‘Blessed Subtraction’ at Mars Hill Church

"I am all about blessed subtraction. There is a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus, and by God's grace it'll be a mountain by the time we're done…"

Mark Driscoll

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:MarsHillChurch2012-04-29.jpgMars Hill Church – Ballard Campus

Updated to include the link to Wenatchee the Hatchet who found the infamous "penis home" comment in the first place.

Perhaps Mark Driscoll is a prophet 'profit' after all…  It certainly appears that he has foretold what would soon take place at the church he and a few others established eighteen years ago.  The pile of bodies under the Mars Hill bus is getting HUMONGOUS, and it includes not only congregants, but pastors!  Of course, Bent Meyer and Paul Petry were the first pastors to be thrown under the bus when the church by-laws were being radically changed.  Had Mark Driscoll and his cohorts listened to these wise men, perhaps Mars Hill would be a thriving house of worship today.  Instead, the shrinking multi-site megachurch continues to garner headlines.  Dee and I are having a hard time keeping up, but here are some important developments.

Here We Grow Shrink Again…

Church planting has always been a hallmark of Mars Hill Church.  No doubt you've heard the mantra 'church planting churches', which was oh so alluring to the Neo-Cal crowd.  Mars Hill has grown to fifteen campuses in five states.  However, last Sunday MH leaders announced the closing of three churches with another one teetering in that direction.  Those locations were named in a post on the Mars Hill website. 

The congregation meeting at a former Methodist church in downtown Seattle (pictured here), http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mars_Hill_Church,_downtown_Seattle_WA.jpgas well as the one in U-District, will begin worshipping at the Ballard Campus on October 12th.  The Phoenix church, which was recently planted, will hold its final church service on September 28, although MH leaders are exploring ways for the congregation to exist in a different form.  The Huntington Beach location may also be in jeopardy unless contributions increase.  Finally, the Los Angeles church plant has been scrapped, but the Spokane plant will continue to move forward, according to Pastor Dave Bruskas.

 MH Staff Undergoes 'Blessed Subtraction'

On the same day that Pastor Dave announced the church closings, The Seattle Times featured an article calling attention to pastor and staff layoffs.  Here is an excerpt:

After 18 years of explosive growth, officials at Seattle megachurch Mars Hill say financial pressures in the wake of recent negative media attention are forcing them to cut staff and eliminate some branches, including consolidating the downtown Seattle and University District congregations with the Ballard church, leaders announced Sunday.

The church, which had blossomed to 15 branches in five states and had followers around the world, also plans to cut 30 to 40 percent of its paid staff of about 100. That staff already had seen layoffs last spring and a string of departures in recent weeks by pastors angry or uneasy about the church’s direction.

No doubt if the current trend continues, even more paid staff will find themselves under the Mars Hill bus.

Eight of Nine Pastors Who Stood Up Are G-O-N-E!

A few weeks ago nine pastors spoke out via a letter which called for significant changes to Mars Hill's modus operandi.  We discussed this in a post entitled:  The Latest from Mark's Hill (aka Mars Hill Church).  As could have been predicted, eight of the nine pastors are no longer employed at Mars Hill.  Warren Throckmorton, the go-to person for the MH debacle, discussed this in a post published yesterday.  In his informative article, Throckmorton names the signatories and their current status.

Executive Pastors' Salaries – U Can't Touch This! (link)

One would think that given the dire situation in which Mars Hill Church currently finds itself, the top brass would be obliged to take a pay cut.  Think again…  It seems that someone in the know has indicated to Warren Throckmorton that the executive pastors' salaries are non-negotiable.  Here is an excerpt from another Throckmorton post:

One source (a current elder) tells me that executive elders’ salaries are not on the table for discussion. However, the 30-40 (unconfirmed reports tell me the number was higher) people laid off may not get severance pay and don’t have unemployment. The lack of comment from the executive elders about how they personally are going to help is louder than any amended statements could be.

Perhaps you are wondering whether this is the first time Mars Hill has experienced a financial crisis.  Well, just today Warren Throckmorton posted some extremely interesting information.  Here is a screen shot from today's post.  This financials in this chart indicate that Mars Hill was in dire straits two years ago. 

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2014/09/10/sutton-turner-in-2012-on-mars-hill-churchs-financial-situation-we-are-in-a-big-mess/

Screen Shot from Throckmorton Post

In light of this financial information, Throckmorton writes:

If Mars Hill Church is now in “the most serious budget challenge in our history” then things now must be much worse than anyone has stated publicly. Given the rapid acquisition of properties, Mars Hill could be very low on cash and be in danger of the same kind of problems that existed in 2012. My guess is October is a deadline of sorts along the lines of point #3 above.

My suspicion is that the past is prologue to the current situation. Turner predicted that the situation was unsustainable and it appears he was correct.

These must indeed be desperate times at Mars Hill Church…

Less Nickels and Noses to Count…

Now that the By-Laws have finally been revealed, Mars Hill Church members can see in black and white that they have no tangible influence at their church (i.e. no voting privileges).  See screen shot below.

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 1.02.02 PM

According to an article featured last year in Charisma News

Driscoll started Mars Hill in Seattle in 1996. Today, around 15,000 people attend weekly Sunday services at 14 locations…

Mark Driscoll's church has been ranked as one of the largest in the country.  Because more and more members are voting in the only way they can — with their feet and wallets — that claim to fame appears to be in jeopardy.  The precipitous decline in attendance may soon spell disaster for Mars Hill Church. 

From this blogger's perspective, Mars Hill Church (perhaps more than any other) became world famous in large part because of the internet.  It was in the right place at the right time.  There was the church website, blogs, YouTube videos, online sermons, etc.  And let's not forget all the Neo-Cal leaders who elevated Mark Driscoll.  They know who they are.  So do we…

In recent years the tables have been turned on Mars Hill Church.  Ironically, the world wide web is now being used as a tool by those hurt by Driscoll's 'blessed subtraction'.  A recently launched website called Musings From Under the Bus is one such communication tool.  While Driscoll and gang warn Martians to steer clear of 'gossipy'  and 'slanderous' websites, there is a growing chorus of voices calling out MH leadership and revealing how they were run over by the Mars Hill bus. 

A recent post by Rob Smith on the Musings website contains some enlightening information.  Here is an excerpt:

How can anyone be held accountable if they can simply rewrite the bylaws at will?

This is beyond a joke.

Here is how it happened.

The entire membership was betrayed in 2007 with a rogue change in the bylaws. The church that we joined, because it had a plurality of elders (i.e.: a safe church) and had given millions of dollars to and countless hours of effort toward, changed its bylaws in a coercive and despicable way.
The new bylaws became repeatedly changed despite church members being required to agree with them. As the bylaws changed, members were not notified and the bylaws become increasingly hard to find.
The current bylaws are now withheld from the elders of the church. So who is responsible, and who reports to whom? How is the church governed?

Mars Hill Church has members who are expected to agree with the bylaws, but the bylaws have become as secretive as the lucrative salaries being paid to the three Executive Elders. The last bylaws we did see (link) show that members are “members” in name only. Under the terms of the 2012 bylaws, the only “actual” legal members of the church were the elders. Church members were defined as “members only in a spiritual and theological sense,” but not actually members in a civil sense.

In classic Orwellian doublespeak, members are not actually members, except for the purpose of giving their dollars and time to the actual members (the elders) to spend as they choose.

It would appear that there are now new bylaws where the elders at Mars Hill Church are not actually elders from any Reformed point of view. They have no say in how the church is run and have no right to see the bylaws or to change them.

Because the bylaws are hidden from almost everyone now, this raises serious questions. Questions like the following:

– Who actually owns the property that the church keeps buying with the members’ (non) donations?

– How does the money get spent? What happened to the money that was raised for the Jesus Festival?

– While employees are getting laid off, are the Executive Elders still getting their full salaries?

– What are the cash reserves of the church?

– Who decides to buy new property?

– Who owns the church properties if the church locks its doors?

None of these questions are likely to be answered under the present bylaws, because the Executive Elders are the only actual members of the church. Non-members, who think they are members, and non-elders who think they are elders, have no right to information like this.

And if all of that information was not damaging enough, Mark Driscoll has again come under scrutiny because of his misogynistic attitude.  Several days ago an article which first appeared over at Patheos and then on the TIME website condemns a concept that only Driscoll could manufacture.  It is 'penis homes'What in the world???  We refuse to include Driscoll's abhorrent words in this post, but if you are the least bit interested in what he had to say, you can access the TIME article here and the Patheos post here  UPDATE 9/11: and at Wenatchee the Hatchet's (the guy who found this) site here.

Since some of the Neo-Cal leaders have publicly proclaimed their care and concern for Mark Driscoll, let us pray for those who have been hurt by the Mars Hill leadership and thrown under the MH bus. 

In all fairness to Mark Driscoll, we have decided to let him have the last word…

Lydia's Corner:    Zechariah 8:1-23   Revelation 16:1-21   Psalm 144:1-15   Proverbs 30:29-31

Comments

‘Blessed Subtraction’ at Mars Hill Church — 248 Comments


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    He who lives by Blessed Subtraction will be himself subtracted.


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    Wenatchee the Hatchet posted a long section of the William Wallace II diatribe verbatim (includes MD also posting as PastorMark) on August 20th. I read it last night, and must say that the context for “penis homes” is waaaay weirder than the excerpts on Libby Anne’s blog suggest.


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    Sergius Martin-George wrote:

    He who lives by Blessed Subtraction will be himself subtracted.

    …blessedly?

    I think so.


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    On that final bit, I am left [nearly] speechless. What a [redacted] he must be, to refer to a woman as a place to park his “manhood”! And of course, as we all know, he didn’t say this when he was some immature teenager. Heck, I work with the youth at my church, and I have not heard anything anywhere near as appalling from any of the teens I’ve known – and I’ve heard some pretty crazy stuff! Shame on him!


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    I came out of the “neocal” camp. I have raised concerns about Driscoll for years amongst my theological like minded friends even when no on really knew who Driscoll was. No one listened. I was given the “contextualization” card or the “he just needs growth” card. Nonsense. If he needed that much growth, he should’ve never been a pastor to begin with. The qualifications for elders are actually quite clear in scripture. I am really frustrated with guys like Piper, Dever, and even RC Sproul. Guys who have defended Driscoll despite the evidence of his bad fruit. Not every young, reformed, and wrestless guys follow so blindly. I used to give away the Cross Centered life to High school graduates when I was a pastor. I could not longer in good conscience do it, so I started giving Pilgrim’s Progress which is much better anyway.


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    I know I am only one voice amidst the chorus, and who will ever hear, but I am astounded and revolted by a gigantic swath of so-called Christians, some very well known (Piper, MacDonald, etc), and some (leadership inside MH) known in a smaller circle. So many red flags ignored/excused by all! So many lives trampled, faiths shipwrecked. Such spiritual abuse which has transgressed so many for so long in so many ways MUST. BE. STOPPED. I have lost all faith in name-brand Churchievangelicalism. Give me a small church with a faithful teacher of the Word, no “merch table,” no hip causes, no designer worship experiences, no sustainable coffee in recycled paper cups, no slick media. I am overwhelmingly sad. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.


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    And not only prophetic about “bodies under the bus” but in his resurgence video he is driving a hearse to his new church building and asking if it will be a funeral? hmmmm.

    About the whole prophetic call to being a pastor. If you have a call, you are answering to someone else. If God called Mark so many years ago, it wouldn’t be “his” church or “his” ministry, it would be Gods. So I watched his (6 week) resignation letter reading video in mute. I didn’t see contrition, or sorrow. He may have heaved once or twice, but his eyes darted up and down, his expression barely changed. They weren’t sad eyes, burdened by not following his call, but actor eyes. The same expression on his face the whole letter. It was nothing but a PR letter. There was no glimmer, no twitch of sorrow, nothing. If someone had just handed me that video and said: What do you think he is talking about here? I would never have guessed a “sorrowful” resignation. Nice touch to have his family up at the end, but he doesn’t walk off the stage sadly, he looks like he just finished watching a movie and is leaving with his family. Did he hear a calling to be a pastor all those years ago from God? If he did, he doesn’t seem to concerned with the outcome right now.

    Did he lose his first love? never had it in the first place? The character that I always come back to is King Saul. He was granted the Kingdom, anointed to be Israel’s King, yet God was done with him long before he lost the Kingdom (and his life). Although he remained King, God’s favour had departed and his bazaar behaviour and diminishing popularity increased, yet he never seemed to mourn no longer being under God’s call. He just mourned losing his Kingdom. Does Mark mourn no longer being anointed by God to be pastor? Or does he mourn his weakening (and potential loss of) position? It makes all the difference in God’s view. We will never know. I attempt to look for something to explain his metrical rise in popularity, the numbers who flock to his church and website for some glimmer. But it isn’t there. The sermons sound more like JFK style “ask not what you can do for your country…” style speech, catchy, but not necessarily biblical or theologically deep. He is obnoxious too, but that increases his ratings. One would think there would be one group drawn to his theology and one group to his controversy and that one side would tip followers of the other side off the ship at regular intervals, but it never happens. He is weirdly excused by the side that claims they don’t like his behaviour but like his theology.

    That, and I can’t find any deep theological points in his sermons. He gets bible versus wrong, twists verses out of their contexts and doesn’t really line up with anything in the bible – yet is great at getting at Seattle’s youth culture. Telling young men it is a sin to not get married by compellingly slamming Seattle’s extended youth culture and resistance to marriage sounds good, but neither Jesus, nor Paul, who he quotes in his sermon, were married and Paul said it was better not to be married. The audience is drinking his political rhetoric up, but never thinking “Hey! wait! Paul was fine with life-long celibacy”. Now, I know he talks about celibacy elsewhere and grudgingly admits it is OK for missionaries, but to do a whole sermon on the sin of non-marriage is seriously incompetent, and completely missed by most people claiming his theological prowess. When I ask for specific examples of his great theological in-sightes, the conversation grows strangely quiet.

    So, what am I missing? How is he where he is? Did others feel negatively right away, or were people drawn to him until they hit his controversies? I am curious.


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    Off topic but related to other posts on the blog.

    A trial with preacher Kong Hee is still going on.

    [Preacher] Kong engaged in “lies and deceptions” to hide misuse of funds: Prosecution
    http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/kong-engaged-in-lies-and/1354140.html
    “These monies [from the church’s Building Fund] were allegedly used to buy sham bonds in two church-linked companies – Xtron Productions and Firna – to finance the church’s Crossover Project, which was the church’s way of evangelising through secular pop music, and fronted by Kong’s wife Sun Ho.”

    You can hear the music stylings of Mrs. Hee (or is it “Mrs. Sun”?) on You Tube, where, in one of the songs, she keeps yelling, “China wine! China wine!” repeatedly.

    I can’t decide if, forced by gun point by an abductor, to have listen to one or the other, if I’d rather be subjected to Hee’s “China Wine,” or anything by Miley Cyrus. Either one would be brutal.


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    Wait so Executive Elders are the only real voting members of the church? 3 people?


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    Lisa wrote:

    some very well known (Piper, MacDonald, etc),

    Well, MacDonald has his very own issues of financial responsibility, a lack of transparency of how money is used and of abuse – just go look at http://theelephantsdebt.com/ .

