Saturday, March 31, 2007

Confidentiality

Another quote from Mark Driscoll which speaks, once again, to the fact that I am completely mystified as to why 5000 people are willing to sit through hour long sermons by him every week (this is from the sermon at Mars Hill on 3/18/07)

Some people, they believe in this thing called confidentiality. I’ll just say
this as an excursus. We don't believe in confidentiality at Mars Hill. Like I’ve
had people come to meet with me and say “I’m cheating’ on my spouse and I think
I’ve got AIDS” I’m like well I’m gonna tell them." They’re like “Well, I thought
we had confidentiality.” No, we have heaven and hell. We don’t have
confidentiality. We don’t. “Well I thought you were supposed to keep it secret.”
No I’m not gonna keep it secret. If you’re molesting your kid, if you’re
cheating on your spouse, if you’re ripping off your employer, I’m pulling the
fire alarm. That’s how we do it. We walk in the light as he is in the light. We
tell the truth. I had one guy “I think I got AIDS. Don’t tell my wife.” You know
what? I need to tell your wife. You’re gonna go home and sleep with her. You’re
gonna maybe give her AIDS then she’s gonna call me and say “I’ve got AIDS”. Then
I’m gonna go visit her in the hospital and preach her funeral and get up and say
“Well hey I kept a good secret for Jesus.”

Didn’t ya’ll wear a bike helmet as a kid? Of course that’s not how we do it. We tell the truth, and we encourage people to repent. And sometimes if they fail to or refuse to, they just get furious. It’s like water on a cat man—they’re just freaking out. That’s cool though (pause…laughter)--water on a cat.


This makes a certain sense from the perspective of Mars Hill. I mean it makes sense to me that if someone is harming someone else who is clearly under their power, like an adult harming a child or a developmentaly delayed person, then it is totally right for another adult who learns of that to ... go to the appopriate authorities and see that the harm stops. And Mars Hill, as far as I can tell, does definitely see women as being in this position with regards to men. Please correct me if I am misunderstanding.

But ... isn't this ... taking away the opportunity for the offender to face the challenge of being an adult, of realizing and facing up to and trying to make amends for their own wrongs? It feels much more like a parent dealing with two children here, protecting one from the other. God doesn't do that with us! He lets us hurt each other, if we must, and then he lets us realize the extent to which we have hurt each other, and experience reconciliation in ... his time, not the pastor's.

I remember Amy Carmichael writing about doing this even with children. Challenging them to do the right thing, and then allowing them to make their own choice, even if that meant another child was being hurt.

This Mars Hill method feels a lot more like the method used in the sect I grew up in. What I have seen looking back at my experience in that sect, and looking at the lives of those I know who are still part of that sect, is that it nearly completely shuts down forward progress for the members. I and they were/are treated as children, and thus progress toward adulthood is never made until one gets out of that system. This was enormously damaging to me as I've had to make up for years of very little growth in maturity.

what do you think?

5 comments:

dwayneforehand said...

I go to Mars Hill. I don't have any details on specific situations of Church discipline here, but I do know our theology well. Of course we would prefer to see Christ change someones hearts and bring them to repentance leading to confession of sin to those that they have sinned against. If there is eminent harm though (like in the situations that Mark was talking about) and the person isn't willing to confess immediately then we have a responsibility to do the confessing for them. God calls us to protect the weak and speak up for the voiceless. Given fuller context I think you would see that our theology of church discipline is the full, rich and loving one that you desire. Don't forget that we can not only proof text the word of God; We can also proof text the words of our brothers.

Benjamin Ady said...

Dwayne,

I appreciate your response--thankyou!

I guess I don't see the 'imminent harm'. I mean the fact is if someone is married, and, as my friend Jonathan puts it "having sex on a regular basis", then by the time they realize they have AIDS, their spouse is going to already have it, pretty much.
It feels very much like playing god to me. "ripping off one's employer" certainly involves harming the employer, but it happens every day. Are christians supposed to all turn into prosecuting attorneys? It just strikes me as profoundly disrespectful to refuse to allow someone to work through things themselves and to deal with their own consequences in the time that they naturally come about. It feels like ... grade school, the way you guys are saying you do things. Like the way that children behave with each other, and the way they generally get treated.

To me imminent harm means something like ... someone is about to get run over by a bus, and you push them out of the way, or someone is about to light a match when there is a lot of gasoline around.

I mean what Mark is saying sounds more like ... calling the phone number to report the people who use the HOV lane when they have one person in the car. Does that make sense? We have cops to do that job. So are Christians to be moral policemen? Did Jesus treat people this way?

LP said...

hmm. yeah.

i think that in general, mark will say something that's sort of ok, but he will say in in he most offensive way possible. like he's trying to piss people off or something, to get them to either be for or against him.

anyway, in the case of children being harmed by their parents or anyone else, *anyone* would have the responsibility to report in imidiately. but in the other cases... yeah, i think i agree with you.

so why did i comment? i don't know...

why do you even pay attention to mars hill? it will only make you angry... or that's what it does to me.

LP said...

ok, i have something else to say.

about the "well obviously mars hill thinks women are under the power of men and need to be protected".

well, i'd like to say that we're equal, and that 100 years of women's rights have made a difference, but frankly, at this point i feel like women are still continually being harmed by men, who still retain some sort of power over them, whether emotional or physical, and women who have been taken advantage of by the men in their life do need to be protected.

now, that doesn't mean (as mars hill seems to think) that women should always be submitting to men and are second class and can't be in authority and all those crappy ideas...

the thing is, this is such a grey issue. this is where in some circumstances it would be horrible to "tattle", and in some circumstances it would be right. and people like mark (christians who can't do grey) want things to be black and white so they can say "this is right" and "this is wrong", but the reality is, there is almost nothing that you can just say whether it is right and wrong. the confusion doesn't mean we should try to nail it down, it means that we should maybe try depending on God a little more and asking him what the right thing to do in each momment and each situation, instead fo depending on our own wisdom.

do remember that song? "trust in the lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding"... i thought it was silly at the time, but i think that's my favourite verse. it really sums things up for me.

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