July 10, 2020

Saturday Ramblings — August 2, 2014

Gulls Collage

I awoke early to take dawn pictures at Lake Winnepesaukee in New Hampshire when we were on our trip. It was a cloudy, drizzly morning, so I didn’t get many great shots, but I did happen upon these feathered friends performing their morning routine on Weirs Beach. Like them, we’re gonna wade in, splash some cold water on our faces, and see what we can drag out of the web to chew on today.

So come on, buoys and gulls, let’s ramble.

Seagull-png_zpsd61d4050~c200We begin with great news about one of our own high flying friends. Two of the really good folks, Dee and Deb over at Wartburg Watch, have published the first part of Eagle’s personal story. In his own words, “This is a story of a faith crisis. It’s a story of falling away, wondering in the unknown, struggling to find faith, and finally hitting bottom. It’s a journey of coming to terms with my evangelical past and slowly finding a way forward.”

This is also a story about some of you, who played an important role in encouraging Eagle on his journey. Good stuff.

Seagull-png_zpsd61d4050~c200Unfortunately, one of the more prominent stories in cyberspace this week was not uplifting, but spiritually repulsive.

I’m speaking, of course, of the escalating downward spiral of Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church in Seattle. Oh, I suppose it is good news to those of us who have critiqued Driscoll and have felt that the ministry might be dangerous to genuine spiritual formation. But it is sad nevertheless, especially when one considers the justification it gives for people to reject the faith he claims to represent.

Far and away, the best thing I’ve read on the matter so far is the piece, “Our Only Response to Mark Driscoll,” by Brandan Robertson at Revangelical.

131211_FAITH_MarkDriscoll.jpg.CROP.promo-mediumlargeIt is undeniable that the absolute collapse of Mark Driscoll’s empire is lying just around the bend. Every day there are new reports of scandal and abuse being uncovered at Mars Hill Church. In this season, it is important for us to continue to speak about the false teachings that Driscoll has propagated over the years and to continue to support, pray for, and encourage those who have been harmed through Driscolls ministry, and there are tons of people who are doing just that. But I want to suggest that it is equally as important- though infinitely more difficult- to keep Mark, Grace, their five children, and the church in our prayers. We should pray that God would continue to bring the truth to light and that through it all, he would humble Mark to a place of brokenness. We should pray that his family would be protected through this tough season as they see their husband and father being publicly exposed for copious amounts of sin and scandal. We should pray for healing, redemption, and reconciliation between Mark and all those whom he has hurt and all those who have hurt him. We should pray that at the end of this season of refining, that God would bless Mark Driscoll and his family.

This is perhaps the hardest teaching Jesus calls his followers to, but it is one of the most important. We are called to love those who harm us and to pray for those who hate us. This is the only way to bring true healing and redemption to everyone involved in this dark situation. In the midst of our (very justifiable) anger and even rage against Mark Driscoll and his teachings, we must be careful to guard ourselves against becoming the very person we are speaking out against. We must not resort to gossip, slander, cursing, or mocking- and I am tempted to do every one of those things when I am talking about Driscoll. We must not become people who speak harmful and abusive words back to Driscoll. We cannot return an insult with an insult. This only continues the cycle, deepens Marks wounds, and adds fuel to the already destructive fire.

Seagull-png_zpsd61d4050~c200I don’t know about you, but I need something to look forward to after that. How about 25 Books to Watch For in the Second Half of 2014? Yeah, that’s the ticket. Our friend, Chris Smith at Englewood Review of Books, has put together a mouth-watering preview of good reads to come soon.

Here are some of the authors with new books this fall: Marilynne Robinson, Wendell Berry, Christian Wiman, Matthew Paul Turner, Christian Smith, Tim Suttle, and Scot McKnight.

I had to wear a bib when reading that post to catch the excessive drool.

Seagull-png_zpsd61d4050~c200Speaking of bibs, you might want one if you go to Red Robin and order a “Monster” double burger, served with “bottomless” fries and a “Monster” milkshake. The Center for Science in the Public Interest named this meal with 3,540 calories the “winner” in its 2014 Xtreme Eating Awards.

1406665352000-MONSTER-BURGERThe group reviewed more than 200 chain restaurant menus and gave its “awards” to dishes and combos especially high in calories, fat, sugar and salt. Though Red Robin topped the list, the Cheesecake Factory put the most dishes on it.  Three of its treats — Farfalle with Chicken and Roasted Garlic (2,410 calories), Bruléed French Toast (2,780 calories) and Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake (1,500 calories) — weren’t far behind as contenders.

I hear Jay Leno now: “How FAT are we here in America? . . .

Seagull-png_zpsd61d4050~c200A man in Birmingham, Alabama claims he lost a little weight in an unfortunate way. Johnny Lee Banks Jr., 59 years old, went to Princeton Baptist Medical Center last month to be circumcised as part of urological treatments. Banks claims that, when he awoke, his entire penis had been removed. He and his wife Zelda filed a lawsuit, seeking an unspecified amount of money. They accuse the defendants of medical malpractice, negligence and other wrongdoing. Doctors and clinics involved have asked a judge to dismiss the suit, saying it has no merit.

Now that leads me to ask, as gently as I can, shouldn’t this be simple to prove or disprove?

I always wondered about this in the New Testament too, and perhaps one of our Jewish friends could enlighten me. With circumcision such an issue in the early church, just how did they go about checking to see if a man was with or sans foreskin? Was there a special examination room in the synagogue? I’m gettin’ a little creeped out here.

Too bad Mr. Banks didn’t take Paul’s advice: “. . . watch out for the “circummutilators” (Phil. 3:2, Orthodox Jewish Bible). As for me, if I needed to be circumcised, the last place I would go would be to a BAPTIST medical center. Not their specialty, and in my experience, Baptists do tend to be a bit enthusiastic.

Seagull-png_zpsd61d4050~c200Here is a cool story our children will like. When they were young, our boys in particular were Lego-maniacs. We continue to have a big storage box of ’em here at the house for the grandkids. Well, the BBC reports that a container filled with 4.8 million Lego pieces, many of them nautical themed pieces, fell into the sea off Cornwall in 1997. But instead of remaining at the bottom of the ocean, they are still washing up on Cornish beaches today — offering an insight into the mysterious world of oceans and tides and delighting beachcombers for over 15 years.

[On a serious note, there is a dark side as well, as small pieces of virtually indestructible plastic pose danger for birds and sea creatures.]

At any rate, there is a Facebook page detailing ongoing discoveries around Cornwall. And U.S. oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer suggests that, since 1997, some of these Lego pieces could have drifted 62,000 miles, though none have actually been verified as coming from the Cornwall spill. However, it is possible that they could be on any beach on earth. Theoretically, the pieces of Lego could keep going around the ocean for centuries.

And I guarantee, that if I go to any of those beaches, I will step on one of those Legos in my bare feet. It never fails. I have scars, I tell ya.

Seagull-png_zpsd61d4050~c200Gail and I will be going to hear David Gray in concert this week, thanks to a nice Father’s Day gift from our kids. I love his new album, Mutineers, and have been listening to it in anticipation of a great evening of music.

Here are two of the official videos from the record, “Back in the World Again,” and, to round out Ramblings with a nod to today’s theme, the ethereal, Bon Iver-like “Gulls.”


  1. I didn’t want to say it…but …

    some of those gull jokes were really foul.


    Our pastor want to rebuild our sanctuary out of Legos. “Lego Lutheran”, will be our new name.

    I do believe we would get a few more visitors than we currently are getting. And of course, we’d have plate spinners and dancing poodles during the offering.

    • There must be a Lego church somewhere in America. I missed stopping at the Corn Palace on my recent trip through South Dakota but would certainly have found time to stop at a church made out of Legos!

    • Cedric Klein says

      Would your opening hymn by “Everything Is Awesome!”?- Because that would be…. well…

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Anyone remember the “Tern” joke fad of the Seventies?

  2. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says

    “As for me, if I needed to be circumcised, the last place I would go would be to a BAPTIST medical center. Not their specialty, and in my experience, Baptists do tend to be a bit enthusiastic.”

    Full belly laugh. But seriously, what a horrifying story. Although it dose give rise to an almost endless supply of jokes and puns. But seriously folks. Ah, heck, I’m still laughing.

