quote:Originally posted by The Sasquatch: Thank God you're still around these parts, Sheridan. Seriously.
We reformed dudes must stick to our guns BTW, read a great article on the parallels between the 39 Articles, and the Westminster Confession. Anglicans didn't "frontload" with theology, but incorporated it into their worship (Book Of Common Prayer). The Reformed really "frontloaded" their confessions theologically, but sometimes miss the "worship" aspects. It wasn't critical of either, just that we have a lot in common historically, and theologically. Really interesting! I'll look for it and email it to you.
quote:Sadly it has become a "catch-phrase"...and much of it has less to do with the Protestant Reformation and more to do with being a "flavor of the month". I don't associate being "Reformed" with being a theological hipster. I just think it's theologically correct. There are a few people who co-opt it...but true Reformed theological denominations would hardly be classified as "hip". More the antithesis of it...because I can guarantee that my church is not "hip"...but Word and Sacrament are preached boldly every week. Those two things will never be "hip".
I suppose that's what I mean, though. The kind of hipsterism that draws so much ire isn't just about randomly anchoring onto a word or a catchphrase. It's about seeking and finding the authentically subversive ideas and modes of expression that aren't popular, and adopting them as a way of expressing dissatisfaction with the status quo.
The "unhipness" of less fluffy interpretations of Scripture is precisely what makes them appealing to authenticity-seekers, but that influx is what makes them hip. It eventually metastasizes into "I liked them before their single made it big" posturing, or "That's not REAL punk music - REAL punk is never hip" line-drawing.
In my opinion, we'll eventually just see a dilution of the "Reformed" brand the way we saw a dilution of the "Evangelical" brand. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I'm not sure, but I think it's part of the cycle of discovery and rebirth that's always there in long-lived ideologies.
I get what you're saying...I guess I don't view me going to a liturgical church as being some sort of "statement"...or bucking the status quo. I get the music analogy...I just wouldn't consider "church" in the same way I consider "indie bands" or something like that, although I know people do.
I also don't find my church, or other traditional reformed denominations subversive...I find non-denom, contempervent, rocknroll, megachurch, video pastor, emergent, uber-charasmatic churches as being subversive. I look at that and see a boat-load of spiritual masturbation. it might feel good...and it might get you "off" spiritually...but in the end I don't see much more beyond that. If your goal for Sunday morning is to jump around or go to a rock show with laser lights or see some video clip or writhe around on the floor that is your right...but it seem more about "ME ME ME" getting my spiritual jollies, and less about Word and Sacrament. Reverence and Repentance. Maybe I'm coming off as a judgmental prick but that kind of stuff is just makes me want to vomit.
quote:I get what you're saying...I guess I don't view me going to a liturgical church as being some sort of "statement"...or bucking the status quo.
Yeah, I didn't mean to imply that you were doing it for that reason. More that the concept of 'hipness' isn't as simple as 'popularity'. 'Hipster X' doesn't just mean that X is popular, rather that it captures a certain kind of desirable authenticity that works against mass popularity.
quote: I also don't find my church, or other traditional reformed denominations subversive
Really? That seems to be at odds with what you were saying earlier -- that True Reformed theology is the very opposite of popularity, that it is at odds with the theology of comfort and ease. That in and of itself is subversive in a culture that prizes self-help pablum above difficult change.
quote:If your goal for Sunday morning is to jump around or go to a rock show with laser lights or see some video clip or writhe around on the floor that is your right...but it seem more about "ME ME ME" getting my spiritual jollies, and less about Word and Sacrament. Reverence and Repentance. Maybe I'm coming off as a judgmental prick but that kind of stuff is just makes me want to vomit.
I don't know, I guess I see that sort of critique as no different than the external criticisms of reformed theology. It sounds like you really do put a lot of value on the transgressive qualities, and that it is something you respond at a "gut" level to aside any specific theology or doctrine.
I'm not trying to slag on you or suggest that your theology is less sound for it, just reflecting on this 'hipster X' stuff.
I think it's just the word "subversive" that throws me. I look at traditional Protestant Reformation stuff as just being how it should be...and all the other little branches of the "Church" just kind of undermining it. I look at the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church and can appreciate how they just don't change that much theologically/structurally...whereas with Protestants we seem to want to splinter into a thousand different pieces and bend to whatever cultural "wind" is blowing. I'm not saying that those institutions have never changed, or that there isn't a lot of various "shades" within their churches. I believe that if Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli had had more time to "work things out" we wouldn't have had what we have now. They all were hard-asses when it came to their theology, but I also think they made a lot of concessions to keep unity. Totally different topic I know...but "hipster" stuff comes and goes, whether it's liberal emergent stuff or more evangelical non-denominational stuff. It is usually a rejection of Reformation theologies, and more an embrace of "what's cool now"...and apparently what happened in the 1500's and 1600's isn't "cool" theologically, regardless of current people trying to embrace slivers of it. I ramble.
