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Monday, March 17, 2008

“Religion sucks.”

posted by on March 17 at 12:09 PM

My, my. So much religious intolerance on display in Belltown—someone alert Joel Connelly!

“We’re all about Jesus,” said [Pastor Tim] Gaydos, a 33-year-old Seattle native. “We’re not about religion. Religion sucks. … And this is not your mom’s or grandma’s church.”

What’s wrong with my mom and grandma’s church? Besides, of course, all the same stuff that’s wrong with Mars Hill? Anti-gay, sex-phobic, intolerant of other faiths, no female clergy, etc. Electric guitars, wireless mics, “goatees, jeans and hoodies” will obviously fool some of the people some of the time—and Seattle’s credulous daily papers all of the time—but sooner or later a big, fat sex scandal is going to catch up with sex-hatin’ Mars Hill. We’ve seen it time and time again: people that seek to dictate to others about their sex—from private sexual conduct to the sex of their chosen ministers—are invariably at war with their own sexual urges and desires.

Mars Hill, like Ken Hutcherson’s Antoich, is a sex scandal time bomb waiting to go off. Tick, tick, tick.

RSS icon Comments


Fundamentalist hipsters. Blecch.

Posted by Lola | March 17, 2008 12:27 PM

Pastor Tim GAYdos? You have to be kidding me??!! Dan, we have your Mars Hill Scandal!! I mean Gaydos???

Posted by Andrew | March 17, 2008 12:29 PM

Fundamentalist hipsters are the worst. They are why concentration camps should exist.

Posted by Mr. Poe | March 17, 2008 12:31 PM

Religion Poisons Everything.

Posted by Andy Christ | March 17, 2008 12:35 PM

Not a churchgoer myself, but if forced to choose, I'd go with my grandmother's church, thanks. Their sound system kind of sucks but they do lots of charitable work and the pastor's gay, too.

Posted by cdc | March 17, 2008 12:40 PM

Man, Mars Hill's attempts to seem cool are pretty pathetic. Especially considering that they're far from enlightened in their views. If the young hipsters going there want to find out what the real emergent church is like, check out Brian McLaren and work from there.

Posted by Gabriel | March 17, 2008 12:42 PM

Know what else pisses me off?

All the Christian programming on KIRO and KING on late night weekends. Must be the only city outside the Bible Belt that has religious programming on Saturday night. You know what I'm talking about, right? The Casey Treats, the Nerds for Jesus?

Pisses me off.

Posted by Bauhaus | March 17, 2008 12:56 PM

Gay or Straight sex scandal that is the real question. And the difference would probably matter to these people, Gay = fired, Straight = forgiven

Posted by vooodooo84 | March 17, 2008 12:57 PM

I take these kind of churches as a great sign for the future of secularism, because they show that Christianity in and of itself has a hard time being relevant to generations of young Americans. Churches have to turn to gimmicks like rock music, big screen TVs, and skate parks to attract young people.

Posted by dreamboatcaptain | March 17, 2008 1:03 PM

I am sure this is off topic but I had sex with an interm college pastor when I was going to school in Spokane. Really cute guy too, name was Kevin and he was a homophobe.

Just saying.

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | March 17, 2008 1:04 PM

@8: Not just that, but they've probably got a copy of the blame-the-woman play ready to go in the first quarter.

Posted by Greg | March 17, 2008 1:11 PM

I saw the Scientology protestors at the market on Saturday. It was amusing and from what I've read on livejournal, the point is to "take religions down one at a time" (whatever) but it would be interesting if the Scientology protestors were to walk a few more blocks north to the new location in Belltown. I'm no longer super into protesting (depending on the level of effectiveness) but I would join any protest of Mars Hill.

Posted by Kim | March 17, 2008 1:46 PM

Reminds me of the douchebags at City Church Chicago. These Bible-chuckers have some of the best YouTube video for unintentional comedy.

Posted by Jeff | March 17, 2008 2:05 PM

Okay, in all honesty, I can't believe how ignorant you have to be to call Mars Hill sex-phobic. Just come to the preaching on Song of Solomon next fall (or listen to the last bit they did of that book online) and you'll see they certainly don't shy away from the topic. It's enough to make mom and grandma pretty I'd say his comments are justified.

I think you don't understand what the point of the "religion sucks" comment is. Imposing your beliefs on others, generating long lists of dos and don'ts and suppressing the truth about how good the world is to pretend the church is full of good people-that pastors are perfect and once people become Christians they never struggle at all-that is what they are opposing when they speak against religion. I don't see why everyone all can't get behind that. The foremost thought of anti-religious Christian thinking is that God changes lives, not people or principles or institutions.

Posted by Mr. Joshua | March 17, 2008 2:11 PM

We understand it, Mr. Joshua.

Nothing "Christian" is above us. Everything is below us. You, Mr. Joshua, you are a believer. In other words, you are totally fucking whack in the head.

