August 30, 2014

My email conversation with Philip Stallings

I don't often post on this blog, but I was recently contacted by Mr. Philip Stallings about some of what's been written here, so it seems like the right place to post the conversation. I'm not planning on writing him any more, but if there are more messages from Mr. Stallings, I'll update the post accordingly. Please note that in my first response to him, I reserved the right to give the emails to anyone I thought should see them; I've taken his continued responses as assent.

I'm making this available because, as I told him more than once in the thread, I think his emails demonstrate he is still not dealing honestly and fully with his own past behavior. Also, I'm aware of recent actions by him that continue in the same pattern: escalation of conversations with women in inappropriate ways, with extremely crass, abusive language once the woman grows uncomfortable with what he's saying. At a minimum, such behavior is disqualifying for a Christian teacher/leader, but if he's continuing other types of behavior that I've seen from him in the past, it's goes far beyond not meeting standards for leadership.

This is an attempt to warn the flock, especially women, about this man, so that he isn't given authority and credibility by those ignorant of his ongoing behavior, and to let anyone who has been victimized by him know that they are not alone, that people are trying to keep it from happening again. I'm keeping this post focused on the email thread; if you do some searching online, I'm sure you could find more specific details about how Philip has been acting.

August 29, 2014

Mars Hill's leadership continues to implode

Praise God that Paul Tripp has the boldness to say what he has said.  Honestly, reading this made me want to rejoice and cry at the same time:

Nine Current Mars Hill Church Elders Take a Bold Stand
When asked about speculations that he might have resigned to protect the reputation of his ministry, Paul said this: “I am not worried at all at burning my integrity for the real deal, but I won’t burn it for something that’s not the real deal. I don’t think even now that there is the recognition of the depth of what Mars Hill Church and Mark is actually dealing with. This is without a doubt, the most abusive, coercive ministry culture I’ve ever been involved with.” He continued on to communicate that Mars Hill’s leadership culture was not shaped by the same grace that it says it believes.

 ----- Paul informed us that at one point that during the time when he was setting up the reconciliation process, the EE, without asking the BOAA, met with their lawyers and added a slew of legal constraints to the process. Paul was emphatic in telling the EE that this was unacceptable, but they did not listen, and consequently hindered the process. Paul was disturbed that anything would be seen as more important in this process than being made right with man and with God. “If your response to reconciliation is ‘I want to cover my butt legally, then you’re not interested in reconciliation.’”
read more at Warren Throckmorton's blog post containing a pdf copy of the original document.

KOMO tried to talk to Mark and he wouldn't come to the door, and lied to avoid it:

Mars Hill pastor terminated after criticizing church leader (VIDEO)
Then he called the police on the reporter even though he had done nothing wrong.  (The police didn't do anything to him, but they *were* called.)

Dave Lester has begun a petition urging Mars Hill to listen to these 9 pastors.

Mars Hill complains  about the 'leaked document' by the 9 pastors.  When in doubt, apologize for something that is actually NOT the problem, and make them think you care.  Psst!  Mars Hill - the Bible says to be sure your sins will find you out.  It doesn't excuse you based on how they are made known:
Unfortunately, in recent months it has been proven almost everything that goes on that City group is leaked publicly to online media. We simply do not know who is passing these private conversations along to the media, but the fact is, it keeps happening.

Your elders are deeply grieved over the manner in which this has happened. In particular, we are grieved because 1 Corinthians 6:1–8 gives us a very clear (and even stern) command that when we have grievances against one another, we are to work them out in such a way that non-believers are not invited into the discussion. This passage shows us that even in cases of serious wrong or disagreement, God wants us to exercise appropriate discretion. We are terribly sorry because this is incredibly distracting and harmful to the cause of the gospel. Please forgive us for our division and lack of unity. We know this hurts all of you deeply and we are eagerly working toward the unity that we have in Jesus.
The deep denial these people are in is just astonishing... wow.

"Your elders are deeply grieved over the manner in which this has happened."  Apparently not all of them.  And a 'guest' commenter on Warren Throckmorton's blog post made an excellent point:
"Can't believe they used 1st Cor. 6 after what Paul Tripp said about the Executive Elders scrambling to contact their lawyers. "
Do as I say, not as I do.   So sad.  It is far past time for those who care about Mark Driscoll to expose the festering gangrene to the sunlight so that God's name is no longer blasphemed because of this.  Hiding it behind church doors is not even close to loving anymore.

