Member - Ballard, Lake City, Shoreline 2001-09

Gender

Female

Which describes your role at Mars Hill?

Member

What Mars Hill location(s) did you attend?

Ballard, Lake City / Wedgewood, Shoreline

What years were you involved / attending?

2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009

How did you first hear about Mars Hill?

My parents had friends from their old church who started attending MH in about 2001, and those friends invited my parents.

What was the circumstance of your first time attending Mars HIll?

I was nine years old, and the service was in the previous Ballard building up on Earl Ave NW.

What were your first impressions?

Being nine years old, I'm sure the first thing I noticed was that there was no children's church. I sat in the sanctuary like everyone else, and was one of the very few kids above the age of 6.

Why was Mars Hill your church home?

I think my parents were drawn to MH for much of the same reasons anyone else was -- charismatic preaching, a big emphasis on "community," sermons preached from the Bible.

It was my home because it was my family's church, and I was too young to have a well-formed opinion.

What about your time at Mars Hill has had a positive impact on you?

I think it has really finely-tuned my bullshit meter when it comes to what public figures say vs. what actually happens.

What about your time at Mars Hill has had a negative impact on you?

I do not trust American evangelical Protestantism at all, particularly when certain people (regardless of gender or theological bent) are seen as leaders or definitive voices. I am openly critical of any church that employs graphic designers to advertise church functions, regardless of how nice it looks. I absolutely cannot abide any organization run exclusively by men. I have very little motivation or interest in participating in a church at all.

What would you like to have changed about Mars Hill?

I just wish we had never gone.

Which describes you?

I left Mars Hill prior to closure.

Please describe why you left Mars Hill and what that experience was like.

Thankfully, when I was 17 I left for college and did not have to return. I had zero emotional attachments to the church, just memories of exclusion, fear, disappointment, and rejection. The one friend I had, a mentor who I spoke with often and who I truly loved and respected, eventually completely stopped talking to me and we have not contacted each other in almost three years.

How would you describe the reason for Mars Hill's closure to an outsider.

People genuinely believed that God could be threatened by questions.

What's changed for you since your time at Mars Hill came to an end?

I am openly gay and not ashamed about being mentally ill, for starters, both things that would have 100% been Big Sins at MH. I haven't heard the phrase "but have you given it all to Jesus?" lately and I'm thankful for that. I attend a non-evangelical church now that makes me feel loved just the way that I am.

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