Also, I don't know what goes on at Driscoll's church...but I do understand the idea behind church discipline. It's a means of keeping ones "house" in order, just like a family would discipline within their own walls. Calvin wrote extensively on the topic, and the keys to it being admonition, repentance, and restoration within a community of Faith. I'm not speaking to the Mars Hill stuff in regards to this, but the idea of church discipline has been lost...it's a free-for-all Anabaptist orgy where the true meaning behind church discipline has become distorted. It boils down to accountability, with reward and consequence depending on how you live out your life as a Christian within a community of faith. That's all...I'll have to read up on Driscoll's idea of what that looks like but the Reformed approach to it, I believe, is a healthy thing.
quote:Originally posted by The Sasquatch: I'm wary of that Eric. Its not that I don't believe it COULD happen, but it borders on gossip and we really DON'T know that's how it is. Its one side of a story.
Given that the Mars Hill response was 'internal matter, we ain't going to talk about it', and Mars Hill apparently doesn't dispute the veracity of the Discipline Contract, that pretty much verifies enough of the side of the story we are getting to the point of being an indictment of elements of Mars Hill moving firmly into Church of Scientologyland in regards to abuse and pathological control over members.
quote:To be fair, if my church was in the middle of a church discipline case and someone did something like this, even if it were all lies, our church would probably reply in the same manor.
I'm actually not too troubled by that isolated incident; depending on the circumstances this kind of thing can be spun to look good or bad based on your pre-existing feelings about a group.
The really damning bit is that these kinds of reports keep popping up, and that stories of what amounts to spiritual abuse by Mars Hill staff and leaders are becoming more and more common. The nasty part is the pattern of authoritarianism, the emphasis on absolute submission, and the lack of structural accountability for the staff in a growing number of cases.
Part of this is shaped by familial memory on my side; I was born and spent my very early years in a Christian church/ministry that steered itself off the deep end with oddball doctrines about submission, discipline, and authority. It's a pattern that happens over and over, and some of the signs are pretty easy to recognize, both from the inside and the outside.
I understand the desire not to pile on and potentially spread lies. On the other hand, there has to be some way to analyze and assess an externally unaccountable group of people who claim that they possess God's authority to discipline other Christians. It seems that anyone who makes that claim should be prepared for others to study how they exercise that claimed authority.
quote:Originally posted by The Sasquatch: To be fair, if my church was in the middle of a church discipline case and someone did something like this, even if it were all lies, our church would probably reply in the same manor.
I'm not a Driscoll fan, or a Mars Hill fan. I just want to be cautious here.
Exception: if the document was a fabrication, that would have clearly been stated by Mars Hill.
Based on some of the stuff I'm reading about Driscoll in particular, he seems to be for the whole "might makes right" thing, but only as long as you believe what he does. I'm curious though, how he would feel about another senior member of Mars Hill walking up, putting him down like the b*tch he is, and proclaiming themselves the new Mars Hill czar.
I'm not sure if he would protest because the other member was clearly being disobedient or if he would accept it, Chronicles of Riddick style.
Hey guys, just popping in for a sec, Jason told me about this discussion. I'm definitely going to check out those recent articles.
I wanted to post this link to a Salon articlefrom back in 2006. It stirred up conversation on vagrantcafe.com (RIP) when Driscoll was just getting fired up about repopulating the northwest with Mars Hill spawn.
quote:Originally posted by roopsydaisy: it's not that he's a cult leader, it's just that his own emotional and psychological limitations and his ministry ethos create an environment ripe for the power hungry and sociopathic to gain positions of authority.
I always bring this up, but although the word cult has a negative connotation in our culture, technically Mars Hill is exactly that. They've created their own insular environment and Driscoll is its leader. I don't think comparing it to Scientology is off-base at all. I'm strictly speaking of the definition of cult, not the association of "bad" things we attach to it. You know when it looks like a duck, quacks and breeds religious baby ducklings...
Mars Hill is an interesting phenomenon. I sort of would have dismissed it, but both my brothers got kind of into Mark Driscoll, so I had to at least give it some thought. I've skimmed a couple of his books. I've been to a couple of the campuses (the main one, and the one here in Everett). One thing I just find weird is that Mark Driscoll is broadcast to all the other campuses. Their pastor only preaches something like once a month.