    At least Piper is not an abuser himself, even if some of his teachings can be seen as condoning it for the sake of wifely submission.


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    Val wrote:

    Did others feel negatively right away…

    Yes. It was precisely the act of listening to a five-sermon podcast series of his (along with some friends who asked us to go through Fiscal’s stuff with them) that left me asking: how come this man has a reputation as a great teacher/preacher? He’s quoting plenty of verses, but saying nothing with them – and saying it inaccurately at that.

    This was several years ago before he became famous in this country, and I had heard nothing but good about him. So my bias, such as I had one, was to be favourably disposed towards him. I truly expected, and hoped for, great things.

    Tim Challies, in a recent newspaper interview, was quoted as claiming that Fiscal’s character flaws had been obvious to many from early on. I would be very interested to read a complete transcript of that conversation. Obvious to whom? And why were those voices not heeded?

    I think that’s an important part of what has enabled Fiscal’s celebrity and financial success. It’s not just that he satisfies a previously-untapped market among the youth of Seattle; he also satisfied a market among the older men of conservative Christian religion in the US. Who cares about his lack of love, compassion or Christlike character, if he champions the very ideologies we’re in love with? Fiscal did not happen in isolation. He is a living demonstration of what is truly important to the informal leaders of the “resurgent” (as distinct from, say, the “emergent”!). In much the same way as a certain young man named Saul was a godsend to the Sanhedrin of the day. (Though not, perhaps, in the way they first imagined.)


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    Just on the idea of ‘blessed subtraction’ – I don’t think this concept/expression is original or new. Has anyone else heard it from the pews? I heard it expressed similarly about 15 years ago by a pastor along the lines of, “God is moving etc and I’m going forward and if you don’t want to keep up too bad too sad”… Was said slightly more articulately, louder and with more repetition.


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    A query relating to the post:

    "However, the 30-40 (unconfirmed reports tell me the number was higher) people laid off may not get severance pay and don’t have unemployment".

    Can someone please explain the lack of severance pay and inability to quality for unemployment to someone who is not American? I'm not understanding. Are they outside of the law and therefore exempt, or does the law not guarantee any protections?


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    @ Lisa:

    Preach it, sista! I am so grateful to attend a church that doesn't have a bookstore. The coffee maker is in the fellowship hall, and I haven't seen many (if any) bring their cup of joe into church.  Guess they drink it before they get there.


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    Several days ago an article which first appeared over at Patheos and then on the TIME website

    Actually WTH found the “penis homes” thing first. Libby Anne failed to mention where she got it, don’t know why. (Not meant to suggest anything nefarious on Libby Anne’s part, it was probably just an oversight.)


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    @ Hester:
    Thanks for that clarification. Wenatchee rocks!


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    @ Haitch:
    From what I’ve read, In Washington State it is optional for churches to participate in the state unemployment insurance pool. And of course severance is always optional. Other things i’ve read lead me to believe that MHC has a long history of laying people off and then hiring them back. But the three kings are apparently exempt.


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    Albuquerque Blue wrote:

    Wait so Executive Elders are the only real voting members of the church? 3 people?

    Marky-Mark Driscoll, Bee Jay Driscoll, and Dee Tee Driscoll.


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    Why did people keep giving and giving to Mark’s Hill even after 2007? for the same reason my grandparent’s generation gave to Oral Roberts and Billy Graham etc. They are trying to buy their way into heaven. It’s interesting that Calvinists supposedly believe that you can’t get into heaven by works alone and yet spend millions trying to do good works.

    My separation from Christianity began in college when in a spirit of exploration I visited all the different churches (raised UMC) in my college town. Every service was about money. Then decades later I tuned back in and it was the same thing but now preachers were multi-millionaires and I was still poor. Then through my business I discovered some info about our local Calvary Chapel franchise owner and my disgust was ratcheted up another level.

    If I want to talk to God, I’ll go sit under a tree in the Jemez Mountains and have a conversation. I don’t have to go to a building with security guards and million dollar AV systems.


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    Josh wrote:

    And of course, as we all know, he didn’t say this when he was some immature teenager

    I continue to say that Mark Driscoll needs psychiatric help for making statements like this. There is something very dark about him and I wouldn’t want to live in the same house with him.


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    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    He’s quoting plenty of verses, but saying nothing with them – and saying it inaccurately at that.

    He’s just as accurate as the next guy. IMO.


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    Haitch wrote:

    Just on the idea of ‘blessed subtraction’ – I don’t think this concept/expression is original or new. Has anyone else heard it from the pews? I heard it expressed similarly about 15 years ago by a pastor along the lines of, “God is moving etc and I’m going forward and if you don’t want to keep up too bad too sad”… Was said slightly more articulately, louder and with more repetition.

    You are correct. On page 95 of The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren uses the phrase ‘blessed subtraction’. It’s found in Chapter 39 – Change is Good.


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    PP wrote:

    I was given the “contextualization” card or the “he just needs growth” card.

    Christianese. What is so sad is that seminary presidents and all sorts of supposedly discerning leaders said this garbage. Meanwhile, the little guy was asking the right questions and being sidelined. PP wrote:

    I used to give away the Cross Centered life to High school graduates when I was a pastor. I could not longer in good conscience do it, so I started giving Pilgrim’s Progress which is much better anyway.

    Thank you for this. Even with Mahaney's problems, all the megachurches keep featuring it. Why? Well, according to them it is a really good book. I have one question for all of these guys. If it is so gosh darn good, why is his ministry imploding? That book is screwed up, and it led to this mess. I like Pilgrim's Progress!


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    @ Bene D:
    Thank you for the laugh.


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    People should never take any pastoral recommendation from the neo-Cal ‘luminaries’ seriously – they’re a joke since they appear to support anyone with a large enough congregation that preaches predestination and oppression of women to the role of household and sex slave.

    My God, how can these so-called ‘luminaries’ have blithely overlooked the obvious pornographic preaching of Mark Driscoll for so many years with nary a hint of criticism? Where was their adherence to their Biblical duty to call out false prophets? They’ll attack an Arminian at the drop of a hat like a swarm of hornets for their Arminian views, but not one word against a guy who speaks from the pulpit about a wife’s obligation to be a sex slave to her husband? Obviously a big reason why there are so many ‘discernment’ blogs is because the neo-Cals don’t have any.

    Lastly, a sure sign that someone’s preaching is completely bogus is, when their views are attacked, they go into hiding and refuse to address the criticisms. That’s because they either know what their saying is boguis or they’ve just been making it up all along and so have no clue how to Biblically and rationally defend themselves. When someone won’t even step up to the plate and defend their religious views it’s a sure sign that those views are as phony as three-card monte.


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    Hester wrote:

    Several days ago an article which first appeared over at Patheos and then on the TIME website
    Actually WTH found the “penis homes” thing first. Libby Anne failed to mention where she got it, don’t know why. (Not meant to suggest anything nefarious on Libby Anne’s part, it was probably just an oversight.)

    It does not speak well of her, though, when media outlets are actually crediting her with finding those quotes and ignoring the real sources and she is silent. She should, for the sake of being ethical, note to her readers and to outlets like Salon that are crediting her that she took the info from other sources. Wenatchee the Hatchet and Warren Throckmorton have worked hard to make sure that Driscoll is exposed for what he is. Libby Anne should not be taking credit from them or anyone else.


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    Lisa wrote:

    ut I am astounded and revolted by a gigantic swath of so-called Christians, some very well known (Piper, MacDonald, etc), and some (leadership inside MH) known in a smaller circle. So many red flags ignored/excused by all!

    Me, too. This is exposing the total lack of discernment (or a love of money and connections) by some men who need to take a good hard look at their ineffectiveness beyond pontificating why a tornado hit Minneapolis. They preach a stupid theology which leads to them all cowering from standing up for truth.


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    JeffT wrote:

    They’ll attack an Arminian at the drop of a hat like a swarm of hornets for their Arminian views, but not one word against a guy who speaks from the pulpit about a wife’s obligation to be a sex slave to her husband? Obviously a big reason why there are so many ‘discernment’ blogs is because the neo-Cals don’t have any.

    The emperors have no clothes. Their theologizing on morality is bogus because they will not ever point fingers at one of their own until they are nailed to the wall.


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    dee wrote:

    I continue to say that Mark Driscoll needs psychiatric help for making statements like this. There is something very dark about him and I wouldn’t want to live in the same house with him.

    No kidding! But much of the neo-Cal and other fundy crowds don’t believe in psychiatry so that would never enter their mind as an option to recommend. Very sad.


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    nmgirl wrote:

    If I want to talk to God, I’ll go sit under a tree in the Jemez Mountains and have a conversation. I don’t have to go to a building with security guards and million dollar AV systems.

    I love the beauty of New Mexico. I lived for 2 years in Gallup and travelled extensively in the state. i agree. It is far easier to see God in the landscape 9I love the Taos area) as opposed to a strutting, aging hipster wannabe strutting around like he is some sort of masculine role model when he is merely acting like a junior high boy who has discovered a Playboy magazine.


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    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Dee Tee Driscoll.

    Never, ever put the name “Dee” in with Driscoll. 🙂


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    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Tim Challies, in a recent newspaper interview, was quoted as claiming that Fiscal’s character flaws had been obvious to many from early on. I would be very interested to read a complete transcript of that conversation. Obvious to whom? And why were those voices not heeded?

    Tim Challies was virtually silent on Driscoll just as he was on Mahaney. Challies sticks his finger in the air and goes with whatever his idols are doing at the moment. Just another male fail, to use their lingo.


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    @ nmgirl:
    Ooo, haven’t been up to Jemez this year yet. Missed out on Jemez Pueblo’s feast day due to work which made me sad face.


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    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Tim Challies, in a recent newspaper interview, was quoted as claiming that Fiscal’s character flaws had been obvious to many from early on. I would be very interested to read a complete transcript of that conversation. Obvious to whom? And why were those voices not heeded?

    “One Hand Washes the Other.”

    And others were Personally Benefiting from it. That or they were Admiring Fanboys wishing they could do the same. Or Marky Mark was to them what MMA cage fighting was to Marky Mark — their Ideal of what I Wanna Be.

    Maybe Marky Mark has become a liability so that’s why Challies et al are leaving him? Feral dogs turning on a former Alpha, and making long prayers to justify it.


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    dee wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Dee Tee Driscoll.

    Never, ever put the name “Dee” in with Driscoll. 🙂

    You wouldn’t let me spell out “Deep Throat Driscoll”…


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    dee wrote:

    I love the beauty of New Mexico. I lived for 2 years in Gallup and travelled extensively in the state. i agree. It is far easier to see God in the landscape 9I love the Taos area) as opposed to a strutting, aging hipster wannabe strutting around like he is some sort of masculine role model when he is merely acting like a junior high boy who has discovered a Playboy magazine.

    Playboy or Hustler?
    (I definitely cannot write here THE most over-the-top porn title I’ve ever heard of, so Hustler will have to do.)


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    JeffT wrote:

    My God, how can these so-called ‘luminaries’ have blithely overlooked the obvious pornographic preaching of Mark Driscoll for so many years with nary a hint of criticism?

    “These N Kings said one to another,
    ‘King unto King o’er the world is Brother’…”

    Where was their adherence to their Biblical duty to call out false prophets?

    Oh, but they did. Remember all the Words from God about how this tornado and that hurricane and this bridge collapse and that school shooting and this plane crash was GOD’S PUNISHMENT! PUNISHMENT! PUNISHMENT! FOR HOMOSEXUALITY! HOMOSEXUALITY! HOMOSEXUALITY! (Since the end of the Cold War, they can’t threaten us with The Nuclear Missile Silos of the Soviet Union(TM).)

    They’ll attack an Arminian at the drop of a hat like a swarm of hornets for their Arminian views…

    That is PURITY OF IDEOLOGY, Comrade.


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    Josh wrote:

    On that final bit, I am left [nearly] speechless. What a [redacted] he must be, to refer to a woman as a place to park his “manhood”!

    Though I think “Schmuck Sheath” says it better than “Penis Home”.
    But then I speak English instead of Chrsitianese.

    Years ago, I said “This horndog’s preaching career is going to go down in a Sex Scandal.”


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    Val wrote:

    Now, I know he talks about celibacy elsewhere and grudgingly admits it is OK for missionaries…

    Who are Predestined for the stewpot in Darkest Africa anyway (Ooga! Booga!)…


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    Apparently Driscoll doesn’t want to be in Driscolls shoes any more 😉

    http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Mars-Hill-pastor-terminated–273144811.html?tab=video&c=y&mobile=y

    Watch the short clip and you’ll see what I mean.

    I first saw this at Wenatchee the Hatchet’s site. He has a good article that goes with it.


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    @ Bridget:

    Thanks Bridget. We included that clip in our previous post about Driscoll, but I still find it interesting to watch. "Wrong address…Yeah, right!"


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    @ Deb:

    Sorry. I don’t always view all the links. Sometimes I just can’t stomach them.

    I do note that Driscoll and Mahaney are good at taking leaves just when things in their relm are getting very heated. They take a sabbatical and their underlings are left facing the heat while they direct from a chair behind high walls.


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    Haitch wrote:

    “Going forward” – link doesn’t work from main Mars Hill website now:

    I’m thinking some “content” was unavailable overnight here due to the rollout of the new, improved marshill.com.
    Martians can now sign up for a marshill.com “user” account, giving them access to exclusive “content” and a more personalized “user” experience. Cynical minds might view these improvements as an attempt to better control which “content” the “users” are allowed to use.


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    @ Dave A A:

    And the new set up may also disable links to the site. This would be convenient for shutting down outsiders from viewing content. The word I have for this is cultish.


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    @ ar:

    I agree.


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    @ Bridget:
    The “Going Forward” article, for me, raises more questions than it answers. Take this relatively innocuous paragraph, for example:
    “The process has begun – The members of the BoE have been assigned their interviews and have already begun having these conversations. We have had many hours of meetings together and interviews with the people involved.”
    Who assigned them their interviews? What sorts of people have they been interviewing? Who, exactly, are “the people involved”? Will someone “interview” Driscoll in any meaningful fashion to discover how he answers the charges? If someone does, will that someone be thrown under the bus? Has anyone interviewed even one solitary leader of the opposition yet, and if not, why not?


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    @ Albuquerque Blue:

    They share a huge legal liability to the lenders and mortgage holders, depending upon when the bylaws were modified. If the bylaws were submitted to the lenders (normal for a corporation, including a non-profit), then changes would have to be approved by the lenders or it could constitute a fraud. Also the fact that the executive elders are pulling down big salaries as the only members could result in “piercing the corporate veil”, and making them individually liable for the debts of the corporate entity.


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    @ Haitch:

    In many U.S. jurisdictions, churches are exempt from contributing to the unemployment compensation fund (tax on businesses based on payroll and employment). In the U.S., severance is a matter of the employer’s policies (non-compliance with the published policy can be a cause for litigation) and/or contract between the employer and employee or employer and union. Not generally applicable to churches, since few provide them.


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    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Years ago, I said “This horndog’s preaching career is going to go down in a Sex Scandal.”

    You were right. Of course, you are right about a lot of stuff, I am thinking. Good job.


