Giant Church Inc, Who Do You Think You Are?

If you’ve listened to the Rise and Fall of Mars Hill podcast you understand the title of the post.

In the introduction of each episode, Mark Driscoll yells, “Who do you think you are?” No matter how many times I hear it, I can’t get used to the level of rage in his voice.

He and the core of people he surrounds himself with must be the only ones NOT asking him that question. The same way Giant Church and its people don’t ask the question of themselves. They are blind to their desperate need to ask:

Giant Church Inc, who do you think you are?

Jesus encountered the same kind of religious leaders. When Jesus healed or brought life or forgave sins, the hearts of the scribes and Pharisees were hardened further. The leaders tried over and over to trap Jesus in his words with questions about taxes, the Law, or divorce. The fear of losing power and influence ruled their hearts. They did not trust the Way, the Truth, and the Life right in front of them.

Jesus had a lot to say to these hard-hearted religious leaders. He denounced them to the crowds and his disciples with harsh words. It’s recorded in Matthew 23. Jesus called them hypocrites, blind guides, blind fools, and snakes! Here’s some other things Jesus said about them and to them:

  • they do everything to be seen by others
  • they love the place of honor at banquets and the front seats in the synagogues
  • they tie up heavy loads that are hard to carry and put them on people’s shoulders
  • they themselves aren’t willing to lift a finger to move them
  • you have neglected the more important matters of the law – justice, mercy, and faithfulness
  • you clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside are full of greed and self-indulgence
  • you are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of bones of the dead
  • on the outside you seem righteous to the people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness

At the end of the same chapter in Matthew, Jesus laments over Jerusalem. He longs to gather the people as a hen gathers her chicks, but they are unwilling.

Jesus came to give us life, and he gives us a choice in it. He won’t force us. He asks that we follow…learn from him….trust him. Oh God, may we be willing. Open our eyes, our hearts, and our hands and let us be willing.

Did You Say Scientology?

One of the things I’ve appreciated about The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill podcast is that it validates the experience of those who’ve been in that kind of church. While there are a number of reasons people are drawn to and stay in toxic systems, Russell Moore writes about one I haven’t heard about called “betrayal blindness.” It’s a psychological concept behind why some people stay and are unwilling to know the truth. Think about Leah Remini and her expose’ on Scientology. Even after all the evidence, eye witness accounts, and that most people in the world know it’s a cult, those within it stay and isolate themselves further. Many to the destruction of their families and lives. The article is very interesting.

It Take a Village to Escape a Toxic Leader by Russell Moore in Christianity Today.

Whatever the reasons we are in them, whether we stay or we leave, my hope is we will turn our eyes to Jesus and we let him gather us within his loving arms.

How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! Matthew 23:37

Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash

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  1. Sue on August 23, 2021 at 9:16 am

    And when giant church pastor takes his so called leadership to encourage his view of politics and bullies people for not having his views, this is a warning sign.

    • marieg on August 23, 2021 at 9:55 am

      Any kind of bullying is a red flag for sure.

  2. Cynthia on August 23, 2021 at 10:32 am

    I’m thinking ‘betrayal blindness’ can exist even in a marriage. I don’t pretend to understand it all but my personal experience is that my own pride was the root of it. I was a leader, a strong Christian, elite. I preferred to pretend that my marriage was a strong Christian marriage because that validated my presentation of myself – strong Christians have strong marriages. Failure was not an option. In the end, God refused to play along. He threw me into a pit of reality where pretense was impossible and taught me that failure was not only an option – failure was for the win. He could and would perform miracles when I willingly gave Him access to the hideous truth about myself, my circumstances and my marriage.
    Am I stretching the truth or missing the point? I’m open to that 🙂

    • marieg on August 23, 2021 at 10:51 am

      You’re not missing the point at all. I believe this blindness can be present in any relationship with people, systems, organizations, etc. I had the same experience in my marriage. I tried to make myself believe all was well – I had to believe everything was going to be okay. Like you, my pride was wrapped up in it. Thank God, He gave me the courage to face the truth. All of it. The good, bad, and ugly of it all. My pride and stubbornness. Fear. My refusal to let go of my way. And me not being and becoming all He created me to be. I’m so grateful we have a tender and patient Father who lifts us from the miry clay and sets our feet upon the rock.

  3. Catherine Eyers on September 27, 2021 at 7:46 pm

    I think that was true for my marriage as well.I realised I switched between arrogance and doormat shame. Weird. ts vy cmforting to know i’m not the only one.

    • marieg on September 27, 2021 at 8:13 pm

      It is good to know we’re not alone! I hope you are well. I miss our gatherings.

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