Friday, December 6, 2013

Welcome, Jezebel Friends!

Life on Mars Hill illustration by Ryan Brown

Thanks for clicking through to check out this blog. I started this blog almost two years ago, after telling my story anonymously an another blog. I  Since I left, I had struggled with what to do with what had occurred. My husband and I wanted to just forget about it and move on, but based on stories we had come across, we knew that our experience was not an isolated incident. What kind of damage is this causing to others?  How can we just walk away and be glad that we "dodged the bullet"?

I had already submitted my story several days before it came out.  I simultaneously started the Mars Hill Refuge blog, which I thought would be some obscure little piece of the internet. I had no idea that just one day prior to my story being told, Matthew Paul Turner would write about Andrew's discipline contract and shunning.  I could not have imagined the chain of events that would follow.

Shortly after the release of my story, The Stranger wrote an article about Lance.  In that article, my blog was linked.  This was followed by The Slate Article, which was picked up by the Huffington Post.  Then many of us were contacted to participate in the KOMO News Story.

The result of all of this unsolicited publicity following the telling of my story has been a response I couldn't have predicted.  People have come forward with their stories in large numbers.  Some are posted here on the site, and some have been shared privately.  The response has been overwhelming.

Here are the links to all stories that can be found on the internet, or have been shared with us.  We post these so that you can read for yourself and make your own determination about Mars Hill.  Some of the Yelp links have positive stories, and if you would like to read more, I am sure you can find them on the Mars Hill Website.

Starred stories are MUST READS!

*Andrew's Story (Part 1)

*Paul & Jonna Petry's Story 

UnReformed's Story

*Kip's Story 

Lance's Story (The Stranger Article)

Rebecca's Story

Bent Meyer's Story

*Amy's Story

Kaelee's Story

Sophia's Story

Kevin Potts' Story

Wenatchee's Story 

Mars Hill Departed Part 1
Mars Hill Departed Part 2

Frankie's Story

Multiple Stories @ Freedom4Captives

Stories on Yelp - Ballard Campus

Stories on Yelp - Downtown Campus

Stories on Yelp - West Seattle Campus

Stories on Yelp - Bellevue Campus

Stories on Yelp - Albuquerque Campus

Stories on Yelp - Orange County Campus

The next post is a list of articles and blog posts about Mark Driscoll.

You Decide!

I think everyone needs to read and research for themselves. Here is a comprehensive link-up of articles, blog posts, etc. about Mars Hill Church and Mark Driscoll.  This will remain a page on the site for easy reference.

Women's Issues
Mars Hill Church Leadership Booklet

Resources made available by MHC and Mark Driscoll:
Mars Hill Church website
Mark Driscoll's recent sermons
Mark Driscoll's sermons on Marriage and Women and Marriage and Men (3/09)
Mark Driscoll preaches against homosexuality (5/10)
Mark Driscoll's website (est. 2011)
Mark Driscoll's public FaceBook wall
Mark Driscoll's non-apology apology following "Effemigate" (7/11)
Mark Driscoll's sermon on sexual assault - Not completely terrible, but still some problematic paternalistic aspects. (2/12)
Porn Again Christian by Mark Driscoll - Free e-book on men, pornography, masturbation, and sex. (2008)

Neutral Resources:
MHC Wikipedia entry
Mark Driscoll Wikipedia entry

Survivor Testimony & Spiritual Abuse Resources:
Mars Hill Refuge - MHC survivor blog (wife of Two Clear Eyes). (est. 2012)
Two Clear Eyes - MHC survivor blog (husband of Mars Hill Refuge). He offers a detailed, articulate account of his experiences at MHC. (est. 2012)
Freedom For Captives - MHC survivor blog. Lots of in-depth discussion and resources on warning signs of spiritual abuse. (est. 2009)
Praying Heart - MHC survivor blog. (est. 2008)
Matthew Paul Turner/Jesus Needs New PR: A former MHC member ("Andrew") goes public about his experience with church discipline [12] (1/12)
The Wartburg Watch: On MHC's response to exposure of church discipline procedure, plus more survivor testimony (1/12) A Shunning in Seattle - some more clarification on the case of "Andrew". (2/12)
Former MHC pastor Bent Meyer comments on some issues he sees still ongoing within MHC, and his own firing in 2007 (1/12)
The Stranger: Another former MHC member ("Lance") goes public with some jaw-dropping testimony. (2/12)
Mars Hill Refuge: More survivor testimony ("Kaelee") (2/12)
The Wartburg Watch: How to Minimize Damage When Resigning From a Mark Driscoll-like Church (2/12)
Wenatchee the Hatchet: Technology and the Illusion of Control - evaluating the veracity of survivor testimony and MHC's failed attempt at keeping disciplinary matters private. (2/12)
Joyful Exiles - Former MHC elders go public with emails and documents they received from the church at the time of their firing in 2007. (launched 3/12)
Matthew Paul Turner: Exorcism at Mars Hill - A woman tells the story of her unwilling exorcism from "sexual demons" at the hands of Mark Driscoll. (6/12)
Pure Provender - General resource on spiritual abuse.

