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Viral Video: Mars Hill in its own words

The Seattle mega-church makes mega commercials and Mark Driscoll sermons that are watched by thousands.

The Crosscut articles that exposed the “massive meltdown” within Seattle’s homegrown Mars Hill megachurch make for fascinating reading. Misogyny, narcissism, shunning, shaming and co-founder Mark Driscoll’s dictatorial leadership. If only the church's YouTube videos were half as scandalous. 

The church's nine-minute signature piece, “Mars Hill Global,” posted last month, plays like a typically bloated profile of any overfunded nonprofit. It begins with a rousing call to spread the Driscoll gospel in Ethiopia and India, includes talk of “planting” thousands of churches (like body-snatching seed pods) and features the requisite saccharine close-ups of poor children smiling for the camera (no doubt utterly unaware that they are shills for yet another white man’s missionary zeal).

Then the video takes us back to the Pacific Northwest where pastors, all men, do all of the talking. There is even one pastor named, endearingly, Bubba. These soundbites are interspersed with dreamy wide shots of hand-waving church members set to an insipid arena-rock score, like Coldplay on an endless loop (my idea of eternal damnation).

A 2011 video, called “This is the Best Life of All”, is filmed dramatically in silky black-and-white with multiple cameras recording a Mark Driscoll sermon on a stage decorated with scaffolds (culled, perhaps, from a touring production of Rent”). Soon it transitions to a slow motion, baptismal orgy, the aching soft rock grows anthemic and a surge of acolytes are doused in an on-stage hot tub, assisted by two young men in board shorts. 

The best look at the now-beleaguered Driscoll can be seen in his video sermon from 2012, delivered from a stage draped in red velvet and fronted by a humungous wooden crucifix. It looks like a scene from a Rob Zombie film set at the House of Blues. “Repentance is what it means to be a Christian," Driscoll intones in his sermon.

There is also a music video, "In Tenderness", a sweaty blitzkrieg of handclaps and generic Christian rock-and-roll performed by a group called Citizens.

Although I found no evidence of demon sex trials or packets of Kool-Aid in these videos, you can certainly discern the basic tenets of the Mars Hill doxology, a theism based on Me-ism. Men are in control; women and children are props; social good works (helping the poor, the homeless, the battered, etc.) are completely nonexistent. Jesus may be front and center, but he is being elbowed out of the way by the young, tattooed, hair-gelled, male-dominated power structure that's breakin’ it all down for us.

For more Viral Video nuggets, go here.


Rustin Thompson is a filmmaker, film critic and indie radio deejay. He enjoys strong coffee, red wine, IPAs and his wife and grown children. He is comfortable with the fact he will never be rich, but grows petulant if he thinks too much about it.

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Comments:

Posted Mon, Jul 28, 9:54 a.m. Inappropriate

It is interesting how quickly everyone is turning on Mars Hill.

Seems like just yesterday Anthony Robinson was welcoming Mars Hill to downtown Seattle with open arms:

http://crosscut.com/2013/01/09/religion/112375/mars-hill-church-downtown-pastor-tim-gaydos/

I believe the real problem here are the so-called "moderate" christians. Moderates sugar coat and apologize for their more bible-based brethern.

Mars Hill is doing nothing but practicing what is stated in the bible:

http://haveyoureadthebible.com/moderate-christianity-why-tolerance-proves-ignorance/

Thoughts?

andy

Posted Mon, Jul 28, 10:22 a.m. Inappropriate

I am AMAZED by the ignorance and bias in this article. Phrases/words like "props", "insipid", "intoned", "blitzkrieg", "baptismal orgy" and "typically bloated" are not unbiased journalism they are meant to incite people and shape their opinions. This is lazy journalism at its worst. Shame.

Posted Wed, Jul 30, 5:32 p.m. Inappropriate

Kind of piling on, aren't you?

Of all the skillful deceptive speakers working in politics and pandering for multinational corporations - real things that hurt people - I would think there are much more worthy targets for your insight than jumping on people gathering together for some ecstatic evangelism. What did they ever do to you?

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