    • They should have just called the mohel. LOL

    • “We must not resort to gossip, slander, cursing, or mocking- and I am tempted to do every one of those things when I am talking about Driscoll. We must not become people who speak harmful and abusive words back to Driscoll. We cannot return an insult with an insult. This only continues the cycle, deepens Marks wounds, and adds fuel to the already destructive fire.”

      I wonder, given the stiff resistance I got when last week I criticized calling Ken Ham an “idiot,” if many or most here at imonk disagree with some parts of this statement, especially that we “cannot return an insult with an insult…”? Given the fact that, to my knowledge and strictly speaking, no one even suggested that Ham ever literally insulted anyone, whereas Driscoll has certainly offered insulting, mocking and derisive words publicly to a number of different groups, why Ham would be deserving of public insult but Driscoll would not?

      • I misplaced my comment. I did not intentionally attach it to comments about the surgical emasculation.

        • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says

          Although in an odd way, it sort of fits…
          I disagreed with the linked article. I don’t think we should be hateful, but Driscoll has bad behavior and bad character. That is that. I think trying to ameliorate that fact by peppering the conversation with all the good he has supposedly done is fruitless and distracting. When my parents disciplined me as a kid, they didn’t spend five minutes telling me how many redeeming qualities I had before telling me not to hit my sister. There is a time and a place for everything.

          Frankly, I believe that deep down the reason so many people tread on eggshells around Driscoll is that maybe, just maybe, his behavior indicates that his doxy and praxy are not ortho.

      • There’s a difference when society is rebuffing somebody for the foolishness versus when somebody is profiting immensely from it at the expense of the Christian name in society. Driscoll and Ham are both brothers, but one is having his feet held to the fire, and the other still has his fingers in his ears.

        • Miguel, you make moral distinctions with the skill and deft hand of a casuist.

          Now, I don’t know if I’ve complimented, or insulted, you, but I’m half-expecting oscar to show up and tell me that the word casuist is entirely too obscure.

          • If you don’t know whether your are insulting or complimenting me, then perhaps Oscar is right! 😛

            But seriously, I can concede that to some extent I am merely justifying what I would like to do, as we all do from time to time. But I seriously don’t see a darned thing wrong with political incorrectness. I’m not into a version of reality so sugar-coated that nobody gets offended. I think it is far more important to speak the truth and shame the devil: call a thing what it is. Perhaps it is Lutheran nature to have a significantly higher than average threshold for snark and insult.

            But I certainly have no tolerance for Tom-foolery with a Jesus sticker on it. If it brings ill repute to the name of Christ, it is a violation of the commandment not to take God’s name in vain. Driscoll and Ham are hardly harmless fools. They very publicly shame our faith, and I don’t understand how somebody who cherishes the faith can not be angered by that.

            For the record, I don’t necessarily agree with Brandan Robertson. Love your enemies, yes. But Driscoll is, by his profession, a brother. That means we have an obligation to hold his feet to the fire and make it absolutely clear that this sort of behavior is not acceptable from those called to shepherd the body of Christ.

    • Doubting Tom says

      There is a lot in the epistles about the circumcision controversy. I never asked myself how did they know who isn’t. Now I have a deep question to meditate upon.

  3. Patrick Kyle says

    Man, the blogosphere cannot get enough of Driscoll’s demise.. there is blood in the water and the sharks are in a frenzy. What was Al Pacino’s line in the ‘Devil’s Advocate’ about a ‘good old fashioned New York style’ something or other?

    • Vega Magnus says

      Driscoll deserves his fate. It isn’t appropriate to celebrate the situation, but we need to be honest about it. This guy has caused severe damage to many people and has in many instances been a disgrace to Christianity. I hope he can get his head screwed on straight, but I’m not going to step up to bat for him as the criticism rains down. Better that his demise happens instead of him continuing on business as usual.

      • Patrick Kyle says

        Whether he deserves it or not, I do not know, as I don’t follow the situation enough to judge either way. My comment was meant to point out the blood lust in the Christian blogosphere and their seemingly orgiastic glee over every detail of his demise. Bloggers and commenters piling on, everyone wanting their pound of flesh and to contribute their two cents. The click bait moral outrage…. Looks more than just a little sickening from the periphery. Imagine how it looks to the vast majority of people who have no idea who Mark Driscoll is. Is he a bad man or a bad pastor? Then don’t go to his church. Does he teach false doctrine? Then point it out in a sane, reasoned, manner to his would be followers. But no, we prefer a good public lynching….
        One for which the unbelievers get a front row seat.

        • I agree that people’s responses should be measured and less gleeful. But what you may not intuit, since your views of gender are closer to Driscoll’s than mine, is how much Driscoll represents (and sometimes has literally been) an element of evangelicalism that some people have found deeply damanging for the particular ways it obsesses with godly “manliness,” “femininity,” and sexuality, and the control of leaders over the private lives of individuals. He made himself into a symbol of verbally militant complementarianism, and has been many times the agent for it.

          In making himself that kind of public figure, he is practically inviting scrutiny and it is quite understandable that people respond with a “gotcha” mentality when he reveals that their worst suspicions were probably justified.

          He’s spent a career explaining why my choices in life make me a bad person. He’s lucky that my reply is to him is largely academic.

          • Patrick Kyle says

            ” He made himself into a symbol of verbally militant complementarianism, and has been many times the agent for it.” Is there no room for that in a pluralistic and truly multi-cultural society? There are plenty of viewpoints and philosophies I find morally repugnant and evil. People who have devoted their lives ‘explaining’ why my beliefs and actions make me a bad man. All of them have their vocal and forceful (some times literally) defenders. And apparently all of them have ‘a place at the table’ so to speak. Why not him?

            Again, I am not defending him. I have not followed this whole thing, and figure it is impossible from my vantage point to get a true read on the situation.

          • “Is there no room for that in a pluralistic and truly multi-cultural society?”

            Well, certainly, which is why Driscoll exists.

            Surely one can criticize others, and wish for their ideas to be less influential, without taking away the right of the person to speak.

            Any loss of money, influence, or status Driscoll may experience after his recent round of news and scandals are merely the result of a public conversation (sometimes, a shouting match). Nobody’s being tied and gagged.

        • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says

          “Whether he deserves it or not, I do not know, as I don’t follow the situation enough to judge either way.”

          If this is indeed the case, then I’m not sure you have any business commenting on the situation, as your ability to assess what might comprise a reasonable public response is compromised.

          • Bingo. Listen to the voice of those he hurt. Then tell them their rejoicing is self-righteous.

          • “If this is indeed the case, then I’m not sure you have any business commenting on the situation, as your ability to assess what might comprise a reasonable public response is compromised.”
            Oh my, this is a blog and this is the comments area. Let’s not give this more importance than is due. I’m sure you’ve noted, in the blogosphere anybody can say just about anything in the comments section. Of course there are people, perhaps like yourself, who aren’t keen about the other perspective being heard.

          • PatricK Kyle says

            ” then I’m not sure you have any business commenting on the situation, as your ability to assess what might comprise a reasonable public response is compromised.” As is the ability of most everyone on this thread, and a multitude of bloggers commenting on the basis of second and third hand stuff they have read on the net. How many here were actually involved at Mars Hill? How many personally know someone who was hurt or were affected personally? When I had my dust up with them a couple years ago over that church discipline case, and they reached out to me and gave some insight into the situation, I was appalled that NOT ONE PERSON publicly commenting on the case had the slightest clue as to what really happened, including myself. I realized right then the truth of Mark Twain’s adage ‘ It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you in trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” The ‘victims’ or those hurt, I hope get their day in court or find healing by leaving and moving on…
            My comment was directed at the ease and fervor, indeed even the relish with which the brethren take to these causes, most without even knowing what really happened.

          • Miguel – bingo indeed.

            Listen to the voice of those he hurt. Then tell them their rejoicing is self-righteous.

            He is contemptible.

    • Methinks the predictions of Driscoll’s demise are premature. His church only appears to have a presbyterian structure; in fact it’s episcopal, and he’s the pope. He founded Mars Hill in Seattle, and has a firm grip on his position. If his board ever gets the stones to ask him to step down, you can be sure it’ll be temporary and brief, and you can also be sure every last one of the board members will be replaced within the year.

      More likely, he’ll ride it out till the furor dies down. Which it will, once the blogosphere gets distracted by some new issue.

      • I think your instinct here is right on. Driscoll will loose some members, and become a more polarizing figure than he was before. As a result, he may be somewhat less popular, and those who harbor some quiet reservations about him will find permission to question him openly and leave. But the true believers will stay put, and will become even more defensive of his intentions and reputation, as well as his views.

