Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Former Members Mars Hill’

I received the following comment under #43. My response became quite involved so I wanted to create a new post covering some of “Mr Nater’s” challenges and opinions. His comment is in italics. My response follows.

A lot of beef seems to be over Marks complimentarianism and your (apparent) egalitarianism…

Isn’t there room for humility over such a difficult issue? Do we really need to fight dirty over the complimentarian vs. egalitarian debate?…Reality is that each side is deeply emotionally intrenched on the issue. And so are you.

I say this because this article is very much antithesis. You do a thoughogh job at Marks statements but you do not substantiate your own perspective. Your perspective is only painfully obvious to people to those who already believe what you do. In this case you are not changing anyones mind, you are just flaming the fires of hate between disciples of Jesus .

Sure i understand criticism is ok, but when it is everything then its slavery. Why don’t you build a case for egalitarianism. Why not treat the discussion fairly and intelligently. Why don’t you build a case for your view instead of polarizing, bullying and fear mongering… ironically becoming what you accuse Mark of being right?

Sure you can get a lot of web traffic by tearing down a popular church… but its no better than those awful youtube conspiracy video’s.

God has used both egalitarian and complimentarian churches to advance his kingdom. By all means we have a right to this important internal debate. But if it consumes us, and consumes this website, what do you have? Disciples fighting disciples.

Mr. Nater,

If I understand you correctly, you seem to be suggesting that I, and others like me, need to have “Humility over a difficult issue.” By “humility,” in this context, I am wondering if you might mean something like being quiet and gentle, non-assertive, non-challenging, non-confronting…This, along with other things you have written, informs me that you are perhaps a bit confused as to the “issue” here. We are talking about what looks like very serious abuse at Mars Hill Church, abuse of God’s people (see Post #14 Cult-Like Spiritual Abuse Issues & By Laws In a Nutshell, and #30 Driscoll’s Questionable Words & Behaviors, and #34 Is Mark Driscoll Verbally and Emotionally Abusive?)

…and abuse of God’s precious daughters especially… Have you not read, Mr. Nater, the crude, derogatory and disdainful things Driscoll has said about women which I’ve posted here on this blog? See post #8 Christian Taliban & Christian Women Donning Berkas: Spiritual Warfare Series, wherein Driscoll states that “women are the weaker vessel” and are therefore “the more easily deceived” that women are “busybodies and gossipers,” that ministry goal-oriented women are “manipulators” “controlling” and “drama queens” and that they are influenced by Satan if they want to marry a pastor and that women’s ministries are “cesspools” of gossip. Also, see Post #37 Mark Driscoll: Is He Qualified to Lead? Wherein he is quoted, “Most people thought [Mary, mother of Jesus] concocted the crazy story [of her pregnancy] to cover the fact she was knocking boots with some guy in the back seat of a car at the prom,” and “…a naked lady is good to look at, so get a job, get a wife, ask her to get naked, and look at her instead,” and Driscoll described a young man in his church as “a chronic masturbator, a porn addict, banging weak-willed girls like a screen door in a stiff breeze.”

Am I to have “humility” about this while thousands of young twenties are being deceived, demeaned, and held in bondage? Driscoll does not keep his apparent abuse directed at the women in his congregation only, he lashes out at the men “under his care” as well (see # 33. Driscoll Rants at Abusers… Abusively?) In my opinion Driscoll is behaving like an immature dictator. The more I learn of what he is up to, the more disgusted I become. There is no other word for it. Disgusted. Well, and deeply grieved. Driscoll has taken on a role never assigned to anyone in the New Testament, and he is abusing God’s children in that man-made role.

“Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matt 20:25-28). Even Paul said he only wanted Christ’s disciples to follow him AS he followed and modeled Christ. Where Christian leaders fail to model Christ, we are under absolutely no obligation to follow their lead.

But it appears to me that Driscoll on the other hand, and contrary to this passage, has become a ruler of his own little kingdom, a despot with dangerous levels of power… and no one in a power position is confronting him on his abuse… go figure. They’re in those same high-powered man-designed, pride-catering positions themselves. If they rock Mark’s world, they have to rock their own little worlds. It’s the good ol’ boys club on a grand scale, and pathetically, supposedly in the Christian world.

This blog is not about gender per se, but about spiritual/church abuse. It might be helpful for you to read testimonies of those who allege abuse by Driscoll through his teaching and by his MH system. See posts #17, #20, #24, #25. Read Molly Warthen’s New York Times article, posted here in #21. To the extent that Driscoll’s prescribed treatment and beliefs about women are abusive and within the context of his being their “spiritual authority,” that too comprises spiritual/church abuse. Since there is so much of what appears to be abuse of women at MH as seen in their oppressing, demeaning, domineering over, and placing legalistic constraints upon women, gender inequality will continue to be a major issue I have with MH and will continue to be a major aspect of that system’s abusive tendencies and/or characteristics.

You write that I have not substantiated my opinions in post #43. You might want to look at #42 and other posts for the vast amount of substantiation I have provided. Based on Scriptural qualifications (1 Tim 3, Tit 1, see #42 Is Driscoll Really Qualified to Pastor?) Driscoll does NOT qualify to be a pastor nor even any kind of church leader when one carefully weighs his character, his actions, and his words. Also see #15 The Characteristics of a Controlling Personality—in my opinion heaps more of these descriptors fit Driscoll than the character qualities of a leader listed in Scripture! It appears, Mr. Nater, that you have misunderstood “the issue” on freedom4captives to be solely about Driscoll’s oppression of women. This is a weighty and grave part of the issue, but not all of it. Apparently you have missed much of what has been written here. I repeat, this is about spiritual abuse. This is about church abuse. This is about gross power abuse in the role of “Elder” in Scripture (which we now call pastor). Driscoll has apparently repeatedly lied to his congregation, he robs them of the freedom Christ died to give them, and he seeks to rule over them autocratically. See #13 Shocking Sections of MHC By-Laws, with Neilson’s Notes and #41 Should A Pastor Rule Over You?

Matt 23 comes to mind:

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2″The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. …they do not practice what they preach. 4They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them…8 But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ [my Great One, Teacher] for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. 9And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ. 11The greatest among you will be your servant. 12For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. 13″Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to…16″Woe to you, blind guides! … 23″Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness… 24You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel… 29″Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! … 33″You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?

As to the effects my blog might have on others, I  do not think that you, Mr. Nater, are in a position to read every reader’s mind and to prognosticate what conclusions they will or will not come to having read parts of this blog.

If any “fires of hate” are being flamed about on this end, it is the fire of hate we as Christians are called to: namely, we are called to hate oppression and injustice, to hate hypocrisy, to hate false authority and those who in the name of God seek to “lord it over” GOD’s flock… We are told to “HATE evil, love good” (Amos 5:15) and to “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good,” (Ro 12:9) and that “To fear the LORD is to hate evil,” (Pr 8:13)… Also, See #9. Christians Criticizing Christians Can It Be Biblical?

