I don't know Mark Driscoll personally, although we have mutual friends and he has helped me out professionally in a few ways, not least by endorsing my first book. He's taking a tongue-lashing recently, unsurprisingly and perhaps not undeservedly, but I'd like to offer a few words in his defense, acknowledging full well he doesn't need me to defend him.
First, since most of those blogging criticism of Mark have been leading off with all their masculine credentials -- you know, so nobody can accuse them of being personally offended by his attack of effeminacy -- let me lead off with my unmasculine credentials. :-)
I am not handy. I worked as a church maintenance man for about 6 years despite the fact I cannot fix much of anything. I can't fix your car. Or your computer for that matter. I am great at paying the home warranty bill each month and handing my credit card to the auto mechanic.
I used to be really athletic, but I'm slow and pudgy now.
I'm generally a bookish type.
I am a former stay-at-home dad.
On top of that, I have two little girls and no boys, so I see more princess movies than movies where things blow up.
Also, what is being said quite a bit is that nobody in his camp will disagree with Driscoll, that they have set up hedge of insulation where there is no taking brothers to task. This is not true. For one thing, just because brothers aren't all up tweeting and blogging like the critics doesn't mean they aren't taking each other to task behind the scenes. But of course we do have public accounts of Mark being corrected, and Mark has typically been the one to share about those. (Piper's corrective mentoring is most notable, as well as the elders who urged Mark to rethink his public image in terms of being the "cussing pastor." And there is also the apology he issued after the Ted Haggard/wives letting themselves go thing. Which of course mattered not, because critics are still slamming him for that, despite having apologized and despite the remarks in question not being aimed at Mrs. Haggard anyway.)
Secondly, for those who think "well, of course you'd defend Mark; you're a fanboy" or what-have-you: I have publicly disagreed with Mark several times, most notably on the whole "being a stay-at-home dad is a sin" thing, which my friend the late, great Internet Monk promoted so much I got nervous Mark was gonna egg my house.* But to give another example, here's another couple of disagreements I voiced a couple years back.
All that out of the way, some thoughts:
Statistically speaking, if you're reading this post, it is almost certain that Mark and his church have done more for abused women and "effeminate" men and all manner of other marginalized and victimized persons than you have. If you actually listened to his teaching on men and women, and if you actually looked into what Mars Hill Seattle does in terms of counseling and exposing/rescuing in the world of sex trafficking, you would see that "bully" is the opposite label that fits.
I know it is difficult for those predisposed to dislike Mark, for those who are salivating for him to say something needlessly controversial -- which unfortunately, he is very likely to do on any given day -- to think through the lens of charity when it comes to things Mark says, but it seemed evident to me that in the now infamous Facebook solicitation of "stories on effeminate worship leaders" he was merely highlighting a stereotype nearly all of us are aware of and indeed that others make fun of all the time. See the countless parodies and tweaking of V-necked, skinny-leg-jean wearing, emo-haired contemporary Christians on plenty of other Christian blogs. The difference is that it is Mark Driscoll who poked fun this time. When Matthew Paul Turner pokes fun, it's okay, because he's making fun of the right people.
Should Mark have said what he did? Probably not, or at least not the way he did. Effeminate worship culture is a real evangelical problem. (Doug Wilson, another "hateful misogynistic bigot," has said some good stuff on this subject himself.) But I am glad to defend his honor in this instance, while remaining free to disagree with him in the future (as I have in the past), acknowledging that the majority of his critics are predisposed to read him in the worst possible light and would like nothing more if he had no voice at all. But speaking as one fairly un-macho guy, I am proud to call Mark my brother in Christ, and I am grateful eternally for the way God used his preaching and ministry to keep me from committing suicide several years ago and build in my heart gospel wakefulness. Mark was not a bully to me, but a balm.
* The Internet Monk site is currently down. They've been having some hacking issues recently. If/when it's back up, I will link to the post(s) mentioned.
Home run, Jared. I wrote about the same general issue on one of my blogs today because the real issue with these critics has little to do with what Mark actually posted or wanting to stop "bullying." They don't like his theology and want to silence him. They don't mind the bullying when it is someone they agree with doing it.
It's hypocritical, it's dishonest and it's pretty standard for most internet "outrages" these days.
