Friday, October 15, 2021

Len Oakes on the role of charismatic rituals initiated by self-designated prophets to form social cohesion

Prophetic Charisma: The Psychology of Revolutionary Religious Personalities
Len Oakes
ISBN 9780815603986 paperback
ISBN 9780815627005 hardcover
ISBN 9780815603993 ebook

From Chapter 8: The Charismatic Moment
page 145 (or 146)
Charismatic rituals are the prophet's main creative achievement. At one and the same time the ritual satisfies the leader's narcissistic needs and transforms the followers; the former, by re-creating a world within which the leader is omnipotent, and the latter, by emotionally revitalizing all who participate in it. The rituals lay an emotional and spiritual base for the community. hence an important task, perhaps the most important task, for the prophet during this time is the construction of charismatic rituals. They are his or her framework for the exploration of love and truth. Each is a set of guidelines that allows people to come together and celebrate the mystery that lies between them. 
Hat tip to reader chris for highlighting this book!

Monday, October 11, 2021

Heinrich Albert, Sonata No. 1 in E minor with score

I really, really want to get into a more detailed analysis of this sonata but this week has not been that week!  But I plan to come back to this sonata with some more discussion of what I like about it.  For now, I hope you enjoy it and if anyone knows of who has recorded Sonata No. 2 in D major comment away!

Sunday, October 10, 2021

on the Christianity Today podcast mini-episode questioning the origin myths of Mars Hill, a long-form review of Mark Driscoll's stories of conversion and calling from 1992-2019, the most significant revisions have been post-MHC accounts

A sixteen minute podcast episode that is called “Questioning the Origin Myth” may do too much and too little and this particular mini-episode has gnawed at my thoughts since it was released.  It attempts to do too much by overtly questioning the alleged origin myths surrounding the founding of Mars Hill Church and Mark Driscoll’s accounts of his conversion to Christianity and his calling to ministry.  Yet it simultaneously does too little in that a podcast, let alone such a short podcast episode, cannot possibly cover the sheer mass of written and preached material Mark Driscoll has published recounting his conversion process, his calling to ministry, and founding of Mars Hill Church stories.  That there is a core set of founding myths is easily established but Cosper didn’t really successfully make a case that Driscoll or others significantly changed the stories that became the founding myths of the former Mars Hill Church.
If anything, a review of a variety of published materials, chiefly from Mark Driscoll’s writings spanning from the early 1990s through to the present suggests that Mark Driscoll’s overall set of origin stories has stayed robustly on message.  If there are cracks in some proverbial fa├žade they show up in what kind of man Mark Driscoll claimed he was planning to be before he had his conversion process.
Notice I keep referring to his “conversion process”. Cumulatively I do not think he had what could be called an evangelical moment-of-crisis conversion experience, nor do I think he really needed one but within the context of evangelicalism and its literary and homiletic conventions Mark Driscoll probably thought and maybe even more strongly felt that he needed to have a narrative of some time with a robust contrast between the before and after of his process of conversion to what he thinks of as evangelical Christianity. 
Rather than assume, as could be done, that Mark Driscoll’s accounts of his conversion and c calling experiences were changed, we should go through the accounts and consider them as literary and homiletic works.  Driscoll has demonstrated that he has always been acutely sensitive to questions of status and perception. He is also, if you appreciate this figure of speech, always closing a sale. Generally Mark Driscoll has not published a story about how he came to faith or felt called to plant a church without that story explicitly serving as a self-authenticating witness of Mark Driscoll’s self-perceived fitness for ministry.
Cosper has some reason to wonder about the degree to which Driscoll changed key elements in the story of conversion and calling that shaped the foundation narratives associated with mars Hill.  On the other hand, that Mark Driscoll kept changing his accounts of conversion and calling does not in itself suggest that Driscoll necessarily made drastic changes.  Mike Cosper was himself a pastor, right? Don’t pastors tailor stories to fit into the over-arching point of a sermon?  This seems to be, pretty clearly I believe, what Driscoll has habitually done with his biography. There are reasons to wonder whether strategic changes or omissions occurred.
But before we ask whether or not it seems that Mark Driscoll changed his story we should  never forget that because he’s always pitching his idea of the gospel or making a homiletic point that the given point will suggest possible reasons for the inclusion or omission of biographical details. Too much of the journalism and social media commentary and blogging I have seen that discusses Mark Driscoll rushes to assess whether he’s really a Calvinist or a charismatic or how he fits into a taxonomy of doctrinal or political categories rather than do the more laborious work of trawling through the primary source statements Mark Driscoll has poured out on the page and in sermons. 
So let’s start with the earliest published account of Mark Driscoll’s conversion process that seems to be available, an op ed he wrote for The Daily Evergreen when he was attending Washington State University.