By stating facts and quoting Driscoll and comparing that to Scripture, how is this “polarizing, bullying and fear mongering” on my part? This seems to me that you have resorted to a pseudo polite form of name calling, rather than dealing with the issues at hand. You are not dealing with any of the issues I call Driscoll on in post #42 or #43, or anywhere else in this blog actually. You are participating in the logical fallacy ad hominem (“argument against the person”– an argument which links the validity of a premise to a characteristic or belief of a person advocating the premise.” Wikepedia.).

You charge me with “ironically becoming what you accuse Mark of being.” I find this rather amusing (and disturbing at the same time) in that I am not in a position of abusing thousands of people by laying down legalistic rules and “laws” which Scripture never even commands–in fact, laying down “laws” which Scripture commands against. I am not blaspheming my Lord by inferring that I love him but not in a way that I would want to perform oral sex on him when I get to heaven! Yes! Driscoll said this, see # 35 Driscoll: “Your husbands appreciate oral sex…So serve them well…” I am not claiming the first seat for myself as the Pharisees loved to do, etc.

If you think “web traffic” is what I’m after, you have 1) not read much of anything in this blog, and 2) know nothing of what it means to be abused by those in power, especially those claiming “God’s authority” as their right to having power over you. These types of abusers are usually men, and they are those who have not the heart of God and therefore abuse any authority he may have given. I think it comes down to your throwing accusations without anything to substantiate them.

The primary issue here is not gender equality, however I freely admit that gender equality has become a passion of mine, more so now than ever since running into Driscoll’s cult-like system (yes, in my opinion cult-LIKE). Gal 3:28 states, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Certain men–who seem to me to be quite insecure in themselves–are the only people so desperately concerned with coercing women to “obey” the few Scriptures which seem to imply total subjection to husbands (which contradicts 1 Cor 7 and Eph 5:21) and seem to imply women can never teach men or speak in church (which contradicts the Holy Spirit’s giving all gifts to all people, male and female, in the body of Christ, such as speaking words of knowledge and wisdom, speaking in tongues, and prophesying IN CHURCH among men! There are also the gifts of preaching and teaching, given by the Holy Spirit, to all who call on the name of the Lord, male or female, it does not matter to God… Acts 2, 1 Cor 12; 1 Cor 14).

I was reading several of the articles on cultwatch.com , such as, Church Authoritarianism; Church Leadership; and How Do Cults Work. This material contained some very helpful analysis of the original Greek word meanings and usage in the NT. Of interest is that the Greek words used for “submission” between husbands and wives and between elders and Christians are words indicating the choice of the one who might do the submitting. It is never about the other forcing the one into submission and condemning her to hell if she does not submit. This would be tantamount to women making a big hoopla about men not obeying a certain aspect of Scripture.

When Peter became overly concerned with John’s walk with Jesus and whether or not he would remain alive until the Lord’s return, Jesus told Peter to never mind about John, “you follow me.” Why is it that certain anxious men must so vehemently demand that women submit to them? Why don’t they leave that “command,” if it is such, up to the women to fulfill or not, just as we are all called to choose whether or not to obey the Lord on many various issues. This is harmful enough when male laity behave in such a manner, but it is exceptionally abusive when men use their church positions (and usually false authority) to coerce women into obedience to their desire to rule and reign (all in the guise of obeying Scripture, of course).

I find it awfully suspicious that some “Christian” men are so extremely invested in ensuring that women “obey” a few cherry picked Scriptures! This is very cult like. This is what cults do. That is why MH’s stance on women and the testimonies of those harmed by this caught my attention, along with other aspects which match up with VanVonderen’s and Dr. Enroths descriptions of church abuse. Cults use various Scriptures out of context also in order to control the cult members. Driscoll, and others like him, use Scripture passages which are difficult to translate, to understand and to apply correctly partly due to one glaring reason: they seem to contradict the gender equality Jesus teaches, Paul teaches and Gen 1-3 teaches and which many other Bible passages exemplify. Conversely, you do not find women in an uproar about husbands not loving their wives properly and not giving their lives up for them, now do you? You don’t find women teaching on this and making bogus principals out of this (like the men’s “headship principle” and “prophet, priest & king of the home principle”) and hounding the men with this every chance they get, now do you?

If you would like or need more scholarly information about Christian Biblical Equality see my posts #29 and #28 and/or go directly to Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE) at  http://www.cbeinternational.org/  .

As much of  a passion as gender equality in the Body of Christ has now become to me, still that is not primarily what this site is about, although at times it will take the pre-eminence because of the spiritually violent aspects of Driscoll’s false theology and spiritual abuse which violates women.

Freedom4Captives is about analyzing and highlighting what appears to be CHURCH ABUSE at Mars Hill. The more I read of mind control, aberrational “Christian” churches and of cults, the more I see similarities in Driscoll’s style of “leadership” (control) and the Mars Hill system. I urge you, Mr. Nater, to go do some research on the issues at hand, to spend some time studying what Driscoll is actually preaching, writing and how he is behaving, and then feel free to come back and address the complexity of the issues here if you’d like.

Read Full Post »

To get the full scope of this post, please read or peruse Post #42  Is Driscoll Really Qualified to Pastor? wherein I compare Driscoll’s words and apparent characteristics to Pastor/Elder qualifications in 1 Tim 3 and Titus 1.

Now, let’s look at some things MD has recently said… I found this at kateschosen:

http://kateschosen.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/what-do-you-think-about-mark-driscolls-preaching-on-the-eternal-subordination-of-jesus-the-son-to-the-father/

Kateschosen wrote that she found the following from a link to a conference that Mark Driscoll spoke at recently (June 2009). She said the speakers were John Piper, Mark Driscoll, Matt Chandler, and Ed Stetzer, and that the audio link of Mark Driscoll’s teaching was “ provided by Desiring God Ministries (Piper’s ministry) is here. ”

The following is quoted directly from Driscoll with my comments in [brackets ] :

“Qualified leadership: All right … There are leaders here even in the early chapters of Acts. The Apostles and who stands up? Peter. And why? Because he’s first among equals. His name is always listed first in the list of Apostles.

[But MD and others like him forget that in the case of Priscilla & Aquilla, Priscilla the wife of Aquilla is always mentioned FIRST and they are saluted for the work they are doing and the church in THEIR house. Is she then the FIRST AMONG EQUALS in that partnership, since her name is always mentioned first in the pair, first among equals as MD says males are?]

MD goes into detail about his theory that since Jesus, God the Son, submitted to God, the Father, there’s “equality and there’s functional subordination.”

[He uses this idea to further his favorite theme, SUBMISSION TO ONE’S LEADERS, MEANING HIM if one attends MH. He states this, while having first thrown the doggy bone to we little people, that we are, after all, equals, there are just those other “equals” who are in authority over the rest. Now I know the Bible teaches on submitting to authority, but not in what I perceive as this skewed way in which MD teaches on it.]

“… There are those who have greater responsibility for the oversight. 1 Peter 5 says, “of the flock, the shepherding of God’s people”. Our “day” hates that. “We’re all the same”, well in one sense, because of God’s grace, we are all equally saved. But in another sense, dad’s need to take responsibility

[What about mom’s responsibility?]

“for their families and pastors have to take responsibility for their flocks and leaders have to give an account for those who are in their oversight. That’s what the Bible says.