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    __

    Has da MerkyD ‘brand’ of proverbial ‘religious’ homeless penis’ soiled itself?


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    @ Hester:
    Awesome suggestion. I just updated the post.


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    Dave A A wrote:

    Cynical minds might view these improvements as an attempt to better control which “content” the “users” are allowed to use.

    Hah! They can run but they can’t hide. Leaks are part and parcel of the culture.


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    Bridget wrote:

    I do note that Driscoll and Mahaney are good at taking leaves just when things in their relm are getting very heated. They take a sabbatical and their underlings are left facing the heat while they direct from a chair behind high walls.

    Very true! It's so predictable.


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    Nick Bulbeck said:

    “I think that’s an important part of what has enabled Fiscal’s celebrity and financial success. It’s not just that he satisfies a previously-untapped market among the youth of Seattle; he also satisfied a market among the older men of conservative Christian religion in the US. Who cares about his lack of love, compassion or Christlike character, if he champions the very ideologies we’re in love with? Fiscal did not happen in isolation. He is a living demonstration of what is truly important to the informal leaders of the “resurgent” (as distinct from, say, the “emergent”!). In much the same way as a certain young man named Saul was a godsend to the Sanhedrin of the day. (Though not, perhaps, in the way they first imagined.)”

    Nick, I think you nailed it here. Driscoll would have been out of there a while ago (or at least have much lesser influence) if certain other megapastors hadn’t gone to the trouble of propping him up. But he had the number$, in more ways than one, so therefore God must be blessing his efforts to preach neocalvinist theology, complementarianism, and whatever else his schtick was. Any embarrassing sex sermons could be overlooked. That, and I kept running across references to him reaching one of the “most unchurched” areas of the country.


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    @ Hester:
    Have you seen his addendum re. “The story never was and never will be” about MD’s misogyny and hateful attitude toward gay men?

    I like WTH, but that claim *really* irks me.


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    As far as blessed subtraction, I remember my last pastor, when one person left the church who’d be involved from the beginning and was an integral part, I asked him, “Aren’t you a bit sad?” He said something like needing to move on with the vision, etc. etc. So crazy. No regard for people as people. Just the money and the “vision”.


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    Albuquerque Blue wrote:

    Wait so Executive Elders are the only real voting members of the church? 3 people?

    From my experience on the board of a 501.c(3) (or however you write that), yes, it’s a legal thing. Our organization has lots of members, what we call members is one thing (and we, the board, take direction from our members, are constantly asking their input as well, because *we* are not the group, we are only a part of the group, serving to steward the group’s resources for the duration of our serving on the board), and what the government calls “members” are the people on the board.

    You want to hear something funny? Under our state’s (or maybe it’s federal? I’ve been transitioning off the board, the past few months, so I haven’t been paying attention) laws, board members cannot profit from our association with the group, even though we are the only ones with direct access to the group’s bank accounts. We are very careful in what we spend, knowing the money doesn’t belong to us personally, but to the people who contributed it.


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    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    along with some friends who asked us to go through Fiscal’s stuff with them

    Just a note — for someone as dyslexic as myself, substituting “Fiscal” for “Driscoll” makes it very difficult to read (and understand) your comments. My brain keeps tripping over the substitution. I don’t know why I can’t program my brain to just make the substitution and get on with things. But it’s been a few weeks, and I’m still tripping on the practice.

    I’m not trying to make you change your style, just wanted to vent for a minute. Sorry.


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    @ refugee:

    One can have a democratic association form of church membership, where the decisions are made by the membership in business sessions, and there are trustees who are the state registered persons who, by the constitution and bylaws are obligated to carry out the express will of the members. Until recent decades, most SBC churches were organized in this manner. The other model was the small church — pastor is THE ONLY LEADER model. In some cases, the church treasury was the pastor’s wallet, and it was his responsibility to see that the building was maintained and utilities paid, and anything left was his income.


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    @ Haitch:

    It’s hard not to read the description of the “new marshill.com” and think of the changes as a way to exert more control over who has access to what. Methinks it will be much more difficult to just search their content for things (as many critics of Mark have done in the past).


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    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    It’s not just that he satisfies a previously-untapped market among the youth of Seattle; he also satisfied a market among the older men of conservative Christian religion in the US.

    Pardon me while I foment a bit more off topic. This brings up my noticing that radio stations seem to think that the main audience for news radio or talk radio (whether ultra-conservative or more moderate in tone) is impotent men. I can’t tell you how tired I am of listening to news and/or analysis and running up against ads for the Universal Men’s Clinic or some such thing. It’s tiresome, and when our kids were younger, they found it embarrassing and disgusting. I’d have to turn the radio off!

    Glad we never tried out the local Mars Hill — from what I hear, our kids might well have found the sermons to be embarrassing and disgusting in the same way.

    /rant


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    @ Arce:
    Holy crap! That’s crazy. They could pull that church up and sell off at any moment, and there would be very little legal recourse. And the conflicts of interests this generates is not what they need right now. They’ve given the congregation only one way to have a say and that’s donations, at a time when they need donations to get out of their predicaments.

    The SBC model with trustees sounds very good. As does yours Refugee.


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    @ Deb:

    Just want to chime in and point out that the basic categories that Mark references in the audio linked at the end of the post above sound VERY similar to categories used by church consultant Will Mancini in his book “Church Unique.” I haven’t looked at the book in a couple of years, but I remember a section that is quite similar in outline and content to Mark’s little spiel. The book uses the metaphor of a ship (not a bus) for a ministry, but the way that Mancini outlines the categories of people on the “ministry ship” is quite similar: captains, crew, stowaways, and pirates.

    I believe the book was published after Mark made this speech, but I do know that the book’s author, Mancini, was doing church consulting for many years prior to writing the book, and the book is more or less a print version of the consulting work he does with churches. I’d be interested to know if Mancini ever interacted with Mars Hill.

    Or, it could also be that Mancini and Mark both draw on a common concept shared amongst ministry “experts.”


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    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    It’s not just that he satisfies a previously-untapped market among the youth of Seattle

    Great way of looking at it. The fact that Mark planted in “the most unchurched city in the US” has often been cited in such a way that it implies a tremendous challenge. I’d say the opposite – he found an untapped market that gave him a blank slate. Perhaps similar to how evangelicals have found success in New York City?

    Interesting to note that Acts 29 has had a very hard time planting in Chicago, one of the most churched cities in the US, where “market” is flooded with options.


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    @ Albuquerque Blue:
    Jemez has another feast day in november I hope to go to. I go up every couple of weeks to recharge myself and wear the lab out.


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    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Years ago, I said “This horndog’s preaching career is going to go down in a Sex Scandal.”

    Interesting that it hasn’t turned out to be the “usual” kind of sex scandal, but rather all the words MD has used regarding sex. I think most people are actually seeing that the financial issues and general personality cult/power consolidation/sick culture at the top of the MH organization are actually just as harmful.

    As to “one hand washing the other,” this is sadly true. The public comments by some of MD’s “friends” who say they saw problems long ago makes me feel sorry in some ways for MD. If they couldn’t call him to account years ago, they were no friends, and dumping him this way now simply proves that point.

    I do hope he gets professional help, for his own sake as well as for the sake of those close to him.


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    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Tim Challies, in a recent newspaper interview, was quoted as claiming that Fiscal’s character flaws had been obvious to many from early on. I would be very interested to read a complete transcript of that conversation. Obvious to whom? And why were those voices not heeded?

    Nick, are you sure you don’t mean Tim Keller? I recently read an article with him making a statement like that, and it has always seemed that Challies is a bit of a fanboy for anyone in the YRR movement, no matter what they’ve been doing.


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    Haitch wrote:

    A query relating to the post:
    “However, the 30-40 (unconfirmed reports tell me the number was higher) people laid off may not get severance pay and don’t have unemployment”.
    Can someone please explain the lack of severance pay and inability to quality for unemployment to someone who is not American? I’m not understanding. Are they outside of the law and therefore exempt, or does the law not guarantee any protections?

    Yes, churches are exempt from the requirement to pay taxes into the unemployment insurance system. Most churches do opt out, but not all. Severance is completely voluntary (except in some businesses covered by a collective bargaining unit–Union–agreement). Many churches will offer severance based on length of service, but it is not legally required. I would not be surprised if MH doesn’t, just because of the amount of money it would take to give 30 or 40 people a few months of pay. (Of course, they might opt to, if they want to continue the tradition of having people sign a “confidentiality agreement” tied to the severance. They’d have nothing to hold over the heads of former employees if they don’t tie it to severance.)


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    @ numo:

    Can you link to the the article and addendum? Don’t see how to search for titles on WTH’s site.


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    I’m surprised no one has pointed out that, according to Driscoll’s other words, a “man” has three homes? *ugh* He’s got the one wife, but … alimentary canal … yeah.

    Okay, I need copious amounts of brain bleach. Sorry everyone.


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    @ JB:

    I think I go into “selective reading comprehension mode” when reading Driscoll/about Driscoll. It helps avoid the brain bleach 😉


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    Darcyjo wrote:

    Tim Keller?

    I do know that Keller made a similar statement. And, to be frank, I am not impressed with Keller and the rest of these guys who have made a habit of studious ignorance. I am coming to question the integrity of many of these men.

    As for Challies, we hope to provide a post in the coming weeks about one of Tim’s co-authors that has had a fall from grace. As usual, nothing is said-dead silence. However, had a nonChristian had a similar fall from grace, Challies and gang would be writing “thoughtful gospel” posts on why they need Jesus.


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    In answer to your question about accessibility of church bylaws…What about the International Mission Board refusing to make trustee minutes available when Wade Burleson was asking such important questions?


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    JB wrote:

    Okay, I need copious amounts of brain bleach. Sorry everyone.

    I am with you on this. Talk about sicko stuff. Never forget, however, that John Piper loooooooves Driscoll’s theology.


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    Isn’t part of the great commission reaching people who aren’t elite? How does “blessed subtraction” fit into the great commission? Is church only for the elite and not “damaged goods” (flawed people) ? By what criteria is someone subtracted? Glad I am not in this cult.


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    @ Bridget:
    Here you go –
    wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2014/09/okay-so-anyone-have-guess-where-libby.html


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    @ numo:
    To be specific, it’s the postscript that he posted at 10:30 p.m. where he made the statement about MD’s misogyny, etc.

    Sorry the link above didn’t come out as an actual hyperlink.


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    refugee wrote:

    for someone as dyslexic as myself, substituting “Fiscal” for “Driscoll” makes it very difficult to read

    I’m sorry refugee. My brain does conniptions a bit when I see/hear rhyming slang also, I think I like the challenge of it as I’m pretty slow at getting it ! In a homeschool environment I once taught some children rhyming slang and they got it and adapted it so well most conversation was then in rhyming slang. I created a monster !!! I love talking to those in the older Bri’ish generation who always have some common rhyming slang that brings back memories, as it’s not common or used in everyday parlance like it used to (except for Nick on TWW, who is supporting a dying linguistic tradition and keeping it alive in the finest of ways !)


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    Arce wrote:

    In many U.S. jurisdictions, churches are exempt from contributing to the unemployment compensation fund (tax on businesses based on payroll and employment).

    I don’t know how the megachurch businesses get away with it. The message I take is if you have a family with children and wish to give them some form of financial security growing up, avoid church employment.


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    It would seem Blessed Subtraction applies to the gravy train running out too. So since the bylaws were hijacked in 2007, seems to me MD should have quite a bit of legal responsibility with debts that may go unpaid, given some of these figures. Funny how people of his poor character, who want absolute power and authority, end up wanting no responsibility when the fit hits the sham. We shall see. His PR Firm is likely going to have an impossible task as all this crumbles.


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    @ Bunsen Honeydew:

    His PR team has to be wondering if they will be paid for their efforts, I would think.


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    @ numo:

    I found it. Thanks. I didn’t realize it was a recent post.

    He does seem diminish the sexual perversion issues and play up the financial aspect.


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    @ dee:

    The Keller statement from Christian Today [note, that is spelled correctly, it was NOT Christianity Today]:

    * * * * *

    Tim Keller, a distinguished evangelical and senior pastor of the Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York, was quoted by the paper as saying: “He was really important — in the Internet age, Mark Driscoll definitely built up the evangelical movement enormously.

    “But the brashness and the arrogance and the rudeness in personal relationships — which he himself has confessed repeatedly — was obvious to many from the earliest days, and he has definitely now disillusioned quite a lot of people.”

    * * * * *

    http://www.christiantoday.com/article/as.21.former.mars.hill.members.file.charges.against.mark.driscoll.tim.keller.says.brashness.was.obvious.to.many/39888.htm


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    numo wrote:

    To be specific, it’s the postscript that he posted at 10:30 p.m. where he made the statement about MD’s misogyny, etc.

    I took WTH as stating that WTH’s purpose was the financial arena ie Mars Hill financial accountability, as that is where the bulk of his research time and effort has been and seems to be the main purpose of his blog?

    Quoting WTH from his postscript 10.40pm and giving him full attribution –

    “The story is about real estate, real estate acquisition, transparency in finances and the questions about whether there’s any real internal or external accountability for a non-profit corporation…”

    http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com.au/2014/09/okay-so-anyone-have-guess-where-libby.html


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    Bridget wrote:

    He does seem diminish the sexual perversion issues and play up the financial aspect.

    He does pop on here sometimes I think, perhaps he would care to answer. I’m sorry that his work hasn’t been attributed by Libby Anne – it’s pretty cheeky and very ironic considering the subject matter/man at the centre of it.


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    Haitch wrote:

    My brain does conniptions a bit when I see/hear rhyming slang also, I think I like the challenge of it as I’m pretty slow at getting it

    Ah, yes, rhyming slang. People always have to translate it for me. My brain just doesn’t make the connection.


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    Bridget wrote:

    I do note that Driscoll and Mahaney are good at taking leaves just when things in their relm are getting very heated. They take a sabbatical and their underlings are left facing the heat while they direct from a chair behind high walls.

    Until the heat blows over and they re-emerge for their Triumphant Comeback.
    “IO, TRIOMPHE!”


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    numo wrote:

    Have you seen his addendum re. “The story never was and never will be” about MD’s misogyny and hateful attitude toward gay men?

    Misogyny and Homophobia/Homopathy are two Janus-faces of Hypermasculinity and Male Supremacy.


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    @ JB:
    I think you are referring to the Driscolls book, “Real Marriage”? There has been a lot of critique of this. I don’t see any reference to ‘3 homes’ in the William Wallace II rants jpg’s that WTH posted. See http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/real-marriage-in-january-2012-and.html

    And the above link could be triggering and yes, definitely requires some form of brain bleach afterwards. I actually suggest you don’t go there, I feel quite gross after reading this sort of material, as I feel the church has no role in being prescriptive in this area. The church has a long history of controlling sexuality, and ‘Real Marriage’ isn’t any different, though it has a seemingly liberated facade.

    Also, in that thread, Driscoll makes this comment:

    Pastor Mark
    Administrator posted 02-06-2001 05:49 PM

    “With all due respect, your head is tweaked. It is likely either by being raised in the church and having a poor understanding of sexaulity from teaching that had it’s goal prevention rather than healthy worship” [sic].

