New Calvinist pastor and Hipster Christian icon Mark Driscoll, founder of Seattle’s Mars Hill Church, got in a spot of hot water recently over this Facebook post:
Before I go any further, I would like to point out that it was wrong for Driscoll to post this. It is mocking and demeaning. Although I agree that the masculine side of the Gospel has been all but lost in American Christianity and especially “worship leader” culture, men are given different levels of testosterone, and yet they are all created in the image of God. Mark’s missing the mark here: the problem is not effeminate worship leaders, the problem is the anti-masculine gospel that has driven men out of the church.
Rachel Held Evans has had enough. Evans is a Christian writer and blogger, and she says that Mark Driscoll is a bully, and encourages her readers to make their voices heard to the organization at Driscoll’s church so they can take “whatever measures necessary” to make sure Driscoll’s bullying stops.
This is how I see it: Mark Driscoll represents an ANTI-anti-masculine gospel, which is a mistake. The Gospel is the Gospel. He’s so gung-ho about manliness that it leads to outbursts like this. On the other hand, Rachel Held Evans cares way too much about what the world thinks about gender issues. And while Driscoll’s pastorate has not been without issues heretofore, but I think describing him as a bully is over the top.
It’s a bit suspect, in my opinion, for one Christian to use the secular term “anti-gay” against another. This a debate for another time, but I wouldn’t call myself anti-gay, and Christians should not toss that phrase around. Homosexuality is a sin. Homosexuals are sinners. So are the rest of us, to a greater or lesser extent. Unfortunately, it’s cultural suicide to hold that view, and there are people in Christendom who will try to bury you in cultural stigma if you admit to it.
It all comes down, as Driscoll admitted in an apologetic post (LINK) to the issue of gender.
“Is gender a socially constructed reality or a God-given identity?”
It’s the latter. Mark Driscoll relates that he had a conversation with a blue-collar, unchurched man who was repulsed by effeminacy in the worship team at a church he briefly attended. That’s no excuse for Mark’s post, but that man is not alone. Men are called to be men. I’ve blogged about this before: in fact, my paper about gender roles in the church was a big factor in the growth of this blog.
Here’s a part of Driscoll’s response. It’s because the man writes things like this that I don’t agree with Rachel Held Evans’ assessment of him.
Outside of the gender debate, other debates about such things as God judging people, punishing them, and pouring out his wrath in the conscious, eternal torments of hell are in some ways asking if God is more like a Father who defends his children from their enemies or a Mother who loves everyone until they inevitably and eventually decide to join the family.
The mainstream media has also picked up the gender issue in a cultural context. In recent months The Atlantic, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal have run major stories chronicling the fact that young, single men are not growing up as quickly, attending college as frequently, or assuming responsibility as maturely as their female counterparts. As a result, many women simply expect to not marry and are preparing to become mothers and live life on their own because they struggle to find men stable and dependable enough to share life and its responsibilities.
Not only do the debates rage about gender in the church, but increasingly, the least likely person to be found in church is a twenty-or-thirty-something single male. So, it’s important to ponder, how can believers speak to the gender issue, which is the issue under many issues raging in the church and culture? How can the church compel men to rise up without pushing women down? And, does the Bible have wisdom for us today about such things as women and men dressing and acting in ways that are specific to their gender, as Paul tells the Corinthians, or is that culturally-outdated misogyny that inhibits the progress of our spirituality as we purchase clothes at American Apparel?
These are big, tough, far-reaching issues.
Too big, tough, and far-reaching for things like Facebook and Twitter, I’ve recently learned.
Unfortunately, the overwhelming response to that rash Facebook post has been, “How dare he! New Calvinist misogynist pig! Remind me again, Rachel Held Evans, how much we love our gay neighbors” rather than what I think is the correct response: “That comment was way out of line, but gender issues need to be addressed far more often in the church, and Driscoll is largely on the right side of the issue.”
This is the reason Man Against World exists, ladies and gentlemen. To look at the world with redeemed eyes and seek out Biblical paradigms for what men and women should do as they seek to glorify God.