The sheer fanatic creepiness of this is worthy of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. The following appeared yesterday at the Christianity Today website:
Over the last month, several blogs have discussed the case of Andrew, a member of Mars Hill Church’s Ballard, Washington, campus. Andrew (his last name has been omitted from all accounts) told Matthew Paul Turner’s eponymous blog that he had cheated on his fiancée and told his community group about it (as well as about the physical nature of his relationship with his fiancée). That led to a series of church discipline meetings and, eventually, Andrew said, he was asked to sign a contract promising that he would not “pursue or date any woman,” would “not be involved in serving” in the church and would write a detailed sexual history. When he said that he would instead leave the church, the pastor overseeing the discipline posted a letter to the community group’s social networking site announcing that he was being excommunicated. “Associate with Andrew only for the purpose of admonishment and restoration,” the letter said. “Refrain from associating with Andrew in social setting such as: eating a meal, attending a concert or movie together.”
Date no women, have no hope of ever achieving status within the group, and write out a detailed sexual history for the leaders of the cult to read and smirk at among themselves in private?
Andrew’s sin here was honesty—he was more honest about his infidelities than most men, and the truth could not be tolerated.
Enter the scapegoat. Now Andrew’s got the scarlet letter A on his symbolic person for all the other little scared and mousy cult members to shriek from.
Don’t eat with Andrew! He’s from the enemy! He might pollute our group’s mental purity!
It’s enough to make one want to become that other A: an atheist.
Below is the cult’s tribal chief, Marc Driscoll, threatening outsiders with eternal torture at the hand of God. It makes a mockery of religion and reason to speak of God so crassly—as Dick Cheney in the sky with dungeons—but Driscoll postures as a tough guy, an anti-intellectual, so he does it, callously and stupidly, lacking any decent sense of proportion.
It’s hardly surprising, in such a hysterical environment, that the cult’s followers might also try to dominate and torture one another emotionally before death as well (as appears to have happened to Andrew):
By the way, when I used the phrase, “Cheney in the sky with dungeons,” I was pleased with myself, and couldn’t help but think of the “foothills of the headlands”: