Wednesday, November 27, 2013

He's my friend! The rinse and repeat excuse used by Celebrity Pastors.

Posted by Hannah at 11:55 AM

Boy oh BOY is there a huge BREW ha ha over Mark Driscoll, and Janet Mefferd recently.

It reminds me of the gaslighting that victims get when they approach the church about the abuse in their homes.  You know what I mean…it never really happened.  It was all in your mind.  You just want to be mad, etc.  We see nothing, and you are making a big deal out of nothing.  NOTHING here to see!

He is my friend!

Mark was to be interviewed about his new book, and he was called on some publishing errors that Janet saw.  He first attempted the pollyanna response (He is my friend, and I love him, etc.) that is common with celebrity pastors, and then Janet Mefferd pushed harder.  He answered again with a hint that maybe she needs to hush with a snark about how he should have taken notes during dinnertime with the author…and footnoted it for Janet Mefferd.  She was firm, but nice and drove the point home again -  he wasn’t having it.  He did the ‘biblical’ drill, and she is just being nasty by continuing the conversation.

Mark to me is trying to be the ‘cool’ pastor on the block, and he seems to have quite a following.  He is more what I was term a Celebrity Pastor, and he seems to feel at times his opinion is best presented with the LOUD factor.

Yet, in this interview with Janet Mefferd?  I’m sorry it reminded me of the old Southern Belle approach of how he just doesn’t understand what she wants from him today….we suppose to talk about my BOOK after all.  I told you he is my friend, and I love him…and if I had small error in my footnote – I say to my friend ‘sorry’.  Driscoll is no Southern Belle, and he got called out on it – drop the platitudes and answer the question.  Mark objected and got nasty because she didn’t go with the ‘biblical’ game that celebrity pastors use when they get busted.

Today if you have a pastor that is popular in some circles, and he is complementarian?  They seem to include him in their little ‘inner’ circle.  They promote themselves in the other’s conferences, promote each other’s books, and generally parrot the old ‘he is a Godly man’ deal.  You have to admit their marketing is working.

Mark Driscoll is accused of plagiarism. His inner circle is more upset over her being ‘rude’ to him.  Oh boy!

Prior to my edits here on 12/7/13 - Janet Mefferd has taken down some of the material about this case.
Ingrid Schlueter Resigns From Janet Mefferd Show Over Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Controversy

Fallout From Radio Show Host's Allegations That Pastor Mark Driscoll Plagiarized Includes Deletion, Apology and Producer's Resignation

Although it is not clear why Mefferd removed her content regarding the accusations against Driscoll or whether she was pressured, the Christian Post learned that Tyndale House has some sort of media partnership with Salem Radio Network and Mefferd's radio show is a member of Salem National, a subsidiary of Salem Communications Corporation.

So some of the links below have been removed by the author.

Other Examples of, “He is my friend”

Problem is when one of the celebrity pastors fall?  They tend to circle the wagons, and go in for the kill towards the accuser.  I have to tell you I caught the business when I posted John Piper on Youtube when he spoke on Desiring God, “Does a woman submit to abuse.”  Now keep in mind the website stated you could copy the material to share, and that is what I did on youtube along with my opinion’s of his viewpoint on my blog.  Well that video took on a life of its own, and to this day he still refuses to admit that what he said was awful and dangerous.  I no doubt didn’t take the junk that Janet Mefferd is taking from the Mark Driscroll crowd, but I can sure empathize with her position.

They did the same thing when it came to CJ Mahaney, and the sexual abuse circus that went on within his network of churches.  They all love him, and don’t believe a word of it – since they are ‘friends’ and all that don’t you know.  Throw in a couple of  “Godly” this, and “Biblical” that and everything is all better now.  I mean when some of the cases were thrown out because of the statue of limitations (took to long to come to trial) that means the cases had no merit – according to the celebrity pastors.  Your suppose to believe that now!  Yet, that isn’t entirely true is it?!

Celebrity Pastors seem to get a couple of passes they certainly shouldn’t be getting.   I guess they seem to feel if one falls the rest will fall like a house of cards?