    It struck me that, as I understand it, Driscoll wasn’t raised in the church, or grew up ‘unchurched’ to use some Christianese. Perhaps I am thinking out loud too much, but he still seems to me to sit ‘outside’ and brings his ‘outside’ heart and judgements and tries to impose them on those who are ‘inside’. I think his views about sexuality and his promotion of them have been about dragging folks down to his level.


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    Bridget wrote:

    @ Bunsen Honeydew:
    His PR team has to be wondering if they will be paid for their efforts, I would think.

    If they’re smart, they’d demand Cash Up Front.

    According to testimonies from people who’ve done business with Christian(TM) Fill-in-the-Blanks, they’d extend credit to a crackhead before they would a ManaGawd.


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    @ dee:

    They sure are creepy bedfellows, Dee. Is there a way to say that that does not involve brain bleach? Also, Driscoll’s comments remind me so much of Michael Pearl’s attitude toward his wife on his “honeymoon.” Again, apologies for anyone else who now needs brain bleach.

    Bridget, I wish I could go into “selected reading comprehension mode” with Driscoll. Someone really, really needs to invent brain bleach. You know what … no. We need to be shocked by these things so that hopefully someone does something about them.


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    numo wrote:

    MD’s misogyny and hateful attitude toward gay men?

    Because women and gay men are merely (according to Driscoll) … I can’t say it … *pours a bucketful of brain bleach on self*


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    So let’s review:
    Oct 2011 Sutton Turner authorizes a $210,000 payment from the offering plate for the “buying” of a NYT Bestseller for MD.
    March 2012 (this same) Sutton Turner writes a 4 page letter to the other 2 executive elders saying that the MH finances are a mess and unsustainable. Well, duh.


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    @ Bridget: He has been somewhat of an apologist for MD here, in comments, even while criticizing him.

    The misogyny and other things (like MD’s mockery of “anatomically male worship leaders” who are “effeminate,” on FB a few years ago) is something WTH consistently downplays. I don’t understand it. (Ditto for remarks like the one about “hippie queer Christ.”)


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    @ Bridget: yeah. pkea, that’s something that has come up before here, with some of his comments.

    I’ve got a reply to you that’s cooking, btw… please check back. (I quote MD and end up invisible, mostly!)


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    @ numo: “pkea” is a typos, obvy!!!


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    @ Haitch: yes, but… He used to comment here a lot, and I think he did a post or two for this site a couple of years ago.

    I think that if you look at some of the older comment threads on MD, you’ll see that there’s a different emphasis overall per WTH. Don’t get me wrong: I like him. But he just doesn’t seem to get some of the things that a lot of us have been saying for a long time.


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    @ Headless Unicorn Guy: Indded.

    For the record, I didn’t intend to make WTH sound like a bad guy; I jsut disagree with him on these issues not being as important as the financial stuff. I think they’re the 1st problem, indicative of other serious problems MD has. And what he has said/written/done has hurt SO many people (women, men, marriages) that I can’t see something like that and not have something of a knee-jerk reaction. Which might be a flaw on my part.


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    Say this fast…

    Pastor Piper Protects Psycho Preacher Penning Prose Promoting Peckers


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    Bunsen Honeydew wrote:

    Say this fast…
    Pastor Piper Protects Psycho Preacher Penning Prose Promoting Peckers

    LOL!!


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      __

    “Fleeting Proverbial Pernicious Pastoral Pulpits, Perhaps?”

      Fortunately, for the sad victims of MH spiritual abuse, we are looking at what appears to be possible pre-foreclosure proceedings; reduction in expenditures, consolidations, balance sheet corrections,  lay-offs, project terminations, and the like…

    huh?

    Is continued ‘brand’ exit, further consolidations, and possible loan default(s) next?

    What?

      It is obvious that MD intends to ‘pilot’ his proverbially pretentious pastoral bird into receivership.

    hmmm…

    fly da friendly pastoral skys, huh?

    SKreeeeeeeeeetch !

    …birds of a feather, den of proverbial thieves?

    (bump)

    fleeting feet, n’ pocketbooks will decide?

    Who knew?

    Sopy
    __
    Comic relief: Another proverbial ‘timely’ MarzHil victim rescue, perhaps?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0Ib9SwC7EI

    🙂


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    Ever since I read the quote at the top of the page about MD’s ‘penis homes’ yesterday morning I have been randomly bursting out laughing & shaking my head. It is beyond ludicrous. And this come from someone who, as a professional worker with adolescents, had a conversation with 5 thirteen & fourteen year old lads about porn at work last night. At least the hilarious stuff they come out with – & they do, though not nearly as much – comes from ignorance not misogyny.


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    Darcyjo wrote:

    Nick, are you sure you don’t mean Tim Keller? [and not Tim Challies]

    My bad – you’re right! Apologies to all, Tim Challies not least. It was indeed Tim Keller.


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    @ Haitch: He was raised Catholic and maligns his parish priest in his meoir (I forget the title of it), referring to him as a gay alcoholic who wore dresses (in this case, he’s talking about a cassock and vestments, as in his highly derogatory reference to C of E priests as “men in dresses”).


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    @ numo: Memoir, that is.

    New laptop; keyboard is a bit weird.


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    @ numo:

    I took WTH’s addendum the way Haitch described it upthread, I guess. Is it also possible that WTH intended to communicate that only the financial stuff can get Driscoll in legal trouble? Because Driscoll can say terrible things about women all day, and he does have the legal right to say them, as long as he stays within certain boundaries. That doesn’t make the things he says right or moral, obviously, but even Fred Phelps’ folks had their free speech rights upheld.

    BTW I do agree with you that the gender/sex issues are equally important as the financial ones on a moral level. I just never took that as WTH’s blog focus. And it’s ironic that it isn’t, seeing as he’s done so much to keep Driscoll’s statements about women/sex accessible on the web (thus why we’re all talking about “penis homes” in the first place).

    On a different topic, a major anti-MRA blog picked up this story. Really not good press for Driscoll when he says something bad enough to be caught in the same net as MRAs.

    http://wehuntedthemammoth.com/2014/09/09/better-penis-homes-and-gardens/


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    @ numo:Ah, ok. So not ‘unchurched’ at all. #scratches head. Perhaps I’ll wait to read the unauthorised biography if there’s ever one. And perhaps I’ll skim read it, as I prefer to put my time and energy elsewhere.


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    Bunsen Honeydew wrote:

    Say this fast…
    Pastor Piper Protects Psycho Preacher Penning Prose Promoting Peckers

    That’s the best alliteration I’ve seen in a very long time! 😀


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    Since Sutton Turner discusses the struggles of planting 6 churches in 5 years (or 5 churches in 6 years, can’t remember) it almost sounds like a Ponzi scheme. Plant a church and soak them for money and then call a special giving for ‘this need or that’. Then plant another one to make up for the financial hit of the previous church, etc.


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    Bunsun

    Pentultimate Prose! Perfect!


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    @ nwhiker:
    This reminds me of the story we wrote on Countryside. The church plant drained the established church. it did not go well.


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          🙂

        *   *
    *.    *
       *
         *
     __

    “Calling On All God’s Angels…”

    hmmm…

      ♩ ♪ ♫  ♬ hum, hum, hum…I need a sign ta let me know you’re here,
    All of these lines are being crossed over the atmosphere,
    I need to know that things are gonna look up,
    ‘Cause I feel us drowning in a sea spilled from a false jesus cup.

    ♩ ♪ ♫  ♬ When there is no church place safe ta put my head,
    When you feel the church world shake from the words that pastors have said,
    I need a sign to let me know you’re here,
    ‘Cause my pastor just keeps it all from being clear,
    I want a reason for the way things have to be,
    I need a hand to help build up some kind of hope inside of me,
    I’m calling all God’s angels!

    ♩ ♪ ♫  ♬ I’m calling all you angels,
    When kind folk have to worship at home, so they don’t disappear into the 501(c)3 church madness,
    N’ public blogs solve pastorial lies cause churches don’t talk for years,
    And pastorial teams are protecting pedophiles,
    And losing sight of Christ’s dream,
    In a world that simply wants His lagacy ta go away… [1]

    (sadface)

    *

    –> For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways,

    Just ask Him…

    🙂

    Sopy
    __
    [1]   Parody Adaption, Train: “Calling On Angels” ; select examples:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPy5WoZa5sY
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0Dn069JgzE
    Lyrics: Train : “Calling On Angels”;
    http://www.metrolyrics.com/calling-all-angels-lyrics-train.html
    Lyrics Songwriters:
    Monahan, Pat / Colin, Charles / Stafford, James W / Underwood, Scott Michael; Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing. ; Disclaimer: parody adaptation,  U.S. Code Title 17 § 107 fair use; all rights reserved; copyright infringement unintended.

    ;~)


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    brad/futuristguy wrote:

    in the Internet age, Mark Driscoll definitely built up the evangelical movement enormously.

    Blech!


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    @ Hester:
    I understand what you’re saying about MD’s right to free speech *as a private individual,* but this stuff has been spoken from his stage and videod and written and… It is irresponsible AT BEST for someone who has the job he has to say what he has repeatedly said. The impact it has had on real people is immeasurable, and by that I mean deeply harmful.

    He is very messed up and needs help. So do all the people who’ve been harmed by the things he “teaches.”


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    nmgirl wrote:

    From what I’ve read, In Washington State it is optional for churches to participate in the state unemployment insurance pool. And of course severance is always optional. Other things i’ve read lead me to believe that MHC has a long history of laying people off and then hiring them back. But the three kings are apparently exempt.

    I know my former church got around having to pay unemployment insurance by hiring all their employees as sub-contractors, which meant that they also didn’t have to mess with taking taxes out. The employees were responsible for filing their own taxes and paying their SS payments, etc.

    Not sure the legality of it, but then they were never known for actually caring about whether something was legal – just whether they were perceived as being ‘above reproach.’ Gosh, I feel a rant coming on, better stop now….


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    @ dee:

    Yeah, I found that whole quote from Tim Keller … uhh … astonishing.

    From doing background research, I learned that Mark Driscoll was a founding member of The Gospel Coalition, giving Tim Keller organizational connections with Mark Driscoll since at least 2005. And yet, this quote from Mr. Keller shows no taking of responsibility for one of their own who was rather visible in TGC, being on the Council and all until 2012 when he revised his priorities and resigned from TGC Council and Acts 29 Network Presidency about the same time.

    Anyway, the longer the sagas of Mars Hill and SGM and etc. go on, the more we see active defense of the indefensible, and passive protection through silence of the indefensible.

    I guess next time I maybe won’t be quite so astonished. I’m learning …


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    @ Mr.H:
    That is interesting. What was your impression of Mark Driscoll when you first heard him? Did red flags pop up as soon as you heard him preach, or did it take the endless shenanigans to make you see through him? I am just curious how someone like him gained such traction.

    It doesn’t surprise me that Driscoll doesn’t do well in heavily churched areas, long-time Christians can see through weak teaching and paste-board “I’m a great teacher – Not!” more easily. What surprises me is how many churched people felt he was a great preacher. I must have missed all his good sermons. He is a great talker and entertains while he talks, but as soon as the Bible verses come out, there are problems every. single. time.


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    And this quote from Mark Driscoll still being used as of today (09/11/2014) to advertise ECFA/Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability is likewise … uhh … astonishing.

    “At Mars Hill, we are dedicated to utilizing the resources entrusted to us in faithful adherence to our mission to make disciples and plant churches in the name of Jesus. In proactively submitting ourselves to the scrutiny of ECFA, we openly state our commitment to proclaim Jesus to our communities with utmost ethical honor.” ~ Pastor Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill Church – Seattle, WA

    http://www.ecfa.org/testimonials.aspx

    It’s kind of creeping me out, that this entity I had been conditioned to think of as “the gold standard” for Christian non-profits seems to be in a constant conflict of interest by certifying members who pay for membership, and meet minimum requirements, yet we don’t exactly hear of any disciplinary actions …

    I guess next time I maybe won’t be quite so astonished. I’m learning … (Sadly, I’ve been having to say that a lot lately.)


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    TL;DR
    Driscoll’s success is to a large extent the result of mid- to late-century evangelicalism’s failure to properly engage culture in an effective and meaningful way.

    Val wrote:

    What was your impression of Mark Driscoll when you first heard him? Did red flags pop up as soon as you heard him preach, or did it take the endless shenanigans to make you see through him? I am just curious how someone like him gained such traction.

    I think Driscoll’s biggest strength was socio-cultural, not exegetical or theological or pastoral. He popularized a way of doing church that broke away from the existing culture of mid- to late-century evangelicalism. An entire generation of young, repressed evangelical kids (myself among them) were coming out of the Moral Majority eighties and early nineties, and were used to a Christ-against-culture model. We had consumed a tremendous amount of cheap, cheesy, poorly-crafted evangelical cultural artifacts, and we were tired of it. Driscoll, Mars Hill, and Acts 29 gave us a way of doing church that felt like a breath of fresh air. He “lifted the ban” on drinking, and even smoking and tattoos. He advocated for a more comprehensive integration of the arts into church life, with high quality music, film, and interior and graphic design.

    It’s like Driscoll ran for class president in a stuffy private school by promising to do away with lame old rules, and giving us new freedoms. We ended up electing him on those flashy campaign promises. Once he was elected, we enjoyed the benefits. But after a while, we adjusted to our new freedoms and began to realize that there some serious theological and methodological problems.

    What surprises me is how many churched people felt he was a great preacher. I must have missed all his good sermons. He is a great talker and entertains while he talks, but as soon as the Bible verses come out, there are problems every. single. time.

    As far as Driscoll’s preaching goes, I’d include it in the larger dynamic I just mentioned. Many of us evangelical millennials grew up in “stuffy old churches” listening to boring sermons that felt completely disconnected from our actual lives. Driscoll, at least in his early days, was a breath of fresh air. Disarming (even self-deprecating!) and humorous. His preaching felt culturally relevant – since when did preachers know enough about pop culture to reference the latest bands, movies, etc. in their sermons?

    This is purely anecdotal, but in my own experience, almost all of the members of our Acts 29 church grew up in a traditional, evangelical context. In fact, there wasn’t a church gathering where people didn’t crack jokes about cheesy evangelical culture in the 80s and 90s, and even early 2000s. I think that there were a lot of who didn’t want to abandon the content of evangelicalism but certainly wanted to give it a new packaging. Driscoll obliged us. (And then began to distort the content . . .).


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    Val wrote:

    …long-time Christians can see through weak teaching and paste-board “I’m a great teacher – Not!” more easily.

    Quite so, at least in the case in question.

    But Val then went on to write:

    What surprises me is how many churched people felt he was a great preacher.

    Felt, convinced themselves, said, or whatever else – that’s the question, isn’t it? How did so many of us together let this happen?

    This is, surely, a lesson for all of us. If the conservative resurgents (deliberate plural noun spelling) waved MD through because he ticked some boxes that were important to them, what and whom do I wave through because it ticks my boxes? Jesus did warn us to be on the alert.

    I think I’ve mentioned this here before, but one reason smallpox is such a virulent and dangerous disease is that the variola virus (which causes it) carries numerous copies of human genes. Cutting a long story short, it’s able to evade the immune system because it doesn’t appear foreign until it’s too late.


