There is a man, a husband, a father, a pastor in trouble. His name is Mark Driscoll. Perhaps you’ve heard of him. Recently, we’ve seen a rash of stories come out about Mark Driscoll, the senior pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle. None of them have been good for him or the Gospel of Jesus Christ. None of them can be good for his congregation. Souls will be hurt because of this.
Recently, a fired elder who does have actual qualifications to speak about matters of mental anguish, posted a few things:
BENT MEYER on Sun, Jan 29 2012 at 06:06 pm (link)
“I am one of the men fired the day of Mark’s rant about two elders he felt needed broken noses. Someone asked what has happened since that day.
I am happy to say, the next Sunday my wife and I attended another Church with far better expository teaching and a community that authentically and generously helps the marginalized.
I also finished my master program and have a private mental health practice serving the Seattle and Eastside area. This was a very good and satisfying result.
Regarding whether I spoke up or not. I have not been silenced by any direct or implied threats of retaliation. It is clear that the one who possess the air waves controls the content and spin of a story, so there was not much to be done.
I thought a lot about how I would response and just what my motives would be. I chose not to be lured into a public argument through the Seattle Times asking me for a blow by blow description of the events I have documented. I have a tendency to keep material for years and years.
I did prepare my narrative, including supporting documents, for members only to read who came to me for explanation. They had to agree never to disclose any of it to the media. These people have been honorable. As best I know, none have. By doing this I opened up myself to their scrutiny and possible rebuke. I have received nothing but kindness and support.
As to my motives, I want Mark’s best. In my opinion he is a very troubled man. He is caught in his own hell. The consequence, of course, is the influence he has on others, which is mixed.
He, Lief Moi, and Mike Gunn, together the founders of Mars Hill Church, sent out to focus on those that were young, upwardly mobile and future leaders. They wanted to position themselves to influence their faith decisions and their life choices. This is a lesson for many church leaders to learn from and choose for themselves.
The downside is Mark’s pathology shows up in ways that are impulsive, aggressive, irascible, shut off from effective relational influence, and most apparent not respectful and submissive to anyone, though he claims otherwise.
I have hoped and still hope for something short of him destroying himself that would bring about substantial change for this ever increasing population of worshiper. Some have fretted there will be a great loss of Christians with the demise of Mark and/or the Church. I don’t think so. The church that comprises all of us will survive. The chaff will be blown away, but the church will remain.
I would speak a caution to all of us. There is much to be learn for the Mars Hill phenomena. Don’t dismiss the hunger and openness to be influenced represented in those ages 18 through 30. Invent content that is useful and distribute it freely on the web. Always incorporate creatively some explanation of the gospel at the end of every teaching session with an invitation to do business with Jesus.
Even though Mark’s portrayal of masculinity is more like a comic book superhero and women needing to be protected and rescued is his focus, young men coming into manhood is richly important. Absent fathers is epidemic. Think about what it is that has caused them not to attach to their families. Mark comes at it from the standpoint of duty and responsibility, which is mechanical, missing other primary questions. Why do so many men not attach to their families? Why do they abandon family so easily? Mark uses shame and intimidation as the means of gaining compliance, which has the appearance of working, but is not transformational in the long run, or creates other issues of abusive relationships related to power and control. In many men, the tendency is understood in the short saying, “Monkey see monkey do.” Don’t over react, young men need to mature.
I feel like I need to give attention to the needs of women with equal if not more space since women are marginalized and silenced in so many ways. But, I will leave that for another time.
I hope this will satisfy the primary curiosity of those who wonder what has happened to me. I will say, the other elder fired at the same times is a good friend and is doing well.”
I want to call on my sisters and brothers in Christ, to my brothers and sisters in faith, to all those who seek, to set aside a day of prayer for Mark Driscoll and his family and then his congregation.
We are called to love the most unloving of the human family, and while Mark is far from that, for many of us, he represents the very Christianity which we left, which has caused us so much harm, so much mental and spiritual anguish and we fear for those left behind.
So, what sayeth ye?
As a way of update, these videos is from 2008 (not) addressing the Issue: