Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Redirected to Jesus...Step in the Right Direction?

I have to confess, it is very easy to get on a witch hunt with Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill.  I am guilty of losing focus on helping others like me and focusing too much on Mark's every move and then criticizing it.  My original intention in starting this blog was to create a safe haven for people who have been hurt by Mars Hill.  It was to collect all the stories in one place, so that someone who is questioning what they are experiencing can easily locate them.  It is my hope to help people, not harm people, and that includes Mark Driscoll and my former campus pastors and elders. 

It is important to tell our stories, and I hope that by telling how the authoritarian structure and gender gospel at Mars Hill has hurt me, and is hurting others, both those with stories and those involved in the stories will be helped.  I would LOVE for Mars Hill to repent, change the way the church is "governed", and seek to apologize to those who have been hurt.  I have many people (though they no longer speak to me) who are still there and who I care about very much.

Yesterday, I was posting a comment on a blog and attempted to re-link to the doctrinal statement that I referenced in my story.  To my surprise, the page redirected here:

and here:

Does this mean that the concerns are being heard?  One of the main concerns I had was the following statement from the doctrinal statement:

"We also believe that particular spiritual gift(s) are neither essential, nor prove the presence of the Holy Spirit, nor are an indication of deep spiritual experience (1 Corinthians 12:7, 11, 13; Ephesians 4:7–8). We believe that God does hear and answer the prayer of faith, in accordance with His own will, for the sick and afflicted (John 15:7; 1 John 5:14, 15). We believe that it is the privilege and responsibility of every believer to minister according to the gift(s) and grace of God that is given to him"

This concerned me because it basically says, “just because you think you are being led by the Holy Spirit doesn’t mean you actually are”. It is my greatest hope that they are reevaluating the doctrinal statement.  Being redirected to JESUS is awesome.

Do You?

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings ~ Maya Angelou

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill for the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Beauty from Ashes – Good News for the Oppressed

I have been thinking about this scripture a lot lately.  The first part is actually talking about Jesus, and is a prophecy about him that he then quotes in Luke 4:18. I have read this scripture many, many times, but in light of the last week or so, I see it differently.  The beginning is talking about Jesus, but isn’t our life purpose to be sanctified to be more like Him?

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, 
      for the LORD has anointed me 
      to bring good news to the poor. 
   He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted 
      and to proclaim that captives will be released 
      and prisoners will be freed.[a] 
 2 He has sent me to tell those who mourn 
      that the time of the LORD’s favor has come,[b] 
      and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. 

Is it not MY responsibility to bring Good News to the poor, to comfort the brokenhearted, to proclaim FREEDOM to those held captive?  How can I best do that in the context of my life?

 3 To all who mourn in Israel,[c] 
      he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, 
   a joyous blessing instead of mourning, 
      festive praise instead of despair. 
   In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks 
      that the LORD has planted for his own glory.

There are many lessons that have come out of the MH experience.  The Lord, in Isaiah, offers us beauty for ashes.  So here is my list of beautiful things that have come from the ashes of our MH experience:

  • I have become a Berean alongside my husband (he’s always been one) Acts 17:11
  • I have fallen in love with and learned to trust and run to the Word of God and want to live the Spirit-led life. I am grateful for and eager for the Holy Spirit’s direction, comfort, ministry and presence in my life. It is something I now know I believe in with such conviction that nobody will ever be able to convince me of anything else.
  • I trust the gift of discernment God has given me.
  • The realization and true conviction that I want to train my kids in godliness through my example and I want them to see me live out my faith in the context of everyday life, with everyday people. I do not want them to be in a church where they are taught elitism, but rather want them in a church where they are taught about the mercy, grace and love of God and how those gifts of God spurn us into holy obedience not out of fear, but out of love and gratefulness for the gifts He has given us.
  • I feel convicted to seek justice for the oppressed and spiritually abused.  I cannot stand by silently any more.  I have read many other stories, and joined the “Fellowship of the Wounded”.
  • I am less judgmental and able to have compassion for those who are suffering.  I have learned that the ground is TRULY level at the foot of the cross.
  • My husband and I are united in a way we never have been before.
  • I have (finally!) put my priorities in the right order.  My relationship with God (not the church), my husband, my kids, my extended family and friends, and then church.
  • I no longer hold pastors who are in the spotlight in high esteem only because they are in the spotlight.
  • I will never, out of desperation, accept instant friendships as being real.  True friendship develops over time.

What about you?  What beauty have you found in the ashes of your experience?

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Yesterday I shared my story on The Wartburg Watch.  I am grateful to Deb and Dee for helping me find the courage to speak out and tell my story.  Today, I am very discouraged.  I guess I had the expectation that the telling of our story would be met with outrage. Battle cries.  Compassion.  A massive outpouring of support. The people at TWW have been amazing and supportive.  Beyond that, the silence has been deafening.

I spent the last several months asking God what I was supposed to do with this experience. What was the purpose? Why did it happen?  How can believers do this to other believers?

Is anyone listening? I am wondering where I go from here?  Do I keep shouting it from the rooftops? Do place it on the altar?

 Do I ask the hard questions of the people who have harmed me? Do I even bother when I know that doing so is risking further abuse?  Am I willing to risk them diverging private information about my husband and myself?  Did they do so already? Is it really possible to maintain the one friendship I still have, when I cannot be myself and express my pain?

Will others share their stories?  Is the pain so deep and the fear so great that they can’t?

How can I best glorify God in this situation?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mars Hill Discipline Contract Makes It's Way Into the Light

A young man named Andrew who was a member at Mars Hill Ballard campus for approximately two years has come forward with a discipline contract he was given by elders at the Ballard campus.

The discipline contract is available in it's entirety and private follow up letter to members of MH posted on the City instructing them on how to properly deal with Andrew in public are available on Matthew Paul Turner's Blog.

Matthew 18:15 - "If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back."

Matthew Paul Turner - Mark Driscoll Part 1
Matthew Paul Turner - Mark Driscoll Part 2

Friday, January 20, 2012

Why We Are Here

Welcome to Mars Hill Refuge. We exist to allow a place for people who have left Mars Hill to tell their stories. This is meant to be a safe haven for those who have been wounded by their experience with Mars Hill Church. We have our own story (see Our Story). We have found many stories in various places on the internet, but we believe that those who are starting their "exodus" from Mars Hill need a place to find stories like theirs. When we started seeing red flags, we were very confused and felt "crazy" because you become so immersed in Mars Hill "culture" that you are not sure... 

We have no desire to be a watchdog blog.  While we do feel that there are many things wrong at Mars Hill and with Mark Driscoll's twisted "gospel", we do not want to focus on him but on becoming more Christ-like and helping others discern the truth that sets them free. There are many wonderful blogs that intelligently address these issues.  If you would like to participate in those discussions, you can find links to them on our "Things We Like" page.

Would you like to tell your story?  Please click on the "More Stories" link for more information.