Mars Hill Is Not Cool With Sexual ‘Sin’

There’s hardly a week that goes by without Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington, saying something offensive and incendiary; whether it’s giving bad marital advice through his latest book, trashing his definition of “effeminate” worship leaders, or demonizing sex and sexuality by associating pornography with Ted Bundy, this guy tops my Official Douchecanoe List.

He delivered again this week, when an ex-member of Mars Hill tentatively shared the horrifying story of his brutal excommunication from the church. To be fair, Driscoll himself was not the perpetrator of this particular injustice, but I cry foul on the leader of any organization who would choose to represent itself by such principles.

Part of the reason that Christianity can be so divisive is the belief that, as a Christian, fellow church-goers are appropriate partners and friends, while you are to distance yourself from non-Christians so as to not “fall into temptation.” As I’ve written before, my own youth group (and my husband’s, too, in a completely separate church three hours away) illustrated this by having a kid stand on a chair and then seeing if it was easier to be pulled down from the chair or to pull another person up. This was supposed to show us the danger of consorting with non-believers, and the potential for us to be dragged downward into their life of sin. I wish I was joking.

For this reason, many sects of Christianity are incredibly insular, placing enormous pressure on the believers to stay within the church network, and punishing those who dare to stray. Of course, this also means that removing or being removed from that network can have devastating effects on human lives, as an individual may find themselves literally alone, abandoned by the very people they loved, respected, and spent years developing relationships with.

So it is with Andrew, who made a major mistake by physically fooling around on his fiancé. He felt awful about the situation, confessed to his fiancé (the daughter of one of the church’s elders), and when that failed to resolve the hurt, confessed to an acquaintance, part of a small group at Mars Hill in which he was involved.

They called him a “predator.” Why?

“Because Pastor Mark teaches that women are “weaker vessels,” and therefore, when a girl and boy engage in consensual sexual activity, it is always assumed that it’s the man’s fault because he failed to lead the woman (or “weaker vessel”) toward righteousness.”

The church began a grisly process of ostracizing the guy, forcing him to go to meeting after meeting with church leaders, forcing him to confess the minutiae of his “sexual sin” –- including any physical parts of his relationship with his fiancé –- and pressured him into signing a “Church Discipline Contract”:

Disciplinary procedures are quite common for church leaders –- pastors, elders, and deacons, but this is the first I’ve heard of such an extensive, invasive, and ugly method for church attendees.

And it just gets worse.

After being emotionally manipulated and abused by the very group members he was supposed to trust, Andrew came to the painful conclusion that he could no longer continue attending Mars Hill. He sent them this email, explaining why he would forego signing the disciplinary contract:

“After extensive prayer and careful consideration, I have come to the conclusion that Mars Hill is not the place that God has for me to be right now. Therefore, I respectfully decline your help in this next stage of my life. I will not be returning to [name of community group leader's] CG, and will not be attending Mars Hill anymore. Thank you for your continued prayers.”

In the most respectful way possible, Andrew removed himself from a destructive, abusive environment. In response, group leaders informed him that they would have to “escalate” the church’s disciplinary proceedings, in essence saying, “wait, we’re not through punishing you yet!” The email that Andrew received in response said this:

“If this is your final decision, you will also need to know this will not be our final communication as this is not an instance where you can walk away from the mess you have helped create and leave many issues unaddressed.”

In a disgusting turn, their apparent idea of further communication consisted of a back-biting document posted to The City — what Andrew describes as the “Facebook for Mars Hill members.” However, his login information had been blacklisted from The City, and he only discovered the letter after a friend from Mars Hill had informed him.

How’s that for Christian love? And you can probably just imagine, if believers and church members are treated with this sort of bullying and manipulation, what they think of us atheists.

Andrew, I’m glad you’re out of that toxic environment. You deserve much, much better. We all do.

About amanda

Amanda is a pie-baking, music-listening, lindy-hopping, yoga-doing, power-tool-wielding feminist, atheist, and wife. She divides her time equally between cooking delicious things, trying to make nice with the house cat, and ranting about religion.

