Salon.com Covers Mars Hill, Seattle

Salon.com has posted a very interesting article on the very manly Mark Driscoll and his church, Mars Hill in Seattle, WA.

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18 thoughts on “Salon.com Covers Mars Hill, Seattle

  1. Life may certainly be harder as a follower of Christ, but it shouldn’t be without its joys. And it frightened me to hear those women talk more about responsibilty than love or devotion.
    Interesting article indeed.

  2. Wow, that article was a ugly and one sided as any right wing conservative nutter. I don’t usually jump on articles like this one, but geez, it was very irresponsible and extremely agendized. Why are folks so vehement to complementarians?

    I’m a little disappointed in you for pointing to it. It was like reading the antithesis of the horribly biased Falwell Confidential.

  3. Rich, I will agree with you that the piece is somewhat agendized. If you are at all familiar with Salon.com, they don’t normally play the roll of non-biased, softball journalists. It most definitely has a certain slant to it and they do not shy away from inserting an opinion into their pieces. That being said, I still think this article is a very interesting look into the culture of Mars Hill and it’s enforcement of gender roles in their community. Also, her depiction of Driscoll and his church is pretty much in line with the way Driscoll comes off on his blog.

    The reason I think this article is so interesting is that gives us a perspective, even though it’s not pleasant, that the Church (Big C) can learn from. If a church, such as Mars Hill (Seattle), is going to draw certain boundries around the role of women in the family and the church, then most likely those from the outside or “secular” world are going to find that mildly annoying at best. Is that any big surprise?

    Unfortunately, Mars Hill (Seattle) is more concerned with protecting their way of doing “ministry” than they are with making people feel like they can belong. Their doctrine supercedes the possiblity of relationships with those who think or believe differently than they do. If you think this is not something Mark Driscoll has made loud and clear, then maybe you’re getting your Mars Hill Churches confused.

    Driscoll would have been wise not to allow Sandler access to his church and his staff in order to get material for her book. If he had bothered to read Salon.com, then he would have seen this coming from a mile away. Who knows? Maybe Driscoll refuses to read books by women since they should have been busy getting pregnant or making dinner or watching the kids instead of wasting their time writing.

  4. Zach,

    Thanks for the response. It’s a little easier to swallow knowing what you thought. You are always very thoughful here and my disappointment came from the fact the link was stuck out there with no comment from you to at the least admit the article has some problems.

    And I hear you bro, honest I do. There are problems with Driscoll’s model of ministry. There are problems with everyone’s model, cause well, we ain’t Jesus, you know? I guess it just bugged me because I don’t believe everything about MH is bad and this article really painted them in a way that just wasn’t totally accurate IMHO. Her depiction went at least a tad beyond what Driscoll says on his blog and in his books.

    It is interesting in this article to see the liberal side of things can come off just like a Falwellian figure when talking about an evangelical church and pastor. I guess I really am middle of the road because I critique both sides and tick everyone off. 🙂

    Thanks Zach.

    Rich

  5. I think it’s a stretch to say that this article is written with the same degree of slant and bias that Falwell or those like him employ. Sandler actually applauded some of the benefits that being a part of the Mars Hill community can include.

    I agree with you that all attempts at ministry are going to flawed to some degree, but there is a big divide between being institutionally masagonistic and falling short of the standard of Jesus’ teachings. It’s a bit of a stretch when someone adheres to a sexist worldview and you suggest that they shouldn’t be held accountable because they “ain’t Jesus”.

  6. I guess this comes down to what each of us believes is the truth about all of this. And I’m fine with that. But really, we’re not that far apart in spite of the fact you think I am stretching everything. 🙂

  7. “Maybe Driscoll refuses to read books by women since they should have been busy getting pregnant or making dinner or watching the kids instead of wasting their time writing.” I don’t agree with Driscoll on every point, and I do have some issues with the way he comes across concerning gender issues. But, that is a lame comment. Disagree…that is GREAT, but don’t be so childish.

  8. i find driscoll to be a fascinating public figure (as far as the Church is concerned), whether or not i agree with his ideologies. aside from the article and driscoll, i’m finding that i’m constantly having to differentiate between mars 1. mars hill seattle where driscoll is the pastor 2. mars hill grand rapids and 3. mars hill graduate school in seattle where i’ll be attending next fall.

    if you want some interesting perspective on driscoll and the church gathering that he leads then ask any mars hill grad school student/prof.

  9. Thanks for the scolding, Mark. I actually thought it was a pretty funny comment, but I guess I’m just immature like that. Maybe it would have made a difference if I put a ” 🙂 ” after it. But then again, maybe you think emoticons are childish too.