Go read a Bible. Breeder.

Posted by pencil riot | March 17, 2008 2:21 PM

There's no use in just waiting around-- if there's gonna be a sex scandal then somebody has to start one. Ready to "take one for the team", Dan? Or perhaps we should send in Agent Poe.

Posted by eclexia | March 17, 2008 2:31 PM

If we choose to reject pushing Christianity on people in the classroom, through politics and reactionary outrage a la Bill Donahue, is that not commendable? If we're trying to take the focus off the superiority of our system and our own wisdom but put it all on Jesus, is that not a departure from the brand of neo-conservatism and religious fundamentalism which has alienated so many?

Posted by Mr. Joshua | March 17, 2008 2:33 PM

Mr. Poe, do your duty!!!

Posted by scary tyler moore | March 17, 2008 2:38 PM

I'd take one for the team, but I'm almost as old as Dan, and not nearly as tall ;-)

Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay | March 17, 2008 3:01 PM

The UW Daily just published a glowing article about Mars Hill. Two full pages dedicated to sucking Driscoll's dick--two full pages!--and they were incapable of criticizing the church. The only offering:

"The role of women at Mars Hill has been controversial for years. Women are not allowed to be elders (pastors). Though they may serve as deacons who teach and serve in the ministry, they do not lead. In a 2003 debate with Robert Wall, a professor of Christian scriptures at Seattle Pacific University, Driscoll defended this position based on his interpretation of scripture.

“Many students attend Mars Hill and there is a community group in one of the dorms, but these are unofficial relations,” SPU student Heath Salzman said. “The theology of Mars Hill and their view on gender roles are in contention with those held by SPU.”

However, not everyone agrees there’s an issue.

“I feel very comfortable at Mars Hill,” UW senior Linnell Pitt said. “It is very biblical, really rooted in the Word, and I really like the music.”

Bullshit! It's time we reclaim our newspapers, our streets and our buildings. This is our city, and allowing these assholes to vomit their hateful sermons in an increasing number of places throughout our city gives license to queer and trans bashers. A friend of mine was gay bashed on Capitol Hill a week ago--where is our response? let's get organized, let's fight hateful churches, and let's win back our city!

Posted by tt | March 17, 2008 3:08 PM

Mr. Joshua, if you want to learn about the specifics of why The Stranger has a problem with Mars Hill, search the website for "Mars Hill" and you'll find plenty of reasons.

Posted by Gabriel | March 17, 2008 3:24 PM

Mr. Joshua, you and your ilk at Mars Hill are not any more progressive than Pat Robertson. In fact, you may be even more fundamentalist, given your views on women.

I am a Christian, so it's not about anti-god stuff for me. Mars Hill would never consider me a Christian, though, because I am gay. A practicing gay. Mars Hill theology is fundamentalist. Take away the unshaven-casual-roughneck-hipster facade, and you are Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell's compatriots. Case closed.

Posted by Lola | March 17, 2008 3:25 PM

Well said, Lola.

Posted by Gabriel | March 17, 2008 3:36 PM

Well, pardon my disillusionment. I had always perceived public rejection of the fundies as a result of their public behavior: pushing DOMA and carrying pictures of aborted children, forming Political Action Committees and forcing Christian morality down the throat of the public.

I hadn't realized at the heart of it was how they interpret the bible. In the end, it's not anything Mars Hill does that's the problem, it's what they believe. In other words, you don't find them offensive, you find the bible offensive.

Posted by Mr. Joshua | March 17, 2008 3:41 PM

Who can blame Mars Hill for any of its expansion actions--it's just a business localizing, going after, and nailing down the suckers. Throw in some leadership speak, hip music, latte stand, whatever-- and all the young impressionable types will flow in to fill the lonely void, and even hold their nose when they hear something that goes against their fiber. Sad, but true.

Posted by wowcommenta | March 17, 2008 3:43 PM

Sweet poor funny confused Joshie, I don't find the Bible offensive. I find your interpretation of the Bible.

Posted by Lola | March 17, 2008 3:47 PM

@24 the bible is offensive in a million different ways, or are you only choosing to read the "good" parts.

Posted by Justy | March 17, 2008 3:48 PM

Damn, I can't multi-task. I meant: I find your interpretation of the Bible offensive.

Posted by Lola | March 17, 2008 3:48 PM

If, when it comes down to it, it's simply our biblical interpretation that's different, I'm glad Mars Hill is against the religious vein, where without bigotry, condemnation or homophobia one can air and discuss those interpretations and the reasons for them. Granted, I can't imagine you would be accepted as a member if you fundamentally disagree with what they see as sexual sin (homosexual or otherwise).

