This is last week’s news, but still worth commenting on: Mark Driscoll resigns from Mars Hill Church. Mars Hill is a megachurch (consisting of 15 branch churches, several in the Seattle area, both others in other states) that preaches a slightly modernized/pseudo-hip version of the usual misogynist/homophobic fundamentalism. And the lead paster/senior pastor/whatever he called himself was a particularly douche-y man named Mark Driscoll.
I’ve written before about Driscoll’s plagiarism of huge chunks of other pastor’s books, using church funds to buy thousands of copies of one of his books to artificially put it on the bestsellers list for a week, raising millions supposedly for a global ministry which internal church memos show they never intended to use even a tenth of for actual international work as a means to get more money for the general budget, harassing members who were critical of the leadership, harassing non-member relatives of former members who were critical of the leadership, and so on and so on.
All of that in addition to repeatedly referring to gay people as a cancer that the church wanted to kill, women as property of their husbands, and the usual hateful b.s.
Despite all the transgressions, some of which may be actionable under the law, the only thing that his hand-picked board was actually reviewing were the allegations of being arrogant and mean to members of the congregation, and that’s what he is resigning for (though very obviously not apologizing for in his resignation letter). A bunch of the former members as well as the folks still in the church are referring to all of this as if it were an attack on him from outsiders, rather than actual bad behavior on his part.
And even the ones who do blame him for at least the arrogance are being delusional. It isn’t as if his arrogance and mean-spiritedness were ever hidden. One can go back and read some of his statements in the early years about gay people, feminists, liberal Christians, et cetera, and it was never gentle or loving speech. They cheered (or shouted “amen”) when he said that their church’s theology was like a bus, and other people, including other Christians, either must get on the bus, or get run over. “And we’ll leave a pile of bodies in our wake.”
They didn’t mind him being arrogant and mean-spirited as long as that vitriol was directed at outsiders. They only objected when he started more obviously turning more of it at them.
We can’t honestly describe the church’s distancing itself from him as them finally coming to their senses. They aren’t disavowing anything he said about women, or gays, for instance. And since they don’t recognize all of that for the hate speech it was, they’re perpetuating his bullying. So, no, I don’t have any sympathy for them.
And no one should.