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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Facing Face Value


Someone asked me…

“Jarrod, why do all the fucked up people go to Mars Hill?”

I replied, “because we need to be quarantined. You don’t really want us out there running around being honest about what happens in our souls do you?”


I love that question. I would guess that I have been asked that question, with the same expletive, at least 6 times. I have almost come to expect the question. As I describe practicum, transference, and the tragic stories that all fuse together within the walls of our red brick educational fortress…I anticipate this question.

And to be honest with you, I don’t blame them for asking. At face value, it looks like Dan Allender and gang (a decent law firm title) have lassoed everyone with a tragic past and brought them together for a tall, non-fat, no foam late at a local Starbucks.

I would argue that this is not the case.


In a recent Barna study it was found that followers of Christ, and those who aren’t as familiar with scripture, translate the text literally. Mark Driscoll would be proud. Here is a summary of their study:

Americans may be skeptical about the claims of politicians, but they remain confident that some of the most amazing stories in the Bible can be taken at face value. A new nationwide survey shows that six well-known Bible stories are accepted as literal truth by an average of two out of three adults.

While this study is clearly speaking to an interpretation of scripture, I believe it gives an accurate description of our culture’s read of text in general.

Our culture tends to take things literally, at face value, with little investigation. We watch films, read novels, and engage one another at face value. The art of inquiry in has been discarded. The beauty of analogy or illusion is lost on a great many.

We settle for the data gathered by our senses.

Returning to the question I was asked.

“Jarrod, why do all the fucked up people go to Mars Hill?”

I don’t think that all the fucked up people go to Mars Hill. I think that Mars Hill refuses to accept the all too familiar answer, “I’m fine.” While my frustrations with MH are too many for a single blog entry, I believe that our willingness to inquire, ask, and engage the shadows of the soul are following the ways of Christ. The willingness to bring the dark into the light, to refuse face value and listen to the stirrings in our soul is counter-culture. To deny a literal translation of story and theology and to inquire about desire, lust, dream, and creation is imperative as we engage a world content with “I’m fine.”

It’s not that all the fucked up people go to Mars Hill, it’s that we have all experienced fucked up things and at Mars Hill we talk about it.

Don’t be discouraged by those words. We are not created to be fucked up, yet we have encountered things of life worthy of that title. Do we not have places in our story that are so repulsive they deserve nothing but expletives? The good news...we were created to be something more, something different, something…God-like. But it is this talking, this engaging and dreaming, that unleashes ideas, interpretations, and innovations that will connect with the soul and story of others…showing the God-likeness in the redemption of our stories.

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mshedden said...

No surpise here, but I think you are wrong. We will have to chat about it sometime over tea or wine.

Jarrod said...

I was waiting for you reply. Wine we shall drink.

Derrick Fudge said...

No surprise here, but I disagree with Matt and agree with J. so please let the rest of us know what the result of wino time goes

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