This month marks 10 years of blogging. Nice to start the month with some favorable press over at Christianity Today.
Michelle Van Loon and Marlena Graves link to this blog in their story on whistleblower and watchdog blogs. In addition to this blog, they link to Wartburg Watch, Spiritual Sounding Board, Recovering Grace, and the blog of GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment).*
Van Loon speaks from personal experience of dealing with a cover up in a church. She sees the benefits of confronting obvious problems when others want to pretend nothing is wrong. Leader worship is a prominent aspect of why people in the pews don’t reflect more on the truth of the messages being delivered. Van Loon says:
When I see someone suggest those harboring hurt or suspicion toward the church are in sin, or that fellow believers would do best to ignore whistleblowers, my internal alarm sounds. Unquestioning allegiance to any earthly leader, even in the church, has proven in many cases hurtful rather than helpful.
Graves follow by highlighting the cost of speaking up.
When working for a Christian organization that many saw going in a troubling direction, we said something. We submitted our criticism, attended meetings, and talked to leaders at each level. Initially, we trusted the proper protocols and official channels set up to give and receive feedback. But not only did those in charge fail to address our concerns, they began enacting policies to punish those who spoke up.
Currently, insiders at Gospel for Asia are telling me that leaders are ordering the students and staff not to read my blog. Mark Driscoll called the blog information “shenanigans” and some Mars Hill leaders discouraged blog reading. David Barton regularly misrepresents me and my motivations to his audience. One mark of an insecure, and often controlling, organization is the use of sanctions to block members from learning opposing views.
In the cases of Mars Hill and GFA, those injunctions from leaders triggered many to read the blog anyway. Some stay away out of fear, but others find information that is being obscured from stakeholders/members by their leaders. For this reason alone, many bloggers perform a valuable function for the organization’s members.
* There are other blogs I would add to this list, particular this one: Wenatchee the Hatchet.
On June 30, this blog will turn 10. We should have a party.
There may be a few readers who are still with me and I hope to hear from them. Unfortunately in the move to Patheos, many of the old comments did not make the migration.
Initially, the main topic of interest was a defense of reorientation therapy, but it wasn’t long before I shifted to a vocal critic. Over the years, I have covered a variety of topics from voter fraud in Ohio to debunking bad history to more recently Mars Hill Church.
Starting this week, I will revisit some of the more popular posts from the first ten years. Through the summer I hope to bring out representative blasts from the past.
In the comments, I invite readers to name your favorite posts.
Hope you enjoy the party!
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Patheos is celebrating five years in business and to help out with the fun, I’ve been asked to post some highlights of my brief time here along with a video. Since I have only been on board since October 31, 2013, I have come late to the party but have picked out five posts and an honorable mention category to honorably mention.
I thought I would celebrate by remembering my first post, the most viewed post, the most “I can’t believe I’m reporting this” post, a post I hated to write, and the last post.
First post: Rick Green: 5,000 Likes On Facebook Could Trigger A Senate Run For David Barton (UPDATED) – I did several posts on David Barton’s flirtation with a primary challenge to Texas Senator John Cornyn. Despite Cornyn being quite conservative, the Texas tea party thought him soft on Obamacare, immigration and the national debt. Much to the dismay of comedians and columnists everywhere, Barton eventually decided not to run.
Most viewed post: A Former Mars Hill Pastor Speaks Out and Why Others Are Afraid: The Mars Hill Church Non-Disclosure Agreement – The various stories coming out of Mars Hill Church have been quite popular with readers. I have met some wounded brothers and sisters over the past several months. Former Mars Hill members and staff have begun to speak out and push the church leadership for reconciliation and healing of various offenses ranging back to at least 2007 for many and before that for others. More on this topic is available here.
The most “I can’t believe I’m reporting this” post: David Barton And Kenneth Copeland: PTSD Can Be Cured By Bible Verses And Rebuking Satan – The title says most of what is important about this one. On a Kenneth Copeland broadcast, Copeland said psychology and drugs were of no help to soldiers with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Rebuking the devil was offered as a cure. Barton agreed and added that just warriors shouldn’t have regrets which lead to PTSD. The Gospel Coalition’s Joe Carter called the advice “gospel destroying” and “demonic.”
A post I hated to write: Parliament Spokeswoman: Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill Has Passed (UPDATED) – Introduced initially in 2009, I fought Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill from the beginning. The saga of the bill which originally proposed the death penalty for same-sex affection of any kind became a global story with the world keeping watch on the nation of Uganda. Eventually, Uganda’s strong man president Yoweri Museveni decided the bill helped him politically in Uganda and in the face of a torrent of international pressure to scrap the matter, he agreed to support and sign the bill.
Last post: Mars Hill’s Board of Advisors and Accountability Hints at Secret Meetings – Besides this one, the last post was about Mars Hill Church’s Board of Advisors and Accountability. The BOAA has defended pastor Mark Driscoll and the other two executive elders despite multiple charge which have been filed. The latest post includes comments from the BOAA board chair.
An honorable mention goes to the Mark Driscoll plagiarism scandal – The month after I started at Patheos, I wrote my first post examining the accusations of plagiarism against Mark Driscoll. The first post evaluated the claims made by Janet Mefferd and the eventually I found many other instances of plagiarism in Driscoll’s books (see this handy chart for all of the citation errors I have found to date).
I have enjoyed blogging at Patheos and appreciate the hard working folks on the staff. Looking forward to the next five years!
Not all of the details are final but I should be fully moved to Patheos by sometime next week. The new address is here: http://188.8.131.52/
Some details remain. All of the comments are not yet showing up there; this will be accomplished soon. Some of the ancient embedded videos may not show up since they have been removed from their sources.
The comment system there is the Disqus system so to continue commenting you will need a free account with that service. You will get that information when you first begin to comment. Go ahead and try a comment there and see how it goes.
All of the links will still work and redirect the reader to the new location. All of the content will be there.
I want to say thanks to the dedicated folks at Patheos and elsewhere who have been working with me to make this happen.
I am looking forward to joining their group of diverse writers. Patheos offers a wealth of interesting content; I hope you will check out some of the other writers there. And by all means, keep pointing your browser my way