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    @ Mr.H:

    That at last, what you have said, is an explanation that some of us old biddies from Stuffyville can understand. We more or less went through something similar. Our previous culture prior to “evangelicalism” did not do as well in post war America and certainly did not meet the challenges of the cultural revolution of the sixties and seventies and (they say) approximately half of the boomers chose something more wild and wooly. For some this was sex and drugs and politics and for some this was a swing in the opposite direction toward fundamentalism light (evangelicalism). Sold out for Jesus is similar to wacked out on weed in that it can be a way of dealing with the existing and changing culture.

    Now I think I hear you saying that the wild and wooly religious accommodations of late middle last century evangelicalism were stodgy(?) and repressive to your generation, if I am hearing correctly. What it can look like to those of us in the generation prior to the boomers (yes I said that) is that some of the two cultures (sold out for Jesus and wacked out on week) had a blurring of the lines in some areas. Sex, drugs (alcohol), music and attitude. Don’t get me wrong. I believe in sex (rightly lived) and drugs (meds and minimal recreational alcohol), music (depending on actual quality and content) and attitudes of various sorts. But we saw a lot of the excesses of mankind end up in the emergency department or the morgue, and I don’t go very far in that direction.

    So if a lot of you all had a traditional or evangelical background prior to such as MD that explains a lot.

    So what now for you all? Life without some excitement or some cause or some goal in this or that area or some relief from the mundane and tiring and tedious can be almost unbearable. What do you see for the future options for the people you are talking about now that we may be seeing another cultural swing in religion away from the MD model?


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    Off topic but please pray for me guys. I got fired yesterday.


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    @ nmgirl:
    I’m sorry to hear that. Praying.


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    @ nmgirl:

    Oh wowzers … praying. For comfort and calm, for survival and thrival tactics to kick in, for opportunities just to breathe and consider different horizons, and for tenacity as you discern how best to keep moving forward … and for surprising moments of God breaking through your everyday routine to give you a continual sense of His presence and His love for you in a tough time.

    Rock on, on the Rock, nmgirl, rock on …


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    nmgirl wrote:

    Off topic but please pray for me guys. I got fired yesterday.

    I hear you and will pray for you. Good grief, I am so sorry.


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    @ nmgirl:
    I second Brad and am prying for you. An offer a {{hug}}.


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    nmgirl wrote:

    Off topic but please pray for me guys. I got fired yesterday.

    Praying as we speak… so sorry nmgirl.


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    @ nmgirl:
    You will be in my prayers. We often do not know why such things happen, but we look to the Lord to sustain us during these times.


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    Hester wrote:

    @ dee & Deb:
    If I were you, I would update the OP to credit WTH. No one else has, and he’s (understandably) not pleased.
    http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2014/09/okay-so-anyone-have-guess-where-libby.html

    I’d just like to point out that WtH is anonymous, whereas Libby Anne is not. Journalists generally like to go with a known source over an anonymous source. Not that this makes it right for *Libby Anne*, but I can definitely see why journalists went with her blog as opposed to WtH’s blog.

    That said, this is what infuriates me. There is so much wrong with Mark Driscoll and MHC, yet the thing that gets Driscoll brought to international attention is “penis homes.” I’ll be the first to say that when he said this back in 2001, he should have been relieved of his pastorate because of the way he sees women–which is basically as objects for male sexual organs. But that’s not what happened. And, it’s not like Driscoll’s other actions have not been documented–the many people under the bus, the plagiarism, the Result Source contract, other stuff I have surely and blessedly forgotten–but none of these things got the attention of “penis homes.”

    Today is International Crochet Day 2014 and I think I’ll celebrate by starting a Death Star sofa pillow. Not for me; a friend of mine saw it in a George Takei post and was sure I could make one for her. (Nice that people have that kind of confidence me, but I went and found a pattern.) In any case, it’s more fun than Driscoll.


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    nwhiker wrote:

    Since Sutton Turner discusses the struggles of planting 6 churches in 5 years (or 5 churches in 6 years, can’t remember) it almost sounds like a Ponzi scheme. Plant a church and soak them for money and then call a special giving for ‘this need or that’. Then plant another one to make up for the financial hit of the previous church, etc.

    Sounds like the speculation that I’ve read surrounding the building of Mormon temples to dot the earth. The buildings are expensive, but the cost is alleged to be made up by the people who start forking over 10 percent of their income so they can be eligible to visit the temple once it is complete.

    I’d also note that the Mormon church has gone one better on pretty much every other church in the land–it owns a very expensive upscale shopping mall in downtown Salt Lake City. The complex (including housing) probably cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 billion but that didn’t come from tithing, no sirree bob, not from tithing money. *shakes head*


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    Life update: Baby Willow was born this past sunday…7lbs 11oz, all weight in cheeks. Big bro and sis think it is great…so far…mommy doing well….Forgot how little sleep a parent must accept as the norm…..I think God grants parents amnesia from the first month of a child’s life because I totally forgot how exhausting the first few weeks are…..

    Related to MH posts:

    Many people keep asking the question; “Why do people stay/have stayed?? I have mentioned before that I had a very similar experience with an unhealthy senior pastor and “enabling” elder board. Reading some of the posts by former pastors and members is like reading a transcript from my experiences. Obviously I can’t speak directly to each individuals reasoning for staying at MH in the midst of all of this, but I think there are some common factors that I experienced that are probably close to what people at MH might feel.

    Reason #1: Commitment to your specific ministry and people. Even as I was dealing with an abusive leader my focus was always on the individuals and families that I served and shared life with. My perspective was, “Sure, this isn’t great….but I am not just abandoning the people I care about” It was easy to compartmentalize the ministry experience and focus on a healthy experience for the areas that I was in. I ended up putting out a lot of fires because of what was happening, but I felt then(and still feel) that my presence in peoples lives was a benefit…especially as I helped people “transition out” in such a way that they didn’t feel like everything was falling apart.

    Knowing that things were going poorly I walked a fine line of not being a “Trouble causer” while giving people the ability to feel comfortable when they left that it was ok that they left….if that makes any sense.

    Reason #2: Belief that this surely can’t go on much longer. As the shoes kept dropping it seemed like it was only a matter of time before the whole mess got dealt with for real. Something that myself and a good friend who was also on the pastoral staff kept saying was, “Ok, that has to be the final nail” Of course, each time we became more and more shocked by what was “accepted”. But each time we thought that it was finally going to be “it”.

    Reason #3: Wrapped up in reason #2 is the thought that “I” can do better. I only have to outlast this crazy person and we can right the ship and clean up this mess and rebuild the burnt bridges. When the Sr Pastor was finally gone I immediately went to the elders and said, “We need to reach out to everyone who left over the last two years and apologize and ask forgiveness” I was shocked when my idea was roundly dismissed. It turned out that though the primary antagonist was the Sr Pastor, the Elders recognized their complicity in allowing it to progress for so long, and so, they didn’t want to have to “admit” to their failures. And since I was the last voice calling for true repentance..I was soon asked to go.

    I think my reasoning might be very similar to why people have chosen to stay as long as they have at MH. I don’t regret any choice I made, I would rather trust in the God who can make dry bones dance then throw in the towel.


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    @ nmgirl:

    You are in my prayers. Been there too, it’s a difficult time, but faith and prayer can help you get through it. I hope things turn around soon for you.


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    Gus wrote:

    Lisa wrote:
    some very well known (Piper,
    At least Piper is not an abuser himself, even if some of his teachings can be seen as condoning it for the sake of wifely submission.

    Can be seen? Can be seen as condoning it? He DID condone it! Google Piper and smack for a night youtube or other words like that and see for yourself. Nevertheless, I happen to think that the mere teaching of one sided submission is as abusive as teaching that certain ethnic groups should be slaves to others whether or not that teacher thinks he owns any people. Piper may not smack his own wife (hopefully she would smack him back because she could take him) but he DOES condone it for others to endure until the church can sweetly try to tell the husband that “we don’t do this.”


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    @ Adam Borsay:
    Congratulations! Welcome Baby Willow!


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    @ Adam Borsay:

    Congratulations. It is good to hear that all is well. BTW: That’s why people are young when they have babies; the work load would kill you otherwise.


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    mirele wrote:

    I’d also note that the Mormon church has gone one better on pretty much every other church in the land–it owns a very expensive upscale shopping mall in downtown Salt Lake City. The complex (including housing) probably cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 billion but that didn’t come from tithing, no sirree bob, not from tithing money. *shakes head*

    Wonder how much SBC et al hostility to Mormons is fueled by ENVY?

    When somebody else (especially a CULT CULT CULT of Heretics) is more successful than you and rakes in more $$$$$, you want to cut them down.

    That and in external behavior and public morality and family values (and TITHING) Mormons tend to out-Baptist the Baptists across the board.
    http://www.abpnews.com/opinion/commentaries/item/6899-mormons-southern-baptist-zombies#.UWY1FWfhb2k


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    nwhiker wrote:

    Since Sutton Turner discusses the struggles of planting 6 churches in 5 years (or 5 churches in 6 years, can’t remember) it almost sounds like a Ponzi scheme. Plant a church and soak them for money and then call a special giving for ‘this need or that’. Then plant another one to make up for the financial hit of the previous church, etc.

    Not “Ponzi Scheme”.
    Remember the Campus Crusade term: MULTIPLYING MINISTRY.


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    Patti wrote:

    but he DOES condone it for others to endure until the church can sweetly try to tell the husband that “we don’t do this.”

    Ugh, there’s that word again. “Sweetly”. I’ve found the perfect image to describe the intended effect of telling wives to “stay sweet.”

    http://complianceandethics.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/fake-smile.jpg


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    nmgirl wrote:

    Off topic but please pray for me guys. I got fired yesterday.

    Keeping you in my prayers. So sorry you are in a difficult spot right now.


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    @ Mr.H:

    Interesting reading your comment from your perspective. I first heard of Driscoll through Donald Miller’s book, Blue Like Jazz, which was all the rage about 10 years or so ago in certain segments of the seeker world. EVeryone wanted to know the Imago Dei-ish cussing pastor in Seattle. That was back in his “emergent” days.

    I was following trends in Evangelicalism back then as part of my job and I noticed over time that young people either gravitated the Rob Bell or Mark Driscoll route. That is a huge generality but I hope you get the gist of what I am saying. And I think it had everything to do with the preceeding evangelical culture war. (Which was ridiculous if one takes the time to read 1 Corin 5!)

    So whether it was the Rob Bell or Mark Driscoll route, engaging the culture was a huge draw. (Personally, I think Rob Bell is much more of a scholar but he was not as massively appealing as Driscoll’s bold in your face bad boy demeanor. I also think that our slide toward collectivism makes it normative for the young to gravitate to bold leaders and movements that they stay in longer than the typical phase of individual development)

    Driscoll almost seemed to stick his finger in the wind and find Reformed the route to celebrity. I mean, where are the emergents now? They were too “conversational” and not real organized and too individually independent to become organized. And the Neo Cal resurgence is older than folks think. It really started back in the 1970’s and kept gaining traction.

    In effect, I think MH was built on cult of personality. Personally, I am surprised it lasted as long as it has. And I credit some of that to the celebrity wagons that circled him for years when there were neon red flags out of his mouth constantly and of course, the coup de tat a few years back which they totally ignored. (I think they admired it) There is a history of Driscoll writing then deleting. Speaking vile then repenting. Shampoo, rinse, repeat. But always, the response from the NEo Cal movement was: He preaches the Gospel. It went like this:
    But he said Esther was a whore and wives should agree to sodomy.
    Yes, I disagree with him but he preaches the Gospel.

    But Mark got too big for his britches even for his apologists and became an embarassment.

    Now it is, “Mark who”?


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    @ Adam Borsay:
    Congratulations and thanks for letting us know. 🙂


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    Mr.H wrote:

    He “lifted the ban” on drinking, and even smoking and tattoos. He advocated for a more comprehensive integration of the arts into church life, with high quality music, film, and interior and graphic design.

    I’ve always recognised the importance of this in Driscoll being accepted – and in fact, the entire Neo-Reformed movement. And it’s profoundly ironic. Because Driscoll actually was instrumental in ushering in an age of repression, conservatism legalism – worse than I, certainly, could ever have envisaged as a teenager in the 1990s.


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    May wrote:

    And it’s profoundly ironic. Because Driscoll actually was instrumental in ushering in an age of repression, conservatism legalism – worse than I, certainly, could ever have envisaged as a teenager in the 1990s.

    Hey Wolf, how’s that custom-tailored suit of sheep’s wool working out for you?


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    JeffT wrote:

    No kidding! But much of the neo-Cal and other fundy crowds don’t believe in psychiatry so that would never enter their mind as an option to recommend.

    In this, they agree completely with Scientology.

    Because psychology/psychiatry is unwanted competition for both Nouthetics and Dianetics.


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    May wrote:

    I’ve always recognised the importance of this in Driscoll being accepted – and in fact, the entire Neo-Reformed movement. And it’s profoundly ironic. Because Driscoll actually was instrumental in ushering in an age of repression, conservatism legalism – worse than I, certainly, could ever have envisaged as a teenager in the 1990s.

    Remember Marxism? Especially Marxism-Leninism?

    Promising Freedom and Liberation from Oppression & Repression of the Rich Fat Cats?


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    Former CLC’er wrote:

    As far as blessed subtraction, I remember my last pastor, when one person left the church who’d be involved from the beginning and was an integral part, I asked him, “Aren’t you a bit sad?” He said something like needing to move on with the vision, etc. etc. So crazy. No regard for people as people. Just the money and the “vision”.

    Citizen Robespierre (with his Vision of the Republique of Perfect Virtue) would agree.

    All those headless bodies in the quicklime pits outside Paris, not so much.


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    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Because psychology/psychiatry is unwanted competition for both Nouthetics and Dianetics.

    Totally. Not to mention, a clinical psychologist might actually begin to figure out their dysfunction.


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    @ nmgirl:

    So sorry about that. Praying you find a wonderful job to replace what was lost.


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    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:

    This might be a good time to re-read Animal Farm.


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    @ Adam Borsay:

    What a joy!


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    May wrote:

    And it’s profoundly ironic. Because Driscoll actually was instrumental in ushering in an age of repression, conservatism legalism

    I agree. Like I said in my post, he razzled and dazzles young Christians with some shiny new things, and then introduced some rotten theology while everyone was distracted.

    I honestly think that many people are STILL distracted by his “shiny new things.” Many of his current defenders still cite his preaching style as one of his biggest strengths.


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    May wrote:

    Because Driscoll actually was instrumental in ushering in an age of repression, conservatism legalism – worse than I, certainly, could ever have envisaged as a teenager in the 1990s.

    Hipster fundamentalism…


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    nmgirl wrote:

    Off topic but please pray for me guys. I got fired yesterday.

    Praying now. Let us know if there is anything we can do.


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    On a lighter note, did anyone hear the late night comic (can’t remember which one) joke about penis homes? He said he bet MD’s might be homeless. Then something about hoping it doesn’t start trying to wash windshields. Dee, if this is inappropriate, I’m sorry. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing on national television.
    I’d also like to add that the first time I heard Mark Driscoll preach, I felt like he was misogynist and arrogant, but was completely fooled by the mega church pastor I sat under for years. Sadly, it took my daughter’s declaration of atheism to send me to the Bible. I am still surprised sometimes when I try to find something I was taught as truth and it’s either not in scripture or taken out of context.


