Thursday, November 13, 2014

Driscoll Deflection

People tend to play the same games.

Mark Driscoll is a familiar name among liberal feminists in the United States. Driscoll is/was the leader of Mars Hill Church, one of those hip-but-also-surprisingly-conservative megachurches.

Driscoll is a champion of putting his foot in his mouth, the latest find in the treasure hunt of ridiculous statements he has made is saying that women were a kind of "penis home" in a forum a decade back.

This obviously clashes with contemporary feminist thought, which regards women as a type of penis garage.

Bad jokes aside, Mark Driscoll finally decided to call it quits: [emphasis added]

October 14, 2014
Michael Van Skaik
Chairman, Board of Advisors and Accountability 
Mars Hill Church
Dear Michael:
By God’s grace I have pastored Mars Hill Church for 18 years. Today, also by God’s grace, and with the full support of my wife Grace, I resign my position as a pastor and elder of Mars Hill. I do so with profound sadness, but also with complete peace.
On August 24th I announced to our Mars Hill family of churches that I had requested a leave of absence from the pulpit and the office for a minimum of six weeks while a committee of elders conducted a formal review of charges made against me by various people in recent times. Last week our Board of Overseers met for an extended period of time with Grace and me, thereby concluding the formal review of charges against me. I want to thank you for assuring Grace and me that last Saturday that I had not disqualified myself from ministry.
You have shared with us that this committee spent more than 1,000 hours reviewing documents and interviewing some of those who had presented charges against me. You have also shared with me that many of those making charges against me declined to meet with you or participate in the review process at all. Consequently, those conducting the review of charges against me began to interview people who had not even been a party to the charges.
I readily acknowledge I am an imperfect messenger of the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are many things I have confessed and repented of, privately and publicly, as you are well aware. Specifically, I have confessed to past pride, anger and a domineering spirit. As I shared with our church in August, “God has broken me many times in recent years by showing me where I have fallen short, and while my journey, at age 43, is far from over, I believe He has brought me a long way from some days I am not very proud of, and is making me more like Him every day.”
Prior to and during this process there have been no charges of criminal activity, immorality or heresy, any of which could clearly be grounds for disqualification from pastoral ministry. Other issues, such as aspects of my personality and leadership style, have proven to be divisive within the Mars Hill context, and I do not want to be the source of anything that might detract from our church’s mission to lead people to a personal and growing relationship with Jesus Christ.
That is why, after seeking the face and will of God, and seeking godly counsel from men and women across the country, we have concluded it would be best for the health of our family, and for the Mars Hill family, that we step aside from further ministry at the church we helped launch in 1996. I will gladly work with you in the coming days on any details related to our separation.
Recent months have proven unhealthy for our family—even physically unsafe at times—and we believe the time has now come for the elders to choose new pastoral leadership for Mars Hill. Grace and I pledge our full support in this process and will join you in praying for God’s best for this, His church, in the days and years ahead. Grace and I would also covet your prayers for us as we seek God’s will for the next chapter of our lives. Therefore, consider this written notice of my voluntary termination of employment.
Finally, it would be my hope to convey to the wonderful members of the Mars Hill family how deeply my family and I love them, thank them, and point them to their Senior Pastor Jesus Christ who has always been only good to us.
Pastor Mark Driscoll

Apparently more than a few church employees thought Driscoll was toxic, abrasive and divisive. What Driscoll brought to the church was bad press and bad blood.

But pay attention how he views himself upon his departure - it seems his greatest mistake is pride, anger, and "domineering spirit". It would not appear that he is wrong about much of anything. Instead, his mistake is that he cares too much.

The climax of Driscoll's self-pity party is his mention of feeling "physically unsafe" and concerns for his family. Driscoll is playing the very same violin that his liberal critics play when things get crazy. "Unnamed mean people want to hurt me!"

The man that earlier complained about a "pussified nation" is running the same weak willed, scared child nonsense that Tumblr wimp culture feeds on. He's dealt with some first world workplace drama and came out the other end acting like he knows what true danger looks like.

The first opportunity Driscoll had to speak since the resignation drama, the pity party continued:

(The man sitting beside Driscoll is apparently Steven Furtick, who is also in contention for winning the award for slimiest pastor in America)

In just a few minutes, Driscoll lays out an elaborate tale of oppression. Many aspects of his story are quite unbelievable - for example, the concept that a media organization would bother to spend money to put birds in the air in order to flush Driscoll out of his house. It would be a fantastically strange event, given that successful creepy publishers such as TMZ manage to keep tabs on numerous celebrity families without finding it necessary to maintain fleet of Apache helicopters to get the scoop.

Predictability, Driscoll puts focus on the family. The night terrors his son experiences are apparently the fault of the harassment Driscoll's family is facing. This may be true. What also may be true is having a preacher man father that is convinced that his family is a key part of some epic battle of good versus evil, a divine test of faith, and so on, does not really create an environment of healthy emotional development.

Of course, Driscoll's critics are not going to feel bad for his situation for a second.

It is important to remember that Driscoll's critics are not simply diehard anti-religionists eager to watch his church collapse. Driscoll's name is held in such contempt is that contemporary Christian activists use his name as an insult. The people that are the most upset with Mark are former fans and colleagues.

Maybe if Driscoll was a regular contributor to a "liberal" blog, there would be a blizzard of pearl clutching about Driscoll's personal security.

It's quite clear that many people see Driscoll for what he is - a man that is skilled at telling a story anyone not born yesterday is very familiar with. Given a minute on stage, Driscoll does what any good "progressive" activist would do. Suck as much sympathy out of the audience as possible.

Driscoll's church is currently in the process of disbanding and there is already a fight over money. Misappropriation of funds during the implosion is plainly wrong. The crime is however boring in comparison to the loss witnessed when a cult of personality so inflated finally pops. The departure of Driscoll revealed the church to be empty, lacking community and unsustainable. Doomed to fail.

One can hope that Driscoll is now inert. The tale of the wolf in a preacher's clothing is old news. It's amazing that the formula still works as much as it does.

The larger threat may now be the preachers without gods. Personalities that can easily avoid packaging their emotional manipulations in the language of piety. Megalomaniacs that do not need to back up their anecdotes with quotes of scripture or deference to a divine power. A religion of nothing more than feelings, identity and guilt - branded as social "progress" or "justice".

Driscoll might be done, but the con is not over.

1 comment:

  1. A persecution complex is never far from the surface for American Christians, especially the whitebread middle-class types for some reason. I used to watch evangelical television as a little boy in Australia, and boy were they obsessed with being fed to the lions! You know, in America - by Reagan (they never said this explicitly, but if Americans stopped loving Jesus, well, you never know...).

    One person who seems to fit this category is Lena Dunham. Sure, you might think she's an exploitative sociopath, but more likely you have trouble with successful women, and people that have problems with women could be a physical danger to those women. Anita, Brianna, Zoe.

    All that sexual stuff with her sister? That's Lena being quirky, forget about it! Something Planned Parenthood something something voice of a generation something Rock the Vote something something. Lena is the 21st century, and only vicious wingnuts say otherwise.

    Something tells me this is going to get worse before it gets better.