Mars Hill is trying to push forth Jesus and not a moral or social agenda. That's what I hear every time I go. But I don't see it a point for anger and division any more than I feel a need to stomp out of a Presbyterian church when they baptise an infant or protest the southern baptist church because they think I'm sinning when I enjoy a beer.

Posted by Mr. Joshua | March 17, 2008 4:01 PM

would you speak up against the southern baptist church if they made enjoying a beer illegal? would you speak up against the presbyterians if they wouldn't let you get married because you don't believe in infant baptist? would you want a group in your neighborhood that believed being a christian was immoral and would damn you to hell, but they were willing to talk to you about how you were going to be damned to hell?

Posted by infrequent | March 17, 2008 4:06 PM

Exactly! When has Mars Hill made any public attempt against gay marriage or trying to force their religion down anyone's throat? Their convictions only affect how they run their church, they do a fairly good job of making no political gestures (their preaching pastor has said he always votes a write-in for Jesus...just so no one can make him take sides).

Posted by Mr. Joshua | March 17, 2008 4:12 PM

With all due respect, Joshua, it is a social agenda when your senior pastor tells congregants to have babies to fill the city up with believers (ha! those babies may very well end up rebelling, but that's another thing). And if it's all just-Jesus, well, as you know, he never said a thing about us gays.

You guys can be all fundie, but I guess what irks me is that you lure in young people with your hey, we-cool attitude, but underneath it's hey, we-fundies.

And I'm not only about being gay, but as a Bible-college survivor, I know that it is easy for straight people to write stuff like you did: "I'm glad Mars Hill is against the religious vein, where without bigotry, condemnation or homophobia one can air and discuss those interpretations..." If you're not gay, it's not a big deal, and you can talk about your 'without bigotry,' because it's not a threat to you. I am, and so it is.

Oh, and I'm not mad. Just sad, as in @25.

Posted by Lola | March 17, 2008 4:14 PM

Mr. Joshua

This is where you Christian fundy's loose me EVERY fucking time! As a recovering catholic let me set my beliefs straight.

I might get the verbatum wrong ... but "Jesus said to his disciples my father gave you 10 commandments, but I give you one. Love one another just like I have loved you."

I could go all day about the Beautitudes.
Stories such as the "good Samaritan" which I really wish they would change the name to the "good homosexual".
And the story of the prodigal sun.

Take the politics aside, and you have beautiful stories which tell you fundamentally how love and good will truely work. That goodness is its own reward, and how real people TRUELY treat each other.

Then you have these religious fanatics who drone on and on about how ONLY if you accept Christ as your TRUE savious will you be granted access into heaven.

And honestly, deep down inside, the vast majority of people realy really don't give a shit. It's either fuel so they can feel self righteous for their miseries or they use to justify their hate of people they disagree with. Because in the REAL world, the promise of heaven or hell does NOTHING to promonte nor deter the actions of human beings. Hell, I don't think Jesus verbally cursed or damned ANYONE to hell, it wasn't until revalations do you get back into the punative god.

Jews seemed to believe loyalty to god would be rewarded in this life only ... remmeber Jobe.

And as for comparing sex in antiquity vs. sex in modern times .... don't get me started.

Posted by OR Matt | March 17, 2008 4:17 PM

@31, oh, so you are saying that you are in favor of legalizing gay marriage? as is the vast majority of mars hill?

Posted by infrequent | March 17, 2008 4:23 PM

From the linked PI article:

'The condom dispenser is now a diaper-changing station.

"It's amazing how God can change things," said...'

It's a miracle!

Posted by umvue | March 17, 2008 4:28 PM

well, if you take out the condom dispenser you might need a diaper-changing station to replace it.

Posted by infrequent | March 17, 2008 4:30 PM

One more thing, Joshua, and I really must get to work. I don't think it is impressive at all to have the minister say, "I always put Jesus as my write-in vote." Young people already are the lamest group of voters--they need leaders to model poor citizenship as well?

Not your fault, J, but that kind of civics leadership is partially why we have such lame-ass politicians.

Posted by Lola | March 17, 2008 4:31 PM

If religion sucks, then Hipster religion sucks donkies!

Posted by dontfuckwiththejesus | March 17, 2008 4:36 PM

here's my one more thing. it's bad enough to try to make christianity "cool", but to choose the belltown as your definition of cool, and then to exclude people who don't fit it... that's pretty lame. define your church by your love, not your three-year old fashion sense and use of dark wood.

oh, and that you drink beer does not make you any hipper, either.

okay, i got that off my chest.

Posted by infrequent | March 17, 2008 4:36 PM

I frequently like your posts, infrequent.

Posted by Lola | March 17, 2008 4:38 PM

Give me the Rev. Fred Phelps over Mars Hill any day. Phelps and his ilk are loathsome, but are at least honest about their hatefulness, and don't try to sugarcoat it or cover it up with tattoos and trendy clothes. A lot of the media attention, protests, and ire are directed at extremist groups like Phelps, but I find places like Mars Hill to be a lot more insidious and threatening.

