Years ago I had a former school mate invite me to a new and growing church group he was attending. We both have at various time attended the same church together. The last time didn’t create memories you want to retain.
It was what you would call a mega church waiting to happen. The long knives were out purging all those who weren’t will go make the mega vision happen. We both left. I was the one stupid person who believe it would pass and get better. After many would-be physiological knives in my back, gut and eye, I got the message.
A few years later I had just started getting into motorcycles and he was returning to riding too. I became that floater, or ghost rider. I was floating from church to church, not wanted to commit much time, money or too much emotional investment in the people who attended.
Later, I ran across my friend and he invited me to a new group he was fully plugged in with. It was Mars Hill Church. That name in itself alarmed me.
Having worked and interacted with elders, officers and members of that group for a few years in and out of the workplace, they stunned me. I found, not all, but many attendees of this group very in-your-face political, bad-mannered, and deceptive. I know those are broad generalities, but sometimes getting into specific just creates circular arguments. I’ve probably stepped into it with the generalities I’ve just tossed out.
Controversy after controversy rolled out of The Hill and also followed the lead pastor, Mark Driscoll. He’s been described as “an evangelical bad boy, a gifted orator, and charismatic leader and hip, yet hard-liner.” An issue I have with things that bleed Mars Hill is the “attitude,” and it’s a bad one. I’ve had a few unfortunate church experiences that made this group trip that sixth sense. So I stayed away, and bit my tongue every time I would have to deal with someone from this church at my job.
The issues are all over the news now; other groups distancing themselves, verbal abuse and even sometimes the indirect threat of physical bullying, several former pastors and members expressing public disagreement, domineering and intrusive leadership. I personally watched as some members left mentally crushed. Now the closings and layoffs have arrived.
Thedailybeast had this quote about Driscoll:
“He’s developed a reputation as a testosterone-oozing Calvinist bruiser who shouts down his congregation, swears from the pulpit and sometimes seems to think that if you’re not cut out for the locker room, you’re not cut out for heaven. If you’re a woman, you’d better make sure you keep your husband fed and serviced.”
I’m not sure if all that is accurate or fair, but it’s the impression that’s sometimes been given. How people have been treated to me, is a primary issue.
While as a youth, I had a large exposure to the Church and the Bible. However, today I grow more and more frustrated by would be identifying “Christians” that after midnight on Sunday, all Christianity seems to evaporate. Frankly, the label Christian anymore is embarrassing.
There’s a lot of good Church groups and good things happening, but I don’t know what to do about this other stuff that keeps finding its way to the doorstep. I don’t even look for it or ask for it to show. All I can do now is ride on past it all and not get sucked into the nonsense and similar happenings elsewhere.