After Mars Hill, Step 1

I’ve been captivated by an ongoing podcast series called The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill, centered on pastor Mark Driscoll and the Seattle based, now defunct megachurch called Mars Hill.  The creator and host, Mike Cosper said that there would be 12 episodes in total; I’m writing this after the 6th.

I found myself in this story in unexpected ways – not as much in the wild ride that is Mark Driscoll – but more in the surrounding context that allow churches like Mars Hill to thrive and quietly ignore warning signs. If you haven’t heard the podcast, skip these posts because I won’t make much effort to summarize. Rather than simply “review” the podcast I decided to incorporate some of my personal church journey as well – and ask a few questions along the way.

What was your experience listening to this podcast series?

What parts of your story connected to this one?

Continue reading “After Mars Hill, Step 1”

The Connecting River

As she drives from Atlanta, away from a city church in the city lights, the darkness frames a distant memory: stars.  Not just the dippers, but “stars between stars, a virtual curtain of stardust upon which the larger constellations were hung.” She’s following these stars to a one-room white clapboard church where she will become its first female rector.  She’s also driving away from a certain striving – which it turns out, will follow her anywhere.

LeavingChurchThis beautiful book by Barbara Brown Taylor (BBT) offers a rare transparency from a person inside the clerical robes.  The countryside speaks to her faith. Its pages are full of spiritual honesty and earthy appreciation, as if Henri Nouwen were on a nature walk with Mary Oliver. Continue reading “The Connecting River”

Unbundling My Bias

“Let me first say that I am biased now and always will be,” Rob said, after I finally found the guts to call him.  It seemed safe to confide in him since he lived so far away.

I called hoping Rob would know how I felt – since he had also spent time in a close-knit Christian community that didn’t – on paper – approve of his daughter’s sexual orientation.  I was still in the early stages then, not yet talking locally about it but needing to know I wasn’t alone.

He did know how I felt, and talked me through it.  Continue reading “Unbundling My Bias”

Pleasing Others

I’m in the midst of a job change now after nearly 10 years, after somehow working my way into the Committed Club.  You know the Club, you’re probably in it too.  The Club is for people who go above and beyond, even when no one is looking, in order to please…. who exactly?

White Women, serigraph on paper, by Hannah Hislop
White Women, serigraph on paper, by Hannah Hislop

Even after giving notice, my manager is still pouring on the requests and I am still – still – trying dutifully to fulfill them, on my way out the door.  But instead of writing about his high expectations, I once again have to own this – this is me and now that it’s happened in two significant parts of my life, it’s clear that I am the common thread.

Yet another strand to unwind from this spool of yarn deconstructing all over my floor.

I did the same as a volunteer.  My organization of choice just happened to be the church. Now that we have attended a new church for a few months, Continue reading “Pleasing Others”