Jon has talked about worship leaders for years: http://www.jonacuff.com/stuffchristianslike/2008/06/269-understanding-how-metrosexual-your-worship-leader-is-a-handy-guide/
Hands down the best thing I've read on this situation. Thanks for coming through with grace.
What kills me is, like I tweeted to you, it seems that the exact same people roasting Mark over this are the same people that crucified John Piper and Justin Taylor for speaking out against Rob Bell. Both, in essence, are idealogical issues. And yet, one that may deal with salvation issues is unacceptable behavior but one that makes fun of how people dress is acceptable? It seems a bit hypocritical, to steal their own word.
Thanks for sharing. Was shocked to go online and see the blogosphere exploding with critique without knowing who Mark truly is. It's like sharks and a small drip of blood in the water. Like you said, he probably shouldn't have said (tweeted) it, but knowing who Mark is will help one to understand that it was probably not his intent to be hateful (as many bloggers have suggested).
What if you found $10 missing from your wallet every time you saw a particular friend? He might have explanations for each instance ("I thought I saw you drop something out of your wallet a ways back" or "Don't you remember...you bought that extra cup of coffee" or "Are you sure that you had two $10s and not just one?") but at some point it becomes more likely that he's taking your money, no matter how plausible any one excuse.
Driscoll defenders usually have excuses for his behavior ("He wasn't actually talking about Gayle Haggard" or "He was just poking fun"--to use two from here). But at some point, it becomes more likely that he's a bit of a misogynist and more than a bit of a windbag, no matter how plausible any one excuse.
I can't list my masculine credentials, since I'm a woman, but I can list my non-hater credentials, starting with the fact that I am an active member of an Acts 29 church. And I don't want him to lose his voice entirely. God isn't really glorified if he shuts up and goes away forever. God would be more glorified if he sees his error, repents, and lives a life that demonstrates the fruit of repentance. And that, for the record, is why no one gives him credit for the Gayle Haggard apology: every time he pops off like this, it makes it harder to sincerely believe that he's repentant. And I say that knowing I'm putting my own self on the line, since many could easily say that about aspects of my life, though I live on a much smaller scale than Mark does.
But as a woman, I find many of his remarks hurtful. And blaming the dissension on "doesn't like his theology" or "wants to shut him up forever" does tempt me to add my voice to the email chorus dissing Mark...just to prove that some of us do have principled objections.
Thanks for defending Mark. It would seem that the greatest sin in secular culture (and therefore in churches that mimic the world as well) is being an unapologetically masculine man.
Megan, fair enough.
Dan, feel free to disagree with or comment on the issue(s) at hand, but I have a policy of not publishing links to sites dedicated to the "exposing" of anybody. If you want to try again without the self-promotional bit, you're welcome to.
Where's the Google+ +1?
Jared, I'm assuming you removed my comment because I linked to my blog? That's fine. I'll restate it without linking.
I am one of many 100's of Bible believing, gospel loving Christians in Seattle wounded by Mark's rude, unloving words. You saw on Facebook what Mark says in public. It does not compare to the hurtful things he says in private. Don't believe this is just people who disagree with his doctrine. It's because I love the Bible and the gospel that I speak out against him.
Dan, that works. Thank you. I trust you feel heard.
I have not read this tweet of Mark's, but unfortunately it is not surprising to read that controversy, in the christain shpere no less, is still following him.
I have listened to many messages of Mark's and have read a couple of his books. Great stuff. Unfortunately his willingness and conviction to attack and bring to light apathetic areas in the church (which we all know is much needed)sometimes has him crossing over that line, that line which the word warns of the hideous result....that of a "nothing". It is the line that I myself am to familiar of being on the wrong side of....truth without love (1Cor13). Lord please forgive my brother Mark for his careless speach and thank you for using broken vessels like him to fill the kingdom with other broken vessels like me. amen
I'm sure there's people coming after him all out like was done with Bell, but there are also plenty who are also just taken aback by what he actually said and are simply appealing for this kind of talk to stop. Where the attacks are personal, I can see defending him. But this isn't like Bell in the sense that Bell's views were and still are being misrepresented by those who attacked him, and as far as I can tell this facebook post is actually accurately indicative of Driscoll's views on gender roles and masculinity and femininity. This is precisely the issue which has him at odds with so many, and it is a fight that he's been picking for years. So I appreciate the perspective, especially as it regards his ministry in Seattle, but when you say "effeminate worship culture is a real evangelical problem" I think you are basically just saying you agree with him.
