We are Protestant, Calvinistic and Reformed Prayer Book Churchmen and Churchwomen. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; in 2012, we also remembered the 450th anniversary of Mr. (Bp., Salisbury) John Jewel's sober, scholarly, Protestant, and Reformed defense An Apology of the Church of England. In 2013, we remember the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. You will not hear these things in modern outlets for Anglican advertisement. Confessional Churchmen keep the "lights burning in the darkness." Although Post-Anglicans with sorrow (and contempt for many, especially the leaders), we maintain learning, faith, hope and reading. Mr. (Rev. Dr. Prof.) James Packer quipped and applied this specific song for muddler-Manglicans: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGyPuey-1Jw. Our book of the month, July 2014 is the Rev. Dr. Wayne Pearce's "John Spottiswoode: Jacobean Archbishop and Statesman" at: http://www.lulu.com/shop/a-s-wayne-pearce/john-spottiswoode-jacobean-archbishop-and-statesman/paperback/product-21652023.html. Also, our book of the month for Aug 2014 is Mr. Underhile's "The Church's Favorite Flower: A Patristic Study of the Doctrines of Grace," a handy little volume at: http://www.amazon.com/The-Churchs-Favorite-Flower-Patristic-ebook/dp/B00KUCITIS/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403315865&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=andy+underhile. We've added Mr. Underhile's anti-Marcionite and Reformed "Comfort in Chaos: A Study in Nahum" as the book of the month for September 2014 at: http://www.amazon.com/Comfort-Chaos-Study-Preserves-People-ebook/dp/B00KQX8JBI/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407621661&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=andy+underhile+nahum. We're still Prayer Book Churchmen, but we have "articles of faith" paid for by blood.
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Asghar, Rob. “Mars Hill: Cautionary Tales From The Enron Of American Churches.” Forbes. 16 Sept 2014. http://www.forbes.com/sites/robasghar/2014/09/16/mars-hill-cautionary-tales-from-the-enron-of-american-churches/. Accessed 20 Sept 2014.
Mars Hill: Cautionary Tales From The Enron Of American Churches
In life, blowhards and bullies will inevitably rise up and do their thing. In the field of management, they tend to rise up and do it with extra frequency and impact. And in religious organizations, they can often do it with maximum impact, because the whole enterprise is usually founded on the notion of absolute authority.
Mark Driscoll, one of the nation’s most prominent and celebrated pastors, may be the newest and best example of this. He is the toxic leader du jour, though he has stepped away from leadership temporarily to navigate massive waves of accusations that have flowed into his Mars Mars Hill multi-campus megachurch based in Seattle.
The Seattle Times’ Craig Welch, in a major examination last weekend, detailed Mars Hill’s investigation into allegations that Driscoll “bullied members, threatened opponents, lied and oversaw mismanagement of church funds.” Oh, and he apparently plagiarized to boot.
A reading of Welch’s expose and the remarkably thorough analyses of blogger Warren Throckmorton help explain the leader’s dramatic fall from grace.
My goal isn’t to offer a finely balanced, objective assessment of Mars Hill that would satisfy both Driscoll’s critics and his supporters. That’s not even possible, frankly. Rather, my goal to explain some of the Enron-like dynamics that result in leaders becoming media darlings and being celebrated widely as the “smartest” or “best” people in the room, even when there are hints that a spectacular flameout is possible.
There are some insights and lessons we can draw from this mess. It’s a reminder that, the bigger they come, the harder they fall. Some organizations are more wired than others for spectacular success or spectacular failure. Nondenominational megachurches are one example. They often can be free-wheeling, Wild West-style operations, unencumbered by national bureaucracies. That frees them to respond to grow quickly … or to grow malignantly. Gautaum Mukunda, author of Indispensable: When Leaders Really Matter, has noted that most leaders in most industries are “filtered” by a sorting-and-screening system specific to their profession. But a few are “unfiltered,” and may get into a major leadership job without first being scrutinized as closely. The latter, unfiltered leaders are what he calls “extreme leaders”—the game changers, for better and for worse. But in most cases, the nutjobs and the geniuses are alike filtered out by the system.
Sure, narcissists do still slip through the Byzantine bureaucratic nets of the traditional, vanilla-esque mainline denominations. But the ones that slip through are like tunas, not sharks or killer whales or Driscolls.
The Mars Hill case also reminds us that Caesar-style leaders usually set their organizations up for glory—and then for civil war. When Julius Caesar accumulated too much power, the good-intentioned desire among some leaders to restore true republican rule resulted instead in the end of republican rule and a few years of bloodshed. You see that dynamic again and again, from Caesar’s own time, to Penn State in the wake of Joe Paterno’s firing two seasons ago and Mars Hill today. Personality cults end badly, because anyone objective finds themselves mauled by loyalists trying to hold the cult together. (Eric Hoffer’s The True Believer remains a pivotal resource for understanding the motivations of cult-type personalities, who often have their entire identities fused into their nation, organization or holy cause.)