Posted by Nicole | March 17, 2008 5:28 PM

This got pretty thoroughly ridiculous pretty quickly. Mars Hill hires young graphic designers and musicians to hoodwink young people into becoming fundamentalists! And Disney is brain-washing our children with subliminal messages to advance the homosexual agenda.

And I never claimed to be hip, that is a pure fabrication.

And Jesus talked about Hell all the time. And he defends his right to condemn people to Hell.

I don't claim sensitivity to all offensive matters. I do know Mars Hill never picks on homosexuality apart from any other sexual sins.

This is like high school, "you think you're cool but you're not." I have no idea why their "attempts" to be "hip" are so threatening. It's as if you imagine some forty year old worship pastor came in from the midwest and did his best to mimic Seattle's music scene. What if people in that music scene came to be Christians at Mars Hill and now are members of a worship team? What if their art and their website and their posters are actually done by members of the church who do that for a living?

It seems like calling it a "hipster" church is just a red herring. Is that really what you honestly care about? Does that not strike you as utterly bizarre? It's like you're on the side of the King James-only fundamentalists holed up in Idaho awaiting the apocalypse and denouncing the use of instruments other than the harp, drum, flute and lyre found in the Psalms.

Posted by Mr. Joshua | March 17, 2008 5:45 PM

And Jesus talked about Hell all the time. And he defends his right to condemn people to Hell.

This just shows how little you understand the text you claim as the ideological basis for your chosen belief-system Mr. Joshua.

Jesus NEVER spoke of "hell" as the term has come to be understand in first the Catholic, and later Protestant doctrinal idioms. Instead, the original Greek translations of Peter, Paul, et al refer to "Gehenna" or "Hades", both concepts familiar to Greeks and their contemporaries at the beginning of the Common Era. It wasn't until James II radical English-language transliteration of the Bible that the Catholic concept of "hell" was inserted into the text in the place of these earlier denotations.

Hades was of course a purely mythological construct, and one very different from the "hell" conceptualized by early Catholics. Likewise, "Gehenna" was probably transliterated from an actual place name, a valley located near Jerusalem, where all manner of unfortunate and painful incidents were said to have befallen its inhabitants, thus making the name synonymous with physical torment, evil deeds, and bad luck. Both of these would have been well known to listeners at The Sermon On the Mount, for example, and would not in any way, shape or form, have been misconscrued as referring to some "pit of fire and brimstone where demons eternally tormented the wicked, the blasphemers, and the heretics".

I would suggest you pick up some copies of the Cambridge Bible Commentary publication series for some good scholarly analyses of these and the myriad of other similar malapropisms. Likewise, Samuel G. Dawson has written extensively on this, and other misapplications of biblical interpretation. Check out his works, "How To Study The Bible" and "The Teaching of Jesus", if you want to TRULY understand your so-called "sacred text", because it's pretty clear you don't know nearly as much as you, and presumably many of your fellow travelers, THINK you do.

Posted by COMTE | March 17, 2008 6:47 PM

Dan, you are so right about the ticking time bomb with "the Rev Hutch". I have been following the Mt Si High School issue, and Rev Hutch comes across as a complete homophobe, the kind that end up being self-hating homos. I just look at Rev Haggard, etc., to see the connection. I bet Antioch Bible Church will explode with a sex scandal BEFORE Mars Church does, anyone game?

Posted by I Love IPA | March 17, 2008 6:49 PM

I don't know if you'll even go back to this comment thread, but:

I can't seem to find either "How to Study the Bible" or "The Teaching of Jesus" by Samuel G. Dawson on Half or Amazon.

Secondly, I know the term "gehenna" both from my own study of the greek text and from hearing it from, well, Mark Driscoll. That said, here is one passage containing that term:

And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, then hauing two eyes, to be cast into helfire: Where their worme dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
Mark 9:47-48 KJV-1611

So, certainly this might be ambiguous as to whether Jesus is in fact applying "Gehenna" the place as an analogy to conscious eternal damnation. Nevertheless, it bears much similarity to this passage:

Then shall he say also vnto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into euerlasting fire, prepared for the deuill and his angels.
And these shall goe away into euerlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternall.
Matthew 25:41,46 KJV-1611

Now, in the Sheep and the Goats passage, the sheep "inherit the kingdom prepared for [them] from the foundation of the world," akin to "entering the kingdom of God with one eye." Also, their is the similarity between "euerlasting fire" and "their fire is not quenched." And so, it would seem from the parallelism, since "euerlasting fire" is also "euerlasting punishment" gehenna in the passage from the sermon on the mount is a metaphor for conscious eternal torment.

Pardon the odd spelling of the KJV-1611. I just figured we mentioned that translation, so I might as well use it.

