The Mars Hill/Mark Driscoll conniption is over and forgotten, pretty much. I’m guessing they are on to something else at Patheos. I was pretty angry about it at the time, but I’ve had time to cool down.
Driscoll really liked being in the media spotlight. He is a smart guy, but didn’t realize the only reason the media puts a guy like him in the spotlight is to call in an air strike. They waited, until he produced a huge, juicy target, then they nuked him.
The publicity brought a lot of people to the church. But it was too many, too soon, and too many of the wrong kind of people. Too many wanted a nice church experience, and not the kind of Pauline tough love Driscoll was dishing out.
I suspect what pushed people over the edge was the Real Marriage series. Not the book scandal, but just the series and the ensuing group discussions. Getting together to talk with your neighbors about marriage and the ancilliary topics of sex, premarital sex, sexual abuse, promiscuity, adultery and the like is a recipe for a lot of raw feelings. I think it pushed a lot of people over the edge from being willing to question their lives to a certain painful and difficult extent to making them angry at the leadership and wanting to leave.
If you want to have a church that seriously confronts current norms, you need to do it pretty low-key and not draw too much attention to yourself. Grow by word of mouth and the people who want and need to be there and most importantly are ready will come. Get people who are not ready for the confrontation and you will have trouble.