        • Richard Hershberger says

          It comes down to money. Many megachurches are essentially self-contained pyramid schemes. With all the multi-campus growth Mars Hill has been doing, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if its finances are leveraged up to the neck. The revenue stream doesn’t have to dry up for this to become a critical problem. Simply slowing significantly can bring the whole thing down.

          Also, so far as I can tell Mars Hill was very successful at making itself attractive to young Christians moving into the area, which clearly is an excellent strategy in a place like Seattle. I have read a lot of personal stories about peoples’ experiences there. It is notable that nearly(?) all of them begin with moving to the area and looking for a church. The current scandals, even if they don’t bring it down, may well make it less attractive. In other words, megachurches lose members all the time. The key is to keep the flow in larger than the flow out.

          Finally, and this is something I drone on about constantly, why oh why would anyone give significant money o a church with closed books? One recurring element I have seen in those stories is that any curiosity about where the money goes will instantly move the questioner into the “troublemaker” category. This should tell you everything you really need to know.

          • MelissatheRagamuffin says

            I didn’t know that a church/non-profit could have closed books? That shouldn’t even be allowed for any tax exempt organization.

          • Richard, it comes down to Power. Money is merely the necessary fuel and lubricant for the engine of Power.

            I think you’re right about the pyramid scheme, though.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          > I think your instinct here is right on.

          He can always reboot to a lucrative career as a radio talking head and book peddler. Rush has to retire one of these days; Mark seems a perfect successor to cater to the Evangelical [but really pretty secular] Tea Party extremest crowd. He can even play the Celebrated Rehabilitated card, rising again to prominence with a message of “hope” and “righteousness”, an exemplar of “mercy”. It worked for Liddy, and Mark has at least that much talent.

          • “Evangelical [but really pretty secular] Tea Party extremest crowd” As opposed to, what? The morally righteous majority Democratic party faithful? Please! Enough with trotting out that old trope.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            As opposed to, what? The morally righteous majority Democratic party faithful?

            Ees Party Line, Comrade.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            > morally righteous majority Democratic party faithful

            Eh? He wouldn’t sell very well to them.

      • petrushka1611 says

        He could follow the Gothard playbook and manage to extend his damnable “ministry” for another 35 years….

      • I agree, too. There’s nothing new to these stories. If these stories were grounds for dismissal, he should have been gone long ago. Protestors? That will just validate, inspire and embolden them as poor persecuted, victimized bullies. This will come to an end, but it will take time. Somewhere on iMonk, I long ago made a prediction that Mars Hill will gradually begin to eat their own young, so to speak, as they drive away the weaker targets of their bullying. What will remain will be bullies being attacked by even stronger bullies in the church. The church’s treatment of former leaders may be proof – people who were in a position to stand up for the weak and didn’t until they became the target themselves. Implosion will happen, but protestors will just refill the collapsing tent with a last gasp of hot air.

        • It will take the same thing that sunk Jim and Tammy Bakker in the 80’s, a federal indictment for misuse of funds. He doesn’t even have to be guilty. Just the weight of the federal prosecution would be enough to sink his enterprise.

  4. I can’t imagine any judge dismissing that suit. I am reminded of a joke though. Guy went in to get his leg amputated but they amputated the wrong one. Of course he still had to have the other one done. When it was all finished he filed suit but the judge threw it out. Said he didn’t have a leg to stand on.

    • Richard Hershberger says

      “I can’t imagine any judge dismissing that suit.”

      I can. Or rather, I don’t know enough about this particular case to say, but it would not surprise me if there is some reason why it gets thrown out. I work in a law office. We rarely take medical malpractice cases. They are expensive to pursue and require a lot of specialized legal skills. But we sometimes have clients come in with medical malpractice complaints, and we will evaluate the complaint and possibly refer the client to a lawyer who can handle it better. I am constantly surprised by the complaints that *don’t* get pursued. There are instances which normal people would regard as obvious malpractice that no experienced lawyer will touch, because he knows he would lose. For all the wailing and moaning we hear from the medical community, the system is set up in their favor.

      • Richard Hershberger says

        I also meant to add, never judge a lawsuit by the news stories it attracts. Most journalists are neither trained to report on legal matters in any but the most superficial manner, nor interested in doing so. Neither are most news outlets interested in actually education their audience in such matters. What you get instead is cheap and lurid stories. One journalistic evergreen is the “crazy lawsuit”story. On actual examination, it might or might not actually be crazy, but the journalist doesn’t care. The story is easy to write, and most readers will not in agreement as they mutter about greedy lawyers. This particular story is unusual in that it goes the other way, This is because the injury claimed is itself so lurid that this is the easy spin to put on the story. But I would still never assume that the news stories include all pertinent information. That would require someone actually sitting down and reading the pleadings, it would require that this person have the background to understand what he was reading, and it would entail the distinct possibility that the final story would be less lurid, and therefore less effective click bait.

        • The news stories posted here leave too many unanswered questions even for a non-lawyers to make even tentative non-lawyerly conclusions.

        • Point well taken. It did occur to me that if they wanted an outright dismissal it was either strong arm tactics aimed at finding some kind of settlement which, if the story could be taken completely at face value, would be, IMO, an indictment on our unjust justice which is carried out on a pay to play basis. Or, the guy actually went in for a sex change but afterward had a mind change and wanted to hold the hospital responsible. That would certainly be grounds for dismissal. Could be some extenuating circumstances.That said, and your point touching the reality of the situation, I was really just commenting on the ‘face’ of it show some sensitivity toward the poor guy if that is the way it happened, before I told my joke. That makes me shallow. The joke’s pretty funny though!

      • Hersh said, “There are instances which normal people would regard as obvious malpractice that no experienced lawyer will touch, because he knows he would lose.”
        My experience: So many, many people appear to have a naive view of the court system; “I’m sure the judge will see it my way and do justice as I perceive it.”
        Then you hear their stories AFTER the system has chewed them up and spit them out – sadder and wiser.

        FINALLY: from the Richard Gere lawyer movie: Primal Fear

        “If you want justice, go to a whorehouse. If you wanna get ‘effed’, go to court.”

  5. They wouldn’t need to go around checking anyone’s junk. Ever seen a Roman toilet? It would be apparent enough when the group went off for social potty time.

    • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says

      Checking out junk in the lav is still checking out junk…

      • Dr., I think lavatory is a great word. I give you props for using it, even in abbreviated form.

  6. I read Eagle’s story part I. Fascinating, and the comment section also needs to be read. I had not ever been to Wartburg Watch, which makes me go back through all my linking on the net.

  7. I’ve been reading Mark Discoll’s latest news with bemused horror. Driscoll’s views of gender, whether expounded upon by him or others, have long struck me destructive. However, Driscoll in particular as brought a “voice” to that conversation that has always struck notes that I found deeply troubling, because of the vehemence and near-violence behind the ways he discusses men, women, and sex. Some of his earlier internet rants as “William Wallace”, that are now causing a stir, merely confirm my impressions. They are less filtered and than prime time Driscoll. They are not substantially different. They only make more obvious the way that gender issues are a flashpoint for a whole host of personal anxieties and social-political concerns. So, the bemused part of me is genuinely entertained and interested, because this is a topic that I find interesting – and that I study when my professional hat is “on”. So my notepad comes out and my pen flies. And hey, it’s always interesting to have one’s intuitions prove correct.

    My feelings were much the same, when earlier this year in Gothard land, the proverbial poo hit the fan. Many people have believed for so long there was something wrong in the Gothard community, myself included, that I was not surprised. I was waiting for it.

    But ultimately, I am horrified by both events. I’m horrified because as a young person I briefly swallowed the Christian patriarchy ideas deeply. I’m horrified because I had to waste a lot of energy turning traitor to those ideas and trying to understand and defend myself from them, and tease their hold off my emerging view of myself and my role in the world. I’m horrified because the air inside evangelicalism is so thick with the concerns that Driscoll and others typify (although they embody them in unique and controversial ways), that I personally felt it might be better to leave the movement, than to constantly have to deal with the conversations it would force, or for the ways it would cause my own children to wrestle or to view themselves. I knew this was inevitable, because Mark Driscoll and Piper and their ilk never stop talking, and I have known and still know plenty of people who script their lives by what these men and people like them say, and worry about their own feelings conform to the correct paradigms. As I told my now-husband, who I married in part for his feminism, “I can deal with this during the day, I can deal with it as a professional and a scholar, and I engage with it as a debate. I refuse to come home to it every night. I prefer not to live it in places where I am supposed to be safe.”