  • A Portlander

    Was this guy ever a scientologist?  This is classic Co$–documented self-reporting of “crimes” against the in-group, used to humiliate and ostracize the former member and accompanied by instructions to disconnect.  Cults are cults, I guess.

    • ACN

      This tripped all of my scientological warnings too.

      My own observation is that e only differences between a cult and a mainstream religion are degree and number of adherents.

    • Anonymous

      100% Crazy. 100% Cult. The horror stories from friends who encountered that church have confirmed my bias. Sadly they’re so entrenched in their ancient sheep fucking desert views they can’t see outside the bubble they’ve created.

  • http://twitter.com/butterflyfish_ Heidi McClure

    Talk about playing head games. Damn.

  • Anonymous

    It wasn’t even all that physical. They got emotionally close, but at most they only made out. They didn’t have sex. Then he immediately noticed that it was a wrong and told his fiancee (that’s all the “repenting” that should have been necessary). That’s where it should have ended. She was the one only who could decide to forgive him. But probably due to his religious brainwashing (he was homeschooled and came from another fundie church), he told several other people and from there it went out of control. Of course the fact that his fiancee is the daughter of a church “elder” played a big role too.

    Among mature people this would never have gone beyond him and his fiancee and maybe their families. To make a public spectacle out of such a thing is ridiculous. But it’s probably more about keeping everyone else in line – “do what we say or the same happens to you” – than punishing him

    • Karmakin

      My reading of it is that it’s less about the fooling around and more about that he was sexually intimate with his fiance before they were married.

      Which is even worse, in my mind. Personally, I’m of the opinion that waiting until after marriage for sex is bad bad news. Should find out if you’re compatible with your future partner before saying “I Do”.

      • poliltimmy

        I wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it either.

  • Anonymous

    Notice how they want a detailed list of his sexual “sins”. This is apparently very common in these cults. The Mormons are infamous for this – even with young teenagers.

    I wonder what they do with this stuff. Keep it as blackmail material? Furiously masturbate over it?

    • http://www.zazzle.com/atheist_tees The Godless Monster

      “I wonder what they do with this stuff. Keep it as blackmail material? Furiously masturbate over it? “

      My money’s on the latter.

      • Anonymous

        I totally jerked off to it. Fap for Jebus!

  • Nicolinesmits

    That’s how they do, you know. My sister told my mother (Not me, of course. Courage is not a requirement, apparently) that she couldn’t have too much contact with me because I’m not a believer. In fact, she and her family are really only supposed to interact socially with fellow church members, which would exclude my parents and my brother and his family (all church goers, but at different sects) as well.

  • http://twitter.com/Grrrowler Todd

    So when the church lost direct control over Andrew, they began manipulating the remaining “flock” in order to still hold some measure of control over him. From the beginning, this was my problem with organized religions, especially the Southern Baptist churches I went to as a child. It’s not about love and doing good deeds, it’s about power over people. If Andrew continues his belief in the Christian god and Jesus, I sincerely hope that he uses this episode to see the truth about churches like Mars Hill, move away from organized religion, and realize that faith shouldn’t be a public spectacle. 

    • chicago dyke, evolved outlaw

      i love that. “shouldn’t be a public spectacle.” damn skippy. i mean, they argue that i shouldn’t be kissing my girlfriend in public or getting married in a church, right? so yeah, they should keep their faith to themselves. quietly. 

    • 6uldvnt

      Every religion I’ve ever encountered, and I’ve encountered quited a few, is about power over other people. No organized religion is about charity or a particular deity. It’s about power.

  • http://cuterus.blogspot.com/ Palaverer

    This is almost word for word how the Jehovah’s Witnesses operate and what I went through right before leaving. But I’ll tell you, as little as they think of atheists, there is nothing NOTHING worse to them than an apostate, someone who leaves the JWs.

    • Anonymous

      That’s the same for every religion. Infidels are bad, but apostates and heretics are the worst of the worst.

      • poliltimmy

        Poliltimmy is a godless heathen! And loving it.

