an analysis of Mark Driscoll's update to Mars Hill Church

"Mars Hill Church Sinks" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward Mark Driscoll came back from vacation with his family, delivered his update from Pastor Mark, and will now take a six week leave while the elders of Mars Hill Church investigate the accusations against Driscoll. When I read the update, a mixture of apology, explanation, and announcements, I wondered, like I did when Rick Warren made his apology, how my wife Lisa would receive this if I had slapped her around and she had challenged me on it and I gave her this kind of speech. Because we can do that, you know. We can analyze the words of Driscoll personally, and we can analyze the words as an articulation of Mars Hill Church's attitudes and intentions. Organizations and institutions, places of power, can be treated as entities. Even the law recognizes the personal responsibility of corporations.

Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

So we can dissect these words to discern what they are really saying to us, the abused. We can listen to what Driscoll is saying and what the church is saying. What is in their heart? Here's what I'm hearing:
  1. "Get over it!": I've apologized for my mistakes, so it's time to let it go and move on. These accusations are nothing but attack, criticism and slander. You attacking me like this is proof that you are not faithful to me.
  2. "Do we have to talk about this now? I'm important and have important things to do!": These accusations are an unfortunate distraction from my amazing ministry. People are going to Hell and we have to deal with this nonsense?!
  3. "I won't listen to what you have to say unless you're nice to me and say it nicely!": The accusations you level against me are done in an unbiblical manner and are therefore null and void. It's the internet's fault this has happened!
  4. "I'm not perfect you know!": Sure I've done and said things in the past. Sure I was angry, short, or insensitive. But are these serious enough to prevent me from continuing with my ministry?
  5. "I'll handle this!": I will control this damage. I'm bringing in an expensive, professional group who will handle this mess and make me look good again. And I'm going to talk with friends who get me. This is just a blip on the screen and things will be back in normal operation soon. Promise!
So the general thrust I'm getting is:
  1. They don't see these "attacks" as genuine grievances but as illicit, unnecessary, and unfortunate distractions from its important ministry.
  2. They refuse to realize and admit that these accusations point to a deeply rooted malaise of which they are arrogantly and blindly unaware.
  3. They therefore will not address the real issues but will effectively control the damage and be back on track soon.
Even though Driscoll apologizes for some actions, decisions and attitudes, it sounds superficial and slick. Perhaps over the next six weeks he might really hear the accusations for what they are: genuine calls for repentance, reform, and restitution. Join The Lasting Supper. Many members have experienced first hand the kind of church abuse Mars Hill is accused of. Read The Liberation of Sophia, my story told through a woman and how I escaped an oppressive institution. My ART is all about freedom and spiritual health!
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