    And when these controversies or scandals broil up, they remind me of all of this. And they remind me that I had no my reasons for feeling this way, and that I am not completely insane. But I would prefer to be wrong. It would be better of none of it was real.

    Ultimately, Driscoll’s is the victim and purveyor of his own fears. Just as I am the product of my own. One can only hope that Driscoll will reflect on the content of his comments and commentary, and the mixed effects they have had. Just as we all can reflect on whatever feelings Driscoll’s words stir in us. Since I study Christianity and gender history, I try to put on my scholar’s cap and reflect on everyone’s responses, including my own (although one is always particularly blind to one’s own proclivities).

    • Has anyone ever considered the juxtaposition of Driscoll’s supposed views and those of the surrounding wildly liberal Seattle area? Could his popularity have anything to do with a reflexive and reactionary response to the liberal surroundings? I’ve never read anything exploring the subject but, then, I tend to not read ANYTHING about attacks by Christians on other Christians. It just seems to breed unrighteous judgment in areas where we aren’t personally involved.

      Whenever we depend of external sources for our information we leave ourselves open to a filtered view that may, or may NOT, be completely accurate. As for ME, I’ll just pray for the situation if I even THINK about it (doubtful, at best) and let God deal with the rest.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Seattle is Hipster Central. Nuff said.

      • Richard Hershberger says

        Setting up shop in Seattle was a stroke of genius. It is not only very liberal, its population is both affluent and mobile. It is one of those cities where you expect that most people you meet are originally from somewhere else. Some of these people are going to be Evangelicals. This means you have a steady stream of people who are predisposed to attending a church, but have no ties to any other local church (aka the competition). You still have to convince these people to come to your church rather than one of the others, but this is easier than convincing them to leave their church for yours, and a whole lot easier than convincing an unchurched person to become churched. Seattle is a particularly choice spot because there is comparatively little competition. Compare this with a place like Tulsa, which has a saturated market. The early history of Mars Hills is one of working to reach the tipping point, that point being when it is large enough and prominent enough that any Evangelical moving into the area is probably going to give it a look.

      • “Has anyone ever considered the juxtaposition of Driscoll’s supposed views and those of the surrounding wildly liberal Seattle area? Could his popularity have anything to do with a reflexive and reactionary response to the liberal surroundings?”

        I suspect that these are quite related, for all the reason Richard mentioned. It is worth adding that Mars Hill offers a deeply contrarian stance to transplants who may be uncomfortable with the liberal Seattle atmosphere, while still offering a certain amount of assimilation to the new environment. Perhaps the child of fundamentalist parents wishes to break free from the strictures of his youth, but needs to be reassured that he can do this without going “soft.” Mars Hill offers a culture where beer is OK, and having a kind of young rebel attitude is OK, but where there are lots of accountability and rules and angst about “the culture.” Or perhaps our young college graduate is from a more evangelical environment, but she’s enamored with Reformed theology, and wants to be a part of something big, and wants her faith to really “count” for something. Mars Hill will appeal to her. These dynamics having something to do with why Mark Driscoll’s “brand” also sells quite well outside of Seattle.

        As an aside, I think I understand what you mean by a “filtered view” of a person coming across in public debate. That is almost certainly the case if we are talking about the private Driscoll. However, we can know the “brand” Driscoll has created for himself, and sold as a public image in sermons and books. This is the only “face” of Driscoll that concerns me, because it is this Driscoll who is influential, and it is this Driscoll whose quotes populate my Facebook feed and whose rants on masculinity get into popular discourse. Driscoll-as-Pastor affects people too. Personally, I think the Public Driscoll and Pastor Driscoll should be discussed, because he had made himself “count” in public discourse and in the lives of Mars Hill members. My personal inclination is to generally stop there, noting that anything I might know about Driscoll as a private man can only be speculation. Private Driscoll is no concern of mine.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Did “William Wallace II” ever realize Braveheart was HEAVILY fictionalized?

      • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says

        The real Wallace wore chainmail under orange robes and a Normal spangenhelm (based on literature and artwork from the period). It wasn’t just the story, but the entire world that was recreated in Mel Gibson’s image.

      • Did “William Wallace II” catch the irony of Driscoll populating his elder board with a bunch of pussy yes-men?

  8. On a much happier topic than Mark Driscoll –

    Eagle, thanks for beginning to tell your story on Wartburg Watch. Your intellectual doubts — and your personal journey with it — are common experiences. Thank you for being willing to share parts of that journey.

  9. The newest Driscoll debacle. Just confirms what I’ve long suspected: contrary to popular belief, he doesn’t hate women. He pedestalizes them. It’s men that he actually hates.

    • Driscoll has plenty of ire for women and men both. He has a lot of praise for women who meet his expectations for what a women must be. He lionizes men who meet his expectations of what a man should be, and believes the church depends on them. He is very concerned about the needs of these men.

      He has little good to say about either men or women who do not meet his expectations. And make no mistake, as Driscoll himself often says, very few people meet his expectations.

      What I suspect you are noticing is that while Driscoll has very intense feelings about women who are out of line, his ire toward out of line men is even more vehement.

      • Richard Hershberger says

        With regard to women, this phenomenon is common enough that it has a name: “Madonna or Whore.” I don’t know of a name of the masculine version of this, but it also is not that uncommon. We see this especially with regard to the armed forces, where the troops are idolized, but only so long as they meet expectations on how they behave. Any variance will result in vilification far worse than a typical civilian undergoes.

        • May I suggest “Hero or Poltroon” as the masculine version of this?

          • Poltroon? WOW Robert! Congrats on choosing a word 99% of people would not recognize. I’ve only encountered that one in 19th century literature.

          • Richard Hershberger says

            Well, sure. But talk about Madonna-or-Whore and a lot of people will wonder what Madonna has to do with this.

          • oscar, If you can suggest a word that would work better than the one I chose, and that is less archaic and enjoys more widespread current usage, go to it; as it stands, I learned the word when reading Faulkner (chronologically close to 19th century, but stylistically a forerunner of postmodernist literary sensibilities) 30 years ago, and I think it does a nice poetic job of saying exactly what I want it to say, with a good musical ring to it. If people don’t know the word but care to understand what I’m saying, Merriam-Webster is within five seconds internet reach; if not, they may ignore my comment and leave me to my literary eccentricities, no harm done, no offense taken.

          • Robert – I like it a lot.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          As somebody with a strong case of Madonna-Whore dichotomy myself, I can say that Driscoll has firewalled it to the point of TEH CRAZY. I thought I had a bad case of it, but I never got this extreme. His vintage rants sound like something you’d expect from MRA/PUA/Manosphere/Hypermasculinity sites.

          DId he ever realize Braveheart was HEAVILY fictionalized?

          His rants against Pussified Men (why doesn’t he just call them closet FAAAAGS(TM) or something similar) also echo what I remember of Seventies Guns & Ammo editorials or Eighties Soldier of Fortune magazine, constantly raging and ranting against “Spoiled Rotten Baby-Fat Pussified Americans” vs the Rugged Communist Supermen. (And counting themselves among the Rugged Real Men.) Again, Hypermasculinity — reducing what it means to be male into “picking fights and getting laid”, burning out everything else with a white-hot iron, and firewalling the remaining hyper-aggressiveness and hyper-domination to the max.

        • That Other Jean says

          Reminds me of Kipling’s “Tommy”:

          “For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Chuck ‘im out, the brute!”
          But it’s “Saviour of ‘is Country” when the guns begin to shoot. . .”

          • Richard Hershberger says

            That’s a different phenomenon. In Kipling’s day an enlisted man was very much at the low end of the social ladder. (Officers were an entirely different matter.) Decent people regarded them with disgust: the dregs who took the king’s shilling because they couldn’t contribute to society any other way. Kipling’s point was the hypocrisy that as soon as war broke out, they suddenly were regarded as heroes. The modern phenomenon is as soon as someone puts on a uniform he is automatically regarded as a hero, but only so long as he toes the line: not on stuff like performing his duties, but on talking the right talk and carrying himself the right way.

    • Given his relationship to his father, no wonder.