Oh, and, according to my Liddel and Scott, and it seems that "euerlasting" (αιωνιος) means "perpetual" or "eternal." So, that seems to be what it means.

Maybe you could give me your thoughts, and maybe send me a link to somewhere I could find those Dawson books.

Posted by Mr. Joshua | March 18, 2008 1:43 AM

Their attempt to look "hip" reminds me of when the Catholic Church allowed guitar music during mass. Like lipstick on a pig.

Posted by Heather | March 18, 2008 6:12 AM

Arguments about Jesus always amuse me since I don't believe he ever existed.

Posted by Johnny | March 18, 2008 7:58 AM

@47,are you begging to burn in Huell? (Spelling from the King James version).

Posted by lawrence clark | March 18, 2008 8:37 AM

thank you lola!

you still didn't answer my question, joshua. you write, "I don't claim sensitivity to all offensive matters. I do know Mars Hill never picks on homosexuality apart from any other sexual sins."

are you in favor of legalizing gay marriage, then? and is the vast majority of the mars hill populace in favor of gay marriage? or do they, in fact, pick on homosexuality more than other sins?

Posted by infrequent | March 18, 2008 8:48 AM

oh, mr. joshua. ever tried googling? sheesh.

his book is very reasonably priced at $16.95.

Posted by scary tyler moore | March 18, 2008 9:09 AM

Okay, so I feel like such an idiot for assuming I would find the books on amazon (and if not, I must be unable to speull).

How on earth would I know whether or not people are in favor of gay marriage? We enver take a vote. There's no contract to sign. They never say anything about how to vote from the pulpit. I think Mars Hill is fairly politically diverse, based on the people I've talked to. This is clearly and explicitly taught: Jesus changes people, not the government. Change starts in the heart, and only God can really change that. Anyone at Mars Hill who hopes to make people Christians by making them moral are as deaf to the preaching as the guys who still think it's okay to sleep with their girlfriends.

But, in the end, I really don't know where they all would stand. People I know are a mixed bag.

Posted by Mr. Joshua | March 18, 2008 9:38 AM

You're a fucking idiot, Mr. Joshua.

That is all.

Posted by Mr. Poe | March 18, 2008 9:52 AM

are you in favor of gay marriage? i can only infer yes by your continued refusal to answer the question.

and if you were being honest, you'd acknowledge that most people are mars hill are not in favor of gay marriage.

Posted by infrequent | March 18, 2008 10:01 AM

Religion fails modern times and contributes to the welfare state because it forces people to make babies while they are too young to afford them. Thus contributing to a welfare state. The church would rather have ignorant uneducated families of 9 than a stable working family of four.

Modern sexuality is IMPORTANT for modern society because with technological advances and greater expectations of the productive worker in society, he is expected to go through at least 4 to 10 plus years of education and experience BEFORE he/she is able to care of themselves let alone anyone else or a family. So human beings are cursed with the urge to reproduce and we use our birth control to allow us the time to become worthwhile to society.

Otherwise, more and more welfare babies. People like Pat Robertson would rather the planet die and choke from its waste of natural resources, with no one learning how to steward it, or learning how to harvest it more efficiently.

Sex and marriage also in antiquity was more about ... well property. Wife was property, and how you garantee that your offspring was truely your own, by buying yourself a virgin (one who is too young for childbirth) who is sold on the idea that virginity is sacred. Then you have heirs ... although as a male, if sex was that important to you, you spent enough time in the whore house to get by. Mind you this was ALL before the advent of the paternity test. Nobody ever claimed that Jesus was a virgin (although every one had their fingers crossed on that one).

Religion seems to work well enough when you are young, or when you are married, but fails ABYSMALLY in the space inbetween. In fact it pushes you to fall into one of the two catagories. If you are not a child, and you an adult not married, then you are kind of the oddball in the community. What do you say to that Mr. Joshua?

Maybe Jesus was gay, and Mary Magdeline was his fag hag.

Posted by OR Matt | March 18, 2008 10:05 AM

TYPO: i can only infer "NO"!!! ah!, stupid mistake. you get the idea.

Posted by infrequent | March 18, 2008 10:06 AM

There is nothing good about Christians. All of you are nothing but talk. All of your "Change starts from the heart" garbage is crap. You are no different than the Nazi party. You are all cowards and pussies who find the smallest possible minority group, the gays, and declare war on them. Why don't you pussies pick fights with other religions or minority groups. Because you know that you will get your asses kicked. A Christian is like a fat bully who finds the smallest possible person to beat up. Face are all deluded idiots who worship some annoying carpenter who pissed everybody off. I mean, Jesus could have been pushed off a cliff and killed instantly. But the guy was so annoying that people wanted to nail him up like a poster. Since that time....all Christians follow his annoying ways.

