differences in approach.  I have more first-hand experience with that stuff than I really want to get into. 

What has been referenced briefly is Redemption Groups or Grace Groups but that would be a subset of "biblical counseling".  I'm not going to sugarcoat this point, pastoral counseling was, it seemed to me, often disastrously bad at Mars Hill.  To sugarcoat the matter even less, complaints clustered around former pastor James Noriega, for instance and I felt obliged to delete comments that I regarded as libelous but that many people who had to deal with Noriega found his methods and appraisals brusque is probably not in itself a particularly contentious point.  The more basic point was how or why anyone who did do pastoral counseling was regarded as fit to do so probably needs to be discussed in the CT series at some point.

Among former members of Mars Hill there are those with same sex attraction and the question of whether conversion therapy was endorsed or required within Mars Hill is another topic that probably needs to get some examination.  

I have first-hand and second-hand experience with the pastoral counseling side of things but I'm loathe to get into it much.  When I left Mars Hill I did say that I was concerned that the pastoral counseling side of things seemed to be so bad that I had lost all faith in both the basic competence and goodwill of pastoral counseling at Mars Hill.  There  was some helpful counsel from guys who had actually known me for years but at that point the helpful advice of friends who happened to be in ministry was that, not "counseling".  

UPDATE 8-5-21
To reformulate things in terms of bare questions
1. Will the series get into pastoral counseling in general at MH?
2. Will Redemption Groups and Grace Groups get discussed along with the backgrounds of Mike Wilkerson and James Noriega as instrumental to those groups getting formed?
3. Given the stances Driscoll had on gender roles and the inevitability of same-sex attracted people at Mars Hill, has there been any indication that Mars Hill pastors or biblical living pastors advocated for conversion therapy?
4.  For that matter what catalyzed the change of nomenclature from use of pastoral counseling to "biblical living" pastors?
5. Driscoll's accounts of his personal counseling revealed a penchant for recovered memory tropes as well as spiritual warfare jargon, how many, if any, Mars Hill pastors who did counseling had credentials to do that?

Tuesday, August 03, 2021

more supplemental thoughts on episode 5 of The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill, I can't take it as given that even Rachel Held Evans, let alone Tony Jones, have not had their issues related to Christian celebrity and social influence

Something else about episode 5 has stuck with me but not merely because of episode 5 itself.  As people who have been listening to so far will have noticed, The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill features comments from Tony Jones. Episode 5 makes reference to the late Rachel Held Evans.  For those those who don't remember, those two names are associated with public dissent from things Mark Driscoll has said. It's taken me some time to get a clearer sense of what has seemed a delicate matter in complementarian and egalitarian differences that is in some ways ultimately not a delicate matter at all, in the matter of "what we do to women", progressive and conservative Christian celebrity cultures don't seem that different from the rest of the world whether we look at the track record of a Jones or a Driscoll and also, unfortunately, their respective supporters. Circling wagons around favorite stars, sometimes with other stars, can seem to lead to the same basic pattern across the aisles.

First let's start with David Hayward's comments back from later 2014 on Tony Jones' comments on Mark Driscoll:  

Then we'll note Tony Jones' comments on Mark Driscoll from 2014.

I had some thoughts at the time about the dubiousness of Tony Jones and Peter Rollins deciding to sound off on Mark Driscoll.  Theo-bros commenting from the nosebleed seats who were never actually at Mars Hill and used the demise of Mark Driscoll within Seattle as a pretext to pontificate on the sorts of things they write about anyway is, well, an awful lot like Mark Driscoll.  And that was what I was mulling over when I posted in September 2014 about what some call watchblogging.