You at least have to see how it might be considered "bullying" to make fun of people that don't fit a certain vision of masculinity? And worse yet spiritualizing it? I'm not surprised there are evangelicals springing to speak up against the marginalization going on.
At least in Bell's case he was attacking ideas, and even by the end reaffirming a good many of them again anyway.
>Effeminate worship culture is a real evangelical problem.
This is the part that's not making any sense. Why should this be an issue? God wants us to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ crucified and resurrected, not to place our emphasis on stylistic matters.
I think the issue that some of us have with the Driscoll quote is stronger if you quote him accurately. What he asked about was "effeminate anatomically male worship leader[s]".
When he says "anatomically male", he's inferring quite strongly that they're not really "men" in any other way. That's offensive, as many have pointed out.
The difference between Driscoll's comments and those of somebody like Jon Acuff is that Acuff is mocking the stereotype without actually calling the manhood of any worship leader into question. I could do the same thing by asking why all the A29 pastors seem to go for hip jeans, shirts with snaps, and chunky black-rimmed glasses. I'm not questioning their manhood, just pointing out that it's a little silly that they all seem to have to look alike.
For a guy who would undoubtedly preach wholeheartedly from 1 Samuel's text that God looks on the heart, Pastor Mark seems to do an awful lot of judging based on outward appearance.
It's one of those things I do not get.
Driscoll mocks a stereotype = Hateful.
Blogger ridiculing and mocking an amateur church talent show = not hateful.
Jon Acuff makes the same comments years ago = not a peep.
I'm honestly a little "meh" on Mark Driscoll due to a few factors, but the selective outrage is rather stunning.
Just fair warning:
I've already sent a few comments to delete purgatory. There are plenty of places to go online to attack Mark Driscoll's character and call him names. This won't be one of those places.
Neither will this be the place to gossip about him and Mars Hill.
Comments that disagree with the matter at hand in a respectful way are great. Comments that want to use this as an opportunity to heap more scorn on the man are barking up the wrong tree. As I said, there's plenty of other places to do that.
Zhuge Liang: Why should this be an issue?
Because the New Testament makes it one.
That is the complementarian's perspective, anyway. And it is not simply a matter of "style."
The difference between Driscoll's comments and those of somebody like Jon Acuff is that Acuff is mocking the stereotype without actually calling the manhood of any worship leader into question.
I would say the real difference is that both Driscoll and Acuff know how to play to their respective audiences. But I do think Mark's remarks had the same intent as Acuff's, to mock the artsy fartsy musician types we all know. He just didn't do it in a winsome, soft way.
But I do think Mark's remarks had the same intent as Acuff's, to mock the artsy fartsy musician types we all know. He just didn't do it in a winsome, soft way.
I'm unconvinced, but I'll grant that it's a possible interpretation. Thanks for interacting.
Chris, thank you for your civil disagreement and irenic tone.
> Because the New Testament makes it one.
Not following you so much... wait. I'll take a guess at what you're aiming at.
If you are referring to only men being pastors of a church, then that's one issue, and there is scriptural support for that position. But if you're making the implication that pastors also need to embrace masculine stereotypes, that is completely ascriptural.
if you're making the implication that pastors also need to embrace masculine stereotypes...
I would have to know which stereotypes you specifically have in mind before I could deny or confirm. Some stereotypes are awful, legalistic burdens. Men are different in temperament, personality, strength, interest, and experience. I absolutely do not mean that the New Testament calls men to be chauvinist, macho, chest-thumping idjits.
But there is such a thing as masculinity and femininity, and I find it distressing that many (maybe just some?) of Mark's critics are going right to that issue, as if there really is no such thing as differences between men and women, really no distinctions between what is masculine and feminine.
I do not believe, for instance, that a man who cannot fix a car and is more adept at cooking a meal is "effeminate," if that's what you are getting at in terms of stereotypes.
I think, biblically speaking, masculinity is first and foremost about taking responsibility, avoiding excuses, leading humbly but confidently, and protecting women, children, and the church from harm.