Blogs regularly featuring posts on MHC and Mark Driscoll:
Are Women Human? (tags: Mark DriscollMars Hill Church)
The Wartburg Watch
Matthew Paul Turner - Jesus Needs New PR (tag: Mark Driscoll)
Wenatchee the Hatchet - former member of MHC who left on reasonably good terms.
Driscoll Watch - a blog specifically devoted to respectfully refuting Driscoll's claims about Catholicism.
Driscontinuity - fact-checking Mark Driscoll.
Is Mark Driscoll a Bully? - A record of ex-MHC member testimony and Driscoll quotes.

Articles & Blog Posts:
Seattle P-I: Mars Hill pastor responds to uproar over blog posts on women (12/06)
Denny Burk: Mark Driscoll on Women in Ministry (7/07)
The Stranger: Fired and Brimstone: Mars Hill Megachurch Has No Room for Two Dissenting Pastors (11/07)
Obscene Beauty: Does Mark Driscoll believe in a God of Love or Hate? (11/07)
Praying Heart: Pastor Mark Driscoll... "Jockeying for and Abusing Power?" - on new MHC bylaws and consolidation of power. (1/08)
Praying Heart: Does Mark Driscoll Continue to Lie to Mars Hill Members? - concerning the reasons behind the firing of two MHC pastors. (3/08)
Christianity Today: A Jesus for Real Men: What the new masculinity movement gets right and wrong. (4/08)
New York Times: Who Would Jesus Smack Down? (1/09)
Cathy Mickels: Mark Driscoll: is he qualified to lead? (1/09)
Experimental Theology: Thoughts on Mark Driscoll ... while I'm knitting - thoughtful discussion on gender and Christianity, albeit with with some problematic language (w/Driscoll video clip). (2/09)
Freedom 4 Captives: Cult-Like Spiritual Abuse Issues & By Laws In a Nutshell - positively hair-raising! (4/09)
Are Women Human?: Punishing gender-variant masculinity (9/10)
Christian Post: Driscoll, MacDonald Defend Multisite Church Strategy - Driscoll claims his congregation are less "addicted" to him than those at a regular church. (9/10)
Are Women Human?: Mark Driscoll is not God (3/11)
Shawn Wamsley: Mars Hill Church, Mark Driscoll, and Gender Roles - Driscoll's problematic equation of masculinity with agency. (4/11)
The Broken Telegraph: Mars Hill, Mark Driscoll, and Church as a Spectacle (5/11)
Matt Morin: The Confessions of a Cage Fighter: Masculinity, Misogyny, and the Fear of Losing Control (6/11)
Are Women Human?: Dianna Anderson: Dear Mr. Driscoll (7/11)
Joy In This Journey: Don't Take Pot-Shots at Worship Leaders, er, I Mean, ANYONE - Effemigate. (7/11)
Rachel Held Evans: Mark Driscoll is a bully. Stand up to him. - Effemigate. (7/11)
Love Radically: Mark Driscoll's Missed Opportunity - Effemigate. (7/11)
Here I Blog: Mark Driscoll On Prophetic Dreams and Seeing the Future - Driscoll's gift of prophecy allows him to "see" his parishioners engaged in sexual sin (w/extended quotes, audio and video clips). (8/11)
Question @Yahoo Answers: Why do Pastors Mark Driscoll and Perry Noble have such similar sermons? (8/11)
Jesus Needs New PR: Mark Driscoll 'sees' things (9/11)
Alisa Harris: To the Child Star of PastorMark.TV - what does it mean that Driscoll's 14-year-old daughter will be blogging on his website? (9/11)
Seattle P-I: Seattle pastor Mark Driscoll says yoga is demonic - but not MMA? Both are rooted in Eastern mysticism, but apparently only the one "for women" is demonic. (11/11)
Christian Pop Culture (Brad Williams): Dear Driscoll, MMA is not a Measure of Manhood — Jesus is (11/11)
Wenatchee the Hatchet: Publisher's Weekly on Mark and Grace Driscoll's Real Marriage, and a phrase to be considered - what are the implications of Driscoll's confession that he made "a god" of sex? (12/11)
The American Jesus: In Defense of Christian Bloggers - critique of The Elephant Room round table discussion. (1/12)
Krish Kandiah: Driscoll and Britain (1/12)
Kinnon: The UK Real Interview – Was it of the Undisciplined or the Undiscipled? (1/12)
The Friendly Atheist: Did Anyone Else Know Pastor Mark Driscoll Was Sexist? (1/12)
The Friendly Atheist: The Christian Indoctrination Will Continue Forever (1/12)
The Wartburg Watch: Driscoll, Acts 29 Deny Haiti Relief Because of a Female Pastor (1/12)
Church Leaders: Driscoll on Sex, Critics, and When to Cross the Line in the Pulpit - Driscoll talks about Real Marriage and his critics. In question #4, he dismisses any criticism directed at him. (1/12)
Driscontinuity: Ted Bundy is Not a Prop - refuting Driscoll's "facts" about Ted Bundy. (1/12)
Strange Figures: In the name of love, should we just keep quiet? - On letting churches get away with spiritual abuse. (1/12)
Covenant of Love: Never Mind Andrew’s Sin, What About Mars Hill’s Sin? analysis of MHC's interpretation of scripture surrounding church discipline. (1/12)
Big Circumstance: Mark Driscoll And The Mars Hill Churches: When Discipline Becomes Control Becomes...? (1/12)
Searching for Chet Baker: The Dangers of Mark Driscoll & The Mars Hill Church (1/12)
Notes From the Well: concerns about mark driscoll, mars hill church and the acts 29 network - criticism from a former Driscoll supporter. (1/12)
Cushman Chronicles: Thoughts on Mars Hill and Andrew... - a former Driscoll fan responds scripturally to the MHC discipline controversy. (1/12)
Wenatchee the Hatchet: Mark Driscoll & Church Discipline - was the recently publicised instance of MHC discipline the result of nepotism? (1/12)
Christian Pop Culture: From Fanboy to Frustrated: A Plea To Mark Driscoll (2/12)
The Stranger (Brendan Kiley): Mars Hill Wants to Reconcile (3/12)
The Friendly Atheist (Amanda): Mars Hill Church Responds to Criticism (3/12)