      • Christiane says

        one wonders about his relationship with his MOTHER . . . he seems at times misogynistic . . . I was thinking that it’s not HIM that people want to see the demise of, but his extreme attitudes . . . I can’t imagine young Christian women being enthralled by his teachings once their husbands have been thoroughly indoctrinated in his attitudes towards patriarchy and the place of wives in marriage and in the Church . . . they would have to be intimidated or brain-washed to stand that stuff for long . . . all that overt contempt towards women is not healthy and THAT is an understatement !

    • In every lie there is a grain of truth. It is true that people tend not to stand up, lead, and make a difference at work, at church, or in the world in general. It is a universal problem – not just one affecting men. There is no comparing Joshua calling his army to be strong and courageous in God’s strength and Driscoll enabling his minions to be bullies out of fear and anger.

  10. I meant to comment on the “Ken Ham is an idiot” statement last week. Robert reminded me of it today. Obviously our leader (forgot who wrote our homily) did not mean Ham was an actual idiot as defined on some scientific scale.. I am sure he is a very smart man. We would never call real idiots “idiot.” All day long I am saying “you idiot!”; out the car window, to myself, (what an idiot I am), to TV commentators (what a bunch of idiots), or everything just seems idiotic!! It’s a phrase, just a little venting.

    • Ah, but Hanni, there were those last week who specifically said it was okay to use the term “idiot” as an insult exactly because it had become detached from its clinical meaning. If they are wrong, it would be no different from calling someone a “retard,” which obviously should be completely out of bounds. But, either way, people only say it to those with whom they are on friendly terms and as a joke, or to those for whom they have real enmity and whose feelings they don’t really care about.

    • I’m still waiting for Chaplain Mike to apologize to idiots.

    • That was both disturbing and ignorant.

      • flatrocker says

        >both disturbing and ignorant (?)

        Was it the cheesy acting?
        or the simplistic evolutionary and theological conclusions it reached?
        or the lack of rigorous debate in the dialog?
        or how it depicts our propensity to just walk away when confronted with a challenge to defend a belief?
        or the propensity to relish in the thrill of winning a point of debate absent of grace?
        or simply that the dialog doesn’t neatly support our pre-concieved world view?

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Didn’t Jack Chick do something similar with his tract “Big Daddy”?

    • But, it contained such incisive scientific reasoning and such Christ-like humility!

    • The kid with the chin hair in that clip? He looks a little like an ape.

      Jus’ sayin’.

  11. As a fellow Alabamian on the circumcision story, I too had fun with it at work this week. As you read more about it, however, it seems to be a confused and deeply hurting couple being taking advantage of by a lawyer. I wouldn’t be surprised if it so bad the lawyer gets reprimanded by the state bar. Even by Alabama standards (which are extremely low), this lawyer seems to have issues.

    On the Driscoll story, it too is connected in ways to churches in Alabama. Almost all of the largest mega-churches now in Alabama and the Southeast U.S. have absolutely no accountability in the local church. The pastor essentially owns the church, with a board of directors solely made up of other mega-church pastors in the South. There is a network of ‘friends’ with churches in New Orleans, Birmingham, and other cities who all are on each others boards. The combined attendance of churches controlled by these ‘friends’ now numbers over 100,000. The amount of money is staggering.

    • Although, actually, the “r” word has no clinical application as a descriptive, and never did, and so is in a somewhat different class from the word “idiot.” That much I concede. But my argument concerning calling Ham names vis-a-vis calling Driscoll names still stands.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      On the Driscoll story, it too is connected in ways to churches in Alabama. Almost all of the largest mega-churches now in Alabama and the Southeast U.S. have absolutely no accountability in the local church.

      Which is why I call such MenaGAWD “Pastor-Dictators”.

      The pastor essentially owns the church, with a board of directors solely made up of other mega-church pastors in the South. There is a network of ‘friends’ with churches in New Orleans, Birmingham, and other cities who all are on each others boards.

      “Swathed in unguent and gold and jewel,
      Waxed they merry and fat and cruel…

      “These N Kings said one to another,
      ‘King unto King o’er the world is Brother’…”

    • Richard Hershberger says

      ” The pastor essentially owns the church, with a board of directors solely made up of other mega-church pastors in the South. ”

      This is called “interlocking directorate.” Outlawing the practice was an important part of breaking up the Gilded Age trusts. In fairness, back in the day it was a strategy for businesses to appear to compete against each other while actually cooperating to maximize profits at the expense of the public. In the megachurch incarnation the goal seems to be to ensure job security. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have agreements about not poaching territory, too.

  12. Sure Mark is a problem, but up here on Ruby Ridge, it looks more like his problem is politics, not ethics. In the big picture he hasn’t damaged Christianity nearly as much as Rachel Held Evans, that Nadia-Whats-Her-Name who so loves to offend everyone and then criticize them for being offended, or Rob Bell, now partnering with a woman who thinks white people need to die. Everyone tell me the REAL reason Driscoll’s being lynched is his ethics and not his politics.

    • What are his politics, Clark? I don’t believe I’ve ever heard what he has to say on that topic. And I haven’t read a single comment pointing to them as a reason to criticize him.

      • Though I disagree with Clark’s perspective, if, as the sixties and seventies leftists often said, the personal is political, then there most definitely is a political aspect to the Driscoll debacle, having to do with his atavistic positions on gender, which are rooted in a kind of panicked and angry attempt to reclaim and revive traditional gender ideas as they existed both in the West in general, and in the Church, through most of history.

        Even if Driscoll’s intention is only for the Church to embrace this politics of one-way submission and subordination (of women to men, and of everyone to him), it is still a political position. It’s also hard to see how what people practice in the Church in this area wouldn’t affect the wider society in a political way.

        • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says

          I’m not sure Driscoll’s ideas on gender are “traditional” at all, based on what he has written. And I say that as a pretty traditional guy myself. To me, this goes back to the dynamic between what is written down on paper as “official” doctrine, and what is taught more informally through practice. In Mark’s case, his language reveals a vulgar and crude perspective that tends to denigrate women. For example, it is one thing to say that men should not act like women (although defining that might prove tricky) – it is another thing to call men who act like women being trained to pee sitting down. Somehow, I just can’t imagine Tertullian writing that. Heck, even Martin Luther and other “crass” writers didn’t use female urination habits as a means of insulting men!

          • He’s traditional in his support for the submission and subordination of wives to their husbands, and women to men, which was the widespread, and nearly unquestioned, practice of the Church, and most churches, down through history, and a practice as widespread in non-Christian societies as it has been in Christian lands.

            His crudeness and vulgarity are a function of the fact that such tactics are popular and successful in our society, and often stand in for legitimate, substantive arguments in favor of one’s own position.

          • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says

            I think I would say that Driscoll pervasive use of the female as an insult reveals that he does not have a traditional or healthy view of women. His comments on and general endorsement of degrading sex acts seems to corroborate that.

      • Richard Hershberger says

        Note also the use of “lynched” for what more accurately would be characterized as “criticized.” Lynching was a tool for making sure that a oppressed minority stayed oppressed. Using “lynched” as a metaphor for what Driscoll is experiencing manages the neat trick of simultaneously trivializing the actual horrors of lynching while elevating Driscoll to martyr status, when he actually is merely being criticized for what he has said and done.

        • Poor picked-on Driscoll.

          I’ll have to check the last time R.H.E. Threatened to break the nose of anyone disagreeing with her. She’s such a brute.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > In the big picture he hasn’t damaged Christianity nearly as much
      > as Rachel Held Evans

      I do not really know how you calculate that, or even what this statement really means – except maybe that they are both essentially irrelevant. I am confident if I asked everyone I know who RHE or MD was – easily 19 out of 20 wouldn’t know. We who spend a lot of time in this sphere tend to believe it is a bigger sphere than it is; but it is [maybe a good thing] rather small and limited in its intersection with other spheres.

      I do wonder why RHE feels the need to chime in on MD. She is obviously on ‘the other side’ of where MD is; so she’ll get rah-rah support from here loyal readers [and I am not being critical of her position], and MD’s supporters will cry about RHE and he bias, etc… And pretty nobody else will care. I am not against being critical of people, their roles, or their positions – but there is a point to real criticism. When things are so polarized it is very difficult for citicism not to become poop tossing, regadless of how careful the authors are.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        I do wonder why RHE feels the need to chime in on MD.