[Mhm. Yes. MD and others like him, will “give an account,” all pastors, good and bad, obedient to and in love with Jesus, and those who are disobedient to and not really in love with Jesus]

“Some of you, particularly those of you who are young, either because of worldliness from the culture, or cowardice, will not want to be in authority.

[So now it’s “cowardly” to “not want to be in authority”? Perhaps. It really depends upon what kind of authority we’re talking about: true, God given authority (where others recognize the qualities of Christ in the person and also that God has placed upon her or him HIS own authority) versus that which is grasped for by human beings, wherein the person becomes a little despot over his/her own little human-made kingdom… It can also be an act of great courage to withstand false “authority” which is oppressive and selfish.]

“ Or you’ll want to diminish and not USE your authority.

[Oh yes, MD encourages “his men” to USE their authority, because that’s what the Christian life is all about, right? …exercising your authority over others and getting others to submit to you. Yeah, that’s what Jesus taught… I don’t think so. Quite the opposite.]

“Some of you will wrongly use your authority; you’ll become dictatorial and you’ll become autocratic. 1st Peter 5 says to use your authority but not lording it over people; not being harsh, mean-spirited and a dictator. And so qualified leadership is ultimately humble leadership.

[I can hardly believe these words are coming out of Driscoll’s mouth. But I’ve seen it too many times to be completely shocked. Those who are abusive, those who are controllers, those who manipulate, those who have Narcissist tendencies (and I’m not saying MD is or has all of these… but he might), ubiquitously uphold the opposite of what they are doing, they claim to have ethics while they are violating them, they claim to qualify as biblical leaders while their own words condemn them as absolutely UN qualified, and they teach on that which they disobey… God have mercy!

[The examples provided in this blog– these alone reveal that MD “wrongly uses his authority” in “dictatorial and autocratic” fashion, and that he “lords it over people,” much of the time. We have seen in his sermons and in his written words characteristics which appear to align with a “harsh and mean spirited… dictator.” And as to humility… Oh my! He has even admitted, in a proud way, that he is not humble… but then unlike a truly repentant humble person, he turns it around as an opportunity for launching into his church for not being humble! “Humble leadership–” I don’t think MD knows what that means; he certainly seems largely to be incapable of living it. I wouldn’t normally be this sharp, I mean, how many of us can claim humility, right? But as a leader, and one who is teaching on this as if he qualifies, one who has made false public confessions of his lack of humility, he is under greater scrutiny and stricter judgment. Plus, it’s a bit much to stomach his words here. I am really, really getting sick of BS from those in power, especially those proclaiming themselves to be Christians.]

“Qualified leadership is male elders: 1 Timothy, Titus 1, as well as deacons.

[This whole “male” only leadership is based on mistranslating the original Greek texts, misinterpreting and misapplying Scripture. It is predicated on the refusal of taking ALL of Scripture into consideration as well as millennia of male dominance and abuse of women. See CBE, Christians for Biblical Equality http://www.cbeinternational.org/ ]

“Some of you will have woman deacons; some of you will have men and women deacons. We have men and women deacons; some of you will fight on that point. Qualified leadership 1 timothy, titus 1 — meeting certain criteria of character and competency and courage and Christlikeness.

[This really makes me wonder if Driscoll is incapable of self-reflection and applying Scripture to himself and his own life. Does he ever ask himself, “Do I meet some, most or all, or any of this criteria? Am I living as an example of good character? Do I manifest Christ-likeness (as in the fruit of the Spirit for example): Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness and Self Control”]

“Let me say this: the big problems that you’re having in your church probably start with the fact that you may not have qualified leadership and regenerated members. If the people don’t know Jesus and the leaders are not qualified, you have to start there. You have to evangelize your people and get rid of those leaders who are not qualified. Not qualified.

[Wow. Again, I want to laugh at the absurdity but it’s so sad. First of all, is there anyone in power who would a) discern that Driscoll does not measure up to most of the biblical criteria for pastor, and b) confront him with the truth? And then secondly, if confronted, even by a powerful mega church pastor or famous “theologian” (I don’t know to whom else Driscoll would give audience) would Driscoll even be willing to be “got rid of” for his failure to measure up to 1 Tim 3 and Tit 1? I rather doubt it. In fact, when he has been questioned by his “equal fellow elders” to whom he was supposedly “accountable,” he fired their butts, according to the testimony of many who were in the know and personally acquainted with the unfortunate Petry and Meyer. See the By-Laws here in #13 post and Nielson’s notes regarding them.]

“…Unified by the Spirit … this means that we agree to disagree agreeably.

[I’m sorry, but this is a joke… Again, how can he say this?! MD notoriously allows for no dissent, and that has been repeatedly testified to by those who’ve had the “pleasure” of serving under MD’s rule and reign, and by those who DARED to question him, of whom MD said, “their hearts are not right. It’s the sin of questioning.” Hahahaha. This would really be funny if it wasn’t so tragic because of the enormous impact he has on thousands of lives, and young lives at that. Lord have mercy!]

“cause your unity is around the person of Jesus and the proclamation of the gospel.”

[The Jesus of Scripture is very different from the Jesus MD seems to have created: a macho, tough, un-sissified, jock Jesus. I would not and could not fellowship with MD around HIS Jesus, and a Jesus who would purportedly encourage the permanent subjugation of the female gender, because THAT Jesus would be contradicting Gen 1-3 and the rest of the Bible taken as a whole. Jesus warned there would be many “false Christs” and “false teachers.” If we as Christians do not utilize critical thinking skills and if we are not serious students of God’s Word, we are doomed to follow the voices of misguided oppressors or worse, “hirelings” who care not for the sheep but only care for their own agenda and profit, rather than heeding the voice of the one True Shepherd (John 10).]

Read Full Post »

I’ve been wanting to post on this for quite some time… I can no longer put it off.

Is Driscoll Really Qualified to Pastor?

In order to ascertain the answer to this question, I encourage you to read some of the posts on this blog, read the testimonies of the many who have been seriously wounded, and I would say spiritually and psychologically abused, in his church (Mars Hill, Seattle) and by Driscoll, do your own research, listen to Driscoll’s sermons, read some of his books… After you have done that, read the following Scriptures and check off the characteristics that do NOT fit Driscoll… let’s see how many biblically mandated qualifications remain and whether or not Driscoll truly qualifies, biblically, to be a pastor… And then, for what may feel like torture (as it was to me), read some quotes from his recent teaching (June ’09) about the necessity of having qualified leaders who are humble and do not lord it over the flock… The irony… That will be in the next post.

