9.5.13

Driscoll Being Driscoll

Another week, another case of Mark Driscoll overcompensating.

This week, everyone's favorite Big Grown Up Boy was at Catalyst Dallas.  (Catalyst and Dallas? SWOON.) Apparently Mark said he drives an SUV because he knows "who made the environment and He’s coming back and going to burn it all up.” Then, just for good measure, he made fun of minivans. 

I'm sure some of it was a joke. He loves stupid jokes. It's just Driscoll being Driscoll. Hell, if he believes the earth will burn, gas guzzle away. Seems like there'd be more accurate ways to reflect Jesus (and save money), but it's hard to argue with, because he probably doesn't care to listen to arguments anyway. I assume he just sits back with that smug little face he always makes, and gets off while Twitter explodes in apoplexy.

Driscoll-watching is a favorite pastime for the substantial amount of Christians aligned to Mark's theological left, and I get it because I've done it many times. It's fun to laugh at Mark Driscoll. It's fun to post that one picture where he looks limpwristed. It's fun to lightly infer he's a closet case. It's fun to watch him dabble in every obvious micropenis stereotype known to man, from MMA to SUVs, and then tweet about it, like I did right before I wrote this. Folks annoyed by Driscoll tend to take two different tacks: ignore the guy, or write long blog posts about him and claim people need to stand up against his statements. I understand both.

But the other day, my family walked to a taproom by our house, and we were sitting outside next to a table with two young couples and a kid. They were friendly to our daughter and our dog, and we got to talking. They were exceedingly nice, and I pegged them for Christians quickly.

Sure enough they attend the Mars Hill plant here in Portland. Right away, I wanted to ask "Why? Why do you buy into this guy as a pastor? Why watch him on a screen from over a hundred miles away?" But you know who asks that question of relative strangers? An asshole. So we sat and talked about other things. It turned out they knew my sister through a mutual friend, for instance, and one of the guys was helping organize a walk to fight malaria in the developing world. They were lovely people, and I would've ruined it by being a jerk.

Honestly, I think Mark Driscoll is probably a pretty good leader, and I think he's teaching people to follow God. He's teaching plenty of theology I disagree with. He has an obsession with masculinity that's common in men deeply insecure about their masculinity. He's a bully, and a bully is about the worst thing you can be in culture anymore. I'm not defending those things.

But when all you see is the bad in Mark Driscoll, and all you do is get pissed off when he says stupid things, it's time to recalibrate your perspective. Maybe start by looking at pictures of him smiling instead of smirking. He's kind of likable there, right? Like a hairy little butterball. Think of him as your obnoxious brother in Christ, the guy you love not simply because you're supposed to, but because he means just as much to God as you do.

Maybe you think he isn't your brother, but that's just falling into the trap.

16 comments:

  1. "hairy little butterball". I can't stop laughing. Best Driscoll article I've read yet. Thank you.

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  2. Mark Driscoll has a lot of good things to say, and he's built a ministry that's drawn a younger generation that's otherwise been alienated by the larger evangelical church.

    However, dude's got to learn to think before he speaks and learn about something before he opens his mouth. My sister got me to listen to his Ruth series, which is great until he wraps it up with some of the stupidest and most inadvertently hurtful things anyone has said about infertility in a long, long time.

    That's my soapbox - I'm sure he's tripped over several others, with environmentalism joining a long list. For whatever reason, Driscoll has been gifted with a large, loud microphone. He needs to learn to use it with care.

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  3. I hung up my MMA gloves a few months ago, but I forgive you Jordan for your constant association of MMA with homo-eroticism.

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  5. I ain't gonna lie, I don't think he's helping things. But yes, he is my brother. The obnoxious brother thing helps, but lets be honest- I'm not attending the church where my loud mouth, short sighted, filter less brother is the pastor. That being said, God uses all kinds including (me for one) Peter, the big fat liar that Jesus built the whole friggin church on. Ahhhh Mark. MARK. Why?

    ~mb (Matt B)

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  6. I remember a bully in elementary school that would constantly torment me. I punched him in the jaw and that was the end of it. This probably needs to happen to Mark. It would probably land me in jail today but it might be worth it.

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  7. You seem angry, maybe you have a reason. Do you ever get upset with Louie Giglio-Passion City Church or Mark Rutland-ORU? Maybe Fred Price? John Eldridge spends a lot of time on masculinity, is he compensating for something? Andy Stanley has at least a dozen satellite churches.

    What is it you are really trying to say with this article? What is it about Mark Driscoll that keeps you awake at night?

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    1. I sleep quite well, anonymous. I get angry at stuff, but not all that often, and I really don't get very upset with Driscoll. Many folks of similar mind to me do, though, and I wanted to address them.

      As to the other guys you mentioned, I'm not real familiar with most of them. I think John Eldredge is great, even if his books aren't especially nuanced. Andy Stanley's great, too. I'm generally against the idea of satellite campuses, because I think church should be more localized and community-oriented. Massive churches can still pull off tight-knit community, but it's not nearly as easy, just as a federal government cannot meet the needs of a populace as well as localized government. Giant churches aren't the biggest problem in Christianity by a long shot, but I think they're a problem.

      I'm trying to think if there's an ulterior motive to my post, and I'm not coming up with anything now, but I'm sure this post had some underlying currents from my subconscious bubbling up. It's a common issue in writing.

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  8. I appreciate the ways you encourage people to see Mark Driscoll as a brother in Christ, but it was a confusing conclusion after you took quite a few swipes at him throughout most of your post. i agree with very little of what Mark Driscoll says and stands for, and agree with a number of your assessments of his flaws, and I get quite enraged at what he says. But loving your annoying brother in Christ is an active choice we need to make daily. I felt disappointed versus encouraged because I don't see you demonstrating any sort of love for him throughout your post. I think rising above the types of comments he makes rather than making them ourselves (and I say ourselves because I say this for myself as well) is a good first step.

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    1. Well made points, anonymous. To some extent, the confusion is intentional. I have a great degree of ambivalence about Mark Driscoll, and I wanted the post to reflect that. I can see how it comes off as having my cake and eating it too, however.

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  9. Excellent post and perspective! It is so easy to get angry and self-righteous when we see angry and self-righteous people. Thanks for the "check your own attitude" moment.

    And the cake.

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  10. Great post. Maybe we could look into doing an annual Driscoll roast, in which we air all of our annoyances and grievances with the dude. This then would be immediately followed by the annual Driscoll jubilee, in which we forgive him for all of his annoying and offensive comments and he forgives us for making fun of him.

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  11. I liked this. I think your assessment is dead on- he's become sort of a whipping boy and gets more heat than he deserves.

    I was at Catalyst Dallas, heard his talk, and that joke killed. It was a good line, and he was in Texas- it was PERFECT for the setting. And then, believe it or not, he gave an incredible talk about identity. I assume it was a summary of his new book, "Who Do You Think You Are", and it was really good. It was biblical, gentle, thoughtful, encouraging, and a good reminder that our identity is not found in what we accomplish, but in what Christ has accomplished in us and for us.

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