  • David Fairbanks

    I thought I was doing the right thing…  Sadly my course of action was a violation of the prime directive.  Even though I grew up seeing all the captains in Star Fleet violating it whenever they thought it was for the greater good, (Kirk, I’m looking at you.) I was still drummed out of Star Fleet Academy.  At least my fellow cadets still meet with me on occasion for a pint of Romulan Ale…

  • Colin Smith

    YES, props to the chair trick Amanda!  That meme still infects my mind, I know now why it’s used!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sabrina-Gover/556807606 Sabrina Gover

    That is the perfect example of an abusive situation. 

    • Anonymous

      Exactly! If this was happening in any other relationship, it would be recognized as controlling behaviour. But, damn, it’s the Church, so they’re doing God’s Work.

    • Anonymous

      Exactly! If this was happening in any other relationship, it would be recognized as controlling behaviour. But, damn, it’s the Church, so they’re doing God’s Work.

  • Anonymous

    Wow. This kind of manipulation is so vicious. I was shunned (not formally, just by leaders talking to my peers) because of a suspicion that I was sexually active. I was 14 and as virginal as can be. I hadn’t even kissed anyone yet. Two years later, my younger sister was kicked out of the same group (formally) for smoking. My parents are still blacklisted in the community. Only now, 17 years later, are my relatives from the area realizing the damage this church does. And several of my former friends do believe me now. The ones that have left the same church. Of course, I have yet to tell any of these people that I’m now an atheist.

  • Michael

    I find it interesting that Driscoll insists that homosexuals are effeminate in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. Seriously, John Wayne? Effeminate?

    He sounds very much like the man who doth protest too much…

    • Kenneth Dunlap

      My cousin was a 6’4′ biker with a complete jacket of tattoos who could, and looked like he could, carry a 10′ long 4×6 post in each hand and also had a deep baritone voice. Oh how he would laugh if someone was dumb enough to call him effeminate.

      • Michael

        So, does anyone else suspect that Driscoll is insisting that gay men must be effeminate because he’s scared that someone might question whether he himself is gay?

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

          … “might”?

    • Kenneth Dunlap

      My cousin was a 6’4′ biker with a complete jacket of tattoos who could, and looked like he could, carry a 10′ long 4×6 post in each hand and also had a deep baritone voice. Oh how he would laugh if someone was dumb enough to call him effeminate.

  • Gunstargreen

    Dammit this makes the Church of Scientology look like the boy scouts.

  • poliltimmy

    WOW! I associate pornography with Linda Lovelace and catholic priests.

  • TiltedHorizon

    “…you will also need to know this will not be our final communication
    as this is not an instance where you can walk away from the mess you
    have helped create and leave many issues unaddressed.”

    If you ever watch those documentaries about gangs you may be amazed by
    the amount of parallels that can be drawn. For example, if you list the
    known reasons why people join gangs they seems to mirror the motivations
    for becoming a churchgoer.

    - Some are drawn by parties, girls, & drugs (i.e. socialization)

    - Some are looking for a sense of respect or self worth.

    - Some find a feeling of caring and attention, Family

    - Acceptance by Peers

    - Some join for self protection (Or in the churchgoers view, protect from evil and damnation)

    - Some grow up in a neighborhood where it is almost a way of life.

    And just like a gang, when a person realizes that membership is not all it is cracked up to be:  “this is not an instance where you can walk away”.

    Creeeeepy…

    • Anonymous

      Except with these types of religious “gangs,” the motto is “Shame in – shame out.”

  • Glasofruix

    Wait wait, my brain fails to process the fact that grown ups who earn their own money have to listen to some idiot about their social frequentations….

    • Anonymous

      Yes, where do churchmembers sign a document that includes, “I absolve myself of all autonomy, independent thought and self-esteem”?  Although, I wouldn’t be surprised if such a document existed in some form at Mars Hill.

  • Greg

    Looks like Mars Hill is officially a cult.