With toxic leaders, there are no happy endings, no matter how hard you pray. You just have to move on. That may seem especially sad to those Mars Hill congregants who want Driscoll to undergo a disciplinary process so that that a newly mature, repentant and humbled version of himself might someday take the pulpit. But a number of psychologists have told me that the truly toxic leaders, the ones who manage to cause trouble on the scale of a Driscoll, are tragically irredeemable as managers. Oftentimes, the disciplining process only teaches them new ways to exploit the system while pretending to obey it. (Bear in mind that Driscoll himself has been claiming for years that he’s been making progress on his shortcomings.)
Sure, there may be redemption stories for toxic leaders, but those usually involve them learning to relieve their stress through knitting, by adopting a rescue dog, or by finding some way to be of productive service without being in charge of large budgets and large communities.
I’ll close with a little more on my own biases and agendas: I’m driven by a strong revulsion for the bullying and sociopathy that happen far too often within the world of management, even within noble religious and spiritual organizations—again, especially for such organizations, because they’re founded on absolute authority models. It’s not my foremost concern to figure out exactly what Mark Driscoll “deserves”; rather my concern is to call attention to how these sorts of dynamics keep popping up endlessly, as if they’d never happened before. (Oh, and here I’m paraphrasing Willa Cather, in an effort to not get nailed for plagiarism the way Driscoll did.)
Mars Hill’s story is far from finished. It need not end up being another Enron. But it does face enormous challenges to recover any sense of health and stability.
20 September 2014 A.D. Orientalist Edward William Lane: Quotations on Islam from Notable Non-Muslims
Here’s one quote from Edward William Lane.
Edward William Lane
Edward William Lane (1801 — 1876) was a British Orientalist,
translator and lexicographer. Lane's Arabic-English Lexicon remains the world's
most revered and scholarly dictionary of the Arabic language.
#1 “The future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam”
#2 “The sweetest sound I know is the Muslim call to prayer”
#3 “We will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over the centuries to shape the world — including in my own country.”
#4 “As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam.”
#5 “Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance.”
#6 “Islam has always been part of America”
#7 “we will encourage more Americans to study in Muslim communities”
#8 “These rituals remind us of the principles that we hold in common, and Islam’s role in advancing justice, progress, tolerance, and the dignity of all human beings.”
#9 “America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles of justice and progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.”
#10 “I made clear that America is not – and never will be – at war with Islam.”
#11 “Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism – it is an important part of promoting peace.”
#12 “So I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed”
#13 “In ancient times and in our times, Muslim communities have been at the forefront of innovation and education.”
#14 “Throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.”
#15 “Ramadan is a celebration of a faith known for great diversity and racial equality”
#16 “The Holy Koran tells us, ‘O mankind! We have created you male and a female; and we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another.’”
#17 “I look forward to hosting an Iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan here at the White House later this week, and wish you a blessed month.”
#18 “We’ve seen those results in generations of Muslim immigrants – farmers and factory workers, helping to lay the railroads and build our cities, the Muslim innovators who helped build some of our highest skyscrapers and who helped unlock the secrets of our universe.”
#19 “That experience guides my conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn’t. And I consider it part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.”
#20 “I also know that Islam has always been a part of America’s story.”
Qur'an 48:29—Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and those who are with him are severe against disbelievers, and merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and falling down prostrate (in prayer), seeking Bounty from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure. The mark of them (i.e. of their Faith) is on their faces (foreheads) from the traces of (their) prostration (during prayers). This is their description in the Taurat (Torah). But their description in the Injeel (Gospel) is like a (sown) seed which sends forth its shoot, then makes it strong, it then becomes thick, and it stands straight on its stem, delighting the sowers that He may enrage the disbelievers with them. Allah has promised those among them who believe (i.e. all those who follow Islamic Monotheism, the religion of Prophet Muhammad SAW till the Day of Resurrection) and do righteous good deeds, forgiveness and a mighty reward (i.e. Paradise).
Qur'an 4:24—Also (forbidden are) women already married, except those (captives and slaves) whom your right hands possess. Thus hath Allah ordained (Prohibitions) against you: Except for these, all others are lawful, provided ye seek (them in marriage) with gifts from your property—desiring chastity, not lust, seeing that ye derive benefit from them, give them their dowers (at least) as prescribed; but if, after a dower is prescribed, agree mutually (to vary it), there is no blame on you, and Allah is All-knowing, All-wise.
Qur'an 5:33—The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His apostle and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement.
Qur'an 9:5—Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
Qur'an 9:29—Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day [notice it says "fight those who do not believe," not "fight people who are attacking you"], nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the People of the Book [the people of the book are Jews and Christians], until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.
Qur'an 9:73—O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be unyielding to them; and their abode is hell, and evil is the destination.
Qur'an 9:111—Surely Allah has bought of the believers their persons and their property for this, that they shall have the garden; they fight in Allah's way, so they slay and are slain; a promise which is binding on Him in the Taurat and the Injeel and the Quran; and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? Rejoice therefore in the pledge which you have made; and that is the mighty achievement.
Qur'an 47:35—Be not weary and fainthearted, crying for peace, when ye should be uppermost: for Allah is with you, and will never put you in loss for your (good) deeds.
Qur'an 2:106—Whatever communications We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring one better than it or like it. Do you not know that Allah has power over all things?