1 Tim 3:1-10

1Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, [pastor][a] he desires a noble task. 2Now the overseer must be:

–above reproach, [MD has said many things which have caused legitimate reproach from other believers, and from the world alike]

–the husband of but one wife, [here’s one that appears to apply]

–temperate (pleasant, mild, moderate), [I don’t think this fits Driscoll either, based on my research and how he carries himself and communicates; he seems to be rather extreme, not moderate, I mean, biblically moderate, not liberally “moderate”]

–self-controlled, [Driscoll has lost control of his anger on many occasion, and he seems to have very little control over his tongue once he gets going—the somewhat amusing thing here is that MH has recently changed the way and the timing in which they broadcast and post his sermons: they are now postponing MD’s sermon broadcasts and posts ONE WEEK LATER after they select which service to use and after it’s been EDITED. This is true even of what the other MH church campuses have access to and watch on their mammoth video screens for their Sunday morning services—they see Driscoll preaching what he had preached in Ballard the week prior. So if you really want the scoop on EVERYTHING MD said, you’d have to go live, to Ballard… Of course when MD announced this at a church service a few months ago, every reason but the obvious was stated. The obvious being the embarrassing habit of MD spouting off something that truly comes from his heart (“Out of the heart the mouth speaks”), but which does not reflect well on him and MH. Now MD and MH can “FIX” that. More on “self-control:” MD has also described himself HITTING a congregant and/or counselee, a male who was really ticking MD off. Driscoll said he lost it so badly he couldn’t even remember the scene very well! Nice! The reference is somewhere in this blog—I’ll dig it up. He really said that!]

–respectable, [Is Driscoll respectable in the way he speaks about women? NO (just see my post #8 Christian Taliban…Spiritual Warfare Series). In the way he talks about men who are not –blue collar over-sexed, macho must drive a big truck to compensate– men? NO. Is he respectable when he tells his female congregants to give blow jobs to their husbands as a way of “serving them well”? Hell no! Is he respectable in his subjugation of women? NO. Is he respectable in his language? No. Is he respectable in his obsession with sex and crass way of “teaching” about it from the pulpit? Hell no! Is he respectable when he talks about the mother of Jesus being found pregnant outside of marriage and that the villagers probably thought she was [loosely paraphrased but close] ‘banging boots in the back of a car on prom night?’ Not even remotely!! Is he respectable when he infers that if Song of Solomon is allegorical about the Body of Christ as the Bride of Christ, and that –rough paraphrase—if tasting of ‘his fruit’ is going down when I get there, it’s like, I don’t think so. MD said, “I love you, Lord, but not in THAT way.” No! May it never be that this is considered respectable!]

–hospitable, [I don’t know regarding his home, but at his church, he doesn’t seem to be from his pulpit]

–able to teach, [There has been much discussion about the carelessness with which Driscoll plays at “exegesis.” I read one, whom I think is a theologian, state that Driscoll massacred Song of Solomon. Many very knowledgeable, biblical Christians are scratching their heads at Piper’s and Mohler’s support of such a one as MD].

3–not given to drunkenness, [MD frequently extols his “freedom” to drink his beers… Personally, I am not opposed to a Christian having a glass of wine or a beer, or Cosmo, we are simply told in Scripture to “be not drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit.” MD, however, makes a frequent and inflated issue about his freedom to drink, just as he does from the pulpit about his freedom to have sex and “lots of it” within marriage… one wonders what is behind such an emphasis and focus…]

–not violent but gentle, [Well, just watch some of his video clips… just listen to his voice when he lashes out at his congregation… violent, not gentle]

–not quarrelsome, [he argues from the pulpit with those who do not have a similar platform from which to defend their point. He’s been called the “bully from the pulpit,” and I think there is ample evidence of the truth in that.]

–not a lover of money. [I wonder what he earns?]

4–He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5(If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) [I can imagine he does this with an iron fist]

6–He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. [I believe this is part of the crux of the matter: MD was a relatively new Christian when he became a pastor at age 25. That’s awfully young developmentally, AND he apparently was not mentored, he wasn’t under the leadership of an older, wiser man or woman of God. MD, per his own admission, was never even a parishioner. He never had to submit to any leadership. In my opinion, he still doens’t. He was top dog from the beginning and so he apparently remains, unhindered, unchecked, unaccountable (carefully read the 2007 By-Laws, they too are included in this blog). And yet despite all this MD sure hammers home teachings on congregant and female submission. Submission in general, and I would say by way of inference submission to HIM as male leader/authority/pastor/elder, is one of his pet doctrines… it keeps others under his “biblical” control.]

7–He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap. [MD has been incredibly and needlessly offensive, and no, not merely about preaching the truth of Jesus and the gospel, but offensive in his mannerisms and extreme, non-biblical views and the way he bandies these about. He seems to have a very BAD reputation with many in the non-believing community in Seattle, among the “outsiders,” as well as with many across the nation and even in other nations, based on discussions across the internet. There are many very biblical Christians who just cannot believe MD seems to be such a “darling” parts of the Christian community! I am one of them. The Bible says we are to season our communication with salt, to give grace to the hearers. We are not to become obnoxious to others for obnoxiousness’ sake, nor are we to use any kind of authority over anyone, Christian or not, as a means of beating them down into subservience and compliance to our wishes and our way of seeing things. Did Jesus ever do this? He did not blast people to obey Him. The only ones we see him blasting were the false teachers, the legalists, the Pharisees and Sadducees. Those who dared to misrepresent his character—these he blasted. Follow the example of Acts and what and how Paul and Peter preached… they were firm about the need to repent and believe on Jesus. They called sin, sin. But they were not obnoxious. And yes, for the gospel, offense was given, but it wasn’t Paul’s or Peter’s offensiveness, it was the “offense of the cross.” The Bible says that, “As far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone,” and we are to “Speak the truth in love…”]

8–Deacons, likewise…10They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons. [From what I can tell, MD was never really tested, and no one seems to be testing him now, not according to these Scriptural criteria, except perhaps bloggers… If anything he is “tested” by his effectiveness in holding an audience’s attention, entertaining them, preaching the Gospel, and by the numbers of people coming into his church. None of these are the criteria we are given in Scripture by which to measure a pastor’s qualifications, no, not even his success. These are humankind’s methods of measuring “success,” (other than preaching the Gospel) but not God’s. “My ways are not your ways…”]

And finally, another Scripture (which I will not be breaking down to analyze MD in comparison; this Scripture just reinforces the prior one).

Titus 1:7-9 7Since an overseer[b] is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

Please see: 43. Driscoll Teaches on Qualified Leadership (Did I Hear Laughter?)