    • http://www.facebook.com/eukota Darrell Ross

      This is what I was thinking while reading it. Driscoll is running a cult. Hopefully someone calls him out on it or something.

    • http://www.facebook.com/eukota Darrell Ross

      This is what I was thinking while reading it. Driscoll is running a cult. Hopefully someone calls him out on it or something.

  • Aaron Scoggin

    You know, if he has all of this information on paper and is confronted by anyone in public, he can legally file harassment charges against that person and/or the church. Unwanted repeated contact by any group is considered harassment. He can even get a restraining order against the church leader. 

    I’m not sure if you can file a restraining order against a group, though. Does anyone know about that? It might be the best way to go for him.

  • Aaron Scoggin

    You know, if he has all of this information on paper and is confronted by anyone in public, he can legally file harassment charges against that person and/or the church. Unwanted repeated contact by any group is considered harassment. He can even get a restraining order against the church leader. 

    I’m not sure if you can file a restraining order against a group, though. Does anyone know about that? It might be the best way to go for him.

    • Freak

      I was under the impression that a restraining order by A against B can enforced against people whose relation to A goes through B.  If so, then getting an order against the pastor may as well be one against the whole church.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

        When you have a restraining order, not only is contact between the two parties prohibited, neither party can use a third party as a go-between.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

        When you have a restraining order, not only is contact between the two parties prohibited, neither party can use a third party as a go-between.

    • barbara graham

      Depends…are they incorporated? Because corporations are people, so you should be able to get a TRO against one, right?

  • X001_995

    Thank you for painting all Christians with the same brush. Yes, we are all backwater, hypocritical, micromanaging, brain-washed authoritarians. All Christians are the same. All atheists are enlightened, decent, morally upstanding people. 

    Yeesh, you know, you try to just live your life and do good by everyone, and then you get dragged into the same net as the other lot. Thanks a lot, Amanda. I’d like to tell you that all Christians aren’t like this, but I think your mind is made up for you. Have a nice weekend. 

    • Marco Conti

      I must have missed the part where Amanda stated: 

      “and after reading of this event, you guys should know that all Christians act this way and not a single one of them thinks the behavior of this church is wrong and cruel”

      Or was that a dirty conscience speaking?

      What I read in the article is that a specific church leader is mentioned, a specific congregation is singled out and in several instances Amanda mentions that “many churches are insular” (so one would presume, not all) and finally I also noted that she explained that these kind of discipline measures are unusual for Church members while they are common for elders and other church leaders.

      At the end she does ask: ”
      How’s that for Christian love? ” which someone on a guilt trip may understand as “christian love as expressed by all Christians” but one can also interpret it as “how about the Christian love of these particular morons”.

      Please feel free to point out where this wide brush is. While you are at it, I would like to know what you think about the actual topic. Was the guy right in leaving his church over this? What about the elders cyber bullying him into submission. Would you as a Christian do that to a fellow christian?
      And answer one final question. Where is the church member asking to cast the first stone? Is this guy really the first one fooling around in the history of this sect? Knowing human nature, I wouldn’t believe it even if I saw it with my own eyes. I’ll bet money with your creator that plenty of elders sin, at least with their mind, several times a day.

    • Anonymous

      She didn’t say all Christians are like that. She generalized one single time – in the third paragraph. The rest is very specifically about Mars Hill and what they do there.

      But it’s also true that a lot of fundamentalist churches employ the very same control techniques. This kind of behavior is hardly unique to MH. You will find the same in Mormonism, Jehova’s Witnesses and other Calvinist churches for example.

      There are dozens of websites and blogs dedicated to spiritual abuse stemming from Evangelical and Calvinist theology. Apparently there are therapists who specialize in treating the victims of these churches. That alone should tell you that it’s a huge problem.

    • Anonymous

      So where are all of you non-backwater, non-hypocritical, non-micromanaging, non-brainwashed non-authoritarians when this stuff happens?  Where is the protest?  Where are the ministers going in front of their congregations and calling out Mark Driscoll?  Where are the articles condeming this behaviour?

      [crickets...]