There is a reason Paul orders men in 1 Corinthians 16:13 to "act like men," and it's not because there's no such thing as masculine distinctions.
> I think, biblically speaking, masculinity is first and foremost about taking responsibility, avoiding excuses, leading humbly but confidently, and protecting women, children, and the church from harm.
Those are good values, and you are right that they are ones that we should expect of our leaders. So we can at least agree on that?
And you agree with me on the fact that some stereotypes are bad and legalistic; hence,this is why people object to Mr. Driscoll's routine because of his frequent use of such stereotypes, and you noted as such in your main post.
However. The big question remains; where is the line to be drawn? Why is it that we can attribute certain characteristics to men which aren't always found in men (there are many men who do not have these virtuous characteristics, and there are many women who do), but not others?
It'd be easier to just say that ministers should be virtuous(of course, that word originally had its Latin roots in the word for "man", but it also has those connatations that you mentioned.)
If there were individuals like Megan who were offended by the Facebook post, I can understand that. I do think that Jared has a definite point on the doctrinal issues with some of the bloggers who have hammered Driscoll. Search their blogs and read other things that they have written about Driscoll and you get the idea that they are unlikely to give him the benefit of the doubt. While you're at it, also see what those same bloggers had to say about "Love Wins."
i don't know mark, i've never listened to a sermon of his or read a book. i've read complaints about him and defenses of him -- and that's about it. sadly, complaints and defenses seem to be all that's said about him -- at least where i'm reading. but, then again, i live in tanzania.
anyway, i'm trying to look at this objectively, because i too read jon acuff and his satire -- and see the similarities.
chris, you said, "I could do the same thing by asking why all the A29 pastors seem to go for hip jeans, shirts with snaps, and chunky black-rimmed glasses. I'm not questioning their manhood, just pointing out that it's a little silly that they all seem to have to look alike."
i guess what i'm wondering is this: why is it okay for us to poke fun by accusing a group of pastors of being robots, but not by questioning others' tendencies to act feminine (if that's indeed what they're doing). it's not that i think it's horrible to make a little fun of all the emergents who dress the same way or all the hipster christians who drink coffee in the same places.
rather, it simply seems we're singling out "manhood" and saying that one's off-limits. but i'm not sure why. i don't necessarily disagree; just trying to put a finger on that.
Couldn't you say all you wanted to men about acting like the men you are describing without casting aspersions on styles of masculinity (as is done by Driscoll) and as is implied by the use of the word "effeminate"? I think you could do the whole thing by calling them to a Christian life, and without falling back on some kind of debatable gender roles issue. I'd still like to hear you defend how "effeminate worship culture is a real evangelical problem". And I'd argue that a complementarian church is actually not as gospel-driven as it could be. Any submission that happens in marriage or church is mutual, because of the self-giving love of Christ and the communion that it creates.
A large part of it is the "reputation" that Driscoll has means that there are people waiting to get offended by anything he says, when the same statements by others would go under the radar. If Jon Acuff had written the same "effeminate" quote word for word, I still think people would have received it in good humour.
Driscoll knows any comments he makes wll be blown out of proportion. If that was me, fear of man would probably make me stop talking altogether. I'm glad he hasn't.
I noticed your appeal to 1 Corinthians 16:13. That's an excellent example of Paul using a masculine stereotype of his day (i.e., "be men" = "be brave") to exhort his "brothers" in the Corinthian church. But unless you want to say that the letter to Corinth is actually only to the males then you have to recognize that the call to "be men" actually applies to the women who stand with them as well. Furthermore, you'd have to be reading a lot into it to take it as the condoning of the perpetuation of masculine stereotype (to the degradation of other masculine expressions). Paul simply uses it to drive home a point for the whole church (see the rest of the verse, not to mention the one after!).
Let's not forget that it was common custom to address the whole church as "brothers" and to speak of all leaders as "men", and that this is not longer the custom today, nor need it be. Today's culture affords a greater range of gender expression and roles. This is not to be feared but brought under the call of the gospel (and held to the biblical standards of sexual morality as well, of course).
Complementarians and feminists both are defining themselves by secular egalitarianism (the feminists by basing their beliefs on it and the complementarians by reacting to it). Better for us to let the "mutual submission" called for out of reverence for Christ reverberate all the way into our theology of sexuality, our views of gender roles and church structures, and definitely into our facebook rhetoric.
