If you are not watching the Mark Driscoll story, you should be. Here is why.


Update on Pastor Mark

If you are not following the Mark Driscoll resignation, you should be.

There was big story in Sunday involving Pastor Mark Driscoll.

Driscoll announced to his congregation by video that he will step down from being Pastor for 6 weeks while Mars Hill Elders investigate formal charges he abused his power.

The charges stem from 21 former pastors of Mars Hill Church that he abused his power.

It has been a tough summer for Driscoll and Mars Hill Church. Pastors have stepped down. Revelations of insults on a message board. Allegations of plagiarism. There has been a long list of issues well documented over the years of Mark Driscoll.

Now, some of you might be thinking that is just another blog on Mark Driscoll. Someone who is taking advantage of Driscoll’s demise. Or, you are not surprised by the story of abuse of the church and religion.

I would argue as while the story is about Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church, it’s actually about more. And for believers and non-believers, this is an important story to follow.

First, let’s look at the facts of the announcement.

It was a 17 minute video announcing his departure. Here is a portion of the quote from the video. Above is a link to it.

“I want to say to my Mars Hill family, past and present, I’m very sorry. I genuinely mean it. I’m very sorry for the times that I’ve been angry, short or insensitive. I’m very sorry for anything I’ve done to distract our mission by inviting criticism, controversy or negative media attention.”

“I have begun meeting with a professional team of mature Christians who provide wise counsel to help my maturity before God and men”.

” Storm clouds seem to be swirling around me more than ever in recent months, and I have given much thought and sought wise counsel as to why that is and what to do about it. Some have challenged aspects of my personality and leadership style, and while some of these challenges seem unfair, I have no problem admitting that I am deserving on some of those criticisms based on my past actions that I’m genuinely sorry for.”

At face value and first glance, this seems like a very sincere and genuine response. However upon some further examination, I think there are some very important things to consider.

First the actual process of investigation. This will be done by Mars Hill elders. I do not like this. I think there should be an independent and impartial review of this. Given the history of the issues, I would be very concerned having the church board investigating their own leadership. There can be a perception if bias. It is important to note that it has not only been Driscoll, but other Mars Hill Pastors accused of abuse of power. I would also be asking what this process of investigation involves. Who conducts and how is it conducted?

Second, and this may come across as a cheeky response to the “given much thought and sought wise counsel”. It is interesting to note that Mark Demoss, who worked on Mitt Romney’s Presidential Campaign was hired to work in a PR role with the congregation. Obviously, a significant and expensive hire. Clearly, Driscoll and Mars Hill have been thinking about the “storm clouds” and are prepared, or preparing a plan of response.

Third, this is very interesting. Mars Hill raised a total of $ 3 million, for a festival called the Jesus Festival. A festival that has been quietly cancelled.

An early look at the investigation, communication, and financial plan. I’m very concerned that this may handled in a fair, just manner. Not only for Driscoll, but the people he has hurt over the years.

That’s very sad. Because there is an opportunity here.

The sad fact of the matter is that as much focus as there been on such “sins” of homosexuality, or sex outside of wedlock, the church has had a deafening silence on one.

Spiritual Abuse.

Spiritual Abuse is not specifically a “Driscoll” issue. This has happened too many people by people in “spiritual authority”. Pastors, Priests, and other church leaders. They will use terms like Biblical, Spiritual, and Godly to ensure their followers comply with their beliefs. They will then threaten eternal damnation or personal separation from community for not.

In the meantime, the church has not spoke up. They have been silent. Or worse. They have brushed it under the rug. Using terms like “there is no perfect church, or perfect pastor” or “All you can do is pray for them” .

In the meantime, those who have been hurt sit in silence. Not being heard and concerns being ignored. Some sit in defeat in the church. Others leave faith all together.

This is the opportunity to say something. This is the opportunity to speak into that conversation.

Many of Driscoll’s defenders have reminded us about his gifts and contributions to the church community. They remind us of his gifted speaking style. His teaching. The gifts and talents are not up for debate. Let’s not forget how many “gifted and talented” leaders have abused people. There have been times victims of abuse are afraid to come forward because the leader is gifted. There is a fear that no one will believe the victim. Many times, the victims of spiritual abuse are not believed. This leads to another one.

