Saturday, March 3, 2012

Mars Hill Calls for Reconciliation. Whatever.

Does it sound like I have a bad attitude. Sorry. I openly confess that I do. You see, the cat is out of the bag. Their abusive practices are being exposed for what they are and they are scrambling for whatever damage control they can get.

Here is what they have posted on their blog:

They say they wish to reconcile but it is a reconciliation on their terms and for their benefit to stop the accusations. It's not about changing their abusive practices or even examining their practices to see if they are abusive.
Oh, they also have a word to their Critics. Since I would fall in that category I thought I'd address it.

"To our critics, we'd humbly ask you to imagine how complicated situations such as this are for us. When someone says they have a issue with us, they get to tell the media their side of the story. If we tell the other side of the story, we risk breaching laws and exposing people-both the people in the discipline process and the people they've sinned against-to public backlash. The choice for us as a church is often to either take the hits in the in the press or put one of our members forward (often a young woman sexually sinned against) to let our members take the hits and endure the criticism. Obviously, we'd rather take the hits as a church than expose our members to the media and potentially break the law by divulging private information shared in counseling session by a victim." -- The Mars Hill Pastors

Dear Mars Hill Pastors...
I'm sorry but I fail to see where you only have the two choices of either silently taking the hits or hiding behind the skirts of women who you claim have been sexually sinned against (whether they were sinned against or not is not the issue. They may very well have been. The very fact that you bring them up in order for you to hide behind is very telling.).
Okay... I understand that you truly believe with all of your hearts that you are doing church discipline right. I get the fact that you believe you are right. Your "A Call for Reconciliation" reeks with the fact that you believe that you are right and that everyone else is wrong.
But could it be that perhaps you are not right and that your church discipline practices have gone in a bad direction?
I understand that thinking this way probably hurts your brains because you are so sure you are right.
But I humbly ask you to consider the possibility that perhaps you all are not as right as you think you are.
I humbly ask you to consider a third choice that would make you look just a little less self-righteous and leave women who have been sinned against out of the equation so that you don't look like you are hiding behind their skirts.
I humbly ask you this, not because I have a vendetta against you or am out to get you or am bored and looking for a fight that doesn't belong to me.
I'm asking because people are being hurt and thrown away and it's making you look bad.
I don't want you to look bad.
I want you to be a light in Seattle and in your satellite churches. I want you to bring the gospel to hurting people and get them healed rather than be the ones that are hurting people so that they have to go to counselling to get healing.
Mars Hill Pastors, please, please, please consider a third choice. Please consider that perhaps there is something wrong with the way you do church. I understand that you don't think so. But the incredible volume of evidence against you speaks otherwise.


Kristen said...

Well said. The problem with hierarchical structures is that they become more and more about upholding the hierarchy, and less and less about the people they're supposed to be serving.

Mara Reid said...

With these mega churches it's also about the money.
They have to save face.
If they don't and the money dries up the whole thing collapses and Mark and Grace (and all those other paid staff) are not able to maintain the standard of living they are used to.

These hierarchy houses of cards really are mess.

Dee said...

You sound just like us! I loved your title.You are spot on in your assessment. Love your blog.

Mara Reid said...

Thanks Dee. After a while of hearing the spin masters about the only response I can come up with is...
One of the amazing things about their responses is that they act like we should just accept their spin as though it is honest and sincere.

rach.h.davis said...

Issues with Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll tend to get dealt with one at a time. I believe the problem many of his critics have is that there are a variety of things that have happened over time, and the whole shebang would have to be addressed to make us feel better.

I really don't see what's so complicated about that.

Mara Reid said...

Rachel, I'm trying to understand your comment. I guess I need a little help. Do you mind elaborating?

rach.h.davis said...


Here's what I meant to say :)

Over the years, critics have seen many things about Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill that concern us. The latest "spiritual abuse" cases are simply the last in a long line of problems that we are worried about. If Mars Hill chooses to deal with those, that's good; but it's not going to suddenly make us stop worrying about the overall culture of MH and the attitudes and beliefs of MD.

My point is, every time there is a public debate/scandal about something MD has said, or something MH has done, people always treat it like it's an isolated incident. "Well, you took that one thing out of context....let's get this little quibble dealt with and move on..."
etc. But all those little things add up to big things, and willingness to deal with one little thing does not equal a solution for the overall concerns.

Mara Reid said...

Ah, that makes perfect sense.
And you are absolutely right.

There are so many thing wrong at the core, with the doctrine, with the personality, etc that dealing with a few surface issues here and there is just that.

Spit and Polish won't deal with what is really ailing Mars Hill.

Good point.

Paul said...

This is a joke. The cases they got called on are not the worst of them and this has been going on for years.
In one case where I was contacted by a pastor who was wrestling with them (in a well known NC church by the way), I warned him that there next move was to try to get between him and his wife. Sure enough, elders started visiting and calling his wife at work. When he protested, they refused to stop. He had to resort to threatening the little punks with physical harm. All of this patriarchy stuff is interesting also. I think NC churches employ it for control purposes. It also keeps husbands too bust to study doctrine for themselves. I say that because I have first hand knowledge of newbie elders telling men to leave the doctrine to them because fathers are too busy with "higher priorities."

Bridget said...

Mara -

I understand what you mean about MH hiding behind skirts BUT we can't assume that the young man was the sinful one and NOT also the young woman.. MH paints the young woman as a victim and not as a believer capable of sin. This side plays into the complementarian doctrine as well. The men are to be the "head" and when they are not leading properly then they are the ones who must take the blame for her and his sin. I have seen women play the victim by not listening and following her true "Head" and then blame her husband. The complementarian/patriarchal doctrines lead to all manner of abuse.

Mara Reid said...

Well said, Bridget.

I also don't see the women as the helpless victims.
Yes, they are victims of bad teaching that teaches them to be victims.
They should run, and not walk, far away from teachings that strip them of their authority and responsibility because those teachings, when followed, do lead to victimhood. And God hasn't called anyone to that. Those are the doctrines of men.

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

Paul, I didn't think churches in North Carolina were that much on the radar for MH. ;-)

Gem said...

My 25 yo married son used to be a Driscoll fan. The one sidedness of the "church discipline" scandal went a long way toward opening his eyes.

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

Hmm .. I've tried at times to be cautiously optimistic about this but the more I think about "in roughly six years" the more that suggests language that fits what psychologist Roy Baumeister might call a "magnitude gap".