Not only do you seem to be defending Driscoll as a person, which is fine, but also the very views which spawned his facebook status. And I'd like to suggest that his facebook comment is the symptom, not the disease.
Fair warning: Not gonna be debating complementarianism/egalitarianism in this space. Just isn't the forum for that.
To briefly reply, Jon, I would say that when Paul is saying "act like men," he's talking to men. Just like when he addresses wives, he's talking to wives. Husbands, husbands. Children, children. Etc. That is not a difficult premise of exegesis, and we don't have to muddy it up by saying all those labels are merely stereotypes and he's really addressing everybody. That's just silly.
On the subject of "masculine worship," here are a few brief words from Douglas Wilson's book Future Men via GoogleBooks:
I just gave an argument on another way 1 Corinthians 16:13 can be read. You say different. But I'm not muddying it up by suggesting what I have. I don't mean to say that when he addresses children or husbands he means everyone. But in this case it is eisegesis and not exegesis if you want to build a view of masculinity off of what is actually quite arguable Paul's employment of a customary idiom meant to drive home a point. Again, see context. You want to say the rest of that verse and the surrounding context only applies to men?
I'll try to get to Douglas Wilson's book, but putting an entire book in place of an actual response is not really playing fair. You made a defense not only of Mark Driscoll's ministry (which I understand and sympathize with) but also gave a pretty strong suggestion that you stand at least somewhat behind his comment. So I ask you to explain on your blog how "effeminate worship culture is a real evangelical problem".
(And I apologize for the first line of my second post on this comment thread, which could have used an edit).
Jon, I am keeping it in context. "Act like men" makes no sense as "Women you too act like men" in Paul's writing. "Men" is not an idiom here like "brethren." That's a minority reading, and I deny it's eisogesis to read "men" as "adult males."
Also: I was not trying to link to an entire book but to a passage within that book. Perhaps the GoogleBooks link didn't work. It should have taken you to page 92 which begins a discussion on masculine and feminine worship. If it did not, I am sorry.
I don't have the time or the interest in rehashing the complementarian/egalitarian debate so available plenty of other places. But masculine worship can be defined generally as worship in which men -- which is to say, adult males ;-) -- are leading, and in which they are visible, present, and "acting like men," as opposed to like women.
Here's another definition: "masculine worship" is the worship which can actually get men to sing. The lack of male singing in gathered worship is epidemic in contemporary church and one of her greatest deficiencies. Show me a church where men are singing joyfully, reverently, and passionately to God and I'll show you masculine worship.
@Megan, really good thoughts. You've made me think and reflect not just on this situation but my own heart this morning. Thank you. I'd like to think that Mark is getting the same sort of admonition from his close friends.
My question is out of pure ignorance - not condescension:
I've read some comments and posts from female writers who are hurt by Driscoll's comment about effeminate males. I'd like to understand why. When I read the statement, given the context of his writing and preaching, don't hear him rejecting femininity at all. Just those features in males.
Jared, I think you've really raised a lot of good points in defense of Driscoll. I certainly don't know Mark personally, but I'm familiar with his teaching, and agree that he's done a tremendous amount of good through Mars Hill - particularly regarding his teaching on gender roles, even if I don't agree with all of his viewpoints. I certainly don't think this recent issue reveals him to be a bully, and my initial reaction was to be surprised that his statement had generated such controversy. That said, upon some further reflection, I think there are justified concerns here.
I read your link to Doug Wilson's book and don't really disagree with anything he's written there. If that's what you were getting at when you said that "effeminate worship culture is a real evangelical problem", then we are in agreement. But that's not the implication that I'm drawing, and that many other people are drawing, from Driscoll's statement. He seemed to be going after something stylistic and much more superficial - and that's the direction you went earlier in your post when you compared his statement with the "tweaking of V-necked, skinny-leg-jean wearing, emo-haired contemporary Christians" that's been done elsewhere. If that's the type of thing Driscoll is getting at, then it has nothing to do with real masculinity or leadership roles, unless one believes that those character traits are defined or revealed by how someone dresses or wears their hair. And if that's the prevailing belief, aren't we right back where we started, with those who say that a preacher who doesn't wear a suit and tie on Sunday morning must lack a reverence for God?
