My friend Wess has a great post on the recent issue of the satire magazine, Wittenberg Door. The magazine takes a look at Mark Driscoll and what are his….well, let’s let Wess state it since he puts it much more eloquently.
Most of you know about Mark Driscoll, he’s a mainstream pastor from Seattle with a church of about 6,000 people. He’s also infamous to many for being rather misogynistic, and focused on an overtly-testosterone reading of the Scriptures…..
Wess goes on to say,
After you read that, then read Halden’s post called, “Who Can Driscoll Worship?” where he looks at Driscoll through the eyes of astute theological criticism. This caught my attention partially because of a recent workshop I went to outlining the growing trend in masculine-focused spiritualities: promise keepers, John Elderidge, and the most recent (and most extreme) GodMen, a guys only church where the power-team, meets GI Joe, meets Sunday morning worship. You can see a promo video here. It’s interesting because in a way, it’s not at all surprising that there is an increase in a violence-oriented ministry, given the violence-saturated culture (movies, music, video games) we live in as Americans, but this certainly doesn’t make it okay. What are your thoughts?
Here’s a quote from the article (satire magazine people, remember that):
“Numbers aren’t important, but we’ve grown 81.7% a year since our launch date and I still can’t get the guys to step up and be warriors,” said Kinston. “We want to love our city and we can’t do that with a bunch of pansies who would rather play video games than go to a monster truck rally or tattoo their faces like Mike Tyson.
I’m so glad Wess has written this post. I, as well as many others have been concerned for a long time at the growing trend in men’s Christian movements that seems to equate male Christianity with violence or roughness. We all like the movies Gladiator and Braveheart, and I know Jesus was not just meek, but also a tough person. But they are movies. And his toughness seems to lay in the fact that he gave away his life, and suffered at the hands of men and women who betrayed him…eventually leading to his death on a cross. Not because he fought back with fists and weapons. I just don’t know how we can read the Sermon on the Mount (just to take one examples of Jesus’ teachings), and walk away with any notion that our maleness as a Christian needs to be draped in violence, fighting, fists, and male stereotypes.
True male Christianity (if there is such a gender stereotype) lay in our ability to lay down our lives for others. Jesus says in John 15:12-14:
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command.
Or in Mark 12:28-34 when he talks about the two greatest commandments:
28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'[b] 31The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'[c]There is no commandment greater than these.”
I know men and women are different. I know men and women express their spiritual lives often very different than one another. I know little boys often pick up sticks on the ground to use as weapons (without any teaching), and girls sometimes move towards dolls, etc. I know the stereotypes, and I know that we are wired differently as well.
But just because we are made different, doesn’t mean that we need to go on and practice a violent, distorted view of Christianity in our lives. Were Christians killed in the arena? Yes. Is it a violent world? Yes. But living as Christians in this world requires a toughness greater than what you see in the UFC…it requires a toughness to love our enemies, lay down our weapons, and ultimately to lay down our lives. That is what Jesus did, and if we are followers of him, then we don’t need to be men who try and do it differently.
Believe it or not I think Mark Driscoll has some good things to say on many issues, but I think they are often clouded because of the rhetoric coming from him in regards to this issue.
What do you think?