Anyway, here is the start of the timeline:

She is a journalist, and she did need to ask about the lack of ‘piety’ he showed at John MacArthur’s Strange Fire by crashing it to give out his ‘newest’ book.  When he was asked to leave?  He tweets that they confiscated his books, and yet they have video of him offering them UP as a gift to the church.  Creating that type of ‘buzz’ isn’t generally considered proper, or above board.  He attempts to skate past all that.  Its an inner circle deal, and your suppose to overlook it.

Mark got a pass on the Strange Fire behavior in the interview as far as I’m concerned. No doubt he was a bit embarrassed by his childish behavior, especially when he was there to speak at a ‘Act Like Men’ conference on the other part of town. (giggles) Think about that for a moment huh?

Janet Mefferd Interviews Mark Driscoll

The interview was going nicely until the alleged plagiarism came up.  As I said the pollyanna approach was attempted, and he snaps back by telling her she is being grumpy, accusatory, and not Christlike when the approach was rejected.  I realize it was uncomfortable for him, but he does preach how you are to be humble in response to error.  He blew that.

I mean how dare her hold his feet the to fire like that?  I had to roll my eyes at the “I love you as a sister in Christ’ speech as well.  Please.  Seriously?  He was to busy telling her he dines with the gentleman that his material sounds like, and how he is a good friend of his.  That doesn’t answer the questions, but I guess it should. 

Then it happened…. The end of the interview to ME at least sounded like a call drop.  You know how cell phones are.  I didn’t take it as a hangup myself.  .

Well – insert drama here – did he hang up or didn’t he?  A second audio of the interview surfaced to show that he didn’t.  The second audio to me seemed a bit fishy, because the audio quality is different.  The seconds that pass of silence was different as well.   His publishing house (Tyndale) came back with a rebuke of Mefferd after listening to a recording supplied by Mark Driscoll of the interview.  They apparently didn’t like her tone (which others didn’t either), and stated that the book correctly footnoted Mark’s source.  Janet supplied screenshots of the material in question. It certainly doesn’t look like he footnoted by the lawful standardized practice, but I’m no lawyer.

Notice!  Janet is clear as a bell as she is in the studio on the first version (video above), but on the second version of the interview ending she sounds like she is also on the cell phone.  It clearly isn’t the same recording at all.  Did Mark hit his mute button by mistake while he was also recording the interview?  Who knows, and quite frankly who cares. 

It wasn’t the big issue anyway.  Yet, you wouldn’t think so by the buzz all over the place.  I saw it as a diversion from the bigger issues.  It was all about how Mark was treated rudely, and accused of hanging up on the interview when he didn’t.  WELL at least from his ‘circle the wagons’ friends.  I still don’t really know what happened there, but something did.  If you look at the comment section of Spiritual Sounding Board you will see ‘tweets’ from the inner circle telling others not to do interviews anymore with Janet Mefferd.

Own it, Correct it, and Move ON!  Friendship doesn’t cut it!

I have had to deal with my share of media in the past due to a business officer position I held once upon a time.  We had the media hounding us over a personnel issue, and we couldn’t discuss it contractually.  The person was charismatic, and we got loads of phone calls about it.  Yet, we had to handle it some how.  We had some drama as well, and you need to stay calm, direct and to the point. In our circumstance everything was above board, and we would have LOVED to include the parts that we legally couldn’t. 

If you are asked questions again – like Driscoll was?  You rinse and repeat your response.  I guess my point here is if a everyday person can do this on occasion?  Driscoll in his position he really has no excuse.  He just doesn’t.  The Pollyanna approach isn’t what was needed here, and it sounds like the alleged actions may not be so above board.  Is that why he relied on friendship in this case?  I don’t know.

If the alleged plagiarism was indeed an error, and it was overlooked?  You shut the interview down right away by admitting it.  You rinse and repeat your response as needed.  You can do it in a way without having your pants sued off, and he knows it.  You should have heard repentance (if he felt there was a possibility of error)…and you heard defensiveness and he is my friend (which has nothing to do with it). 