More disclosures from Bent Meyer:
New Disclosures By Former MH Pastor/Elder Bent Meyer
Loooong document:
https://joyfulexiles.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/bent-meyer-written-record-8-28-14-letter-combined-document-set.pdf

Mars Hill then goes on to release a statement throwing Paul Tripp under the bus:

Mars Hill Church updates members on Paul Tripp and new additions to Board of Advisors and Accountability
Paul Tripp’s comments to our elders were never made directly to the Board of Advisors and Accountability, as we have minutes of these meetings. We are deeply disappointed that Paul did not bring these concerns to our full Board or to the Executive Elders directly.

The concerns brought forth by these elders and the comments from Paul Tripp have been heard and are being taken seriously. Their letter, as with past letters voicing accusations toward Pastor Mark, will be processed in accordance with our bylaws. This means the accusations will be thoroughly examined and a report issued when the review is complete.
John Phelps of Storyville Coffee Company, and Matt Rogers, both local businessmen,  have been added to the Board to "provide increased accountability in areas of financial responsibility, staff and elder transitions and church culture."

Well, the more people you invite into the sausage factory I guess the better.  Even if it is just one by one that they start to realize what an unsanitary mess it is.  But hey they have Mitt Romney's senior campaign advisor Mark DeMoss helping us to learn ignore the smell of rot, so...  Here's to a great PR revival for Mark Driscoll such as the one which led to Romney's successful election as POTUS!


August 27, 2014

Phoenix Preacher weighs in -- "Driscoll Wins"

Some great points made here by Michael Newnham of Phoenix Preacher:

The Mark Driscoll saga is over.
Game, set, match, Mark.

All the cannons have been fired, the ammunition is exhausted, and so is the army of wounded warriors that have tried to bring him to repentance.

They were defeated not by Mark, but by the congregation they were trying to protect.

Driscoll will return and thrive…and that pile of bodies behind the bus will grow exponentially as the tyrant takes his revenge.

It will take about two years for him to rebuild the numbers and the finances…and for his famous friends to be seen with him in public, though they are proving helpful behind the scenes.

The people have spoken…they want their king and they will walk right over the bodies of the fallen to praise him and make their offerings to Baal.
read more at Phoenix Preacher

August 26, 2014

Translating Mark Driscoll (God Loves Women blog)

One of the most brilliant analyses of Driscoll's Aug 24 announcement I've seen yet - from a woman, I am informed, who works with perpetrators of domestic violence:

Translating Mark Driscoll
This morning I watched the 17 minute videoed announcement from Mark Driscoll this weekend that he is stepping down as Pastor of Mars Hill for a minimum of six weeks. You can watch the video and read the transcript here.

Within the announcement Mark speaks of the “court of public opinion” not being useful in addressing issues in a Biblical manner and suggests online conversations, like this blog for instance, are unhelpful. I can see that everyone having OPINIONS can be problematic, but without the courageous tenacity of bloggers across the internet raising the issues, Mark Driscoll would not have taken the very necessary and welcome step that he has. So I’m not going to apologise for adding the OPINIONS in the public space and as I would suggest that his denigration of the “court of public opinion” is a tactic to silence the hurting, and as a book we Christians honour states, “For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.”
read more at the God Loves Women blog

Also listen to the first part of hour 3 of Janet Mefferd's Monday show.

Driscoll's becoming an "expert" at putting lipstick on a pig. Or better yet, a dead rotting pig. And now he's hired a political PR firm (one that helped Romney not win) to help him take his makeup artistry to the next level. Weekend at Bernie's anyone? or are we on one of the third or fourth sequels by this time?


August 25, 2014

Mark Driscoll hires Romney Political advisor to help 'fix' his problem, possibly targeting the blogosphere, yet deafening silence from Evangelical talking heads regarding the abused

This analysis is spot-on from The Wartburg Watch
Mark Driscoll: 9 Pessimistic Predictions For Those Under the Bus
These are my predictions. I hope that I am wrong. For those of you who need a quick catch up on the Driscoll dilemma, here is an article written yesterday by the Vox.

1. Mark Driscoll will be back in business in fairly short order. If you don't like it, you will be the new problem.

On Sunday, Mark Driscoll, with wealthy, evangelical Public Relations guru, Mark DeMoss, sitting in the audience, began his comeback. Make no mistake about it. Driscoll is going nowhere except back to the pulpit after 6 weeks of some R&R and image building. Get prepared. It is going to be quite a ride.
read more at The Wartburg Watch

If this prediction especially #3 about the Robert DeMoss PR firm targeting the blogosphere and other critics comes to pass, wouldn't it be ironic to see Christians, who claim they want to stop being silenced by the media, leading the charge against freedom of speech against other Christians?  We've already seen it with Ergun Caner and others large and small.