At the end of the day, there's no way to understand Driscoll's views on male and female worship from a one-sentence Facebook status update, and I think he should be given the benefit of the doubt. But part of the backlash against Driscoll as opposed to, say, Jon Acuff, is that Driscoll seemed to be scornfully trying to tear something down ("anatomically male"), rather than making a humorous observation. And what's he's railing against isn't a biblical distinction but a superficial one.
My disappointment with Mark is that while I almost (I said almost) always agree with his point, I find I must often disagree with his method of communicating it. This is either heard as "fanboy" or "hater" by others, depending on their perspective. I believe Mark believes and is attempting to communicate God's sovereignty over issues like this, but often delivers it in a way that is easily perceived as Mark's sovereignty. Thanks Jared for attempting to define those differences.
I'm sure you've read Mano-a-Mano: A Letter to Mark Driscoll, by Tyler Clark?
How do you feel about his reaction?
I *feel* like Mr. Clark has a right to his feelings, but I don't believe having his feelings hurt was warranted by Mark's intent.
If I feel like your comments are making me angry, does that mean you're being mean?
Thanks Jared, the link worked fine, I just didn't realize that it was this section in particular I needed to read. I'm not sure we'll meet eye to eye on this apart from a discussion of a biblical theology of gender roles and gender norms in general, and so will have to agree to disagree.
As for the 1 Corinthians 16:13, I certainly see that you could read it as referring to adult males distinctly, even though I still think the reading I'm giving is preferable. To be clear though, I wasn't accusing you of eisegesis in that case, but was suggesting that building 'a view of masculinity off of it' would be eisegetical (in the sense that this text isn't about that). But even there we'd have an argument that would come back to our views of how to read the Bible as it pertains to gender roles, and so probably we just leave it there.
I wish you well in your endeavours and the peace of Christ.
Jon, thanks. I appreciate the tone.
Thanks for the sharpening.
Honestly, it seems to me that you think that it doesn't matter that Driscoll's comment hurt or alienated people.
That the fact that Driscoll didn't 'intend' for it to sound offensive forgives the fact that it deeply offended people.
Please let me know if I misread you, because that's how it comes across to me.
You are so quick to dismiss Clark's painful context.
What am I suggesting? I think Driscoll needs to watch what he says, as to not hurt people with insensitive or derogatory language. Am I wrong in that?
I think Driscoll needs to watch what he says, as to not hurt people with insensitive or derogatory language. Am I wrong in that?
No, you are not wrong in that.
Let's look at what Mark said...
"So, what story do you have about the most effeminant anatomically male worship leader you've ever experienced?"
Is this just a matter of people being upset because he wasn't being PC? What if instead of effeminant anatomically correct he would have said Calvinist or Arminian or Baptist or charismatic? (Some of those Baptists are hilarious!) Does that imply ridicule? What if he had mentioned the most charismatic Baptist worship leader? It is just a question to provoke a response. Or are effeminant men untouchable? Are there no stories about them?
Twitter and Facebook comments are generally made to get a response. I fail to see any malice in his comment, I see plenty of malice in the way that people have understood his comment. So maybe this is a time to look at the log in our own eye before worrying about the sawdust in someone else's eye.
Am I a bad person if I thought Mark's post was pretty funny? Not a wise choice to post on fb, but I interpreted it as harmless satire (as benign as Acuff, even with the "anatomical" comment).
I happen to be about Mark's age, a longtime MH member, raised in the same offbeat NW culture, and a friend of Mark's in a previous life, so I tend to "get" his jokes, even at his flippant worst.
Jared, just thought I'd let you know that I've begun working my way through this Douglas Wilson book you recommended and comparing it with another book which I think much better. See: http://theologyoutofbounds.wordpress.com/2011/08/19/future-men-vs-fathers-and-sons-further-thoughts-on-gender-typology/
If you read it you'll notice a link to where I've also been reflecting on Driscoll's comments a bit more, and have an alternate interpretation. If you wanted to talk about any of this further you'd be welcome to stop over at our blog and do so. Peace.
(I reckon you may not wish to publish external links in your comments. If so feel free to simply consider this a personal correspondence. All the best.)
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