You sound sincere and firm, because mistakes happen.  The last thing you do is get defensive, and give this impression on how dare you attempt to take authority over ME.  For goodness sakes you sound fishy, and up to something when you do that.  You try to act all ‘street wise’ preacher guy the rest of the time!  Legally? They should care less if the man is your friend, and you had dinner with him…and all that jazz.  It wouldn’t hold up!

Janet did a follow up, because of the backlash. 

Janet Talks about what happened with Mark Driscoll

Honestly?  If Mark Driscoll was a man of integrity he would stop the wagons that circled him, and say, “Your right!  I acted like a Jerk.  I’m sorry.”  Then you finish it up like you should.  Being called on a alleged crime – 14 pages of material after all – is pretty serious.  If it was dumb mistake why not admit it?  Is there a lack of faith in forgiveness? 

Quite frankly, admitting the error to me it would go far.  He acted like he was above all that, and no one is…not even a celebrity pastor.  Friendship doesn’t apply in their circumstances.  He did attempt to admit it, but also ended it by making excuses for himself.  That is why he got additional questions from her.  He tried to wiggle out of it. 

He has an out here he could use – blame the FLU!  We all get grumpy when we don’t feel good.  Save face and use it for goodness sakes!

Yesterday Janet Mefferd spoke for the last time for now about this issue, and also posted online screenshots of the material in question.  She also added to the list where he alleged plagiarized in another book.  The publishing houses will not return her calls or emails.  You can listen to how she has been treated since this time, and how she has uncovered the possible reasons WHY the publishing houses are refusing to talk to her.  Big surprise…Money!

I know my readers have felt ‘gaslighted’ when they have approached their churches about the abuse that is going on in their homes.  If anything this circumstance should validate your life experiences in a way.  Mark was trying to pussy foot around this interview, and she was strong enough to not let him.  Most in you in your circumstance – at the time anyway – were NOT strong enough to do what Janet did.  Your too beaten down by life, and sadly that is what they count on.  Well in my opinion anyway.  The bigger issue?  We shouldn’t have play those games. 

Does ‘He is my friend’ work?

Will this circumstance blow over?  In my experience due to their status – it will.  I hope Janet Mefferd doesn’t let go of this, and she shouldn’t. When you look close enough it all comes down to cash.  The cash they make from these celebrity pastors, and how they are investing in publishing the cash cows in the future. The alleged source material he plagiarized?  He took it from the inner circle, and they won’t push it legally.  That’s the reality of it.  Remember they cover for each other, and this practice may magically stop or disappear in future printing of the books in question.  They will not go as far as admitting any wrong doing.  The publishing houses will cover their behinds as well.

No.  Its not us – its them.  It’s the lofty and haughty attitudes that know so much better without even giving the consideration of a true listening ear.  The muscle of the machine will make the circumstances disappear, and the diversions will belittle the reality of it.  They are ‘friends’ after all.

They seem truly afraid to be held accountable, and sadly tend to stick together like some high school clic.  Sigh.

Other points of view:

Janet Mefferd  She speaks again about this after the Scott Walker interview – about the 19 minute mark.
Mark Driscoll and Janet Mefferd: Plagiarism, Tribalism and Paganism
Plagiarism? Examine for Yourself
If the Top Men take over, who will ask the hard questions?
Janet Mefferd presents documentation of Mark Driscoll's work to work by Peter Jones and Don Carson

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Greg Hahn on 1:04 PM said...

Excellent post. Friendship should get any of them anywhere. Plagiarism is plagiarism, and especially with the new material Janet posted, Mark looks to have engaged in it.

As to the two recordings- the reason Driscoll's sounds of very different quality is that his was recorded over the telephone. Janet's sound was coming back to him. And that actually plays a part in the story as well. I think Janet's behavior became part of the story, and it shouldn't have.

I discuss that on my blog. If you don't mind me posting part 1, that's here: There is also a part 2 there which concludes it.

Hannah on 9:49 PM said...

Very interesting Greg! It does help with the mystery - that's for sure!

You make alot of sense with this piece as well. Thank you!

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