Posted by ------ | March 18, 2008 10:44 AM

mr. joshua,

if you wanted to say something surprising about yourself, you should not mention that you drink beer. you should mention that you are in favor of gay marriage. though you still might not get respect from everyone here, at least you might not get as much ridicule. by saying you like beer, you are trying to show that you are liberal, and that you are like "us". maybe others at mars hill have tattoos, or drive mopeds. but that is not all that make us who we are: those are but trite externals. not only that, it reeks of the desire to be accepted, and cheapens what you are supposed to be: set apart.

so even though i didn't get your answer about gay marriage, i'll get to the punch-line:

1) gays. you say you treat acting on gay tendencies like other sexual sins, but you do not. this is evidenced by your anti-gay-marriage view. why shouldn't gay marriage be okay? there are only two reasons: A) you are in favor of a theocracy (which is the exact definition of pushing your beliefs on others) and/or B) you think that a gay family is harmful to society (which is bigoted, unproven and just plain wrong). finally, think about a young homosexual growing up at mars hill. what are they going to be told about themselves?

2) women. when a church teaches that a woman cannot be a leader, the congregation gets the message. the surprising result is that such people are far less likely to think a woman can be a leader. bad enough inside the church, there are often effects outside of that church as well. for instance, it is easy to jump to the conclusion that clinton (or any woman) is not suited to be president because women do not have the traits necessary to be a leader. not to mention that roles are now assigned to both men and women. driscoll makes no bones about what it means to be a man and to be a woman. well, what happens when you don't fit that profile, and don't want to?

3) hip. i'm not sure anyone would argue the church should be known as hip. it's a common human trait to want to be liked, so i won't be too harsh. but it's a wolf-in-sheeps-clothing approach. to be hip isn't a facade, there is something of a substance behind it. part of that substance is holding to a modern belief system, which mars hill does not (see 1 and 2 above). not only that, but when you try to be hip you alienate people who are not hip -- people that presumably your faith should motivate you to love. finally, the hip you embrace is but an approximation of hip, a cheap copy. i remember the early mars hill, embracing local (drunken, sex-crazed) musicians and benefiting from their image, promoting arts and discussion. but since then, the focus never grew. it's the same musicians, the same music. instead of leading, and offering something new, it has become a rehashing, and a copy of what surrounds it.

but, hey, you drink beer.

-geoffrey infrequent

Posted by infrequent | March 18, 2008 1:30 PM

Marry me, Geoffrey. Oh wait, I'm gay.

Posted by Lola | March 18, 2008 4:01 PM

Apparently I've been rather unclear. I'd have to say I'm pro gay marriage. Or at the very least ambivalent.

Everyone I've talked to about the subject has been either ambivalent or in favor, but I can only assume not EVERYONE is in favor, but the conversation doesn't come up often.

Sorry for using beer as an analogy. I thought the whole, "Drinking beer makes you cool" thing was a little too high school for anyone to assume that's why I used that analogy. I guess I just couldn't think of a better one. Perhaps Mr. Poe is right, and I am a fucking idiot, seeing as I seem utterly unable to articulate any point.

I probably shouldn't say fucking, because it would probably just be more ammunition to the, "you're trying to be cool but you're not" argument.

Anyways, I probably deserve to get ripped a new one. It was arrogant on my part to think I was adding anything by contributing my opinion. I had always thought the appearance of "hip" was simply the people doing what they like. I thought people in the church often got tattoos before they were part of the church. Who knew all along it was a sinister deceptive conspiracy?

Posted by Mr. Joshua | March 18, 2008 6:09 PM

the old testament says tattoos are a sin and you are so fucked if you have one! why isn't mark driscoll going after his tattooed congregation? it's as big a sin as pole smoking, according to the old testament. if you're gonna believe one verse, honey, you gotta believe alla 'em. no pickin' and choosin'!

Posted by scary tyler moore | March 18, 2008 6:50 PM

@60 but piercings are ok. I think Abrahams wife had a nose piercing ... or something. You can't get buried in a jewish cemetary if you have tattoos.

Posted by OR Matt | March 18, 2008 8:26 PM

Maybe the bible is like the TSA flight manual, enforse the flight rules in an arbitrary way depending on the day ....

Posted by OR Matt | March 18, 2008 8:28 PM

i'm not sure why i'm still commenting. i think i made my point as well as i possible could in the previous post. but you succeeded in rubbing me the wrong way, so...

apparently you've been unclear? yes, despite me asking at point blank range, you did not answer. twice. the biggest problem with fundamentalists is that they want to force their morality on others (theocracy), but until just now you would not answer the direct question about that. and despite your answer, i tend to think most as mars hill are not in favor of gay-marriage, and that most of the leadership would also not been in favor of it.

so quit your passive-aggressive portrayal as the victim. it's annoying, unproductive, and unwarranted. (and unbiblical, as i don't think it demonstrates love, turning the other cheek, or helpful in building others up according to their needs.)