      • chicago dyke, evolved outlaw

        exactly. i’m so sick and tired of xtians claiming that “they’re not like us.” yes, they are. they profess belief in a figure and that belief informs their behavior. just like all “Christians.” 

        • Anonymous

          In the public space, they’re quiet except the occasional “we’re not all like that”.  There’s never someone as prominent as the bozo in question publicly admonishing said bozo.  Which suggests to me that the people that “aren’t like that” are probably a minority.

        • Anonymous

          I wonder if those exasperations should be read like this: “the 90% of politicians are ruining things for the rest of us”.

        • 59 Norris

          Not sure what you mean here.  You seem to contradict yourself, but I’m sure that’s not the case.  It’s just that you say that Christians are just like you followed by an example of Christian profession of belief.  But then you don’t have faith (I think that’s fair to say).

          Anyway, if a Christian, or anyone, is making the case that you are somehow a differnt type of thing than they are, fundamentally and essentially speaking, then I would have to agree with you that they are wrong.

          • Anonymous

            “Not like us” is a quote. The “us” is spoken by liberal Christians

      • chicago dyke, evolved outlaw

        exactly. i’m so sick and tired of xtians claiming that “they’re not like us.” yes, they are. they profess belief in a figure and that belief informs their behavior. just like all “Christians.” 

      • Anonymous

        To be fair, there are several Christian websites that heavily criticize Driscoll and the whole church movement he stems from:

        http://thewartburgwatch.com/
        http://marshillrefuge.blogspot.com/
        http://freedom4captives.wordpress.com/
        http://rachelheldevans.com/
        http://matthewpaulturner.net/

        You can find more by googling “Mars Hill spiritual abuse” or following the links in their sidebars

        The latter site is the one that brought this to light first and contains several posts about it. The comments can get kind of annoying with people trying to find scriptural justifications for why this behavior is wrong and lots of talk about missing “grace” and other theological BS. But the comments are overwhelmingly and highly critical of what went on there. And there are people who manage to lay off the god-talk and just see it for what it is: abuse perpetrated by a cult

        Though I wish this would move beyond the internet into the “real world”. There need to be newspaper articles and TV reports about this stuff

      • Anonymous

        To be fair, there are several Christian websites that heavily criticize Driscoll and the whole church movement he stems from:

        http://thewartburgwatch.com/
        http://marshillrefuge.blogspot.com/
        http://freedom4captives.wordpress.com/
        http://rachelheldevans.com/
        http://matthewpaulturner.net/

        You can find more by googling “Mars Hill spiritual abuse” or following the links in their sidebars

        The latter site is the one that brought this to light first and contains several posts about it. The comments can get kind of annoying with people trying to find scriptural justifications for why this behavior is wrong and lots of talk about missing “grace” and other theological BS. But the comments are overwhelmingly and highly critical of what went on there. And there are people who manage to lay off the god-talk and just see it for what it is: abuse perpetrated by a cult

        Though I wish this would move beyond the internet into the “real world”. There need to be newspaper articles and TV reports about this stuff

      • NorDog

        Kirby, in all fairness, extreme fundie Protastant Christianity is like the Greek Hydra; cut of one head, two more grow back.

        A person could spend a lifetime protesting all the stuff coming from these groups and still not make a dent.

        I suspect most Christians pay little attention to the thousands of splinter fundie churches of which they are not members.  I only know about this because I come here.

        Having said that, I am exposed to people like this through business connections through my family and the behavior I see frequently is appalling.  One does what one can.
         
        I am tempted to say that such groups come very close to not really being Christian, but of course if I do that I’ll hear about the true Scotsman.

        To put it another way opposition to such groups neither begins nor ends with this type of behavior.  I disagree with almost everything they say.

        I won’t say everthing, because, well, maybe they do know the day of the week.

        Apparently the observations that this group is a cult are accurate, and the idea that a free person in a free society will be followed for disciplinary purposes after leaving a church is beyond creepy.  As has been mentioned, it reminds one of Scientology.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RZ5VEXJ3IYNGQBHI5APT4DETJI FSq

          Do you ever listen to your own words? Because dude, you have no concept of cohesion in argumentation, nor do you have a clue of logic or rationality.