        Oh, I don’t know. Maybe it’s because her lack of a Manly Y Chromosome would doom her to life UNDER the boot if “William Wallace II”s attitude prevailed? And even if not, running into “WW2” types would NOT be a pleasant experience for her?

  13. That a great looking burger there. But no can top Five Guys. David Gray is awesome. Have fun!

  14. Never heard of David Gray but I like his stuff. I may have to go see him in September.

  15. David Grey nailed his performance on Letterman earlier this week.

  16. petrushka1611 says

    Speaking of circumcisions gone bad, apparently an infant got herpes from oral suction after a circumcision. I know I’m viewing this as a Gentile rather ignorant of many Hebrew customs, but still…


    I also found this article during my cursory Google research that states that most mohels (circumcisers) do the suction at a distance through a sterile tube rather than directly.


  17. Chaplain Mike, re: your query on NT circumcision testing, the hellenization of the world by Alexander brought Greek forms of entertainment with it, one of which was the gymnasium. If you’ve ever seen classical paintings and/or sculptures of Greeks competing in the ancient olympic games, you’d recognize they’re all in their birthday suits. This, along with the fact that public restrooms were painfully public, would aid in the identification of the circumcised and uncircumcised. I can just imagine the Judaizers in Galatia sending “Pee Pee Police” to the gyms and public latrines to spy on church members.

    • Given Jewish sensibilities about “nakedness,” how much would they have participated in these aspects of Roman society?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Or if you’ve seen classical paintings of Mythic Heroes.

      Let’s just say that the Spartans in 300 would NOT be wearing speedoes with their helmets, hoplon shields, and weaponry.

  18. Hello Chaplain Mike there in beautiful New Hampshire. One of my best vacations was spent there and I still have wonderful memories.

    Just want to say thanks for making us aware of Eagle’s story on Wartburg Watch. I have had him on my mind so heavily this past week and wondered how he was doing. He does have quite a story for sure.

    It is so awesome (an over-used word I know) to have him come to the point of being able to look back and share an agonizingly painful journey.

    Thanks Brother Eagle!!

  19. Another possibility is that the so-called leaders of the young, restless, and reformed movement will see their errors, repent, and put pressure on fellow leaders, such as Driscoll. Oh, that’s good! I almost made myself laugh.

  20. So, my first question is this: What is the objective here with regards Mark Driscoll? I understand that there are numerous issues here all centered on reports of abuse of power, lack of accountability, harsh language, and numerous other offenses. So, is the objective to…

    1. Take him out; and/or
    2. Impress on him the need to repent; and/or
    3. Save Marsh Hill congregants, especially impressionable teens a twenty-somethings; and/or
    4. Make an example of him so that other would-be megalomaniacs act right; and/or
    5. Impress on non-believers that there are some believers who don’t believe what Driscoll believes; and/or
    6+. …?

    If any of those is/are the objective/s, then neither 10-minute demonstrations on Sunday mornings outside the church nor blogs nor comments will prove effective.

    My second question is: What are the motives of Driscoll detractors? Is it that…

    1. He’s a Neo-Calvinist , therefore his theology is all screwed up; and/or
    2. He’s not an egalitarian, therefore he is a misogynist; and/or
    3. He speaks out against homosexuality and homosexuals, therefore he is homophobic; and/or
    4. He chastises and chases away detractors, therefore he is a despot; and/or
    5. He uses harsh language (less so these days, I am told), therefore he has a filthy mouth; and/or
    6+ …?

    If those are the motives for criticizing the man, then are those things which should be motivating us to such actions as I read about?

    Recently I read stories of several pastors who have been outed as adulterers, embezzlers, violent, even. Some of these guys are now in prison (justifiably so). Now THAT I see as worthy of some criticism. But Driscoll’s rants?

    So, I suggest we take Gamaliel’s advice in Acts 5.33-39,

    “So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” So they took his advice.

    And yes, I know that they also beat them before releasing them, but no one would argue that that was appropriate.

    So, can we just leave the man alone and let God deal with him? If he commits a crime, then let him be arrested, tried, and sentenced. If not, then he is free to say and do what he wishes within the confines of civil law. If he spouts heresy (real heresy, that is, not just a difference of opinion on this or that), then by all means let that be known. But if he insists on being authoritarian and his followers are OK with it, then what do we hope to gain from criticizing him so much? Except for the entertainment value, I suppose.

    • CC, by this same logic, I think I could make an argument for leaving cult leaders alone too.

      • Sean, I was very careful to add, “If he spouts heresy (real heresy, that is, not just a difference of opinion on this or that), then by all means let that be known.”

        Driscoll may well be guilty of some of the things he’s accused of, but I have not known him to be a heretic.

        And one might well add that one need not deny the Holy Trinity or deity of Christ to be a cult leader. But my daughter, who has been attending Mars Hill for about three years now, does not validate the things which are being said. At least, she is not privy to it.

        • Dana Ames says

          It’s true that some people get positively gleeful with the opportunity to criticize and demean. That’s not right. (OTOH, Driscoll’s own public words have been critical and demeaning. Not saying it’s okay to demean him because of that.) I don’t comment very much, but I have my own conclusions about MD. I was apprehensive about MH when I first heard about it in the early 2000s, when I was still an Evangelical and still hoping to remain one. Driscoll is entitled to his opinions and his theology, but he doesn’t have to pontificate about them in the disrespectful manner he does, especially since he regards himself as a pastor and “spiritual father.” (Compare with another native of the Northwest, Eugene Peterson…) Unfortunately, I have some amount of my own schadenfreude viz. his shenanigans, and I’m not proud of that.

          However, he has made public remarks, and until recently his sermons were publicly available on the MH web site. I think that among some of his detractors, the motive is that by his words and the actions his policies support, he is bringing Christians into disrepute in his community. That affects a lot of people who don’t attend MH.

          There are also people in Fowler stage 2 or 3 for whom an authoritarian structure provides a level of safety, and who gravitate to churches like MH because they are actually comfortable with the “tightness” of its “doctrine.” (Compare the +400 page membership manual to the Nicene Creed.) Not saying this with intent to judge those people; this is simply the reality of where people are on their journey. It’s easy to stay in that place in a culture (including many church cultures as they reflect and interact with the majority culture surrounding them) where questioning in general, along with deepening of wisdom and humility, is not encouraged.

          Finally, I do not know for sure if MD ascribes to this, but the type of complementarianism that posits eternal subordination of the Son within the Trinity to support its teaching is actually espousing heresy. A well known Evangelical theologian once told me in a ftf conversation that this is nothing else than rehashed Arianism. If that is what MD relies on, then he is in fact teaching heresy. This “theology” ultimately makes the Son not-God, and women not-human.

          I hope your daughter makes it through with her faith intact, Calvin. Sometimes ignorance may not exactly be bliss, but it can keep one from experiencing too much upheaval in a dysfunctional church, as I know from an episode in my own history. I am really, really concerned about Grace Driscoll and her children, and yes, I do pray for the whole Driscoll family and the people at MH.


    • Very sensible, Calvin. Once I found a blog that seemed to be edifying. After a while, I dropped out due to a lot of silly, dictatorial stuff, way off the chart. I wouldn’t sit in a church like that, either, but the church members will handle it best.

      • My association of churches went through a similar experience back in the 90s. The founder was accused of many similar things and we were in the local news here and there. Because there was no internet back then the matter did not reach the same lever of readership as it has with Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill.

        In the end, the founder left and we made peace with most former leaders and members who accused the founder of everything from dropping out of college (to have more time to witness; the rapture is imminent, don’t ya know? Want to bear the guilt of all those lost souls you could have witnessed to?), to being asked to give beyond their means, to being told they shouldn’t marry that gal or mover there or accept that job (not the will of God for you!), to…you name it.

        We resolved these issues among ourselves. And so, I hope, will the good folks at Mars Hill.

    • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says

      I think for a lot of us the issue is that Mark does not display the fruit of the spirit, does display the works of the flesh, and does so in a brash and public manner. I think many people are concerned about how he is damaging the name of Christ through a very large public platform.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        What you’re saying is Christianese for “He’s being a high-profile Jerk, and it reflects badly on all the rest of us.”

      • Perhaps so. But I seriously doubt that the blogosphere is going to make things better for anyone–the Church, Mars Hill or Mark Driscoll himself, for that matter. My argument is not so much to defend Driscoll’s behavior but to contextualize it into something which would be effective and not unnecessarily heap even more dirt on the Church.

