Ep. 362 Response to The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill, Episode 10

Ep. 362 Response to The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill, Episode 10

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Shows Main Idea – What would you do if Mark Driscoll was your pastor? You decide to stay in the church, but you’re opposed to the language, bullying, manipulation, and narcissism. How would you respond? Would you self-censor? Would you seek to be part of a redemptive effort to make a difference? Responding the right way to authoritarians is the topic of this episode from the Christianity Today podcast series, The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill.

Life Over Coffee · Ep. 362 Resopnse to the Rise and Fall of Mars Hill, Episode 10

Show Notes

You may want to read:

Episode Ten: The Bobby Knight Problem

My aim in working through these episodes is to help folks think through the church they attend, the leadership culture of their church, and, potentially, identify things that might not be apparent. I will not provide a “Monday morning play-by-play” critique. I hope you will gain personal insight through this review as well as applications to your teachers and the church you attend.

Episode Summary

This episode opened with a review of the fall of Ted Haggard into sexual sin. Mark Driscoll commented about his fall, saying that some women let themselves go, an implied accusation about the complicity of wives when men fall into sexual sin. Mike Cosper then interviewed Rose Swetman, a female “pastor” in Seattle, who set up a meeting with Mark and his friend, Lief Moi, to talk about Mark’s harsh, bullying, and sexual language. That meeting did not bear lasting fruit.

From there, Mike swung over to Indiana and spoke about the godlike status of Bobby Knight and the fallout and damage of his coaching antics. Though there were many subpoints in this episode, the major reason to connect Bobby Knight with Mark Driscoll was to make the point: the end justifies the means (or pragmatism). But two of the subpoints Mike made were about enabling an abuser versus speaking into his life.

  1. What would tempt a person to self-censor? For this question, I will give you eight reasons a person would enable the abuser by self-censoring.
  2. Secondly, if you choose to speak up, what is the process? I will lay out a strategy for speaking into the authoritarian’s life.

Self-censoring Enablers

1 – Cost: The enablers have a vested interest in the authoritarian staying in his position. They don’t want to do the hard work of trusting God to find a new job.

2 – Fear: They are afraid to say anything because of intimidation or retribution. Many people will choose the perceived path of least resistance because of their fear of the authoritarian.

3 – Unaffected: The abuse does not affect the enablers: out of sight, out of mind. It’s like hearing about tragedies on the other side of the country. We engage only after the tsunami rolls over our banks.

4 – Justification: They don’t want to see it. They justify or rationalize their consciences. Sometimes they blame the authoritarian’s actions on the victims.

5 – Normalize: After you desensitize your conscience through justifications, the behavior becomes normal.

6 – Pragmatism: It’s tempting to look at “all the good” that is happening and justify the process for these “good outcomes.

7 – Work: Anytime you speak into conflict, there will be a bigger conflict. Some folks look at the scale of the problem and what it would take to work through it and choose not to engage.

8 – Control: They work overtime doing damage control. It’s the “how can keep what I have while mitigating the damages that it’s causing” mindset.

Hold’em, Fold’em?

When it’s time to speak up, you must weigh each situation on its merits. Here are a few thoughts about how to engage the authoritarian in increasing order of intensity.

  1. Perhaps you can overlook the problem because it would be better to engage them at another time
  2. If you’re unsure, you will want to seek wise counsel. It’s not gossip to ask a competent friend about the matter.
  3. If you’re not afraid and the person can’t harm you, perhaps the initial wise approach is to meet with him.
  4. If you and others speak to the person and he refuses to change, you may need to exercise Matthew 18.
  5. If the person will not repent, you may have to leave the church.
  6. If the person is hurting someone else, you must speak into it.
  7. If the person is breaking the law you must report the person or organization.

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