          • 59 Norris

            Duly noted.

            Perhaps my argumentation improve if I employed a more frequent use of those exemplars of your logical rhetroic like “asswipe” “pieces of human excrement” and “vile turds”.

            Well, maybe not.  Besides, I wasn’t really presenting an argument so much as offering an observation.

            Really FSq, lighten up already.  Don’t let your hatred consume you.

            • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RZ5VEXJ3IYNGQBHI5APT4DETJI FSq

              Ya see, this is how you idiots operate. You try and use these blanket statements like “your hatred” and the classic “why are you so angry”…there are so many wonderful reasons to be angry and full of vile toward xians and apologists, and you know what asswipe, I am not ashamed of the anger toward your types. I would ask you, what do you hate humanity? Why are you angry with those that don’t follow your myths? Why do you hate LGBT? And if you give me the crappola of “love the sinner, hate the sin” bullshit, I will puke.

              You are not my friend. You advocate bigotry and discrimination. You actively and indirectly hurt the atheist community and the LGBT community, so nordog, screw you. You simple are not my friend, and until you can let the LGBT community have the same rights as everyone else and accept that atheists have as much right at the grown-ups table, you will remain my enemy. It is simple.

              • 59 Norris

                I’m afraid it’s too late, the hatred seems to have consumed you already .

                A pity.

                • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RZ5VEXJ3IYNGQBHI5APT4DETJI FSq

                  Ahhhh, you ol’ dog…tryin’ to go all passive aggressive and use a nice condescending tone….You sassy lil’ bastard!

                  So sad to see it in you, because you seem to have such potential…sad to see it go to waste…

                  (see how that works slappy?)

                • Nordog

                  I have a confession.  I see very little of anything you’ve ever written “that works”.

                • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RZ5VEXJ3IYNGQBHI5APT4DETJI FSq

                  Well, just go pray to your imaginary bearded sky-fairy and ask it for a little more cranial power and maybe you will get lucky. Then again, I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for a response from that thing in the sky…sad to see people talking to imaginary friends; I mean, that seems like mental illness and hallucination…

              • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

                FSq
                You know who I am, so if you call me any of the vulgar, inflammatory and childish things that you call Christians here just because they are Christians you’ll  make a fool of yourself, and you’ll show yourself to be completely out of control.

                I have appealed to you patiently and respectfully before, but you remain heedless. Stop this immediately. You have become as detrimental and deleterious to this website as any of the worst Christian trolls I’ve had the displeasure to encounter here over the years. Your hateful  bile is neither justified nor is it welcome here. “Friendly Atheist” doesn’t mean we have to make nice or be obsequious, but you are way, way over the top. Clean up your act or be banned.

                • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RZ5VEXJ3IYNGQBHI5APT4DETJI FSq

                  Richard, unless your name is Hemant, who are you to call on the banning.

                  Get over yourself. I do not apologize nor should I. I have nothing to apologize or change for. 

                  So do not take any type of paternalistic tone with me.

                • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

                  Hemant and I work together for the benefit of this site and the people who use it. He and I have agreed in the past on the issue of how to deal with trolls, and in extreme cases of abuse, have banned them. Your behavior is worse than some of the very few who have been banned.

                  I have not asked for, nor do I expect an apology. I expect you to stop abusing this site and the people who visit it.  There are other sites where you can get into disgusting venom-spitting contests to your heart’s content. If you do not like being spoken to in parental tones, stop acting like a spoiled child.

    • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

      Hi X001_995,
      I’m glad that you “try to just live your life and do good by everyone.” I do too. 

    • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

      Hi X001_995,
      I’m glad that you “try to just live your life and do good by everyone.” I do too. 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RZ5VEXJ3IYNGQBHI5APT4DETJI FSq

      You said:

      “Yes, we are all backwater, hypocritical, micromanaging, brain-washed authoritarians.”

      Your words, and yes, I agree with you.