        And as to how well/bad Driscoll is doing Galatians 5.22-23 I leave it to him and God. I would rather reserve my criticism for so-called Christians who are doing Galatians 5.19-21–or spouting heresy, whichever.

        • What makes it everyone’s problem is the global sphere of influence. Twenty years ago, para-church organizations had influence over local churches; now, mega-church pastors have that power. Someone sees Driscoll’s book not only in the local xtian bookstore but also on the best-seller’s list (not knowing how it got there) and concludes this would be a great book for his men’s group to study. If only Mars Hill was influenced by Driscoll, then it would be the church’s business.

          • Dumb Ox, that influence is wider than people think. Even people who have never heard of Driscoll are influenced by him indirectly.

            My church has started a Sunday-school series called “The Gospel-Centered Life” by World Harvest Mission. In the section “What People Are Saying” the very first review reads as follows:

            “This is a rich gospel-centered small group curriculum that I am really excited to see published.”

            Mark Driscoll, Founding and Preaching Pastor, Mars Hill Church; President, Acts 29 Church Planting Network; President, The Resurgence

            I can’t seem to get away from this guy, and yet nobody ever talks about him around here.

        • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says

          Oh sure, I understand. And I think it’s important to keep a balanced perspective, CC.

    • neither 10-minute demonstrations on Sunday mornings outside the church nor blogs nor comments will prove effective.

      I am absolutely convinced that this is dead wrong. All of these things spread awareness. Driscoll gets away with his shenanigans because nobody was bold enough to talk about them. This has the potential to call him to account, or at the very least, warn the unsuspecting to limit his reach. There is nothing wrong with harsh, public criticism when it is well merited. Yes, some people do it because he is their theological nemesis. But now their voice is being joined by numerous former fan club members. That speaks volumes, and should not be brushed aside lightly in the name of being nice.

      Gamaliel’s advice absolutely does not apply. The things Driscoll has done to hurt and take advantage of people can in no way be of God. Gamaliel was referring to their teaching that Jesus was the Messiah, as a member of a different religion. Nobody is infringing on Driscoll’s right to practice his religion. Are you seriously saying that we may be opposing God to hold this man responsible for his misdoings?

      • Miguel, Gamaliel’s advice does not apply in the exact same manner for the details differ; I understand it. But Gamaliel was neither defending nor accusing Peter, et al.; rather, he was stating a very important principle that in dubious matters it is best to stay out of it and let God work it out. Note the key word here, “dubious.”

        If Driscoll were a criminal I would be in complete agreement with you. He’s not. He’s not even a heretic. What remains then is important, I do not doubt that, but it is best left to Mars Hill to work out. Those who disagree with him can leave, and when sufficient numbers leave and those in the Mars Hill leadership address him on the issues the matter will be resolved.

        What no one has yet to show here is how public criticism is going to improve this situation.

        Good grief, has the Church of Christ become a house of busy-bodies?

        • Yes, we have shown how it helps. Public criticism raises awareness so less people get taken advantage of. It also puts pressure on corrupt leadership to do right. This is not remotely the same thing as being busy-bodies, that is a very judgmental accusation to lob against the victims who are speaking out.

          Driscoll and Mars Hill are not self-contained entities. He is, as they say, as “rock star pastor,” and thus his foibles are a very public face of Christianity.

          The accusations against Driscoll are not remotely “dubious.” Just because you’re in a similar enough “theological camp,” doesn’t mean this is nothing more than tribal warfare. MH leadership is NOT resolving the situation, that is precisely why those who suffer are going public.

          Are you seriously saying nothing illegal or heretical should ever be publicly spoken out against? …’cause you’re publicly speaking out against something that is neither illegal nor heretical. Driscoll refused to listen when people approached him privately. He refused to listen to people who attempted due process within MH. How is it inappropriate that this now appeals to the court of public opinion?

          • You’ve convinced me, Miguel. You’re right. Too much is at stake, the psyches and well-being of people who are often very vulnerable, for the Church as a whole to take a free-market approach to issues like this one, as if things will right themselves when people vote with their feet and leave. The fact is that many in the pews of such churches are indeed very much like sheep, too much so to protect themselves from the ravening wolves they mistake for pastors. The wider Christian community has an obligation to speak out.

          • Miguel, very much agreed. MD’s beliefs and practices have devastate a *huge* number of peoples’ lives, especially women and kids. (And gay people, and anyone MD thinks is gay.)

            I ache for them. It *is* abusive speech and he has sanctioned abusive behavior; of women as next to chattel re. sex, of women as “less than.” And women as there to fulfill sexual fantasies, rather than to love and respect as equal partners in life and in faith.

            Lord, have mercy.
            Christ, have mercy.
            Lord, have mercy.

          • Criticizing Driscoll is an attack on Calvinism? What is Calvinism, then?

          • Patriarchialism is not heresy, but it is not Christian orthodoxy. I defy anyone to defend it as historical Calvinism.

          • Charles Finney was a Calvinist; I guess we can’t criticize him either.
            This trip down the rabbit hole has been fun, but I think I’m all fun-ed out.

          • Charles Finney, a Calvinist? I believe Finney rejected the Calvinist doctrine of unconditional election.

          • “Charles Finney, a Calvinist? I believe Finney rejected the Calvinist doctrine of unconditional election.”

            Now don’t be sad,
            ‘Cause four out of five ain’t bad…

          • Miguel, I very much appreciate that you believe that criticizing Driscoll is helpful. It may be for some but the majority will simply ignore it or circle the wagons. So no, it’s not helpful and in fact it’s counterproductive. It also accentuates disunity in the Church to society at large. I’m sorry, but I don’t see what you, et al., see here as useful.

            My whole point here all along has been that it’s best to let these folks sort out their own issues, which they will in due time. In the meantime let us be good examples of how churches should be operated and how pastors should conduct themselves. Doing so takes much longer but the outcome is more effective.

          • Robert F, you can reject limited or definitive atonement and still be considered a Calvinist (not by all but by most). This goes way back to the teachings of Moïse Amyraut in the 17th century. Several Puritans were in this camp, and many Reformed folk still are. But you can’t reject unconditional election and be considered a Calvinist, for that doctrine is at the very heart of monergism.

          • CalvinC, I was just making a lame joke, because sometime I go all kitschy and can’t help myself.

          • That’s fine. I like good jokes. Like the Calvinist who fell down the stairs and then said, “Man, I’m glad I got that one behind me!”

          • What about people who are looking for a church now? Don’t they deserve to know that this pastor has baggage and it might be better to not waste their time and/or risk their spiritual health in this church network ?

          • Shall we create lists of objectionable churches in every town, perhaps an “A” through “F” grading system to inform potential congregants of what to expect at X, Y & Z church?

            Is it not enough to instruct folks on the basic doctrines of the Christian faith, perhaps also include what pastors should and should not do, and then let them explore and decide for themselves?

          • cermak_rd says

            Charities have ratings, why not churches? At least objective criteria like is the money and expenditures kept in public books and is there a level of independent (either congregational or episcopacy) authority over the leader of the institution. And what the procedures are for church discipline and is it always followed in the same way and such.

            No, I don’t think it is enough to instruct folks on the basic doctrines because often people seek out religious experiences when they are vulnerable, and it can then be easy for others to take advantage of them. Especially if they’ve been reared to give clergy the benefit of the doubt. That’s not a bad heuristic for 90% of clergy, but with that other 10%, quite risky.

    • PatricK Kyle says

      CC +1

    • 1) I’ve read most of the links criticizing Driscoll. Unless I’m mistaken, I didn’t read a single criticism of his Calvinism. In fact, until I read your post here, I didn’t even know he was Calvinist. So to think that criticism of Driscoll’s theology is an attack against a Calvinist preacher because of his Calvinist theology OR an attack on Calvinism itself is a huge stretch. It makes me think that perhaps you’re a tad hyper-sensitive when it comes to defending Calvinism and/or Calvinist pastors. This is about a man who’s representing JESUS, and doing a really crappy job of it.