i'm glad you would be pro-gay marriage. i'm not sure why you'd be ambivalent about it. (why? because there's a little bit of you that does want to impose your religion on others? or maybe because the stranger forums are not very nice to you?)

your first post said you'd have to be ignorant to consider mars hill sex-phobic. it is sex-phobic. it's okay. embrace it. christianity is by nature sex-phobic. it is sin-phobic, and much of sex is sin. premarital sex. homosexual sex. group sex. etc... and this is despite the fact that they will talk openly about one type of sex under a certain set of circumstances. trying to be "sex positive" is another way in which mars hill is creating a facade; saying one thing that is understood culturally, but meaning something else. sex positive can mean abstinence until marriage, and then one partner for life. but it can also mean much that falls outside of that narrow definition.

and that's why it keeps coming back to being hip. what gives with the "religion sucks" comments? see, that's yet another example of trying to be cool. it's just a re-branding of the same religious faith, while devaluing other's religion. it's a straw man. you say, look what religion was! we are not that! but you are, you are that.

and just like the crude language, it serves to illustrate what? that you allow the world to set some standards for you, but not others? that you base some of your morality on the bible, but choose where it does not apply? under the guise of being culturally sensitive you pick and choose which small compromises will make your brand most appealing despite the firm conviction that the bigotry is unalterable.

yeah, i remember the first time i heard my youth pastor swear. i remember how cool i thought it was, then. as we listened to christian rock trying to hard to be secular.

Posted by infrequent | March 18, 2008 9:09 PM

This is getting old, I know, but I have officially transferred the angst this topic has given me into simply becoming your fan, Infrequent. What a wonderful writer you are. Thank you for commenting.

Posted by Lola | March 19, 2008 9:48 AM

Okay, now that I'm less sleep deprived, I'll weigh in my final thoughts:

Essentially, you seem to be saying, "if you accept any of our music/comedy/art you must accept all of our values." Well, no. Sorry. If you'd rather Christians quarantine themselves from the bands and the food and the places you like to go until they die out, we're not going to. If you think the motivation of being "accessible" is wrong, you're forgetting "accessible" is generally the same as "interesting." If you rather we weren't, too bad.

Sex-negative implies we think sex is evil or shameful or just a tool to procreate (and not to be enjoyed!). But we don't. Are you trying to say we're sex negative because we think adultery, pre-marital sex, polyamory, homosexuality, incest, bestiality, rape, and pedophilia are wrong when you only think rape, incest, bestiality and pedophilia are wrong? If it's about whose list is longer, "sex positive" is really just marketing and doesn't actually mean anything. Otherwise the pedophiles and the bestial take the cake.

People in Mexico say, "Chingado" all the time. People in, say, Guatemala would find that offensive, but in Mexico it's more a think of context. So, if you're talking to someone in Mexico, you don't need to speak in a way that's polite in Guatemalan culture. It's what you say, not how you say it.

Christians being uptight about alcohol is a 150 year old phenomenon. Ben Franklin says beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy. John Calvin had a massive stipend of wine for the purpose of entertaining. I have no doubt Martin Luther drank and the bible says:
You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man's heart.
Psalms 104:14-15 ESV
You may accuse me of mentioning it to shock or astonish or try to be "hip," but what do you know about it? So shut up.

So, my original hope was to show that the opposition to "religion" by Christians is very much in accord with (some of) what you hate in Christianity. At the heart of it, the way we see "religion" is the efforts of people to please God. So where the Westboro Baptist church says God is punishing us with Hurricane Katrina and the War in Iraq for homosexuality, where fundamentalist Islam believes we will find peace when the whole world is united under sharia law, where "Christian" fundies think once we ban gay marriage and abortion and get a "Christian" in the White House to make our nation "Christian" and there is no more drinking or dancing or "secular" music God will be pleased with us, we utterly reject all of it. There is no moral code or system of worship or act of inward or outward piety which can please God and bring peace to this Earth. We cannot please God without Faith. The only person with who lived morally, whose worship and obedience to God was pleasing, who really did love God and His neighbor was Jesus. Through faith in Jesus we are joined to Jesus and become one with Him, His righteousness becoming our righteousness and His death being the full punishment for the utter and active failure of our lives. Beyond that, we ought to live as is fitting as those joined to Christ and that is the fullness of Christian "morality."

All efforts to transform the world through politics, ethics and morality - to make people who aren't Christians live like Christians so God will be pleased with us and we will do well is just utter arrogance. Christians devoid of religion ought to live to love and serve and do as Jesus would for the people around them. To as a Christian hope to transform people without Jesus is to in pride claim to have been transformed by ourselves and not Jesus. In the end, our only hope to transform the world is not advancing Christianity but advancing Jesus. And it is only when He comes back and personally rules as benevolent monarch over the whole earth that there will be peace. That is what we oppose when we oppose Religion.

