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The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill Podcast, hosted by Mike Cosper and produced by Christianity Today, is one of the most popular and trending podcasts currently available. Below is less of a podcast review and more of a framework for how listeners can consume this podcast without adding to the carnage.
The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill is an intriguing and thought-provoking piece of long-form content that is a twelve-part series that shares the good but mostly the bad and ugly of the rocket-rise growth and popularity of Mars Hill Church.
Simultaneously, it shines a light on popular church culture over the past 20 years, along with the dangers of hyper-celebrating celebrity status and prioritizing the wrong values.
For many church-builders and goers, the experiences and stories are highly relatable. For some, familiarity with being hurt in the church and suffering disappointed highlighted throughout the podcast is all too real. It also provides insight as to why Christian deconstruction is happening.
For me, this podcast is sobering and mostly helpful content – I mean – hey, nothing is perfect, right? However, consuming media like this, in my opinion, should be done with awareness and intentionality. I carefully try to listen mindfully, setting aside a filter that is only convenient for me.
As someone no longer employed by the Church, I did find the podcast a helpful way to reflect on my years in ministry. I often asked how do I get better and follow Jesus more purely. The following thoughts are helpful ways to avoid becoming jaded or listening to the podcast as a way of collecting stones to throw at others while overlooking our shortcomings.
Consider the verse, How can you think of saying, ‘Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? – Luke 6:42 No doubt, this is challenging.
I believe the awareness and issues the podcast presents are worthwhile and needed. We (the Church) should evaluate and assess how to resolve these things. On the other hand, individually considering our faults and times we did not measure up should balance much of the resentment media like this can boil up.
Below are five healthy ways that we can use to process media like this while still carefully allowing grace, mercy, and forgiveness to cover our hearts.
5 Thoughts About The Rise And Fall Of Mars Hill Podcast
1. It raises questions worth answering and discussing.
When have I prioritized reputation over people?
What metrics am I using to measure success in my life?
Do I overlook things that are unsettling to avoid potential difficulty?
2. It’s a double-edged sword.
As helpful as one side is, the other could be just as hurtful. I believe the awareness CT and Cosper illuminate concerning the literal rise and fall of Mars Hill Church is needed; however, listeners must consume with intentionality and care.
Keep in mind, the central character(s) are still alive, have families, and possibly changed.
3. This sword is better used for surgery on our own heart than as a weapon against others.
It’s easy anytime we are hurting or looking to take sides to use anything we can to make others pay.
I do not think the creators intended for this podcast to be used as a weapon against one another or the Church. Unfortunately, it is happening.
Are we more bloodthirsty for pointing out the flaws of others than identifying our own?
4. Forgiveness is not always easy, but it is essential.
It’s easy to believe that vengeance is sweet or that watching our enemy fall will be satisfying. It’s just not the case.
When our heart has been mixed with compassion, it taints the taste of revenge with grief.
Forgiveness is healing; it cleanses our thoughts and renews our hearts. Choosing to forgive others paves a path for the future out of the past.
5. My faith is my responsibility.
My faith has been supported by a seemingly odd cast of characters starting from when I was very young.
Some have come and gone; others have been there for years.
Strangely, my faith has the opportunity to grow when people help or even hurt me. In some ways, I’m grateful for that.
I’ve helped people.
I’ve hurt people too.
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