I read Mark Driscoll's explanation about why he invited his readers to mock effeminate worship leaders. I'm not calling it an apology because, well, it wasn't. Was it? But I guess it's reassuring to know there are elders holding Mark "accountable." Then again, how is true accountability possible when Mark himself has preached it's a sin for members of his church to question him? From the New York Times Magazine:
Nowhere is the connection between Driscoll’s hypermasculinity and his Calvinist theology clearer than in his refusal to tolerate opposition at Mars Hill....In 2007, two elders protested a plan to reorganize the church that, according to critics, consolidated power in the hands of Driscoll and his closest aides. Driscoll told the congregation that he asked advice on how to handle stubborn subordinates from a “mixed martial artist and Ultimate Fighter, good guy” who attends Mars Hill. “His answer was brilliant,” Driscoll reported. “He said, ‘I break their nose.’ ” When one of the renegade elders refused to repent, the church leadership ordered members to shun him. One member complained on an online message board and instantly found his membership privileges suspended. “They are sinning through questioning,” Driscoll preached.
Driscoll is not the first pastor I've heard preach "sinning through questioning." My grandfather did the same.
Am I being unnecessarily critical? I'm sorry. It's just that...Mark Driscoll scares me. Do my traumatic personal experiences with pastors unfairly bias me against Mark Driscoll? I'll be honest and say yes.
Still, I'm worried. I think more people are sure to be hurt under his ministry because Driscoll says he's going to start a website to write about gender issues further. And he announced he's written a soon-to-be-published book about sex and marriage.
Maybe I'm wrong, but is anyone is unclear on what Driscoll believes about gender roles?
I mean, is there anything new/more gracious that Mark is going to add to this dialogue?
This reminds me of that time when my grandfather kept insisting I didn't know what he believed--although I'd already sat under his preaching for 25 years. I was told that I needed to listen more. Which was a shorthand way of saying: shut-up and agree. Hello, "sinning by questioning."
All I'm saying is that there are times when people discredit themselves from ever speaking credibly on a certain topic. I dunno, but if I publicly mocked the sexuality of others, I wouldn't go around announcing my new book on, um, sexuality.
But that's just me. I guess being a pastor means having one of the only jobs where you can spectacularly screw it up in a publicly horrific way aaaaaaand still get publishing deals for your next book. This doesn't seem to happen in the real-world I live in. But then again, I don't live in the insulated world of celebrity preachers.
What also scares me about Driscoll is the message I hear when I listen to him. This message is that God doesn't really love me unless I fit into a very specific Female Mold. Which is odd because in Christ, there is no male or female. Right?
Could this possibly mean that our gender identity isn't the most important thing about us?
Could this also mean that no matter where we fall on the spectrum of gender identity and sexual preference, we are each valuable and lovable in Christ?
Does our inability to measure up to Driscoll's standards of masculinity or femininity mean we are outside of Christ?
Finally, it's startlingly obvious that Driscoll behaved in a cruel, un-Christian way--but he still hasn't truly apologized. Does he even know how to apologize?
I've seen that before, too. (Hint: it doesn't end well).
And that's what scares me the most.