Read Full Post »

I receive John Eldredge’s daily devotional electronically each morning from www. ransomedheart.com . Since freedom4captives tends to be a heavy due to the subject matter and because what I read this morning seemed to apply to the overall message here, I wanted to share some encouragement…

Those who want to be in a true love relationship with Jesus, and to pass this on to others, fight along side Christ against legalism and oppression because love can only be expressed in freedom. It is the Holy Spirit who fills us with “love, joy, peace…” and “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.” Any system that feels oppressive, that kills the human spirit, any system devoid of freedom, is one where the Spirit of the Lord is not present… at least not in His fullness. Without freedom, we quench His Spirit. Without freedom, we cannot choose to love. But this does not mean we live in license to sin…

Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey me… if you do not love me, you will not obey me.” Obedience to Jesus and His Word comes from a heart of love, not the heavy handed control of any religious system or church leader—not from mandated giving of your time and money, not from a list of do’s and don’t’s, not from signing membership contracts, not from having every aspect of your life scrutinized and controlled, not from being yelled at from the pulpit nor being watched through one’s “community group,” not from any external control… but rather obedience to Jesus and His Word comes from His work within you and the resultant heart of love overflowing from and to Him. “The love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

One cannot legislate love, therefore one cannot legislate obedience. If legalism had worked, Jesus would not have come down so hard on the Pharisees. They had pride, control, oppression, legalism, and hard-heartedness nailed down like no one else… and Jesus blasted them consistently…

Counting on Our Vanity and Blindness
08/01/2009


The core of Satan’s plan for each of us is not found in tempting us with obvious sins like shoplifting or illicit sex. These things he uses more as maintenance strategies. His grand tactic in separating us from our heart is to sneak in as the Storyteller through our fears and the wounds we have received from life’s Arrows. He weaves a story that becomes our particular “Message of the Arrows.” Counting on our vanity and blindness, he seduces us to try to control life by living in the smaller stories we all construct to one degree or another. He accuses God to us and us to God. He accuses us through the words of parents and friends and God himself. He calls good evil and evil good and always helps us question whether God has anything good in mind in his plans for us. He steals our innocence as children and replaces it with a blind naïveté or cynicism as adults.

At the same time Satan is at work reinterpreting our own individual stories in order to make God our enemy, he is also at work dismantling the Sacred Romance—the Larger Story God is telling—so that there is nothing visible to take our breath away. He replaces the love affair with a religious system of dos and don’ts that parches our hearts and replaces our worship and communion services with entertainment. Our experience of life deteriorates from the passion of a grand love affair, in the midst of a life-and-death battle, to an endless series of chores and errands, a busyness that separates us from God, each other, and even from our own thirstiness.

Part of Satan’s grand strategy of separating us from our heart, once Jesus has drawn us to an awareness of being his sons and daughters through believing faith, is to convince us that our heart’s desires are at core illegitimate.

c. John Eldredge, The Sacred Romance , 107–9


Read Full Post »

This is who Jesus says I am… This is who the Bible says I am… What say you?

…And, are half of His precious human creation to continue to be harassed, demeaned and oppressed by you and the men you train?

I pray to God that you and “your men” fall on your knees, repent hard and heavy, and answer, “No more. The abuse of God’s precious women stops here, and it stops now, in the name of Christ, Amen!”

Read Full Post »

Verbal & Emotional Abuse

I was listening to June Hunt on the radio the other evening, and what she described reminded me of Patricia Evans Book, The Verbally Abusive Relationship, and together, these took me immediately to various videos of Mark’s sermons (especially the abusing abusers one) as well as to many accounts of those who write about having been directly harmed by him and the MH system.

June Hunt talked about the following:

NOTE:  [my words in [brackets] ]

Abuse is basically to be mistreated.

Emotional abuse is any ongoing behavior used to control and manipulate another [or a group].

It damages the victim’s sense of dignity and wounds their spirit.

Pr 18:14, “A man’s spirit sustains him in sickness,
but a crushed spirit who can bear?

People who abuse are not healthy and whole, they are fear based.

Pr 12:18 “Reckless words pierce like a sword,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

[If Mark Driscoll is as verbally/emotionally abusive as he appears at times to be, especially in his stage presence and his alleged interactions with several members, then for those who know Mark up close and personal–perhaps the elders who were apparently unjustly fired because they dared to question him and his new By-Laws, perhaps his wife, Grace, and/or perhaps those who are his “friends” and subordinate pastors, etc… –some of this might fit when you think of Mark]:

Control, control, control. Overtly, and/or covertly. The Passive Aggressive Abuser emotionally and verbally abuses by using sarcasm, ignoring, giving the silent treatment. His tactics are invalidating, “I never said that. You’re perceptions are wrong.” He uses minimizing and countering. It doesn’t matter what the truth is. Truth is disregarded. What’s true is what he says is true, period. He gets you with the passive dagger. It’s all about his efforts to obtain and maintain control and he’ll do whatever it takes to get that. He is a master of manipulation.

June’s web site is:

http://www.hopefortheheart.org/site/PageServer

[She seems to offer some good stuff. I have not yet read her books.]

The following comes from:

http://www.narcissisticabuse.com/verbalabuse.html

pulled 5/7/08, and is written by Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, www.probe.org

He acquires much of his information below from Patricia Evans book, The Verbally Abusive Relationship, and from Bach and Deutsch’s, Stop! You’re Driving Me Crazy.

VERBAL ABUSE:

…Verbal abuse is a kind of battering which doesn’t leave evidence comparable to the bruises of physical battering. … Like any area of human action, [verbal/emotional abuse] begins in the mind and heart [of the abuser]. Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” What a person thinks in his mind and heart will be reflected in his words and actions.

… The victim of verbal abuse lives in a gradually more confusing realm. In public, the victim is with one person. While in private, the abuser may become a completely different person.

…  A victim is often the target of angry outbursts, sarcasm, or cool indifference. The abuser’s reaction to these actions is frequently cloaked in a “What’s wrong with you?” attitude. She is accused of “making a mountain out of a molehill.” Over time she loses her balance and equilibrium and begins to wonder if she is the one who is crazy.

The key to healing is to recognize verbal abuse for what it is and to begin to take deliberate steps to stop it and bring healing. Since the abuser is usually in denial, the responsibility for recognizing verbal abuse often rests with the partner [or the parishioner].

Characteristics of Verbal Abuse

Now I would like to focus on some of the characteristics of verbal abuse as outlined in The Verbally Abusive Relationship.

1. Verbal abuse is hurtful and usually attacks the nature and abilities of the partner. Over time, the partner may begin to believe that there is something wrong with her or her abilities. She may come to feel that she is the problem, rather than her partner.

[Notice, it attacks the PERSON not their specific behavior. It is shame based. The purpose is to make you feel inferior and flawed, to increase your self-doubt. By de-stabilizing you, the abuser can more easily control you. Driscoll was attacking the people in his rant, not merely their behavior. He was shaming them.].

2. Verbal abuse may be overt (through angry outbursts and name- calling) or  covert (involving very subtle comments, even something that approaches brainwashing). Overt verbal abuse is usually blaming and accusatory, and consequently confusing to the partner. Covert verbal abuse, which is hidden aggression, is even more confusing to the partner. Its aim is to control her without her knowing.

[Driscoll is becoming quite famous for his “angry outbursts and name calling.” He comes across as extremely accusatory and blaming. This is verbal/emotional abuse. Those who know him closely probably get a taste of the covert abuse.]

3. Verbal abuse is manipulative and controlling. Even disparaging comments may be voiced in an extremely sincere and concerned way. But the goal is to control and manipulate.

[In another clip, when Driscoll superficially apologizes for his pride and then quickly launches into his criticism about how proud the parishioners and “a couple of elders” in ‘his’ church are, he is being manipulative. When he squelches all dissent, he is being controlling. He apparently has no problem with tearing into his congregation, and then in the blink of an eye, going into this soft, compassionate voice and looking directly into the camera, face smoothed out of former disdainful expression, and saying something like, “It’s because I love you…”].

4. Verbal abuse is insidious. The partner’s self-esteem gradually diminishes, usually without her realizing it. She may consciously or unconsciously try to change her behavior so as not to upset the abuser.