But Mars Hill is BIG in this area. Lots of my friends go. Lots of kind of lost post-evangelical college age people go. Several of my friends who not been going to church at all are going there now. So in a way I think it's good that a lot of the lost Christians have some place to go. But I have deep issues with the equating being a man with machismo, and a lot of related topics. Mark goes pretty crazy on submission and discipline... I mean obviously those ideas are straight out of the Bible, but the way they seem to be implemented are straight out of some action thriller.
Also, in this area (maybe this is true of other places), a few years ago it seemed that very few people would take issue with a woman in ministry. That has all changed now, at a lot of places.
I would say, though, that there is some measure of diversity, at least on some things. For example, I definitely know some charismatics that are a pretty integral part of one of the campuses. But often I think, the men especially, tend to gravitate toward a type... the macho leader, who is pretty stressed out.
So... there are pros and cons. I'm concerned, but rather than wanting the community to disband it would be better if they could change from within. And I will say, that I think Mark Driscoll has mellowed out considerably, and even been more humble in areas, over the last few years. Let's pray that continues.
I talked about Mars Hill with one of my brothers today, because it's been on my mind with this. My brother has been really impacted by some of Mark Driscoll's sermons, and I understand. It's not like everything he says is wrong... I have no problem with 80-90% of it. It just makes me think that if I ever want to be a leader, I need to deal with all my crap first, and know what I am talking about.
My brother said something interesting on the topic. He thinks that in general people in Seattle are looking for someone to tell them what is true, to tell it like it is without wavering. I can see why that would be true... people (myself included) can be pretty passive and insular here. I think my brother's words were "People in Seattle can't stand Christians that sound like they don't know what they are talking about." And Mars Hill is definitely a place convinced of what it's saying and consistent. Good or bad, it's definitely here to stay in the area.
You're right, the article starts out pretty scathing, and I wondered if it would be all bashing, but the writer gives a lot of examples and background data to support statements. I know every church loses followers at some point, some delight in soiling the church's name. These cases aren't isolated; other articles (the Salon one from 2006) show similar interviews. And the link in that article to the blog for former Mars Hill members - whoa. Do you have a whole afternoon? Or three?
I found this blog today - part review of Driscoll's book and part experience from attending the church.
What's creepy for me is having come from a place once entrenched in Christian culture, I can make *some* excuses for what's happening. I can certainly understand the sentiment where this "accountable community" is coming from.
I used to go to these teen ministry events that put Acquire the Fire to shame in the radical agenda category; all of the seriously weird experiences in my faith came from that era. I don't doubt the leaders had good intentions, but I'm thankful I distanced myself to a more traditional outlet focusing less on "being radical" to basics about Jesus.
Probably a lot of us here can somewhat identify with what Driscoll's trying to do, but it seems like we're all on the same page here (in this thread) - practicing Christian or not - Mars Hill is a cult. Just because you move it to a hip city like Seattle and get a bunch of post-post punks and recent college grads to join, does not un-cult it.
A friend of mine I met at a church leadership camp in college told me about her experience in a Christian cult. It started out with good intentions, bible study, women's group, church. Soon she was going three to four times a week to events plus Sunday morning. They wanted to keep her away from a sinful life of sleeping with her fiance (separate discussion) to the point she was criticized for having any friends out of the church. They wanted her to move into a house with women from the church. Her family questioned it and she gave them all the rehearsed lines. Finally some relative, an aunt or something, told her what it meant to be in a cult. When you cut off your own family because the church tells you to, that's a problem.
I was encouraged by the people in the articles I've read who decided for themselves to leave when membership became too controlling. It gives me hope after reading about such insanity.
Like verb said, this misogyny is troubling. That deep rooted violence comes from somewhere. I don't know about Driscoll's history but it wouldn't shock me if he was abused as a child. The amazon link to his book has a really great critical review about what the book ISN'T saying; that for all the marriage sex talk, it's focused on what the man's needs are, but no mutuality of a wife's needs. All this focus on action, like getting kid's a bloody version of Bible stories "especially for the boys" (oh?) without mentioning any facet aimed at girls. He's saying, boldly, the church is already too feminine. We need to reclaim it. There's no room for women here.
Well you know, except in the bedroom.
F U Mark Driscoll. And the weak theology you rode in on.
You can pretend I didn't say that last part if offends you. Of if you're Jason, you're welcome.
Gotta add this: I did a search on twitter for Driscoll and stumbled on a girl's tweet about giving up hate-reading for lent (referencing him) as it's a form of emotional self injury. And she's a Christian.