      2) I’ve read most of the links criticizing Driscoll. The things he’s said and done – DOCUMENTED by people within his camp – are all about power, not about Jesus. His tactics are to shame, to bully, to shun, to divide, to consolidate power, to intimidate, to suggest he knows the truth more than anyone else. Perhaps if he were in some little church in Kansas with a congregation of 25, we could ignore him and just let the church take care of it. But he’s foisted himself onto a mainstage, he’s one who craved the attention and the power, he’s the one who sought after and built a megachurch built around his own persona, he’s the one who appears to be more about teaching the Theology of Driscoll than the Good News of Jesus Christ to a large body of believers. A skirmish of tribes in Southeast Papua New Guinea can perhaps be ignored and left for the tribes to resolve, but a major battle in the Gaza Strip cannot. The status and size of his church, sought after by himself, means that outsiders and fellow believers can be critical of what he’s teaching and professing.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Perhaps if he were in some little church in Kansas with a congregation of 25, we could ignore him and just let the church take care of it.

        But he’s not Reverend Apostle Joe Soap preaching to 25 each Sunday. He’s become a Big Name CELEBRITY.

        But he’s foisted himself onto a mainstage, he’s one who craved the attention and the power, he’s the one who sought after and built a megachurch built around his own persona, he’s the one who appears to be more about teaching the Theology of Driscoll than the Good News of Jesus Christ to a large body of believers.

        Not Megachurch. GIGACHURCH. When Mega is too small.

  21. Dee Parsons says

    Chaplain Mike and all the good readers of Internet Monk

    As I have walked through this journey with Eagle, I want you all to know that just about every conversation included his positive references to all of you. You allowed him to “get it out on the table” and you answered his questions.

    This story has an amazing twist at the end. I willing to bet that none of you have heard anything quite like it. It has already inspired one sermon but we’ll keep you in suspense because Eagle needs to tell the story in his own way.

    Thank you all.

  22. Ok, I need to rant this here. There is a story circulating on social media about Homeland Security seizing a Land Rover from a North Carolina couple for not meeting EPA standards. Conservatives are heralding this as yet another act of aggression by the Administration. As with each of these rants, there is more to the story which will never come to light on the Heritage Foundation page. The car was illegally imported. But of course, if the Federal government won’t stop the entry of illegal aliens, why do they car about an illegally imported car? Paul said in Romans 13:1-2, “Let every soul be in subjection to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those who exist are ordained by God. 2 Therefore he who resists the authority, withstands the ordinance of God; and those who withstand will receive to themselves judgment. ” Paul didn’t say obey the government when it is consistent. He certainly didn’t say go ahead and break one law if the government isn’t consistently enforcing another.

    • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says

      Yawn. I saw that story. Sure, it doesn’t EPA regs. Which is why it is not eligible for homologation. Ergo, it was imported illegally and is illegal to tag, drive on public roads, etc. More that likely it is also evidence in a larger conspiracy indictment or ongoing investigation. Anyone who thinks this is a big government grab must not want secure borders.

    • I’ve wondered about Paul’s teaching about “higher authorities” and the Christian’s duty to obey them. I mean, how does the Christian know what constitutes a true “higher authority”?

      If I’m an ancient Jew living in Palestine, subject to a Jewish government, and then the Romans invade, take over and pronounce the former authority null and void, and put themselves and their toadies in the place of authority, to whom do I owe my allegiance and obedience? Are the guys with the most firepower the legitimate authority?

      That can hardly be, because that means that pirates and criminal thugs could lay claim to be legitimate authorities by just having the biggest, or the only, guns in the room, and I would owe them obedience. But if that’s not the case, then it is my responsibility to decide who constitutes a true authority and who is merely a pretender; once the responsibility for making such a determination comes over to me, to the average Christian, the whole argument about obedience to authority, as if it is evident what constitutes legitimate authority, begins to unravel.

      All that can be said clearly is that the Christian owes obedience and submission to some kind of governing authority. But the criteria for what constitutes authentic and legitimate governing authority, and for when that authority becomes illegitimate, is something that Christians have to work out in the mess and struggle of history apart from Paul’s teaching, because Paul does not address this question.

      Completely off subject.

    • Those millions of VW Bugs that were built in Mexico were illegal in the US too, because their EPA and safety standards didn’t go beyond the 1970s. If they had been allowed across the border for us to buy, the same people would have shouted “Invasion!”

  23. Chaplain mike and I Monk. I want to say thank you for tolerating me for years. I still read and follow but life has gotten a little busy for me as of late. This place is a beautiful community and I love it deeply. I can’t express what I Monk personally means to me. Given my background your writing about the rapture, Christians and disasters, John Piper, dualism, etc… meant so much to me. I could identify with so much.

    I am so grateful for the grace you showed me. It was grace that I didn’t deserve. I ranted, was abrasive and tough. I didn’t mean to come off like that I just had so much built up in me that when everything fell apart I blew. What happened wasn’t supposed to happen due to my thinking and what I was told.

    I still remember your phone call when I was in the hospital and appreciated the prayers that you said for me and how this community responded. I drowned in a lot of cards from all over the United States. I deeply appreciate that kindness. I also appreciated you taking on several of my questions in “Ask Chaplin Mike”. I read your answers for several years afterward in trying to think things through.

    Chaplin Mike I Love you and I love this community. I think we’re fortunate to have you in this blog and I ask that you keep doing what you are doing. I really want to engage in the Driscoll discussion but I am up to my eye brows in working on Monday’s thesis 😛 But I still read and follow this blog I lot. I love this place.

    • We love you too, Eagle. =)

    • Eagle! We miss you around here. So glad all is going well for you.

    • Thanks for checking in, friend. Our prayers are with you. I’ll drop you a note soon.

    • I read your first installment and most of your follow-on comments. Riveting stuff. I look forward to reading the whole story. Thanks for sharing it, Eagle. I really am looking forward to your take on testimonies, since it sounds like you’re a little against them, and yet you’re sharing yours. Grace and peace to you.

  24. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    But of course, if the Federal government won’t stop the entry of illegal aliens, why do they car about an illegally imported car?

    Because cars don’t have activist lawyers and activist media on speed-dial.

    Then there’s also something called “Displacement Behavior”: When you’re overwhelmed by a problem you can’t fix, you find a problem you CAN do something about and micromanage it to death.

  25. Re: Driscoll, demise, and glee:
    There is a reason many people are glad to see public reproach brought on him. It is much needed, and not just to make the self-righteous feel better. It is a good, right, and salutary thing for public sin and abuse to be exposed to public ridicule. Anybody who tries to make this into a bad thing or shame those who are happy about it is missing the forrest for the trees.

    Yes, there are those who may take a wrong type of delight in these proceedings. That is hardly anything to be concerned about. Start with the victims. Give them your empathy first, and above all. Then proceed to the reform of the perps. Support and encourage any efforts to learn from mistakes and walk in repentance. That leaves precious little time to be so worried about the pundits and spectators, assuming we could clearly see and judge the motives of others.

    But I also agree that “demise” is too strong of a word, and too soon. Sure, this will slow his career inertia, and possibly even usher in a decline, but I’d be very surprised if it went into a full-scale free-fall any time soon. Leaders of this nature build up way too much blind loyalty that serves them well as a safety net. I suspect all the negative publicity will be far more hard on him personally than financially. We can only hope that he will respond well to it.

  26. I admit to having a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Christianity when it comes to pastors. Dr. Jekyll to most of them, but Mr. Hyde when it comes to those who abuse members of their congregation and/or are narcissists, power-mongers, psychopaths, sociopaths, sexual abusers, etc. Remove them from the pulpit and ministry permanently, and banish them to places where they never have control over another human being ever again. Narcissistic and sociopathic pastors, like pedophiles, are almost completely unredeemable re: that aspect of their lives, and people need to be protected from them. There is no “time of restoration” long enough to allow them to return to the pulpit where they again have control and authority over other people.

    In case you have suffered under one or some of these pastors: http://dallascult.com/?page_id=21

    • Or maybe I should say a Bruce Banner and Hulk Christianity.

    • I once read a statistic that argued that pastoral ministry attracts more sociopaths than most professions, including lawyers. You will never succeed in banishing them, but I have hope we can educate people to not be suckered in by them. A little discernment could go a long way.

      • I know in many orthodox circles, as a safeguard against this, one cannot become priest unless it is something he doesn’t want.

        • I imagine in such a situation people who want to become priests can become quite facile at pretending they don’t want to become priests.

          • Of course that is possible. What is helpful though is that wicked priests are generally not tolerated. There are mechanisms to depose of them. None act alone.

          • Faulty O-Ring says

            Some would describe the late Archbishop Christodoulos, or Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow, as wicked, along with their entire hierarchies.

          • Please, teach us more about these mechanisms. Seriously, they are painfully lacking in most forms of religion.