  10. i just read the article and i feel depressed.

    i think driscoll opens himself up to this kind of criticism through his own methods. shouldn’t a real man go toe-to-toe with his critics, preferably in the steel-caged octagon?

    it’s frustrating when complementarians uphold 1940’s america (“hi honey, i’m home. is the pot roast on the table?”) as if it is God’s one and only standard for family life. and, if you disagree, then you’re automatically a *gasp* liberal! plenty of faithful, godly men & women read the same texts that they love to quote and have come up with different conclusions – and not because they want to destroy the church or are sophia-worshiping “liberals”.

    it’s sad to get an outsider’s view of “missional living” as a new kind of right-wing conspiracy. i think christians living in close-knit communities is a great way to share the gospel. it can demonstrate visibly the nature of the kingdom of God and offer a real alternative to the world’s system of “me-first” living. but this idea of cranking out babies as a means of “christianizing” the surroudning culture should sound offensive to people.

    i’ve actually sworn off reading anything by driscoll, because it’s so frustrating. i’m sure part of his deal is pushing people’s buttons (which he is extraorindarily good at – perhaps it’s some kind of fundie spiritual gift) but i don’t want to allow his frothy ranting to ruin my day anymore.

  11. Rich, yeah I think we are both on the same page here. I’m just a stickler. 🙂 Thanks for your thoughts.

    Joshua, I agree. It’s quite a chore keeping all of the “Mars” organized in my mind as well. Try thinking about it all while eating a Mars Bar. (that’s easily the dumbest thing i’ve written on this blog)

    Daniel, thanks for your thoughts. Well said.

  12. you know what sucks. i’ll tell you what sucks. the fact that i’m always criticizing mark driscoll within the confines of the church, but i’m always having to defend him outside of the church.

    that’s not so much because i want to defend driscoll as much as it is that many completely misrepresent some of his views. so i guess i don’t really defend driscoll as much as try to clarify that certain theological ideas are being misrepresented.

    the way the article talks about biblical literalism toward the end shows that this person has absolutely no understanding of what it means to be a real inerrantist.

    i’m not on board with guys like wayne grudem and james dobson on being an inerrantist, but there is a difference between biblical literalism and being a complete jackass who doesn’t know what the differences between literary genres are. the problem is that lauren sandler doesn’t realize that there is a difference, and it seems to be because she doesn’t care. personally, i’m not all about the chicago statement on inerrancy (which most inerrantists hold to), but it ceratinly doesn’t say what most unbelievers (and more theologically liberal christians) think it does.

    also, there is the idea of complementarianism. i’m a complementarian (though i’m still trying to work through the arguments. the main problem being that both egalitarians and complementarians just build straw men and try to have a big dick contest, so to speak. they rarely engage honestly with the biblical and exegetical arguments of the opposing side). and while i don’t agree with driscoll on the ‘get married, have a bunch or kids, and then stay home and take care of them if you’re a lady’ deal wholeheartedly, that doesn’t mean that he is completely off the mark. i’m not opposed to men staying at home with the kids while women are off being the bread-winner, however i am opposed to someone rejecting the mutual submission and responsibility of the “husbands be like christ for the church, give your life; wifes be like the church to christ, give your life” paradigm.

    in the article, sandler made it seem like responsibility is the same thing as oppression. that certainly isn’t the case. she also made it seem like complementarianism seeks to “push back women’s rights,” which is also far from the case. she, as many do, has failed to see the difference between equality of value and equality of roles (and i’m not talking about just gender here in particular, either. this is a general concept that most do not see, and that many choose not to see).

    she seems to be hearing “geez, this isn’t what i wanted. i wanted to do this. i wanted to do that. now i have to be responsible for this stuff instead,” and then she takes this as an indictment of complementarianism. that’s not the case at all. the most basic overarching theme of christian life is that it is not what i would have for myself, but that i am responsible to what god has given me. just ask kierkegaard. this isn’t so much about oppression and feminist agendas as it is someone seeing selflessness as unappealling because of what it entails. again, just ask kierkegaard.

    i think driscoll holds a more old school CULTURAL concept of manhood and womanhood than a BIBLICAL one. however, that doesn’t mean that complementarian views are evil. and it certainly doesn’t mean that they are unbliblical.

    being theologically conservative doesn’t mean an authoritarian dictatorship that seeks to oppress women so that men can feel good about themselves and stroke their penises (even if some jackass christians might feel this way). as paul says, we should seek to proclaim the gospel (in deed and word) solely, so that people can only stumble over the gospel. however, when those people stumble over it, they do whatever they can to make themselves feel justified for doing so.

  13. Sean, In what ways does this article misrepresent Driscoll’s theological ideas?

    You can certainly claim that what Sandler had to offer in regards to her experience with the women isn’t an accurate representation of your view of complementarianism, but it’s hard to see how she wouldn’t have some serious issues with what she was hearing from them. Personally, I don’t disagree with the idea that men and women compliment each other in marraige, but in Mars Hill’s case, it seems the women are always the ones “making the tough decisions”. In the end, I’m not sure you can judge Sandler for her portrayal since she was the one spending time with these women and seeing first hand what happens in their households. Maybe these households weren’t representing the model of complementarianism that is favorable in your eyes.