      And this argument of “well, these people aren’t real xians” just falls flat. How many of these examples does it take until you “real xians” realize this IS normal xian behavior. Frankly, it has been my experience in this world that xians are among the least trustworthy people and some of the nastiest and most hypocritical asswipes around.

    • Anonymous

       oh, hey…the ‘No True Christian’ has finally showed up.  Was wondering when you’d get here.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RZ5VEXJ3IYNGQBHI5APT4DETJI FSq

    What scumbags. Seriously, what vile turds and miserable pieces of human excrement these “people” are.

  • NorDog

    Just logged on before running out the door, so I only scanned a few bits of this post, but, wow.  What depraved sickness I saw in those bits.

  • NorDog

    Just logged on before running out the door, so I only scanned a few bits of this post, but, wow.  What depraved sickness I saw in those bits.

  • Kirk

    I had not heard of Driscoll until recently when his “Little Boy Larry” video caught my attention. I already detailed my own opinion of his rhetoric: http://humandaddy.com/2012/01/21/at-home-dad-controversies/

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    From the featured Driscoll Facebook entry:

    So, what story do you have about the most effeminate anatomically male worship leader you’ve ever personally witnessed?

    What the hell is with this guy? Every time I read about him, he’s displaying his fascination, his obsession with the comparative lack of “masculinity” of other men, especially the competition, other “male worship leaders.” He’s gotta make sure everybody thinks he’s the Most Macho Minister?

    I wonder if he uses antlers in all of his decorating. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsRDfiVP4eM

    • Michael

      It reads to me that he wants everyone to think that he’s too macho to be gay.

      I could be wrong, but if he’s trying to make a different impression he’s going about it the wrong way.

      • Anonymous

        You’re not the first one to make that observation. Maybe not outright gay, but at least some degree of bisexual. It really reeks of projection and internalized homophobia

        • Michael

          He doesn’t even need to be non-heterosexual. Most 14 year olds want people to believe they’re not gay, why not the occasional immature adult?

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    From the featured Driscoll Facebook entry:

    So, what story do you have about the most effeminate anatomically male worship leader you’ve ever personally witnessed?

    What the hell is with this guy? Every time I read about him, he’s displaying his fascination, his obsession with the comparative lack of “masculinity” of other men, especially the competition, other “male worship leaders.” He’s gotta make sure everybody thinks he’s the Most Macho Minister?

    I wonder if he uses antlers in all of his decorating. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsRDfiVP4eM

  • Anonymous

    Christians are an army that shoots their own wounded.

    We left the church (by choice, not through discipline) and have been treated similarly.  It truly is a painful, hurtful, spiteful process.  It has been two years and my family is just starting to recover and get over the pain it caused.

  • MichaelnotTchristian

    Aaaaaaaaaaah, another one of the pleasures of Atheism….. Sex without the GUILT!

  • MichaelnotTchristian

    Aaaaaaaaaaah, another one of the pleasures of Atheism….. Sex without the GUILT!

  • http://twitter.com/happy_skeptic David

    Disgusting. Especially the “church discipline” letter outlining how church members can and can’t hang out with Andrew. If that isn’t enough to annihilate your faith (aside from the utter implausibility of theism), I don’t know what is. It’s tragic beyond words what these people are subjected to, and subject themselves to; and having come from that kind of religious background (fundamentalist Evangelical Calvinist, now thankfully liberated), it’s insanely prohibitive and oppressive, and the whole thing reeks of Stockhausen syndrome. You almost have to in order for any of it to work.

  • http://twitter.com/happy_skeptic David

    Disgusting. Especially the “church discipline” letter outlining how church members can and can’t hang out with Andrew. If that isn’t enough to annihilate your faith (aside from the utter implausibility of theism), I don’t know what is. It’s tragic beyond words what these people are subjected to, and subject themselves to; and having come from that kind of religious background (fundamentalist Evangelical Calvinist, now thankfully liberated), it’s insanely prohibitive and oppressive, and the whole thing reeks of Stockhausen syndrome. You almost have to in order for any of it to work.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

    It’s hard to believe this kind of church exists in the 21st century. It sounds like something out of The Scarlet Letter to me.