(NOTE:  The only way to combat this is for everyone to be unafraid to blow the cover off bullies and their behind the scenes threats and scare tactics immediately when you are threatened, and refuse to comply.  En masse.  Please don't let these people intimidate you.)

August 21, 2014

Former Mars Hill pastors bring formal charges against Mark Driscoll ; Narcisissm in the church and its enablers

Twenty-One Former Mars Hill Church Pastors Bring Formal Charges Against Mark Driscoll

There is a pdf in that article that delineates some of the charges (by far not ALL of them, just representative examples, concentrating on stuff that is recent to demonstrate the fact that it is still going on, and has been for years.)  It's jaw dropping to think of any pastor using the narcissistic, self absorbed, abusive, harassing, sexually humiliating language Mark Driscoll has used personally on people who are supposed to be his co-elders.

Also, in the pdf there is a list of URL's to a 5 part lecture series by Dr Diane Langberg, PhD that is so amazingly accurate in describing how this epidemic of Narcissism ("lovers of self") works.  It seems to fit so many messed up pastors (not just Mark Driscoll) and people who aspire to leadership and use others but may not yet have a leadership position in the church. People like Philip Stallings.

NARCISSISM AND THE SYSTEM IT BREEDS Part 1
NARCISSISM AND THE SYSTEM IT BREEDS Part 2
NARCISSISM AND THE SYSTEM IT BREEDS Part 3
NARCISSISM AND THE SYSTEM IT BREEDS Part 4
NARCISSISM AND THE SYSTEM IT BREEDS Part 5

The opening to the 4th part
"...so there are some major difficulties in working with such a person that we need to understand. One: If loyalty is to his own importance, and any means that he can use to service that end, how do we  intervene?  How do we treat or speak to the narcissist?  Because it would seem, if you think about it, that any intervention or confrontation threatens their fortifications, their fabrications, thereby escalating them.  If I feel like your'e about to break my wall down or climb over it, I'm going to build it higher, right?  Which is not exactly a good outcome.  So there is also the subtle deception that can wrap itself around somebody attempting to intervene or help a narcissist.  You are sitting there with somebody who is pretty impervious to what you have to say.  That can be a little frustrating. You're encouraging them to have insight, you want them to have empathy and to care for others.  The Narcissist sitting across from you is looking for grandiosity and attention and approval, and may attempt to achieve it by becoming in the moment in your presence in your office the greatest repenter that ever lived.  He will attempt to deliver the goods desired to feed the ever-hungry monster of being the best at whatever he is doing.  So it's quite easy you see, to catch the disease and you begin to think 'Wow, look at this repentance.  I'm the best intervener.'  Now we have two narcissists.  Look what you have wrought.  When in reality what you've really done is just get caught up in the system, the belief system that he has, and bought the lie.  Because what's happened is the narcissist has finagled things in his relationship with you so that he's still the best.  He's the best repenter.  And so are you [the best at something] because you're the one who got him there. So he will drag you along with him to also be the best so that he can still be the best.

It's also very easy for the system surrounding the narcissist to buy the lie because to lose the narcissist threatens their viability. So if you have a narcissistic leader in an organization and he's pumping stuff out productivity-wise or numbers-wise or whatever, nobody wants to touch the problems, which is exactly what the narcissist wants.  Because if you touch the problems the organization might fall down.

And so the time-honored truths of God, which are that repentance and transformation are very slow and take time, are pushed aside.

Romans 5:4 says Steadfastness is proof of soundness, or perseverance is proof of character...it takes faithful change and perseverance for character to be reshaped.  And of course you don't really have to look very far, if you look on google news or in the papers, you know, we have political failures ad nauseam that are ripe with examples of 'Oops didn't mean to do that, sorry you caught me, I think I'll run again next year. I'm all better.  I changed my mind, I'm not going to do it anymore.'"

...is a perfect description of what Tim Brown of www.freedomoutpost.com is doing with his new author Philip Stallings. Getting caught up in the narcissism himself.  SMH.  No one is so blind as him who will not see.

She also makes a good point to remind people that it is almost never the majority who raises the alarm, because the system is too invested in the narcissistic leader.  Or they will boot the leader and put in another one so they can refuse to acknowledge how they have contributed to the problem. (cough, Acts 29...)

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men. 
2 Tim 3:1-9