Reviews: reviews of MHC by members and visitors
Ship of Fools Mystery Worshipper on Ballard campus MHC service (1/08)
Are Women Human? on MHC's God's Work, Our Witness documentary [12] (12/11)
The Friendly Atheist: Grace and Mark Driscoll Write a How-Not-To Book on Marriage - review of the first chapter of Real Marriage (12/11)
Dianna E. Anderson on the first chapter of Real Marriage, especially noting the framing of Grace Driscoll's sexual assault only in terms of how it affected Mark. [12] (12/11)
Rachel Held Evans: Driscoll, "Real Marriage", and Why Being a Pastor Doesn’t Automatically Make You a Sex Therapist (1/12)
David Moore @The Burner on Real Marriage [1234] (1/12)
Word Vixen: Mark Driscoll's Real Marriage Book Review (1/12)
Sojourners: He Said, She Said: Driscoll's "Real Marriage" is Really Not (1/12)
Practical Theology for Women: Our Review of Real Marriage by Mark and Grace Driscoll (2/12)

So...Is it a Cult? Part I

photo credit: Kevin Dooley

This list of signs was taken from a Huffington Post article by Jayanti Tamm here.
Is it a Cult? The Top Ten Signs the 'Group' You've Joined is Not what It Seems
  1. The leader and group are always correct and anything the leader does can be justified.
  2. Questions, suggestions, or critical inquiry are forbidden.
  3. Members incessantly scramble with cramped schedules and activities full of largely meaningless work based on the leader's agenda
  4. Followers are meant to believe that they are never good enough.
  5. Required dependency upon the leader and group for even the most basic problem-solving.
  6. Reporting on members for disobedient actions or thoughts is mandated and rewarded.
  7. Monetary, sexual, or servile labor is expected to gain promotion.
  8. The 'outside' world -- often including family and friends -- is presented as rife with impending catastrophe, evil, and temptations.
  9. Recruitment of new members is designed to be purposefully upbeat and vague about the actual operations of the leader and group.
  10. Former members are shunned and perceived as hostile.
Sound familiar?

So.....Is It A Cult, Part II

Today, Rob Davis posted a blog about his experience at an Acts 29 church. He boldly named Acts 29 a cult. You may read it HERE.

Why are we so afraid of the word cult? I agree with him. It's like we can't bring ourselves to say the words. But how many of these things need to be present before we can bring ourselves to name it? A group does not have to use every single tactic to qualify.

In his post, he outlines the problematic characteristics of Acts 29 taken from The Cult Test. I have copied that list here, and applied them to Mars Hill. The comments in parenthesis are mine:

I agree with all of those, but for Mars Hill, I would add the following:

  • Confession Sessions (community group prayer times, redemption groups, meetings with pastors)
  • Instant Intimacy (members share very vulnerable things in cg prayer time)
  • A System of Punishments and Rewards (discipline contracts and titles)
  • Personal testimonies of previous converts (MH has changed x,y & z's life, therefore it must be good)
  • Surrender to the Group (spend more and more time with CG and use group for accountability)
  • The group and its members are special (definite sense of elitism at MH)
  • The group is self absorbed (they really don't help the poor, it is pretty much a closed system)
  • You can't tell the truth (or we shun you, or post directions on the City of how to shun you, or lie about your character)
  • Ideology over experience, observation, logic (well, yeah)
  • Thought stopping language (was shut down any time I challenged the misuse of terminology to make a point)
  • The guru is extra-special (he sees things, he is the only person broadcast to 4 states and 14 churches)
  • Don't trust Your own mind (you are totally depraved)
  • Dont trust Your own feelings (the heart is deceitful)
  • You owe the group (you are accountable and must explain why you aren't there)
  • Progressive indoctrination and Progressive commitments
To me, saying that an organization or church has multiple characteristics of cults, but being unwilling to call it a CULT is akin to living with a man who abuses you but being unwilling to call him ABUSIVE.