August 27, 2022
It’s all yours today…
October 12, 2018
December 27, 2014
July 5, 2010
Allender went on record with Cosper. Won’t post links but folks will know where to look.
At 49 minutes it’s also mercifully short and focused. Slogging through the CT series as a matter of principle but I had to give up after “Aftermath” for a few months before I could come back to it. Not surprised that Allender said the Driscoll he met in `98 was a different man from the one he came across in the `02-04 period. This is something that can be corroborated by me as well as by other former members.
In terms of what’s germane to what I covered over the years, the biggest question I had was what DA thought about being plagiarized by the Driscolls. Turns out he had no idea he was until his agent called him because (no surprise) he’s never read/doesn’t read Driscoll books. Clearly he didn’t litigate or that would’ve been news. He asked his agent to request a written apology from Driscoll and that, too, didn’t happen.
I’m still not especially jazzed a bout the CT series overall but after more than a decade of the story of MH being curated down to the minute or page number by Driscoll it’s an alternative published within an organ of the institutional press. There’s still too much of “like the content? hit the subscribe button!” for me. But Confessions of a Reformission Rev was way back in 2006 and it was basically a “how I did all this awesome stuff” rather than a real history of Mars Hill. I think if people have read Mark’s 2006 pseudo-history and listen to Cosper’s sprawling and often unfortunately unfocused/slick podcast series they might agree with Jessica Johnson (author of Biblical Porn) that Cosper’s series has many of the same strengths and weaknesses that MH itself had.
Thanks for the reference. I listened to the podcast, first time listening to anything from CT.
I read a fair amount of what you wrote back in the MH days, and I paid a price with some of my colleagues in expressing my concern over what was happening there. I was told that I was jealous of MD, (if you knew me and my situation, you would probably agree with just how ridiculous that accusation was), among other things from some who would acknowledge the many voices of those who suffered spiritual abuse there. I admit I took some joy in telling them “I told you so.”
Allender does a good job IMO of describing dysfunctional ecclesiastical systems that are built by narcissists and his description extends far beyond MH. It was my experience as well, in both a few churches but also the “movement” that I once was a part of.
The envy or ressentiment canard seems popular with guys like Driscoll (and Doug Wilson) and their defenders. I’ve read Ecclesiastes 4:1 so I know what it says about how every man toils from envy of his neighbor but I don’t think Solomon wrote it and I don’t think it’s a given that the author of Ecclesiastes was “writing his way to repentance”. Martin Shields raised a great question about the orthodoxy of the biblical book by noting that there is no point at which its author cites the Torah and there is even doubt expressed about whether the breath of man returns to God and the breath of animals returns to the earth, openly expressing skepticism about the origin of humanity as partaking of the breath of God. Does “that” sound like someone writing his way to repentance as Driscoll has put it across twenty years? Between Martin Shields and Mark Sneed I think the scholastic tradition that highlights the heterodoxy of Ecclesiastes is worth considering. The Preacher may have been right that many men labor out of envy and resentment of neighbor but that is an argument that casts doubt on the righteousness of ambition and toil without letting go of criticisms of folly and laziness.
The Allender episode is actually pretty good the more I think about it. His description of intra-lchurch dynamics was also something of a wake-up moment for me. I was never in a formal ministry at MH though many friends were, ranging from CG group hosts and leaders up through to pastoral staff. I found myself thinking in terms of some of them being Obadiahs in the court of Ahab, people I trusted and respected at a personal level despite them serving in a ministry I regarded as corrupt and harmful.
Watching former MH leaders do as many doctrinal and political 180s as possible has baffled and frustrated me. Allender’s comments about the dynamics of emotional manipulation and carrot & stick help provide some context for me to appreciate or re-appreciate why so many felt they couldn’t leave leadership (that and NDAs and being at the financial mercy of a ruthless yet incompetent 501(c)3). I was so busy chronicling things I didn’t stop to think about how my being proximate to leaders in the leadership culture but not in it, in the sense of always having been a volunteer participating in ministries rather than “in” ministries in leadership capacities, had advantages and disadvantages for observing what was going on. I couldn’t be pressured into silence the way formal leaders could but it also meant that I was at such a remove from Mark’s inner circle I couldn’t understand some of the emotional and psychological dynamics that Allender described.
It also helped me get a clearer sense of how and why so many people I knew and know from the MH years who were just rank-and-file members have a dramatically different set of memories about their time at MH than the leaders. Allender nailed it by pointing out that the more peripheral you are to the leadership culture the more uniformly positive your experience is, whereas the closer you are to the inner circle the more volatile and creepy things get. I was providentially not quite on the outer edge periphery or in the actual leadership scenes.
I think the CT eps that are most worth hearing are 7, 11, 12, the David Nicholas bonus, and the Allender bonus. There’s interesting stuff in 1-5 but organizing the whole thing via themes rather than chronology is a big weakness in the series as a whole. If anyone listens to the series and wasn’t already living in Seattle or part of MH it might be impossible to get a fully clear sense of the chronology of the church rise and fall.
Just noticed this …
it’s like the A29 leaders who at one time were in the Driscoll inner ring or endorsement blurb team have run into bad times across the board.
another one bites the dust
Well … thoughts on the recent pod ep
sitting here today with not much to do… about all I’m up to.. Ha ha
It occurs to me that those who equate the USA with God’s kingdom will enter Eternity to confront a God with His arms fokded, tapping His foot. His first question will be, ” Soooo, who made you smarter than Me?’
BTW I would agree that the Allender interview was among the best. And I had a number of misgivings about the series.
The relaunching of Driscoll should be called into account.
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