This is the opportunity to actually discuss what spiritual abuse is. This the time to ask what are the signs, and triggers we should watch for the potential for abuse.

This is also the opportunity to watch how this is handled. This is a mega-church. They have lots of wealth, power and influence in the community. How they handle this issue will be telling to both victims of abuse, and quite frankly, abusers how this will be handled going forward.

Will the church in a position of power listen,and take these concerns seriously? Or, will it be another time when victims are silenced?

This is why this is worth watching.

Agree or Disagree: Cameras on Police Officers


Agree or Disagree: Cameras on Police Officers

I sense that there will be an instant reaction to this one.

The idea of installing Cameras on Police Officers is becoming a more common thought and discussion as time goes on. Some have suggested that it would help in what is going on in Ferguson right now. As well, some have already started.

The reason? The early study’s are suggesting it is preventing crime. I’ll let you read the link above as an example.

What do you think of this idea!

Agree or Disagree: The Ice Bucket Challenge has raised awareness for ALS


The History of the Ice Bucket Challenge

 

It has gone viral.

It has involved athletes, celebrities, and others.

This summer, people all over North America have had ice buckets of cold water poured over them

It is the Ice Bucket Challenge. The intent is to raise funds for ALS.

Above, is a link giving the history of the Ice Bucket Challenge. It was started by Pat Quinn, an ALS survivor. At first, this was not successful. Then his friends got involved, and well, everybody is doing it.

However, the question is if this has actually been effective in raising awareness for ALS? Before you say the answer is obvious, let’s look at a couple of things.

I’m not sure how you heard of the Ice Bucket Challenge, but I tell you how I did. I saw it on a sports highlight show. It was Seattle Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll getting dunked. Then others had it happen. And others. However, it took me several dunks before I was aware this was for ALS. I wonder how you heard about it.

However……

It had raised an incredible amount of funds. Particularly where they were last year. In the same space of July 29-August 16 2013,there were ALS fundraisers that were reporting between $20,000-$30,000. Now, many are reporting over $1, million dollars.

If you think about it, the concept is a good idea. Especially in the athletic world. Many organizations celebrate major wins or championships by dumping Gatorade on the winning coach. Plus, professional sports teams have been very conscious about their involvement in their local community. Let’s also not forget that ALS has also been called Lou Gehrig’s disease. Gehrig is a legendary baseball player that died of ALS

That still leaves the question on the fundraiser’s impact.

Has this helped you be aware of ALS? Do you identify with it? If you, or your family have ALS, has this opened the conversation about it?

1 in 5


1 in 5.

It’s been a number that has been ringing in my head this week.

1 in 5.

If you believe the statistics from the Canadian Mental Health Association,and there is no reason not too, 1in 5 Canadians suffer from some form of mental illness. Maybe it’s depression. Maybe it’s anxiety. Maybe it’s behaviour or substance abuse.

Let’s put this in perspective.

As you scroll down your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest feed, 1 in 5 people’s status could suffer from a mental illness.

Of the people that you might have an online debate with, 1 in 5 could be suffering from a mental illness.

When you are at work,1 in 5 of your colleagues could be suffering from a mental illness.

When you are at the bar or the pub, 1 in 5 of the crowd could be suffering from some sort of mental illness.

If you are a church goer, 1 in 5 people in your church could be suffering from a mental illness. This by the way, will include the pastor, the ushers and the worship band.

We were all impacted this week by the sudden death by Robin Williams. A very talented, gifted actor and comedian, with apparently from us on the outside, wax successful and rich. We were shocked to learn it was death by suicide. We expressed our condolences, reflected on his great movie’s and TV Shows and honoured his talent.

Then a blog was written by someone that angered, hurt and deeply offended many people about depression and suicide. You know who it is. I’m not going to talk about it, because it is not the point of this conversation.

There was debate about solutions, choices and options. There were also many posts about mental illness this week. Here were a couple of things that stuck with me.

The first on is that depression is not discriminatory. It can happen to any of us, no matter the social status. There were many comments about how money cannot buy you happiness. If that is your thought, then I highly suggest you educate yourself on mental illness.

The second one might make you feel uncomfortable.