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    nmgirl wrote:

    pray for me guys. I got fired yesterday.

    Will do, nmgirl. Please take care of yourself during this trying time; I know what it’s like. Believe in yourself, too!


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    I echo all of these. Once you’re inside, it’s hard to leave. #1 and #2 stood out and resonated with my own experience in Acts 29:

    Adam Borsay wrote:

    Reason #1: Commitment to your specific ministry and people.

    From the very beginning of our time in A29, a few things rubbed us the wrong way. Every time we discussed it, we always came back to the same thing: we loved the people. We made many, many good friends and had a really great time. Almost all of our concerns were about the leadership and had nothing to do with the actually church members. I’d assume that this is the case at other A29 churches and also at MH. Like I said, it makes it much easier to ignore or downplay leadership dysfunction when you look around and see relatively normal friends who are going with the flow.

    This is why it is so important for people to speak out. It’s not just about communicating to leadership. It about helping your fellow members get a more realistic perspective and to prevent them from thinking everyone is OK with how things are done.

    Adam Borsay wrote:

    Reason #2: Belief that this surely can’t go on much longer.

    This was another big issue for us. Our leadership did things that were so absurd that we felt sure each time that it was a matter of “lightning never strikes twice.” Boy, were we wrong. Lightning struck many, many times. It took us a few instances before we started to realize that, where a normal, healthy leader would self-correct, our leaders were not only NOT self-correcting, they were actually perpetuating the dysfunction and in some cases even introducing new dysfunction. We often spoke of these crazy situations by saying things like, “Who does that?!” or “I can’t believe he said that!”

    We left the church thinking that our leaders were a sad, frustrating, anomaly. Then I found Dee and Deb and this blog, and imagine by surprise and horror when I discovered that our church problems were NOT an anomaly – they matched up perfectly with the larger pattern in MH and A29!


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    nmgirl wrote:

    Off topic but please pray for me guys. I got fired yesterday.

    I have put your request for prayer at the top of the home page. I am so sorry.


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    Mr.H wrote:

    We left the church thinking that our leaders were a sad, frustrating, anomaly. Then I found Dee and Deb and this blog, and imagine by surprise and horror when I discovered that our church problems were NOT an anomaly – they matched up perfectly with the larger pattern in MH and A29!

    This is why blogging about the problems in the church are so important. So many Christians leave, thinking that they were the only ones to bump against errant leaders. They are often made to feel that way.

    I know of a recent incident in our area in which a person left the church over similar issues and the leadership is telling people that he is the problem: just palin trouble and not submitted to the leaders. It’s a bunch of baloney.


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      __

      IMHO Acts 29 and Mars Hill, not unlike SGM prey upon youth; they act and spread not unlike a virus. Before you know it, they have you hooked. Beware! This is not acing like a genuine Christian community, but a proverbial rat cage, a elaborate counterfeit, a clever ‘religious’ ruse.

    You have been warned.

    (sadface)

    Please don’t let them make a sucker out of you.

    I have seen the ‘carnage’…

    (folk, it ain’t pretty)

    If it is too good to be true, it usually is. 

    (tears)

    Read you bible, N’ know da difference.

    You will save a life…

    YOURS.

    The truth usually sets you free.

    ONLY If its ‘real’ truth.

    Sopy


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    Skipping right to the financials, since it is my area of “expertise”, I knew there would be problems when I saw a YouTube video in which Driscoll praised MacDonald for his “spiritual gift” of acquiring real estate. MacDonald has proven time and again that he has no education or skill in managing finances; especially in regards to property acquisition. When I heard that I thought to myself If Driscoll follows MacDonald’s financial methods, he is going to bankrupt Mars Hill. I am sorry that my passing reflection is materializing.


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    @ nmgirl:
    You are in our prayers. I was fired 8 months ago, and God just provided a better job with a significant increase in salary. But it was a very, very tough 8 months. Blessings to you.


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    Lydia wrote:

    I was following trends in Evangelicalism back then as part of my job and I noticed over time that young people either gravitated the Rob Bell or Mark Driscoll route. That is a huge generality but I hope you get the gist of what I am saying. And I think it had everything to do with the preceding evangelical culture war.

    Lydia,

    I totally get what you are saying. It’s a great point. I think you’re right – Driscoll wasn’t the only one to ride the “cultural engagement” wave to success. Rob Bell definitely did something similar – a humorous, intelligent, skillful communicator who presented his content in a slick, artful way. I also read Bell (especially Velvet Elvis) and I felt like he “got it” – that is, he too was feeling many of the same things that I felt about growing up in 1970s-1990s evangelicalism. And I’m glad you mentioned Don Miller and Blue Like Jazz – same thing! That book was a revolution for me. I remember being on a missions trip with college students ca. 2003 and hearing them raving about the book and how they connected with the things he was saying about evangelical culture.

    I got so tired of hearing about post-modernism back in the mid-200s, but I think it’s pretty clear that the movement really has impacted the younger generations of evangelicals. The pastors and churches that jumped to quickly reach those post-moderns experienced growth and success (Driscoll, Bell, Keller, etc.).


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    Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    Skipping right to the financials, since it is my area of “expertise”, I knew there would be problems when I saw a YouTube video in which Driscoll praised MacDonald for his “spiritual gift” of acquiring real estate. MacDonald has proven time and again that he has no education or skill in managing finances; especially in regards to property acquisition. When I heard that I thought to myself If Driscoll follows MacDonald’s financial methods, he is going to bankrupt Mars Hill. I am sorry that my passing reflection is materializing.

    Sad indeed and certainly doesn’t seem at all a healthy role model for Mark Driscoll to have chosen, creating yet another indicator for questioning the credibility of the certification process of ECFA and wondering if they have any kind of realistic disciplinary processes:

    “We have worked very hard through the years to ensure that we are above reproach in all our financial dealings. It is essential to us that our congregation and friends around the world can confidently give to our ministries knowing their gift will be leveraged for the highest and most Christ-honoring kingdom purposes. By intentionally inviting the scrutiny of ECFA, we communicate our desire to build the church of Jesus Christ with continued conformity to the highest ethical standards.”

    ~ Dr. James MacDonald, Senior Pastor, Harvest Bible Chapel – Elgin, IL

    [*Enhancing Trust for Churches*, Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, 2014, page 33.]

    http://www.ecfa.org/PDF/2014_ECFA_7x7_Church.pdf


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    Nancy wrote:

    So what now for you all? Life without some excitement or some cause or some goal in this or that area or some relief from the mundane and tiring and tedious can be almost unbearable. What do you see for the future options for the people you are talking about now that we may be seeing another cultural swing in religion away from the MD model?

    Hey Nancy,

    I obviously can’t speak for everyone, but I do know that the “small church” movement is gaining traction, with a heavy focus on simplicity. I also know that the “incarnational model” has also been gaining traction (Hirsch, etc.).

    I know that, for me personally, I now prefer a simpler church community. Give me the cheap Folger’s coffee and a stuffy old preacher, as long as the leaders are wise, mature, humble, and loving.


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    Canna Berong wrote:

    On a lighter note, did anyone hear the late night comic (can’t remember which one) joke about penis homes? He said he bet MD’s might be homeless.

    I would love to find out who did the routine. Do you think it is on You Tube? I would include it in a post if I could find it. It is imperative for Christians to understand how their devotion to obviously troubled and bizarre preachers discredits our intelligence on a national stage. Not only was your comment “not inappropriate”, it was important!

    Canna Berong wrote:

    Sadly, it took my daughter’s declaration of atheism to send me to the Bible. I am still surprised sometimes when I try to find something I was taught as truth and it’s either not in scripture or taken out of context.

    Let me encourage you. Your daughter is being honest with you. She has probably looked at some of the difficulties of the faith and has not received answers that resonate with her. Let her know how much you respect her for exploring her doubts and reassure her that you are always there for her.

    Go over to ExChristians.Net and read some of their anti testimonials to see what their basic objections are. Many of these folks used to belong to evangelical churches and did not have their questions dealt with in any significant way. Their thoughts will give you some insight into your daughter’s journey. And it will help you to think through the basics of the faith and how you deal with issues like evil, doubt, sin etc.

    I know she is blessed to have a Mom like you who is willing to understand. A long time ago, I went through a faith crisis of sorts. It was the BEST thing that ever happened to me. It caused me to look at my presuppositions and face them head on. For me, it resulted in a deeper faith than before.


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    Mr.H wrote:

    I now prefer a simpler church community. Give me the cheap Folger’s coffee and a stuffy old preacher, as long as the leaders are wise, mature, humble, and loving.

    I am right there with you. I would also add that the leaders know your name and would show up at the hospital if you were admitted.


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    Mr.H wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    Because psychology/psychiatry is unwanted competition for both Nouthetics and Dianetics.
    Totally. Not to mention, a clinical psychologist might actually begin to figure out their dysfunction.

    Speaking of dysfunction– I see its outworking even in the statements of the fired/dismissed/resigned/laid off former Mars Hill leaders. As you described in another comment, it’s sad and frustrating.
    This from Pastor Ryan Welsh was just posted yesterday. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2014/09/11/the-statement-of-former-mars-hill-church-pastor-ryan-welsh/
    Lowlights include hoping and praying Driscoll has 30+ more years of ministry, bashing negative media coverage, and confessing that he (Ryan) is the worst sinner he knows (paraphrasing). Not sure he even recognizes he’s being blessedly subtracted by the bus driver. Or maybe he’s being forced to talk like this in order to receive a severance package.


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    @ Canna Berong:
    I FOUND IT!!!!

    Here is the routine by a comedian on Driscoll’s crazy ranting! Warning: It is a bit over the top. Yet, John Piper looooves Driscoll”s theology!

    http://youtu.be/B6HlEyijYMQ


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      __

    🙂

    @ nmgirl,

    Its never “off topic” ta care.

    Pray’in…

    Beeeeee of good cheer!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1FNL_iIp5c

    I’m sure God will ‘cook’ up somethin’ bedder…

    (don’t forget ta smile)

    Cheeeese!

    Sopy


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    @ Mr.H:
    OK, that makes more sense. I got out of the stuffy 80s church culture (it was in the 90s but Canada lags behind the US – far fewer evangelicals here- so I got the 80s cultural stuff in the 90s). I went to the Canadian Vineyard (far more egalitarian than the US version), so great worship was a big part of that culture, including bands that played in bars on Friday night and church on Sunday morning – we had so many non-churched people that tattoos and smoking areas outside the building just happened. The elders (men and women) didn’t love it, but they saw the point of evangelism as conversion to Jesus, not conversion to culture so they picked battles and only focused on really inappropriate tattoos and the idea of having the Holy Spirit fill the hole for all addictions, instead of trying to Churchanize them.

    What looped me about Mark Driscoll was that he was trying to claim the Holy Spirit’s power, but not treat woman as equal leaders. As anyone in the charismatic movements know, the Holy Spirit is an equal opportunity power broker – from the earliest days of the Azusua street revival, through to 4-square founder and on to the third wave, women have been equally empowered as leaders in the movement. Mark was acting all prophetic in the first sermon I think I heard, but then slammed women into non-leadership roles. I went “hun?” Now, I went from Evangelicalism to Charismatic (a weird direction, but the Vineyard did that to a lot of Evangelicals), so I can see how a non-Charismatic could not notice the idea of women submitting to men as a red flag, but the Holy Spirit is so unlimited by who they chose (or that is the message the Charismatics like to preach) that to limit leadership to men would be like limiting who can have the Holy Spirit. This may be why Mark Driscoll can get no to little traction in the Charismatic world – well, that and he doesn’t share power, even if the “sharing” is only symbolic. In the third wave charismatic world, all sorts of people would preach, give testimonies, share prophesies, etc. It is so lacking from the Neo-Cal movement that I couldn’t stand it. Not that endless sharing is necessarily a better deal, but the only prophesies at a Neo-Cal church anyone hears about are from the pastor or elders. Yawn, the Holy Spirit almost never gives the best prophesies/testimonies/Holy Spirit experiences to the elders/leaders, even our old Vineyard pastors told us that.

    So that was my first impression of Driscoll – ‘Guy says he has the Holy Spirit, but can’t see that women can have it too????’ I then dug around and could find nothing good about Mark Driscoll. It is interesting, all my friends with any Charismatic experiences hate Driscoll and think he is a fraud, all my friends without Charismatic experiences are very cautious in condemning him. That and have you seen what the guy passes off as prophecy? Yikes! Sounds like those people in a Charismatic church that you begin to suspect are mental ill and are seeing “things”, not hearing from God. My friends who reject the charismatic view of prophecy ignore his prophecies as another shenanigan, but those of us who have seen very prophetic people share are really bothered by his prophesies. Although many of my charismatic friends haven’t seen his ‘porno vision’ videos and still came to the conclusion early that he wasn’t who people made him out to be.

    So, if you want a breath of fresh air, but don’t want Driscoll, the third wavers have been there for a lot longer. They not only have great worship and relevant cultural references, they also let everyone contribute and don’t stuff women into homemaker-whore roles.


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    mirele wrote:

    I’ll be the first to say that when he said this back in 2001, he should have been relieved of his pastorate because of the way he sees women–which is basically as objects for male sexual organs.

    No argument from me here. I mean, the man’s been given so much rope. It’s almost 15 years past time for him to be OUT of there.


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    Thanks for all your kind words today. I am going to take the weekend to mourn and then hit the ground running on Monday. You’all and my friends say I’ll be OK so I’m going to believe it!


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    Patricia Hanlon wrote:

    Hipster fundamentalism…

    Exactly.


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    @ nmgirl:
    Blessings to you in your quest for employment. I am praying you will feel God’s peace in the midst of your current situation.


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    Haitch wrote:

    I think you are referring to the Driscolls book, “Real Marriage”? There has been a lot of critique of this. I don’t see any reference to ’3 homes’ in the William Wallace II rants jpg’s that WTH posted.

    Yes, I was. I was linking the “homes” comment with what he talks about in “Real Marriage.” Sort of a … if he believes this about this, and he believes that about that, then does he believe this (a combination of the two)? I don’t know if that makes sense.


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    @ Mr.H: Spot on regarding smaller congregations. It's definitely the way to go IMHO.


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    Quote from the article above: “Now that the By-Laws have finally been revealed, Mars Hill Church members can see in black and white that they have no tangible influence at their church (i.e. no voting privileges).”

    So I must have missed HUG saying this … “All animals (members) are equal, but some animals (members) are more equal than others.” – George Orwell, “Animal Farm”


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    JB wrote:

    Quote from the article above: “Now that the By-Laws have finally been revealed, Mars Hill Church members can see in black and white that they have no tangible influence at their church (i.e. no voting privileges).”
    So I must have missed HUG saying this … “All animals (members) are equal, but some animals (members) are more equal than others.” – George Orwell, “Animal Farm”

    Oops, nevermind … just saw this in the above article as well … I must not have read the article as closely as I thought I did. You guys did think of that!

    Quote from “Blessed Subtraction” article: “Under the terms of the 2012 bylaws, the only ‘actual’ legal members of the church were the elders. Church members were defined as ‘members only in a spiritual and theological sense,’ but not actually members in a civil sense. In classic Orwellian doublespeak, members are not actually members, except for the purpose of giving their dollars and time to the actual members (the elders) to spend as they choose.”


