Geesh. It seems I can't click on my little Firefox icon without soon seeing yet another eyebrow raising blog about Seattle megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll.
A couple of weeks ago, I read a really great review of Driscoll's new book, "Real Marriage" by Rachel Held Evans. Here's an excerpt:
Given Driscoll’s alarming preoccupation with sex and “masculinity,” and the immaturity with which he has addressed these subjects in the past, one would think Christians would approach this book the way they would approach a book about nutrition written by a pastor who struggles with obesity...(or a book about overcoming procrastination written by me!) But Pastor Mark continues to grow a devoted and impassioned following, which means thousands of couples around the world will be looking to his new book, Real Marriage, which he co-authored with his wife Grace, for advice.
... As others have noted, the book focuses so much on sex that it can create the impression that it’s the most important element of marriage. Also, as I’ve noticed before, Mark has the tendency to project. Because his wife was abused in the past, he believes that the majority of women were abused in the past. Because he and Grace struggled with their sexual relationship, he believes that most couples struggle with their sexual relationship. Because he likes sports and hunting, he assumes that “real men” like sports and hunting. Because his marriage is based on a hierarchal pattern of submission, he believes that “real marriage” is based on a hierarchal pattern of submission.
...By his own admission, Driscoll’s troubled sex life affected his teaching of Scripture, so it will not do for Christians to continue to insist that pastors who teach the “timeless truths of Scripture,” cannot be wrong.I have to agree with Rachel about turning to your pastor for EVERYTHING. What is that about, anyway? If a minister is qualified and experienced in counseling, great. But he or she does not know all. Would I go to my plumber for investment advice? My lawyer to install new windows in my house?
Which brings me back to my original point: Just because someone is a pastor does not mean that he or she is an expert on sex...or money or relationships or marriage. Christian couples struggling in their marriage should seek professional counseling, and not rely exclusively on a single pastor (or his or her interpretation of Scripture) for help.
Nothing says I'm a manly-man for Christ like the ever so tough combo of hoody, leather jacket, scruffy face and hipster hair.
Anyway, today I read yet another SMH article about Driscoll, this time excerpts from a British radio show in which he was supposed to be talking about "Real Marriage" (H/T: Catholic & Enjoying It!). From Cognitive Discopants (isn't that like, the coolest name for a blog?!):
Justin Brierley, the unfailingly polite host of the British radio program, Unbelievable, recently podcast the entirety of his hour-long interview with Mark Driscoll.
Things did not go well.
There are many moments in this interview that could provide fodder for discussion.
... Much of the interview revolved around Driscoll’s views on women and their role in marriage and the church. When Brierley confessed that his own wife is, in fact, the pastor of his church, things got incredibly awkward:
Driscoll: I’m not shocked by the answer, by the questions you ask. I love you, but you’re annoying. ‘Cause you’re picking on all the same issues that those who are classically evangelical, kind of liberal, kind of feminist do.Brierley: I think it’s because those are the issues here that people are thinking about. … [Brierley says he's impressed by much of what Mars Hill Church is doing].Driscoll: Kay, let me ask you a few hard questions.Brierley: Go ahead, go ahead.Driscoll: So, in the church that your wife pastors, how many young men have come to Christ in the last year?[It's clear from the tone of Driscoll's question that this is not a bona fide inquiry about the souls in Brierley's church. It's a veiled criticism. Driscoll is going to prove that women pastors can't get the job done (i.e. attracting men to the church) and he's going to belittle Brierley's wife & church to do it.]
Brierley: Well we’re not a huge church, unlike yours, but I’d say there’s two or three probably in the last year who certainly, yah, I’d say have come to Christ in a pretty meaningful way.Driscoll: Okay and in the church, what percentage is young men, single men?Brierley: It’s difficult to say off the top of my head, but I’ll freely say it’s certainly not a big percentage, no.Driscoll: Kay, and are you okay with that? Do you think that’s the best way to go?Brierley: No, but can it be so easily put down to the fact that the church is being run by a woman? I mean, is that …Driscoll: Yup. Yup. You look at your results, you look at my results, and you look at the variable that’s most obvious.
[Yes, he did just say that. His results are better than hers. And it's because he's a man and she's a woman.]Ewww. I know over on the FAR Facebook page from past postings, Driscoll has a few devoted fans. And looking at some of the comments in the blogs I quoted from, many of them are quite vocal (if not always pleasant) in their defense of him.
But I personally shudder at some of these celebu-pastors. We've had a long history with seeing many of them fall shamefully from grace (Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Baker, Ted Haggard). I'm hoping the city that gave us Starbucks and Microsoft hasn't given us the next great Evangelical Pulpit Fail.