[From the ex-Mars Hillians’ stories I have read, their self esteem seems to have been diminished by their experience at MH, and most of them seemed to have tried to alter their behavior to please and submit to Driscoll’s apparently legalistic system].

5. Verbal abuse is unpredictable. In fact, unpredictability is one of the most significant characteristics of verbal abuse. The partner is stunned, shocked, thrown off balance by her mate’s sarcasm, angry jab, put-down, or hurtful comment.

[At the beginning of the ranting clip against abusers, Driscoll was talking in a somewhat normal tone, when all of a sudden he takes in a breath, (I found myself instinctively holding mine), he then spews out in high volume, “How dare you?! Who the hell do you think you are?! …” and proceeds with what appears to be his own abusive rage (and most definitely NOT the Holy Spirit as Mark claims it to be).  It was unpredictable and shocking. When he goes into his tirade of the abusers ‘out there’ not being God, not being men, etc… and calls them “little boys” who need to man up before they love a woman, he is dripping with disdain and sarcasm.  Mark yells in the face of his audience, “You change now, little boy–You change right now. You shut up. You put your pants on. You get a job. You grow up.” This is simply unadulterated verbal/emotional abuse].

6. Verbal abuse is not a side issue. It is the issue in the relationship. When a couple is having an argument about a real issue, the issue can be resolved. In a verbally abusive relationship, there is no specific conflict. The issue is the abuse and this issue is not resolved. There is no closure.

[How could one ever get closure on much of anything when dealing with a verbal/emotional abuser who insists they are always right and you are always wrong, one who fights dirty and will shame, blame, block, divert, minimize, withhold, threaten, etc., at a moment’s notice in order to win, no matter what? The issue in relating with such a person is the abuse and that cannot be resolved until he comes out of his denial and seeks help. This is rarely accomplished unless the abuser’s entire world crashes through and he is bereft of subjects over whom he might exert control… but, alas, even then, change is real iffy].

7. Verbal abuse expresses a double message. There is incongruence between the way the abuser speaks and his real feelings. For example, he may sound very sincere and honest while he is telling his partner what is wrong with her.

[Driscoll appears at times to be really, sincerely preaching God’s Word, but upon closer inspection, he is mostly preaching aspects interpreted in ways he is comfortable with, the parts that allow him to tell us how bad we are, how much we fail, and how much we’d better listen to him and submit to his authority and buck up and deal with it. From my limited perspective thus far, I see much emphasis on commands, obedience to leaders and submission of women to men, where there is a lot of apparent condemnation for not doing the Christian life perfectly… I have not seen anything about a deep intimate love relationship with Christ (in fact, he generally mocks intimate loving worship as being too ‘chickified’), nor do I see much on a loving “Abba, Father” relationship with our Father in Heaven, nor do I see much if anything about the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit, our “Paraclete” (Gk) the one who comes along side, our Comforter. And yet, for all of that, Driscoll claims to “love” us and to “love” God. This whole thing feels completely incongruent to me. He mostly seems angry and uptight, and he does sound “very sincere and honest while he is telling us what is wrong with us.”]

8. Verbal abuse usually escalates, increasing in intensity, frequency, and variety. The verbal abuse may begin with put-downs disguised as jokes. Later other forms might surface.

[It would be interesting to go back and review much older sermons of Driscoll’s to observe his escalating over time in these kinds of abusive behaviors, both in frequency and in intensity].

More to come on Verbal/Emotional Abuse in Comparison to Driscoll’s Words & Behaviors.

Read Full Post »

The following is from lollytruly’s blogspot. It highlights some of the specifics regarding Driscoll’s behavior and words which many, like myself, take to be abusive and non-representative of the character and heart of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The following also fleshes out the sad reality that those who point out abuse in an abusive system become THE problem, while the issue of the abuse and the abuser are swept under the carpet.

http://lollytruly.blogspot.com/search?q=mark+driscoll

Friday, February 20, 2009

…My head is beginning to feel peaceful again after the Mark Driscoll stuff a couple days ago. Crying painfully helps you heal if you process everything while you’re doing it. That’s another fun fact I’ve learned in therapy, that weeping mends you and you have to go there if you’re going to heal from it. I don’t mean for that to be TMI but I think being open can be really good. Makes me think of this quote – “It is important to tell our secrets too because … it makes it easier for other people to tell us a secret or two of their own, and exchanges like that have a lot to do with what being a family is all about and what being human is all about.” — Frederick Buechner
http://lollytruly.blogspot.com/2009/02/dave-eggers-karl-rove-together-again.html

5/30/09

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

it’s not a dead horse and it’s worth beating. let’s not lose hope

Here is a letter from a little over two years ago, written by Shari MacDonald Strong whom I subsequently made friends with because of her character, insight and gentleness. In this she writes about the protest of Mars Hill in Seattle on Dec 3.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Why On Earth Would I Want to Picket a Church? More on the Mark Driscoll/Mars Hill Seattle Action

To: Mark Driscoll
Mars Hill Elders and Deacons
Acts 29 Church Planting Network
Seattle Times

As a Christian woman who is planning to participate in the planned December 3 protest at Mars Hill, I wanted to write to explain my reasons for wanting to do so and to share my concerns about some of Mr. Driscoll’s recent teachings and writings.

Let me start by saying, I appreciate Mr. Driscoll’s recent blog post, in which he amends his previous blog entry about the Ted Haggard affair and about the dangers of pastor’s wives “letting themselves go.” In particular, I am grateful for the gentle tone of the post. I believe that if this were the tone that he was known for, there would not be this current firestorm of emotion around his teachings.

It was the Ted Haggard post that brought Mr. Driscoll’s teachings most recently to my attention. However, I live on the West coast and have heard of him before. I know both that Mark Driscoll is a very powerful man and that many, many people – a large percentage of which are women – have left Mars Hill Church and sometimes the larger church as a result of Mr. Driscoll’s teachings. I also have heard that many people have sought therapy after leaving Mars Hill, as a result of the damage done by his teachings. That last statement, of course, is based on hearsay, so I went online to read some of Mr. Driscoll’s writings and to listen to some sermons. In addition to the comments about women “letting themselves go,” here is some of what I encountered (in random order):

• Derogatory comments made regularly and consistently about people who disagree with Mr. Driscoll’s theology, labeling them not only wrong or liberal, but “wussified,” “#######,” “chickified,” and “effeminate” (e.g., “if the Christ you serve is just a really nice guy – I hate to tell you, but you serve a weak, effeminate, ####### Christ”).

• Stating/implying that men are the only demographic that matters:
The question is: “If you want to be innovative, how do you get young men?” All this nonsense about how to grow the church – one issue: young men. That’s it – that’s the whole thing. They’re going to get married, make money, make babies, build companies, buy real estate; they’re going to make the culture of the future. If you get the young men you win the war – you get everything; you get the families, the women, the children, the money the business: you get everything. If you don’t get the young men you get nothing.