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    A key question is being raised on this post by Naked Pastor – “Tony Jones on Mark Driscoll: What came first, the thug or the theology?”

    When it comes to theology and pathology, both Tony Jones and Mark Driscoll came out of the “emerging” movement of the mid-1990s to early 2000s. They ended up at opposite ends of the theological spectrum, and New Calvinism and Emergent Village seemed to become natural “enemies” in the post-emerging era.

    But might these two prominent personalities have more in common about possible pathology despite their theologies? I think it’ll prove instructive to track the comments on this post, if for no other reason, than the history involved between New Calvinism and Emergent Village.

    http://nakedpastor.com/2014/09/tony-jones-on-mark-driscoll-what-came-first-the-thug-or-the-theology/#sthash.ZsORUdrE.dpuf


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    nmgirl wrote:

    Thanks for all your kind words today. I am going to take the weekend to mourn and then hit the ground running on Monday. You’all and my friends say I’ll be OK so I’m going to believe it!

    Thanks for sharing that with us. You and “Guest” are on my TWW prayer list. May you feel God’s presence and the knowledge that you are greatly valued by him, and may he grant you peace and trust in him.


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    Adam Borsay wrote:

    Life update: Baby Willow was born this past sunday

    That’s fantastic! Congrats to your family. 🙂


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    mirele wrote:

    Today is International Crochet Day 2014 and I think I’ll celebrate by starting a Death Star sofa pillow.

    That is awesome! If you come across a good easy pattern for a “Cunning Hat” from Firefly, that’s something I’d like to try to make myself.


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    dee wrote:

    I would also add that the leaders know your name and would show up at the hospital if you were admitted.

    Totally!

    In some ways, it seems unfair that the pastors who get the most attention are usually the ones who don’t really deserve it.

    Eugene Peterson is a great example of a guy who could have gone the route of the usual celebrity pastor, but instead opted to stay in the “small time” (which is actually “big time” in the topsy-turvy world of Messiah’s kingdom). I read in one of his books that he had a rule that once his church topped 500 in membership, they would split off and plant a new church (not a new campus – big distinction).

    I wish more pastors would read Peterson’s books on pastoral ministry. For the record, he is a Presbyterian.


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    nmgirl wrote:

    Off topic but please pray for me guys. I got fired yesterday.

    Prayers from here.


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    @ brad/futuristguy:

    Good article – thanks for directing us to it.

    Resonated with this quote:

    “I’m concerned that Jones’ post reflects the refusal of the church to understand spiritual abuse. It neglects the pathology of its abusive leaders. I don’t think this is being fair to the victims or the perpetrators of spiritual abuse. People are victims of not just a bad theology, but a pathological cruelty.”

    I see a fair amount of pushback to criticism of MD/MH/A29, and I feel like most of that pushback is based on an inability/refusal to see exactly what is wrong. Comments like, “I just don’t see what the big deal is . . .” or “I know MH/MD/A29 have problems, but let their leaders just sort it out themselves.”


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    Adam Borsay wrote:

    Life update: Baby Willow was born this past sunday…7lbs 11oz, all weight in cheeks. Big bro and sis think it is great…so far…mommy doing well

    Congratulations!


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    @ Adam: Congratulations. I love the name Willow.


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    Mr.H wrote:

    I wish more pastors would read Peterson’s books on pastoral ministry. For the record, he is a Presbyterian.

    Hon, I hope to meet him someday. Books like “The Pastor” have been like having a wise old mentor during my first years of ministry. God bless him!


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    Mr.H wrote:

    I see a fair amount of pushback to criticism of MD/MH/A29, and I feel like most of that pushback is based on an inability/refusal to see exactly what is wrong. Comments like, “I just don’t see what the big deal is . . .” or “I know MH/MD/A29 have problems, but let their leaders just sort it out themselves.”

    This is in part why I invested in doing that excruciatingly detailed series of posts about IRS and Washington laws and LLCs and 501c3s and top 10 legal/ethical problems of non-profits and yadda-yadda. Because EVEN the non-relational financial stuff truly is huge. It provides a resource base of standards by which to judge the *organizational* issues that may or may not be addressed in Scripture, because a tax-exempt non-profit church is more than an organic congregations of those following Jesus — it is an organizational entity that has willingly signed on to obeying the regulatory standards required to maintain tax-exempt status. So, the mixture of both organic and organizational together DO become a big deal.

    And these are all ministers and ministries with national or even international followings, who are set up as role-models of mature Christianity and organizations following ethical standards. So, it ISN’T appropriate to “let them just sort it out themselves.” Mars Hill, for instance, has basically had 7 full years to sort it out and yet has not. Acts29 Network board had about the same amount of time to deal with the specific complaints from Ron Wheeler and others, and finally did, thankfully.

    Critics of survivors will say we’re promoting disunity by “going after” Mars Hill, and that our actions will have horrible effects on the watching world of non-Christians. Having spent a lot of time relating with “nones,” the Mars Hill kinds of hypocrisy are precisely why so many of them are disgusted with churches, even if they like Jesus. So, I’d suggest that constructive criticism, well documented with witness verification, does a great service — not a disservice — to the Church by showing the world that we can and will call out injustice and abuse and other forms of *evil* within our own ranks.

    It took a long time to reach a threshold of sufficient detailed documentation and narrative accounts of survivors – and perhaps a key tipping point came this year with the personal stories of repentance by former leaders who’d seen they had inflicted harm on others even while hoping to do good. Some bloggers/investigative reporters, like Becky Garrison, have especially been noting that factor.

    Also, FWIW, the pathological cruelty of abuse is not only in the New Calvinism stream that came out of the cauldron once called “emerging.” It showed/shows up in all streams, including Emergent Village — the theological polar opposite to New Calvinism. But you get a charismatic celebrity person with pathology who goes authoritarian, and you end up with relational and organizational trouble, regardless of the theological bent. So that is part of what that post on Naked Pastor is about.


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    @ Adam Borsay:

    Congratulations to parents and siblings, Adam! And what a great name …


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    This is about a female fighter pilot.

    I keep seeing John Pipers and Mark Driscolls insist women are weaklings, or should not serve in important areas, but out in the real world, we see things like this.

    Fighter Pilot Was Tasked With Taking Out United 93 By Crashing Into It
    http://townhall.com/tipsheet/mattvespa/2014/09/12/fighter-pilot-was-tasked-with-taking-out-united-93-by-crashing-into-it-n1891166

    On September 11, 2001, Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney had one harrowing mission: bring down United 93. She took off from Andrews Air Force Base, but without weapons.
    No missiles, machine guns, etc.; she would have to ram into the commercial airliner to save American lives. … But this story of a fighter pilot who was willing to sacrifice herself to save others is surely worth the read.


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    @ Daisy:

    That is a great story, about both those people actually. I don’t know what Piper is doing with some of his stuff, but he appears to know little or nothing about women.


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    The video with the reporter buzzing Driscoll’s house and the voice (MD) I presume saying something like wrong address, not here. This may be cruel of me but I laughed until I almost cried.


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      🙂

      __

    @ nmgirl,

    http://media6.1800flowers.com/800f_assets/images/flowers/images/shop/catalog/91127Lz.jpg

    —> Be not far from us, Lord! – for trouble is near, 

    Krunch!

    hmmm…

    but we gotz You’ze ta help!

    Yep!

    YaHoooooo!

    everybudy sing!

    U R Ma Sunshine…

    hum, hum, hum…

    (grin)

    Sopy
    __
    Comic relief: Sophia N’ Bella sing, “You R Ma Sunshine!”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clwNjA3FYcA

    ;~)


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    Deb wrote:

    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:

    This might be a good time to re-read Animal Farm.

    Got me thinking – here’s a quote that HUG might like: “We live in a dark age, when freedoms are diminishing, when there is no space for criticism, when totalitarianism—the totalitarianism of multinational corporations, of the marketplace—no longer even needs an ideology, and religious intolerance is on the rise. Orwell’s ‘1984’ is already here”. José Saramago, New York Times, 2007


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    Adam Borsay wrote:

    Life update: Baby Willow was born this past sunday

    Congrats to you and your family Adam, and thanks for sharing.


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    brad/futuristguy wrote:

    Critics of survivors will say we’re promoting disunity by “going after” Mars Hill, and that our actions will have horrible effects on the watching world of non-Christians. Having spent a lot of time relating with “nones,” the Mars Hill kinds of hypocrisy are precisely why so many of them are disgusted with churches, even if they like Jesus. So, I’d suggest that constructive criticism, well documented with witness verification, does a great service — not a disservice — to the Church by showing the world that we can and will call out injustice and abuse and other forms of *evil* within our own ranks.

    Amen.


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    @ Albuquerque Blue:
    Have a look on Ravelry.com, there’s a pattern there.


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    @ Estelle:
    Actually, there are patterns to choose from.


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    nmgirl wrote:

    Thanks for all your kind words today. I am going to take the weekend to mourn and then hit the ground running on Monday. You’all and my friends say I’ll be OK so I’m going to believe it!

    All the best to you during this difficult period, nmgirl.

    Be very kind to yourself right now. 🙂


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    Mr.H wrote:

    I echo all of these. Once you’re inside, it’s hard to leave. #1 and #2 stood out and resonated with my own experience in Acts 29…

    We left the church thinking that our leaders were a sad, frustrating, anomaly. Then I found Dee and Deb and this blog, and imagine by surprise and horror when I discovered that our church problems were NOT an anomaly – they matched up perfectly with the larger pattern in MH and A29!

    Not just MHC and A29, but also SGM and the Brit-verson of the YRR, the one where I was an elder, Newfrontiers.

    One of the things we noticed in our very similar situation was that if you stayed too long, you’d start going crazy from cognitive dissonance. There were so many times you’d think “But how could a Christian do that? believe that? say that? …How could a Christian sit under that sort of teaching and ‘amen’ it? …Why are all these nice Christian friends now repeating all these phrases repeated from the pulpit with the cadence of B-movie zombies?” I think I’ll run screaming if I ever hear another Christian refer to authoritarian top-down church polity as an innocuous “circle of friends”, if I ever hear a Christian talking about how it’s our job to serve “The Mission” (rather than Jesus), if I ever hear a Christian talk about “duplicating ourselves” or “our spiritual DNA” again. I can scarcely stand to read Heb 13:17 now, I heard it misapplied from the pulpit so much.

    At least we got out before the latest craze, using the words “season” and “winsome” in every third sentence.

    It made no sense. You either had to admit that either you were foolish and divisive and stiff-necked (and the leaders loved to tell you so if you raised an objection) or that all these nice “friends” who said “Jesus” and made the great dishes at the potluck and hugged you every Sunday didn’t really mean it or understand it and had become benighted and incapable of rational thought or you had to just give in, paste on a smile and become one of them.

    It was nice to come here and find out that we weren’t the only ones who were experiencing this.


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    Mr.H wrote:

    brad/futuristguy wrote:

    Critics of survivors will say we’re promoting disunity by “going after” Mars Hill, and that our actions will have horrible effects on the watching world of non-Christians. Having spent a lot of time relating with “nones,” the Mars Hill kinds of hypocrisy are precisely why so many of them are disgusted with churches, even if they like Jesus. So, I’d suggest that constructive criticism, well documented with witness verification, does a great service — not a disservice — to the Church by showing the world that we can and will call out injustice and abuse and other forms of *evil* within our own ranks.

    Amen.

    Actually, if Christians didn’t do this very necessary service of weeding out “ministries” and “ministers” that are authoritarian and abusive, financially intransparent and/or dishonest (if they are intransparent you can bet that they are also dishonest in 99% of the cases), the Church would lose what little credibility and moral standing it has with nonbelievers it has left.

    I don’t even think that all of these ministers started out wrong and dishonest – adulation can be a very dangerous poison.

    Christians might be willing to be seen as foolish for their belief in the gospel, but are they also willing to be seen as total suckers for their readiness to follow and give money to these charlatans?


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    Gus wrote:

    I don’t even think that all of these ministers started out wrong and dishonest – adulation can be a very dangerous poison.

    Well, maybe. But during my years of education I spent an awful lot of time listening to two groups of young adult men talk to each other: (a) medical students and (b) seminary students. I heard and saw and awful, awful, awful lot of the attitude of “how special I/we are.” Not all of them, thank goodness, but enough that it was an obnoxious recurring theme. I do not think that wearing a long white coat or carrying a bible around with you changes the person drastically from what they always were.


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    @ Nancy:

    Let me make that clear. Med students talking to med students and seminary students talking to seminary students. Not that the two disparate groups were interacting with each other–I did not make that clear.


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    Law Prof wrote:

    One of the things we noticed in our very similar situation was that if you stayed too long, you’d start going crazy from cognitive dissonance.

    That was my experience, too, here in the US in several independent churches that were all heavily imbued with discipleship/shepherding beliefs, charismatic ideas and some Bill Gothard. (And, starting the the early 00s, a bit of John Piper as well.)


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    numo wrote:

    Law Prof wrote:
    One of the things we noticed in our very similar situation was that if you stayed too long, you’d start going crazy from cognitive dissonance.
    That was my experience, too, here in the US in several independent churches that were all heavily imbued with discipleship/shepherding beliefs, charismatic ideas and some Bill Gothard. (And, starting the the early 00s, a bit of John Piper as well.)

    Piper’s right in there with them, but so far as I know, more as enabler, using his reputation to give credibility to those whom he never should’ve given the time of day. I used to live in his metro, attended his church some, was involved in a ministry that met weekly at Bethlehem Baptist, participated in the march for Jesus around the downtown area that B Bap and two other churches promoted. I know Piper, and never once did I get the faintest good feeling about anything he said or did. Smug, pleased with the back slaps, aligning himself with the biggies in the area. Never thought much of his vibe. But that said, never heard a hint of abuse coming out of B Bap, either.


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    Law Prof wrote:

    numo wrote:
    Law Prof wrote:
    One of the things we noticed in our very similar situation was that if you stayed too long, you’d start going crazy from cognitive dissonance.
    That was my experience, too, here in the US in several independent churches that were all heavily imbued with discipleship/shepherding beliefs, charismatic ideas and some Bill Gothard. (And, starting the the early 00s, a bit of John Piper as well.)
    Piper’s right in there with them, but so far as I know, more as enabler, using his reputation to give credibility to those whom he never should’ve given the time of day. I used to live in his metro, attended his church some, was involved in a ministry that met weekly at Bethlehem Baptist, participated in the march for Jesus around the downtown area that B Bap and two other churches promoted. I know Piper, and never once did I get the faintest good feeling about anything he said or did. Smug, pleased with the back slaps, aligning himself with the biggies in the area. Never thought much of his vibe. But that said, never heard a hint of abuse coming out of B Bap, either.

    Clarification: Know him from seeing him, being there in the same groups, don’t know him personally.


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    @ Law Prof: I read a lot of material on the desiringgod website back in 2001-02, and got really creeped out by a lot of it.

    Besides, who on earth would title a book “xtian hedonism” as anything other than a ploy to increase sales?


