Are Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church sick?

"Mars Hill Church" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“Mars Hill Church” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

I have drawn plenty of cartoons critiquing Mark Driscoll’s view of women, his theology, his abuses, his lame apologies, and other issues. You can see them all here.

One of the things I’ve always tried to communicate is that although I disagree with a lot of his ideas and am appalled by many of his practices, I still consider him a brother. Even though I consider Mars Hill Church a toxic place to be a member of, it is a church.

In other words, I don’t think it would be helpful to be cruel towards Driscoll or the church.

Driscoll needs help. Mars Hill Church needs help. Because it is apparent that both are ill. There is enough evidence to reach this conclusion.

I’m glad people are leaving the church and speaking out. Including leaders. Good for them! Many of them will need help recovering. I know because I’ve been in similar circumstances and it took wise counsel and time to recover.

This is what safe places like The Lasting Supper are for!

Many are calling for Driscoll’s resignation. Clearly and consistently!

Like others, I would be surprised if he did because Mars Hill is the magnificent extension of his ego. It would require something that to him and his followers would feel like virtual suicide.

However, I do wonder if he will take a sabbatical and submit himself to the care of wise people who can carefully help him. What this looks like or results in I have no idea.

But he needs help. Mars Hill Church needs help.

And I hope they ask for it.

Read my book The Liberation of Sophia… my story about escaping from such toxic traps!

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13 Responses

  1. Sabio Lantz says:

    Fun language play cartoon — love it! Keep criticizing the disgusting things in the world.
    But no need to try and reassure us that you are a sweet guy and don’t mean to be cruel:

    “I still consider him a brother.”

    I love how Christians and Muslims use this phrase after criticizing each other.
    Reminds me of how Buddhists bloggers write the _/\_ emoticon in closing after scathing comments.
    So when I criticize Dawkins, what should I say? “I still consider him a fellow ape.” 🙂

  2. I get your point Sabio. Probably my need to be nice and perceived as such.

  3. Sabio Lantz says:

    Exactly!
    I still love you even with your complex mix of kindness, meanness, humor, ego-centrism, temper and need to be a liked pastor [ naked or otherwise]. Embrace Contradiction ! Embrace Heterodoxy !
    🙂 (thanx for admitting — did ya like the metta-mucil picture I linked to?)

  4. there’s no link there. i wondered.

  5. Sabio Lantz says:

    Ooops, I should stop trying to be classy by burying the clink in HTML and just dump it like this:
    http://triangulations.wordpress.com/2011/06/22/6154/
    Thanx

  6. ah i remember this. 3 years old!

  7. I really appreciated this, David. I agree–there’s no need to be cruel or condemning. I have seen how quickly an appeal for justice can become a mob calling for blood. Thanks for your word of caution.

  8. Thanks Elizabeth.

  9. kate willette says:

    A magnificent extension of his ego . . . well, I’d say magnificent and horrendous, because any ego extended to such excess is going to be horrendous. It’s not the having of an ego that’s the problem, in other words. It’s the spreading of its particular needs & quirks & distortions over such a wide swath. This is what a monster looks like, and it’s why people like me (who live in Bellevue WA, where the main Mars Hill campus is now located) just can’t look away.

    I don’t think it’s a question of cruelty to him or to the organization — I think there’s a meta story here that we seem to have to confront over and over. It has to do with why we say that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Driscoll is a textbook case of someone who thinks that his ability to attract a following means that he’s right about everything, or at least MORE right than anybody who hasn’t been able to attract a following. For him the proof is in the numbers.

    To which I say, look at video taken in Germany in 1936. Sometimes the extension of ego is harmless, and sometimes it leads to world wars. There’s something that makes us queasy when we see this in action, and when you add the God-says-so component, it’s pretty disturbing.

    We talked with a couple of people at the protest yesterday who were present during the 2000-2001 formation time of Mars Hill. They said, and this is a quote, “We’ve basically been getting over it ever since!” They were laughing about how their only question is why it took so long for people to point out that this emperor is naked.

  10. Kate: By “magnificent” I didn’t mean it in a complimentary way, but in a large and complicated way.

  11. Jarred H says:

    However, I do wonder if he will take a sabbatical and submit himself to the care of wise people who can carefully help him. What this looks like or results in I have no idea.

    Personally, if he does take a sabbatical, I suspect it will be more a PR move. He’ll disappear for a few months to a few years, then reappear on the scene and say all the things that make it look like he’s a fantastic instance of a redemption narrative and ready to get back into the spotlight and hold the reins of power. It happens way too often.

    But real repentance and change? I’m skeptical.

  12. Sabio Lantz says:

    Once folks learn how to use manipulative religious-talk fluently as their main money-making tool, it is hard to find another job that pays as well or nearly as satisfying. For once you have God on your side and behind your words, the holy self-satisfaction and glory of people following your righteous lead is addictive — I hear.

    So I agree with you Jarred H. — he’ll always be around, yelling for God!

  1. August 11, 2014

    […] just 8 blocks from my house. This week, several people were tweeting or re-blogging this post: Are Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church sick?, which sums up many of the problems plaguing the church and its lead pastor. It’s gotten so […]

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