Hi Craig, I’m an atheist and I think I can help you with the whole Mark Driscoll/email debacle. First let me give you a little background on myself that will help you see why I understand this problem very intimately.
I’m only very recently an atheist, like weeks old. I’m actually still a pastor of an evangelical church, hunting for new jobs, still hiding in the atheist closet. The whole downfall of Mark Driscoll was one of the last straws that pushed me out of faith. I was a big fan of Driscoll for years, he had a huge impact on my life. Actually I probably would have become an atheist much sooner had it not been for Mark (which in retrospect, would have been better). When everything went down with his abuse of power and lack of accountability, and I watched Mars Hill crumble, that’s when serious doubt kicked in and went into overdrive. How could a man and a church so fervently preaching the gospel and clearly making such a huge impact in godless Seattle be so…evil? It was devastating to me. That’s when I realized that much of the bible’s commandments on spiritual authority were abusive. How could anyone at Mars Hill THE WHOLE TIME not see their authoritarian posturing as being abusive. Yet it was clearly “biblical”. A few months later, I was done with faith.
Then a couple of days ago, you emailed me “Mark Driscoll – The Real Story”.
Since I am very familiar with your ministry (have been since I went to Calvary Chapel Capo Beach), I was intrigued. Then you start talking about the dangers of porn, which is your ministry focus. It looked like you were leading up to saying that there had also been some sexual sins involved there at MH, especially when you said “this is where the story gets hard” and start talking about pastors you have known that have washed out because of sexual sin.
Finally you get to Mark and spend exactly FOUR sentences on him and apparently had nothing to do with sex or your ministry. The one thing you do mention was Mark’s lack of accountability, which anyone following the story of MH already knew a full year ago. You then go on to promote your book (free) and your ministry service product (which costs money).
You presented me with an email that promised the “Real Story”, but your email really had nothing to do with Mark at all. That’s when it occurred to me:
Did he just use the downfall of Mark Driscoll as a means to promote himself? Talk about kicking a man while he’s down. Wait, this isn’t just self promotion, Craig will make money off this! What an ass!
But, oh Craig, your tweet about the “army of Mark Driscoll fans” was so utterly dismissive. You don’t understand that most of us aren’t interested in defending the indefensible. Mark Driscoll was a sexist, homophobic, power hungry hypocrite. Many of us are still recovering from the hangover that was Mars Hill. It hurts to be disillusioned. I lost my faith, my calling, and am losing my career partly because of this disillusionment. But you stuck your finger right into our collective wound, just so you could promote yourself. And you lied, you offered no real story, no insight, no help in our grieving process.
So you tried to defend yourself some more, saying that Mark Driscoll and sold you the email addresses.
WHAT?! YOU MEAN YOU TARGETED ME?! You knew, by virtue of where you got my email address, that I was formerly quite fond of Mark and hugely impacted by MH’s ministries! And knowing that, you did what you did? You are not only an ass, but heartless at that.
I can only imagine what it must be like for those who still believe and still wish Mark hadn’t fallen from such great heights. But there are plenty of us who no longer believe what we once did, and are in the process of moving on. And you fucking targeted us?
We all make mistakes. We all do things we regret. Oddly I’m still using X3 Watch, and will continue to do so. Even as an atheist I see the dangers of porn addiction and it’s ties to sex trafficking. I don’t want to write you off. What I want is for you to get off your high horse and realized you trampled wounded hearts. I want you to realize what you did and honestly say “I’m sorry”. I hope your apologies are better than Mark’s were.