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    Nancy wrote:

    I heard and saw and awful, awful, awful lot of the attitude of “how special I/we are.”

    I can definitely imagine that. But then again, their teachers at seminary should have have disabused them of this silliness and helped them grow into adults.

    OTOH, their teachers may have shared their attitudes.


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    Nancy wrote:

    Not that the two disparate groups were interacting with each other–I did not make that clear.

    That was clear enough from the context, if not from the grammar.


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    Ugh, that YouTube audio of MD. Reminds me a whole lot of this gem by Steve Gaines recorded a few years ago. Can ANYONE make out what he says at the end? All I’ve ever been able to come up with is “the remove board problem” which makes no sense, but then I didn’t think any of that made sense, at least not to anyone with an ounce of discernment.


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    Gus wrote:

    Nancy wrote:

    I heard and saw and awful, awful, awful lot of the attitude of “how special I/we are.”

    I can definitely imagine that. But then again, their teachers at seminary should have have disabused them of this silliness and helped them grow into adults.

    OTOH, their teachers may have shared their attitudes.

    As in …
    “RULERS OF TOMORROW! MASTER RACE!”?
    — Ralph Bakshi, “Wizards”


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    Re “Blessed Subtraction”:

    I just had a flashback of an old song on Dr Demento:
    “IDI AMIN”, about the then dictator of Uganda.

    It starts out with President Field Marshal Doctor Idi Amin (all titles self-proclaimed) leading a praise chorus to himself:
    “Idi, Idi, Idi Amin,
    Most Amazing Man that’s ever been;
    He Doctor, he President, he best on the scene,
    Idi, Idi, Idi Amin!”

    And between every repetition of this chorus, “Idi Amin” gets mad at somebody; sound effect of pistol shots or sledgehammers against skulls or crocodile feeding frenzy and the number of voices in the praise chorus gets “blessedly subtracted” — “THERE IS ROOM FOR ONLY ONE (fill-in-the-blank) IN ALL UGANDA!”

    (In between rants where “Idi Amin” brags about his accomplishments — like bringing back cannibalism and legalizing slavery. This is not much of an exaggeration from reality.)

    In the final verse of the praise chorus, there is only one voice singing it solo — Idi Amin, having “blessedly subtracted” every other human being in all Uganda:
    “Idi, Idi, Idi Amin,
    Most Amazing Man that’s ever been;
    He Doctor, he President, he best on the scene,
    Idi, Idi, Idi Amin!”


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    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    As we talked about aphasia and strange autocomplete/autocorrect errors on a prior thread, I thought you’d enjoy what I just read in the comment by a Driscoll supporter on another blog:
    “You do more to destroy the bride by writing articles for secular pagan organizations that are already resistant and more than willing to castigate dispersions on the church, it’s teachings and it’s body of believers”
    Stop castigating dispersions on President Field Marshall Doctor Idi Amin, he’s teachings and he’s body now, will ya?


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    Law Prof wrote:

    I think I’ll run screaming if I ever hear another Christian refer to authoritarian top-down church polity as an innocuous “circle of friends”, if I ever hear a Christian talking about how it’s our job to serve “The Mission” (rather than Jesus), if I ever hear a Christian talk about “duplicating ourselves” or “our spiritual DNA” again.

    Or “Family of Friends,” “the Vision,” or the Vision Frame. “Intentional hospitality” in particular gives me the heebie jeebies as you can walk into Bellevue, sit through a whole service, walk out, and never be acknowledged by anyone.

    Then there’s that old “pastor-led, deacon-served, committee-operated and congregation-approved” thing. By the time it filters down to the members it’s a done deal, and they just need to “say aye!” (The bylaws of this megachurch, at least the ones publicly available… and those nearly took an act of congress to extract… were written in 1927, never updated, and take up half a typewritten page, and even those aren’t followed… e.g. monthly business meetings.)

    I used to have some sympathy for the people who got caught up in churches like this. Now? Not so much. There are different reasons people stay. Friends, family, and not the least, business and networking connections. Yes, folks. It’s big business this megachurch stuff.

    I’ve wondered how much they paid some “consultant” to come up with all that.


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    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    I just had a flashback of an old song on Dr Demento:
    “IDI AMIN”, about the then dictator of Uganda.

    Haitch jumps up and down with ecstativeness, air punches, does a swirl and taps heels. With a brewing cold war and hot war all in play, I’m glad other dictator players get some airtime from the HUG. Unfortunately there are so many to choose from. Without negating their deadliness, they’re worthy of ridicule.


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    To the McBulbeck – do you get voting rights this week? What about McWhite? It has been very interesting to hear/watch the debates. I predict a YES vote by the skin of your teeth. No more politics – I shut up now.


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    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    HUG, you are a veritable treasure trove of cultural references. I would love to have your range and depth.


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    Gus wrote:

    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    HUG, you are a veritable treasure trove of cultural references. I would love to have your range and depth.

    You’d have to be born a Cold War kid genius, possible borderline Aspergers, and natural-talent speedreader, read more before age 10 than most adults do in their entire life, and fill your head with ALL this information with no idea how to fit it all together. Result is this HUGE mental database with NO search engine, just random-association linked list cascades. Somebody mentions A to you, which triggers a cascade to B, C, D, E, F, G, H, etc; which triggers a cascade to Purple and 3.14159 and 42!, and sometime during the process you find one of those “range and depth” references. I have little control over it.


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    Haitch wrote:

    To the McBulbeck – do you get voting rights this week?

    Yes, we do; despite being immigrants, Lesley and I are resident in Scotland (indeed, we both have been for over 20 years) and therefore we get to vote.

     We are both voting the same way;
     We have long-standing and long-considered reasons for our vote;
     I, too, will say no more on this forum, as TWW already doesn’t lack discussion topics!


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    @ Nick Bulbeck:My grandpa and grandma used to vote opposite, and grandpa would come home after voting and go, “well there’s a cancelled vote !” (obvs not a complementarian marriage that one)


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    @ Haitch:

    On the contrary; sounds like they complemented one another perfectly!

    On a less frivolous note, a tied vote is healthier than a low turnout IMHO. Better both votes cancelling than neither vote cast, in other words.


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    I am just deeply deeply saddened by the capacity of Christians to criticise each other. I don’t know the ins and outs of the current controversy too well. All I can say is that I was one of the many hundreds of thousands of people who regularly downloaded and listened to his sermons to my enormous benefit. I remember outstanding / brilliant series on Ruth, on Nehemiah, on Luke, on Genesis, and also his series on the song of Solomon ( which I found to be refreshingly frank and very helpful and illuminating), on spiritual warfare. If we are dealing with plagiarism, I happily confess to stealing many of his good ideas, and using them in my own sermons. When looking at Mark’s ministry, I can only stand in awe of how God chose to use him as a man of faith to bring many many people into His kingdom. I would only ask all of you who say you belong to Jesus, and yet also want to throw rocks at him, and kick him when he is down, to remember the words of Jesus, in Matthew 7: 1,2 and Matthew 7 : 5, and pray that God deal with each of us with the grace that none of us deserve. Please pray also that the cause of The advancement of His Kingdom and the exalting of the name of Jesus will not be set back by these current events and that God will bring grace, forgiveness, healing and reconciliation.


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    Bill wrote:

    I can only stand in awe of how God chose to use him as a man of faith to bring many many people into His kingdom

    One of the things that I dislike is when a new commenter makes a big deal about their absolute wonderment of a man like Driscoll without once, let me repeat, once, throwing a bone to the bodies under the bus that Driscoll brags about.

    Since you did not mention it, I am going to assume that you really like his “under the bus” treatment of many people, his lovely pornovisions, the penis home comments (real “brilliance, that one) the Real Source $200,000 to push his “brilliant” book, the plagiarism, etc.

    So, I would not recommend that anyone go to your church since the average joe can be pretty darn sure that you love Mark Driscoll’s theology, enjoy “penis home” type comments, have no trouble with plagiarism and really enjoy discussing sex over and over and over again. Do you get those “visions” as well?

    Next time, mention the victims and we might take your comment seriously.


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    @ Bill:

    I respect the fact of your having commented here, Bill, because it is always hard to be a lone voice and – moreover – it is true that criticism for its own sake can descend and become both ungodly and addictive.

    But if I may, three things trouble me about your comment.

    Firstly, I question whether it is God, or just the market, that has used Mark Driscoll thus. Regardless of the quality or otherwise of his preaching, I wonder how many low-profile, local believers could have given you – and those hundreds of thousands of others, and many more besides – at least as much insight. But because of the Walmart Effect of globalised preaching brands, they pass unrecognised because they lack the marketing flair and slick presentation that Christians have become accustomed to.

    Secondly, I appreciate your honesty in confessing to using Driscoll’s material in your own sermons. But, with respect, confession rather needs repentance. If I am right in assuming you preach sermons regularly, because you are a local pastor, then I have to be skeptical about whether God’s word to a particular sub-group of believers in Seattle is appropriate for your own congregation. Your responsibility, surely, is to dig your own wells from scripture. Your listeners are presumably more than capable of researching Driscoll (and, for that matter, Ruth, Luke or Nehemiah) for themselves; what they need is your input, not someone else’s recycled water.

    Thirdly, I don’t want to knock Driscoll over, never mind kick him while he’s down, but neither applies anyway because he is not down. He is in the process of manoeuvering his way out of a corner, but that corner is of his own making and he is entirely unrepentant. The Kingdom is not advanced when a man who boasts of his ability to trample the weak gathers a big following, whether or not it be under the covering of Jesus’ name.


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    @ dee:
    Thank you for your encouragement, Dee..


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    @ Canna Berong:
    If I can ever be of assistance, please let me know. I have a heart for the discussion!


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    @ Nick Bulbeck:
    Well, if the vote goes the ‘wrong’ way whichever it is, you can always emigrate to Australia, Maclean to be exact…

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2014/sep/16/maclean-scottish-town-in-australia-scotland-referendum-video

    And don’t forget this incisive analysis by the Daily Fail –

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2756567/Is-omen-referendum-The-cloud-looks-like-map-UK-Scotland-taken-away.html


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    dee wrote:

    One of the things that I dislike is when a new commenter makes a big deal about their absolute wonderment of a man like Driscoll without once, let me repeat, once, throwing a bone to the bodies under the bus that Driscoll brags about.

    He has taken the Mark of the Mark on his forehead and right hand.


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    I don’t see any evidence that Driscoll wrote about penises. It may be his style of thinking but I wouldn’t attach it to him unless he owns up to it.


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    Lane Roberts wrote:

    I don’t see any evidence that Driscoll wrote about penises. It may be his style of thinking but I wouldn’t attach it to him unless he owns up to it.

    Oh my goodness. You have obviously did not click on the links. he most certainly did own up to it in his book Reformission Rev. He said he was the one who wrote all the comments by William Wallace. So, check the links. Please do not stick your head in the sand.

    And as a new commenter, welcome to TWW. You may not like what we write but we always link to the sources for what we say.


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    @ dee:Please excuse me, dee, I did not read ALL links…I apologize. Driscoll did qualify his statements and apologize for them. This isn’t an excuse, just a fact. He needs help but I fear he’s too far gone. Perhaps a real Paul moment on the road to Damascus is what he’s headed for.


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    Wow…how utterly ignorant can you get. Just because someone used material from someone else has you all up in arms. Geez Luiz! If you honestly believe you haven’t heard gray-water sermons then you must be new to the sermon scene. To think sermons are about one’s own digging and study is ridiculous and incredibly short sighted. Some are and some aren’t. Some are a combo of each…but to berate this guy for having been inspired and used material from Driscoll is dumb.Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Your listeners are presumably more than capable of researching Driscoll (and, for that matter, Ruth, Luke or Nehemiah) for themselves; what they need is your input, not someone else’s recycled water.


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    Lane Roberts wrote:

    Wow…how utterly ignorant can you get.

    🙂 You certainly are new here, Lane! I can only echo @ dee’s welcome, though with less authority as this isn’t my blog.

    I have been around the sermon scene some three decades longer than you imagine, and I am certainly not unaware of the widespread belief that the primary job of the clergyman is to deliver a good lecture once a week. Fortunately, that belief is not universal – because of course, it is pure delusion.

    You are not by any means the first person to deride my belief that a church should be composed of believers who live like God actually exists, and you won’t be the last. And I’d be amazed if I’m the only regular here who has encountered this derision. Of course many preachers simply deliver a lecture on a Sunday morning. One preacher I know in Glasgow, Scotland, adopted a single joke used by a visiting preacher (“Would you mind touching your neighbour and say, I think he’s talking to you…”) and was still copying the same joke, as though it were his own idea, over a year later! Probably because his audience were still dutifully laughing.

    None of which makes it right, of course. And there are, for your information, Lane, ministers who are doing the job they signed up to do. They might tell the story of how someone else has lived – in which case Driscoll is hardly likely to “inspire” them – but they have no desire to cut and paste someone else’s “content” (as it is called). Even though they understand that the real “sermon” they preach is the life they lead.


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    As per usual regulars to this blog such as yourself delight in the placing of words into others’ mouths as though it was second nature, and love to take up the flogging whip whenever it suits them. Deride you? Bah! You must be looking for a fight or something… No where do is state what you have quoted, especially the quote I quote below. You’ve gone out of your way to make that one up. So, as soon as you are done with your self deprecating attitude the better off all of us will be because is sure wasn’t because of anything I said.

    Please don’t think too much into what I’ve said in my previous posts as it may drive you to insanity. At any rate, I love you brother. There were no harsh feelings intended. Have a great weekend. :0)

    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    You are not by any means the first person to deride my belief that a church should be composed of believers who live like God actually exists


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    Lane Roberts wrote:

    Please excuse me, dee, I did not read ALL links…I apologize.

    I did not ask you if you had read all the links. A simple insertion of “penis and Mark Driscoll” into Google would have brought the subject up in the first link on Page 1 and many, many others to follow.

    I couldn’t care less if you read the links on this blog but I would assume that anyone who says

    Lane Roberts wrote:

    I don’t see any evidence that Driscoll wrote about penises

    might have checked with a simple search that took me 10 seconds.

    And yes, plagiarism is wrong. It just wasn’t used in the pulpit (albeit the calvinistas like to tell us they spend 30+ hours a week researching their sermons. ) He did this in books which he published. Try doing that at any college as a student and se how quickly you get thrown out. But, Christians are often known as having lower standards for their behavior than some secular institutions.

    Finally,
    Lane Roberts wrote:

    how utterly ignorant can you get.

    considering that you couldn’t even check Google before you made your initial statement, you should be a bit more circumspect before you call anyone else” ignorant.”

    So, take it down a notch.


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    One comment not approved because it made no sense whatsoever.


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    Hi,

    Dee, and the Wartburg Watch community on the whole, please accept my sincere apologies for my ugly behavior in the comment section of your blog. If you would, please remove the nasty little things I said. Commenting is always a touchy subject as one tends to read and write in the mood in which one is often in. I believe your blog has done a lot of good. I rarely, if ever, read the comments and in this case I apparently didn’t bother to read or research carefully. I appreciate you and all that you are trying to accomplish through your site and wish you many blessings and future blessings it may bring people. I hope you don’t mind a comment or two from me in the future, as well, but I will definitely be more informed and thoughtful when so doing. Please have a great weekend.