Ugh. This sort of thing irritates me.
I’m not saying Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill as a whole haven’t blown it. Frankly, I haven’t been at a church yet where the leadership, in some sense, hasn’t blown it. I have personally been a member at a church with an international name for itself, and gotten squashed – squashed no less by people who were trying very hard to do the right thing. Ultimately, I got to the point where I concluded I couldn’t make the changes I thought should be made, and I couldn’t get any benefit to anybody by my staying there, unhappy. So I left.
But here’s the thing. I left in part because I determined that there was nothing I could do to make a difference in what I thought was a bad set-up. Now that I’ve been gone for a number of years, how much less can I make that change? I can’t. I can take a few notes and share them for people’s future reference. I can say, “this kind of behavior has this kind of effect. We should build churches this way and not that way.”
But there is no benefit to anybody in my saying, “thus and so church is a nasty place. It was nasty when I was there, and from what I hear it hasn’t gotten any better.” Who would be my audience? Current members of the church, who know more than I do? Potential fans? The governing body of the church? What am I, the Protestant police?
I get the irony of my criticizing somebody for talking about the root of bitterness. She’s obviously much closer to the situation she’s talking about than I am. But it isn’t working for me. There obviously ought to be people outside of a situation, who have the capital to address that situation without capitalizing on it. I just think that, if your biggest source of fame or notoriety is your negative opinion of somebody else, you might do well to find something else to talk about for a while.