It is estimated that there are approximately 3,500 death by suicides in Canada. That averages out to 9.5 a day. Let’s put this in perspective.

The day before Robin Williams passed, it was possible that up to 9 people died by suicide.

The day that Robin Williams passed, it was possible that up to 9 people died by suicide.

The day after Robin Williams passed, it was possible that up to 9 people died by suicide.

I have to ask if there was any moving tributes or thoughts about that on social media this week?

Something else. The Distress Centre reported that there was a 6-7 percent increase in calls from people considering suicide this week. On Tuesday, they reported 200 calls about considering suicide.

There could be a number of theories as to why that is. However, remember this.
The Distress Centre takes calls like this every day. 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Including Christmas. The day before Robin Williams passed. The day of Robin Williams passing. The day after Robin Williams passing.

They will also take calls on suicide when this story becomes a distant memory.

I’m not an expert on this topic at all. I’m learning and continuing to educate myself on this issue. The main thing I’m learning is that there is lots to learn. And as much as we can tell someone to cheer up pray more, eat better, or look on the bright side of live, I’m learning this issue is much more complex.

I do think that the conversation around this needs safety, security and respect. There was a time I brought the topic in this thread and it came off very offensive. For that, I’m sorry.

However, this leads me to some questions.

I’m wondering how does topic move from something that we talk about when this happens to a person of stature to reminding people to be aware that mental illness is a real daily issue?

I’m also wondering how we help people be aware of others. How do we remind people that there is more to us than what you see? And there is power in connecting?

I also wonder how us in the blogosphere can move this topic to a respectful, kind, open, dialogue?

How does the 1 in 5 continue to resonate with us?

Agree or Disagree: AMP Radio decision to change format to QuickHitz


AMP Radio made a very polarizing decision this week. They have decided to change their format from a Top 40 to a “QuickHitz”. QuickHitz, to put it simply, does not play the complete song. So, you will hear a part of one song, then you will go on to hear part of the next song.

The reason AMP Radio has made the decision is because they feel their listeners have a short attention span. They don’t actually listen to full songs.

Now, the Internet has seen lots of comments. However, the most outspoken critic has been Jann Arden. She has posted numerous Tweets expressing her anger of this decision. She even went so far as to ask AMP Radio to not play her songs anymore.

Her reason? While her opponents say it’s about her current relevance, her tweets clearly show that she has a concern with how disrespectful it is to the actual artists who create the music. The thousands of hours the musician spends on perfecting their craft. She feels that the QuickHitz format and AMP Radio is going to massacre the music industry.

There are two interesting things to consider in this discussion. The first is how people are actually listening to the radio. As well for that matter, watch TV. We do flip from channel to channel when we are not “in the mood” for something. If you look at your radio listening, you can determine if that is true or not.

The second part of this discussion is how we are listening to music. It seems that people are actually listening to the radio less. I, myself, simply download my music from ITunes. I can listen to what I want she I want. There are other options as well including satellite radio. Point being, there seems to be less interest in mainstream local radio.

So what do you think of AMP radio’s decision? Will it massacre the music industry?

Sent from my iPhone

Agree or Disagree: Accepting the Hook-Up Culture is Getting the 20-Somethings Nowhere


How the Hookup Culture has affected 20 somethings

The above article proposes that the current hookup culture has impacted the 20’s something in a negative light.

For those that are in their 20’s, what do you think of that?

For those that don’t know about hookup culture is. It is a culture that encourages casual sexual encounters and casual sexual relationships.

What do you think?

Agree or Disagree: The Podcast-A Christian who lived in Palestine


Agree or Disagree:The Podcast

Click the above link to listen.

Steven Britton, Agatha Smykot, and I speak with Chris Dittmann Chris lived in the West Bank and has a good perspective on what is going on in Palestine.

Topics include,
Chris gives us a history of Israel-Palestine. He admits his position is viewed contentious.
His perspective on the current situation.
His time in Palestine
Some suggestions of solutions
Who is Hamas? Can you be Pro-Palestine without supporting Hamas?
Israel’s response.
The challenges of being a Christian and supporting Palestine.
The current protests and why there are incidents.
The concept of Canadian Values
How do you get educated on the issues?

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