    The hard part about your problem with Sandlers understanding of biblical literalism is the fact that the majority of literalists themselves don’t understand the difference between literary genres. It’s possible she doens’t realize the difference because in her brief time around Church congregations, she hasn’t seen that approach practiced.

    Thanks for your comment and I can certainly understand some of your frustration.

  14. as i said before, i wasn’t so much trying to defend driscoll (because i don’t really like him). i was defending the general teachings of complementarian and literalist (inerrantist) views.

    in regard to her construction of the article concerning women and submission, it seems to me that she very easily could have (and, in my estimation, did) report facts (such as the quotes from the mother) in such a manner that creates an automatic bias. she painted things like sacrifice and unselfishness in a horribly bad light. i can’t believe that a woman with two children who cares for them would have NOTHING loving and joyous to say about her motherhood and childrearing in general. sandler seems to make it clear that not doing what YOU think is best for you (also what YOU want for yourself) is, at best, stupid and, at worst, evil. this isn’t about oppression as much as it is about fallenness and hatred of the gospel. the way of christ screams to us to obey. kierkegaard (yes, i refer to him a lot; he was a smart dude) talks about this in regard to loving others. there will always be an admonishment to action (reaction to the message of christ) when believers are living the truth out. and this always pisses people off, because it shows them that they have to do the opposite of what they want (deny themselves, submit to another…namely YHWH).

    also, i would like to mention that many (nigh most) theologically conservative folk who are inerrantists do rightly understand the place of genre and literary devices in biblical text. the problem for others is that, for many conservatives, they do this within reason. the historical-critical method, form criticism, redaction criticism, etc. are all practiced rightly within conservative camps. the main difference is that (unlike theological liberals and atheist biblical scholars) these tools are not ends unto themselves. they are there to help us look into the mirror of the bible and see what it is that we truly are (as kierkegaard says…again).

    i’m reminded of a close friend who recently transfered to a more theologically liberal college from a very conservative one (to georgetown college in kentucky from southern seminary). he is currently studying with a professor in the book of zechariah. every so often, the professor will say, “now i know you came from southern, so you might not want to hear this but (insert some form of historical-critical or redaction stuff here). i know you probably think i’m a heretic here but…” to which my friend would respond, “look, i’m conservative, i’m not an idiot. even the most conservative evangelical scholars admit what you’re saying. it isn’t liberal, it’s commonsense.”

    most theological liberals and secularists (or atheists, whatever you want to call them) don’t understand that theological conservatives aren’t stupid, and that they do understand that critical scholarship is important and needed.

    as i said before, it is the nature of fallen man to try to justify stumbling over the gospel message with whatever subject matter seems handy. that can be using the model of a cockacracy or a supposed self-imposed ignorance regarding evangelicals.

    i do want to be clear, though, that i don’t really like mark driscoll. he’s a dude that thinks he’s hipper than he is that confuses, as previously stated, BIBLICAL manhood/womanhood with CULTURAL manhood/womanhood. he also finds himself constantly preaching to the choir, so to speak. so he heaps up condemnation on all of those that aren’t his homies, patting himself on the back all the way home. he builds up straw men and then proceeds to voraciously tear them down.

    now that i’ve said that, i do sympathize with some of his positions at least partially (i’m a confessional believer with augustinian and complementarian leanings and put great emphasis on incarnational living, which is one of those buzzwords that has lost its meaning as of late), though i am near-constantly appalled by the way that he works out his theological convictions in his speech.

    plus, generally speaking, what upsets me the most is that many reject culturally conservative christianity (the religious right), and then either reject the faith or embrace culturally and theologically liberal christianity (the religious left). the idea that most christians feel that they have to choose between the christian republicans or the christian democrats (both factions being HARDLINE on either side) saddens me deeply. both sides are distinctly american before they are distinctly christian (the religious right for its nationalism and the religious left for it emphasis of deistic principles brought about by the founding fathers). read this blog post by james k.a. smith here for more on that deal:
    http://forsclavigera.blogspot.com/2006/07/barack-obama-another-reason-to-leave.html

    i’ve said a lot here…probably too much. if anyone wants to talk about it, email me. i’m open.

  15. Thanks for your comment, Judy. I’ve actually read that letter before you pointed me to it. It’s unfortunate that she feels she was misquoted and I can understand that frustration through my own first hand experience. In the end, if Sandler were to remove that entire section of her article, it still doesn’t change my position and overall impression of what I’ve come to understand about Mars Hill. Obviously, you are a member there and I appreciate that. I’ve not had the pleasure of being at Mars Hill and can only form my thoughts through your pastor’s very thoughtful and humble blog as well as other articles I’ve read.

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