The claim of the Belltown campus is that they are there to love and serve the community. While they may believe different things about the world and use alcohol and sex differently from the people around them, there aim is loving and serving. If you think they can do that better (without compromising their beliefs or their convictions about how to live) let them know.

You might be unimpressed with everything I've said, but I hope I've said it clearly. I will simply leave off with the Church's answer to the question of what is the "Christian" way to live (at that time, and argument about circumcision).

Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brothers, with the following letter: "The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the brothers who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings. Since we have heard that some persons have gone out from us and troubled you with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions, it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell."
Acts 15:22-29 ESV

Posted by Mr. Joshua | March 19, 2008 1:23 PM

lola, thank you for your kind words. maybe that's encouraging me too much to reply. and i keep waiting for when i alienate you! oh well. is this discourse worth continuing? i honestly think you said it best @1 and @2. i just used more words in an attempt to clarify that sentiment. but everything is right there.

you used a straw-man argument, i did not say that. what i said is that you pretend to be a part of the culture by appearance but miss the heart of it. it's like you're dressed like a soccer player, you've got the jersey, the shorts, even shin guards and cleats. but you don't play soccer. not everyone in the culture has to be the same. different jerseys. maybe some play without shin guards. but if you don't play soccer, you aren't are soccer player. it's not bad that you like the uniform -- it's rather comfortable. the annoying part is when you brag about the uniform, and not the sport you are playing. such bragging seen from mars hill includes, "religion sucks!" "beer is rad!" "tattoos rock!" "we rock!" why is mars hill known as the hip church, not the loving church? you want everything that is fun about the culture that you can possibly get away with or rationalize in an attempt to seem "normal" and be accepted, and not set apart. the point isn't that you have to have all of it, but you have to have the core of it. and if you don't have the core, pretending you are a part of it is dishonest.

you have illustrated how you are sex-negative better than i could have. you have done the fundamentalist trick of equating homosexuality with bestiality, rape and incest. you are making my head-spin! if what you say is true, why would you be pro-gay-marriage? it's not marketing. we say morality is determined by consenting adults, that your rights extend as far as mine, but cannot violate mine. you say morality comes from your interpretation of the bible. just because there is some overlap doesn't mean the systems are the same. you are sex-negative because you're view is narrow compared to what the culture deems permissible, and because your standing is determined in an entirely different manner. using your definition of sex-negative, find me the church group that believes sex is actually evil. even catholics think you can enjoy sex while procreating.

you really lost me here. how is the word "fucking" an appropriate word in seattle? if "fuck" isn't crude language, what is? sure, there are lots of crude people in seattle using that type of language all the time. but what's the point in watching your language if the worst word and to express the worst attitude is acceptable? this goes back to the soccer uniform. and in not being set apart.

once again, just as you used beer as an example, so did i. you pointed out beer as if that wins you hip points, or demonstrates how you are like this culture. but it is a hollow adornment. and while no one might notice the other differences over a friendly beer, they are certainly present. neither beer nor profanity, nor music, clothes, decorations or art are tickets to the culture club: it's members only.

this part just seemed too long to read. work on being honest, on loving others, on studying what you believe and the arguments against it, not forcing your beliefs and moral standards on others, and in serving. you may gain the respect of those here, but even if you don't, you will have left the world a better place. this is something many a fundamentalist has not done.

but you've already lost the battle. because i'm one of the friendly people here on slog when it comes to religion. most are tired of rehashing the same arguments, specifically, your horrid view on sex.

Posted by infrequent | March 19, 2008 3:05 PM

Nope, still crazy for you, Infrequent.

I visited a friend from Bible College a few years ago. She and her husband are pastors of a very poor Assemblies of God-type church on the lower east side. Mar knew I had come out since college, and said she still loves me (big of her, I know, but anyway...). We spent the morning together on my visit, but she had some duties to do at church--it was food bank day. I helped pass out food with Mar and the rest of the staff--I watched Carol, another minister, hug and say the most kind and loving things to the people going through the line. It was lovely. These ministers aren't 'hip,' they don't have very much money, and they have devoted their lives to serving a bunch of poor, addicted down-and-out people who leave the area once they get clean. Yes, they are anti-gay, and of course, I don't like that, I don't agree with their perspective, and I am sure they don't think I am a Christian anymore because I' But...they LOVE, as noted by infrequent. I hope and pray no gay people come to their church - I actually prayed that as I left that day - but they are genuine and loving and kind people (okay, unless you're gay). I have no problem with them, really, because they are doing the very best they know how.

Why, then, do I have a problem with fundamentalist hipsters? Read all of infrequent's posts, Josh, and that explains my perspective on you and yours better than I can.

It's about the love, baby. Driscoll wouldn't last ten minutes on the lower east side. Not enough ego strokes.

Posted by Lola | March 19, 2008 4:21 PM

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