• Calling strong women who disagree with his interpretation of Scripture “godless” and saying the Bible has “a low opinion” of them:
If it’s a godly woman who has a godly agenda who has something godly to say, then she can speak. If she’s an ungodly woman with a godless feminist agenda that she borrowed from the serpent, like her mother Eve in Genesis 3, and she’s on some tirade mission to represent all women, which is what sometimes happens, women nominate themselves to represent all women…But there are women who will rise up like that, saying “I speak for all women. I champion women’s rights. I champion women’s causes” (sarcastically). We say, that’s not a problem if it’s in accordance with the rights and liberties and dignities that are afforded to a woman in the Bible. The Bible doesn’t have a low view of women. It just has a low view of some women.”

• “…women who don’t respect godly authority are demonic.”

• Rather than Mr. Driscoll simply saying that he disagrees with the lifestyles of young men who work in coffee shops and suggesting an alternative or challenging them, he makes fun of them. He uses shame to get men to do what he wants, calling them “chickified,” “limp-wristed,” “#####,” “#######.”

• More mocking of women who disagree with him, painting women who have opinions as “hot-headed” and “emotional,” and more implications that God doesn’t like these women:
“some women think they can do everything on their own” and that if men sit by idly like cowards because they don’t want to get into with with their hot-headed, emotional, wives, eventually the women will take over the church, and then the church will go to hell.”

• Undermining women’s efforts to hold him accountable for his words, implying that the raising of theological questions by a woman is the same thing as them calling the Bible “ridiculous,” and calling the squelching of a woman’s intellect and voice “sexy”:“Does it say, “Ladies, don’t have any questions”? Does it say that? No. Does it say, “Ladies, don’t disagree.” No. Does it say, “Ladies, don’t think for yourself.” When you disagree, when you’re super-theological, when you’re all fired up, the first thing you don’t do is start yellin’ at the pastor and yellin’ at the church, firin’ nasty e-mails, and declarin’ war and puttin’ together a, a, little group of, you know, feminist women with guns who are gonna make a difference.”
If you’re married, you go talk to who? Your husband. You say, “Sweetheart, I was readin’ The Bible, I think it’s ridiculous.” And he would say, “We should probably talk.” “Honey I was readin’ the Bible, I don’t understand.” He should say, “Let’s, let’s study that together. Let’s take some time, and study — together. Now some of you will protest and say, “THAT is SEXIST!” As a married man, I will tell you, it is sexy. That’s what it is. There is nothin’ hotter than a wife with a great new testament, commentaries, concordances, and questions. That is theological foreplay. It’s awesome. Because now you’re connecting at the level of then heart and the soul and god is honoring of that.”

There is more, but I believe I’ve more than made my point. Frankly, I am upset, I am concerned, I am angry, and I am embarrassed to belong to the same religion as Mark Driscoll. I am deeply offended – not by God, but by Mark Driscoll. If I believed that Mr. Driscoll’s words and attitude were reflective of the God of Christianity, I would walk away from Christianity altogether. I read at least one report of a former Mars Hill member who has. Unfortunately, as the Christian religion writer for the Seattle Times, in addition to his other roles, Mark does for many represent the face of Christianity. As that representative, he is showing the world a religion that is mean-spirited and unkind, one that depends upon mockery and shame, ######### and disrespect, smugness and name-calling to make its points.

…Again, I appreciate Mr. Driscoll’s clarifying blog post about the Haggard situation, although I wish he had said “I’m sorry, I was wrong” instead of simply saying he’d been “misconstrued.” Mr. Driscoll should apologize publicly for all the things referenced above, for the mean, flippant attitude with which he is attempting to deliver the gospel.

In the original, offending blog post, Mr. Driscoll wrote: “At the risk of being even more widely despised than I currently am, I will lean over the plate and take one for the team on this. It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness…” If he realized that the post would make him “more despised,” then why say something he already has recognized as being despicable? …
Yet Mark Driscoll continues to deliver messages filled with meanness and sarcasm and mockery of those who have different opinions or theological positions, and the congregation laughs whenever he does this. Who is holding him accountable? Who, among the Acts 29 community and/or Mars Hill, is talking with him about this, saying: “Mark, you can’t be this mean. This has to stop”?

I realize that I am exactly the type of strong-willed, opinionated woman that Mark Driscoll believes to be “an ungodly woman with a godless feminist agenda that she borrowed from the serpent, like her mother Eve in Genesis 3.” I do have an opinion about this matter (though I don’t have that pushup bra he accused all feminists of having), and I feel it is my responsibility to stand up and say something. Mr. Driscoll will likely see this letter as fitting his example of those “super-theological,” “fired up” “feminist women with guns who are gonna make a difference.” I admit, I do hope to make some difference in this situation (no gun, though); unfortunately, I don’t really expect this letter to change his heart.

I am, however, appealing to those surrounding him: Please listen. Please understand that Mark Driscoll’s teachings and his harsh, unkind, mocking words are hurting women and hurting the church. Please set up some form of accountability (or, if one exists, a stronger form of accountability). Ask him to get some therapy. … Listen to his sermons with a discerning ear and hold him accountable for what he’s teaching; if the tone of the above comments continues, remove him from leadership. Ask him to apologize, publicly. Most importantly of all, please set up some kind of information-seeking group within the church to hear the stories of people who have been hurt by Mr. Driscoll and his teachings – and be willing to act upon what you learn.

You have the power to do something about this. All I have is the power to write this letter. And to stand outside the church, holding a sign. Which is why I still plan to attend the protest on December 3. This isn’t an attempt to be divisive and it isn’t an attempt to persecute anyone, as some Mars Hill members have claimed. It’s simply an attempt to say: “Somebody please do something. Please stop this.” The question is: Are you listening?

Sincerely,

Shari MacDonald Strong

Posted by stephy at 9:03 AM 44 comments

Comments to Shari’s letter:

February 17, 2009 1:05 PM

A. [to another commenter] This is not a matter of scriptural interpretation. It’s a matter of your fellow sister in Christ feeling spiritually abused. We can be skeptical and hard-headed (i.e. “Let’s not fight and argue about who killed who”–monty python), or we can honor the fact that Shari spoke passionately into the chaos while others sat idly by and accepted Marks words at face value because he has a degree and a pulpit.

February 17, 2009 1:31 PM

Shari

B. How sad that so few people feel safe enough within the evangelical church to stand up and say that something abusive or unkind is transpiring, and how sad that this is the nearly universal response when they do.

Powerful men never fail to have their defenders. Let me tell you how many Acts 29 folks, Driscoll fans, Christian leaders, or others contacted me after this letter was posted widely on the internet, to find out more about how Mark Driscoll was hurting women and whether or not something should be done about it: zero.

If Mark Driscoll (and pastors like him, and I’ve known many) hadn’t driven me away from the evangelical church, responses like this (and a widespread lack of caring about fair/respectful treatment of women within the church) would have.

The evangelical church is perfectly capable of greater kindness and understanding. But until people actually give a crap about the people who get hurt (women, in particular) and want to know more about how and why they’re hurting, it will remain the same sort of self-satisfied, lifeless social club that Jesus had hoped to transform.

