"Lance" is one of the primary sources for this week's story on Mars Hill Church. (He's the soft-spoken ex-military guy whose split from the church involved some of his "spiritual leaders" calling his girlfriend's father and threatening to call any future church he might attend to detail his "sins.")
Lance and I spent a little while strategizing how to protect his identity, but this afternoon he's waded into the comments thread with more details about his story.
Also: Only so many words can fit on a page of newsprint, and one of my regrets about this week's story was the lack of space to explore how and why the sources got so deeply involved in Mars Hill. Why would they join a church like that? Why would they stay? Why would they be so terrified of excommunication? The "contracts" that the discipline-cases are asked to sign are literally not worth the paper they're printed on—they're not contracts with God, they're contracts with human beings who claim to speak for God.
And so on. But Lance's comments (#102 in the thread), unmediated by me and the restrictions of print space, can give you a flavor:
To the readers – no one is perfect, at whichever point you condemn a person, you condemn yourself at the same point. the same goes in our court of laws with legal precidents. God has grace for all who sin and repent - even for those who don’t right away (our court system does not) Mars Hill does lots of good in the community, they support local business, they recycle, they donate huge quantities of money to food banks and other charitable organizations, and over all the point of their message is love – you just have to get past the strong punch lines and watch an entire series.
To fellow Christians – just as you would anyone else, encourage Mars Hill towards repentance, it is God's kindness and grace that leads men and women towards repentance. Not an Iron fist or slander, or libel, or gossip.
To my friends at Mars Hill – you know who I am, I love and miss you all, if I could still be there I would – we don’t leave a family when things go bad, we fix things. I am banned from Mars Hill and not allowed back without repentance. The specific thing I am called to repent for is not a sin, therefore I cannot repent of it. Remember Romans 2:17-29. I’m getting married, you are all invited, watch the mail.
Ok, let’s have some fun – I love comments! Mash it up everyone, I can take a beating.