  • Sara W.

    It’s called ‘gatekeeping’ to control the other churchgoers, and it’s an established manipulation tactic. Just ask a victim of domestic abuse.

  • http://twitter.com/AnarchicWound Scotty Arncliffe

    sounds almost exactly like a cult, and eerily similiar to stuff i’ve heard about exiting scientology

  • Anonymous

    Frustrating. Troubling. Disconcerting.
    Sad. Frightening. I will freely admit that I underwent my own church
    discipline in 2000 at Overlake Christian Church and this story
    horrifyingly reminds me my own account, with much pain and trembling,
    even 12 years later. My heart BREAKS for Andrew. My flesh CRAWLS at
    reading this article. We are to be Jesus with skin on. We are to
    faithfully administer God’s GRACE in its various forms. Legalistic
    tarring and feathering of God’s chosen people, His royal priesthood, His
    holy nation, does NOT result in better community or better growth. It
    results in an impoverished church, a beleaguered sense of trust in God
    and the body of Christ, and cultivates a climate of fear-based worship
    where God’s children are walking on eggshells. I can only imagine what
    Andrew must feel right now. Andrew, I love you in Jesus’ Name. You are
    repentant, you have repented, and you are forgiven. I do not know you,
    I have never met you, but you are LOVED IN JESUS’ NAME. I am deeply
    proud of you for bringing your sin into the light, and for bringing Mars
    Hill’s leadership’s sin into the light as well. Knowing church
    discipline all too well, I can freely also admit that one sin that cost
    me my position of leadership, my community at the church, my connection
    to the body of Christ there, etc., also eventually lead to an even
    greater sin which cost me my freedom and sent me to prison. I do not
    blame my actions on the church or the leadership, but I will
    indefatigably say that there is an inexorable tie between the church
    discipline / excommunication I received from Overlake Christian Church,
    and my eventual crime. Do I wish I could take back my crime? Yes. But
    I also wish with all my heart that I could take back the church
    discipline I received, and replace it with something restorative like a
    warm hug. Alas, warm hugs are not mentioned in Scripture for those
    undergoing church discipline. And such a legalistic, grace-lacking
    approaches only send us further down the drain, with no hope of
    compassionate restoration. Wash your hands of us if you will, you
    beloved megachurches, and in the process so subsequently condemn
    yourselves as unloving, uncompassionate, and unbiblical. Jesus loves me
    the same that he does me, and that is my Amen, because truthfully I’d
    rather ALWAYS be the guy beating his chest, saying “God be merciful to
    me, a sinner” than be you.

  • http://winlb.wordpress.com/ ToonForever

    I know this is old, but I had to comment here after reading this. 

    What strikes me most is the claim in the letter that Andrew was “unrepentant.”  How utterly false.  He confessed specifically to the people he hurt with his unfaithfulness.  In the real world, without the invasive filter of a mind-control cult, that is all that’s owed.  The fiancee is owed a confession and the freedom to decide whether she wants anything further to do with him.  He owes the girl with whom he cheated the truth about their relationship and whatever appropriate explanation/apology about his motivations and intentions with her.  In short, he has to sort out his relationships, period.  They are not the business of anyone else.

    What the church is really blackballing him for is for not submitting to their overbearing mind-control methodology.  They want to shame him so severely, under the guise of love, that he will never behave outside of their specific rules of control again.

    I witnessed this sort of public shaming at my old church in Santa Cruz, years ago.  On one random Sunday, the pastor got up at the end of service before we closed out to specifically name several people who were “out of fellowship” and said that they were unrepentant and that we were to no longer associate with them or treat them as we do members, etc.

    I have witnessed their undeserved control in my own life – while I never did anything to warrant “discipline,” they required access into my life that severely crosses the boundary of reasonableness.  I regret having submitted to any of that and I commend Andrew on his repudiation of their draconian attempts at controlling him.


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