February 17, 2009 6:25 PM

Shari

…C. Thanks so much for your words, L. The fact that anyone would read Driscoll’s words and would not only not renounce them, but would instead point the finger at someone who is raising a red flag of warning, utterly dumbfounds me. The fact that an entire city, and the larger evangelical community, has little concern about the damage Driscoll is doing in the name of Jesus, breaks my heart.

February 17, 2009 7:03 PM

D.  Dear Shari MacD,

…I like what you said about addressing abusive behavior, and how so many people are afraid to stand up and fight against it. I believe that this because it’s been masked as being OK, simply because it’s being delivered by a man who’s been “called” to preach. (Or have been given a pulpit, like David said.)

We (read: women) are not brought up in our society to question men. I spent a lot of years letting male pastors tell me how to live, and it hasn’t done me much good.

If the percentages are anywhere near accurate, there are a shit ton of women who are living in abusive marriages, and sitting in his congregation every week, slowly going crazier and crazier, with no one to call out to that is stronger than the sadistic, mysogynistic God that Driscoll idealizes. The tragedy in all of this is that, while “young men” are given priority and cuts in line, women continue to live in the belief that what Driscoll says, goes.

But Driscoll’s god is a flimsy imitation of the one who honors the woman, the mother, the sister, as much as he wants to [supposedly] bestow all the power and glory upon the heads of young, middle class men.

February 17, 2009 9:45 PM

Shari

E. Thank you, M. I don’t think you wish me ill, and I appreciate you saying so. It just makes me incredibly sad and discouraged that the most common response in the church (in my experience, and in many others’) to those of us who point out areas or patterns of unhealthy/abusive/hurtful behavior, is to place the blame on us for speaking up.

The fact is, Mark Driscoll has harmed a lot of people, and he is delivering hate speech from one of the biggest and most influential pulpits on the west coast. (If you simply go online and listen to his podcasts, you’ll find evidence of this in abundance.) The reality is, a lot of people have gone to Mark Driscoll in exactly the scriptural manner you describe, and it hasn’t helped a bit, because he doesn’t listen, and he just keeps getting nastier. (I know one woman who went with her husband to talk with Mark Driscoll about some of his teachings. When she gently but firmly challenged him on a point, Mark Driscoll refused to speak with her, turned to her husband and said something to the effect of, “If you don’t shut your wife up, I will.” This is typical behavior for him.)

My letter was from two years ago. I believed then that a protest (which I wasn’t organizing, but did support) was the right thing to do because something needed to be done, and the Christians around Mark Driscoll weren’t doing anything to support those who had been hurt, to deal with Driscoll’s behavior, or even to find out more about what was happening and whether action of any kind needed to be taken. My letter was, as I explained at the time, not a personal attack; it was simply an attempt to get people to notice what has been happening at Mars Hill, to look into things more closely, and to hold Mark Driscoll accountable for his words and actions. Why did I think it was the Christian thing to do? Because Jesus was a defender of the harmed, the persecuted, the weak, the maligned, the attacked. Who has been more harmed, persecuted, weakened, maligned, or attacked in the church than women — and especially women who have tried to have a voice?

I honestly don’t care what Mark Driscoll believes, except to the degree that he thinks those beliefs give him the right to mock, disparage, shame, and humiliate people — including, but not limited to, people like me. Ideally, it would be the people around him who would be gently challenging him to be a loving person, and to be his best self. Sadly, I stopped holding my breath for that to happen a long time ago.

Again, I appreciate the clarification. And I just want you to please consider that, when someone stands up to authority — in the church, and elsewhere — it may just be for a good reason. And it is certainly fine to question that person’s position — but I would hope that you would question the other side just as much. As you said, you don’t know me and you don’t know Mark Driscoll. The question then is, why (of the two of us) is he the one who got the benefit of the doubt? I don’t suggest that you answer that question here, or for me. But it is a question that I wish all the people who’ve defended Mark Driscoll, and/or have turned a deaf ear to those of us who are concerned, would ask themselves.

February 18, 2009 9:44 AM

…F. Why can’t we just take a sermon at face value and agree to disagree? Is this Driscoll guy being any more chauvinistic than the apostle Paul? And who cares? Why can’t we just disagree and be independent thinkers? Why do we have to call it abuse and check ourselves into therapy? Maybe because we’re making our pastors out to be gods.

If you think Driscoll is a douche, than stop giving him your money and leave!!!

Self-victimization is a children’s tool. We need to grow up.

February 18, 2009 10:08 AM

Shari

G. P.S. Why can’t we take a sermon at face value and agree to disagree? Spoken like a middle-class privileged white man in a society ruled by middle-class privileged white men who never get made fun of from the pulpit by middle-class privileged white men in power. If you were the one being mocked, shamed, and disparaged by “spiritual authority” on a regular basis — or if you actually cared for a moment about someone who was — you might just feel differently.

February 18, 2009 11:15 AM

H. You’re far more brave than I am on confronting spiritual abuse. I don’t know what I told you about the church I grew up in, but there was a HUGE divide created by our (then) Pastor, Richard Frazier, similar to this Driscoll kerfuffle. My father was one of the first to speak out against Richard Frazier and because of that was alienated for a long time in the church community and even had his life threatened at gunpoint (true story) by one of Frazier’s supporters. God-like? No. Thug-like? Yes.

The long and the short of it was many people (including my family) believed Frazier was spiritually abusing the congregation, which, I think goes without saying, involved a lot of emotional abuse. And as emotional abuse goes, some yearn for it because it is all they know while others want better. (Plato’s allegory of The Cave?) My father is a very calm man and was wanting so much to ignite discussion and not the screaming mess that came about prior to Frazier finally being run out of town. We’re still healing as a spiritual family… I think it’s commendable that Shari speak up about Mars Hill. There’s a lot of abusive leaders in the church that need to be called out.

February 18, 2009 5:34 PM

Shari

…I. …All you did was position chauvinism as biblical and defend people who hurt others and who refuse to acknowledge that pain or change their behavior — yet you were more than happy to rail at me for raising a red flag and to, essentially, call me a childish whiner. You can’t bait people with comments like yours and then shame them for getting pissed off.

For the record, getting angry about people mistreating other people isn’t throwing a tantrum. It’s just being a decent human being.

May 30, 2009

I don’t know that anyone will follow a comment here this late in the game, but I just came upon this…

In abusive systems, or in the minds of those who are threatened by even acknowledging the reality of the abuse and thus the moral responsibility to actually DO something about it, the one who points out the red flag, the one who, like Shari, says, “Hey, the emperor has no clothes,” becomes THE problem, THE enemy, THE issue.

And Shari, you are so right, you, or anyone else who dares to speak out, becomes the target at a carnival (and it is a madhouse– like a carnival’s house of mirrors, that which is reflected back at you, that which comes at you–when you do speak out).

So, for what it’s worth, I have a site about Mars Hill and what I consider to be church/spiritual abuse coming from that system and from Driscoll.

freedom4captives.wordpress.com

I am copying part of Shari’s letter and some of the comments here to my blog, not using the commenter’s names. But since Shari’s letter is public, I am using her name.

For freedom, truth and love!

Freedom

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=8092454655191120011&postID=7836966978931762613&page=1

5/30/09

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »