Thursday’s Random Thoughts

1. In the past couple of weeks I’ve noticed something interesting. My blog is getting lots of hits from Germany and Russia. Though I am sure this is totally unrelated, I’m reading a book on communism and one on fascism.

2. Question: can you publicly rebuke someone for publicly rebuking a public statement?

3. My desire to write about bacon on Thursdays is pavlovian.

4. Looked at how much it cost to go see Adele in the ATL. Whoa.

5. My wife keeps getting better looking. Me? Not so much.

6. My son refuses to believe that Superman would not suck his thumb. Great, another lawyer. (Wink at my friend, Anita.)

7. “Missional” can be a helpful word as long as we don’t use it as a hammer against critics or a hedge against criticisms.

8. So, I’m actually thinking about buying a gun and learning to hunt. But it has to be a pretty gun.

9. When my wife forgets to buy bacon, it puts stress on our marriage. And our lunch.

10. Wait. Do you need a concealed carry permit if you get a belt with dual holsters and a couple of colt revolvers?

Responding to the Defense of Mark Driscoll’s Call to Ridicule Effeminate Men

(Update: Driscoll responds to it all. Though there is no apology, he does admit it was “flippant” and thanks his critics for their wisdom.)

(Update 2: I’ve now read over this twice and I am still struck by the lack of apology here. No only that but as someone else pointed out, you should just apologize, not plug a new book you have coming out. When my son hits my other son, we make him actually say, “I’m sorry for hitting you.” We want to instill that habit of acknowledging the wrong and the hurt. This may be the crappiest apology ever.)
(Update 3: A friend pointed me to this list. 4, 6 and 7 are notable.)

(My first post on this issue is here.)

While I am not surprised there are some who would defend Mark Driscoll’s call on facebook to ridicule effeminate men. I am surprised by the way he is defended and the veritable silence from the big-time evangelical neo-calvinist bloggers…those in my tribe. The post, now gone, happened five days ago and neither Challies nor any of The Gospel Coalition blogs have addressed it. (Of course they have also not commented on the now public accusations against C.J. Mahaney and SGM.)

So the defenses keep coming and the more they come, the hollower they sound. The following are some of the defenses of Driscoll and his invitation for you and others, the world over, to ridicule men with feminine qualities.

1. “Mark was just trying to use humor to point out what we already know.” When I was in High School a friend of mine told me how frustrated he would get when people would say something unkind and then follow it up with “just kidding.” I’ve never forgotten it. It’s true, we use the “jk” to make up for the fact that we might have just said something hurtful, painful or cruel. Explain to me why this defense of his behavior works again? If I make fun of overweight people and it’s funny, do I get a pass? Similar to this is the “we need to lighten up” argument. How about this for answer – “No. I will not lighten up.” We, as pastors, should not be ridiculing a group a people. We should not be asking others to do it along with us. And we should be swift to want to fight for them with all the belief in grace we can muster.

2. “His critics already don’t like his theology and were just looking for a reason to pounce.” This may be true. But it is just as likely that the defenders share his theology and therefore will not listen or take seriously his critics because of their theology. This is a ridiculous defense. Shouldn’t we care what those who think differently think about our character? Yes, many of his critics hate our Complementarianism. Shouldn’t we adorn that conviction with kindness instead of what looks like bullying? Yes, you heard me right, I am a complementarian and yet still appalled by Driscoll’s callousness. Does our desire to be missional not spill over into how we treat others…say effeminate men?

3. “Calling him a ‘bully’ is overdone.”  At first I thought so. But I think Rachel Held Evans is right in saying this is bullying. Imagine this was not taking place on facebook but in another social arena…say a lunchroom or the locker room. Or the hallway at school. Who would be the one saying this kind of thing? Would it be the leader of Young Life? Possibly. But doubt it. More likely it’s the bully, insecure and wanting all those weaker than him to be the same. OK, so you think he is not being a bully, fine. What is a bully then? What does a bully do? What is it that makes a bully? What if your son was effeminate?

4. “Nobody’s Perfect.” This is the “mercy for me and mine and judgement for everyone else” defense. No one really thinks this is a good excuse in response to a pastor openly ridiculing and then inviting his fans and followers to do the same. It’s just a lame attempt to silence critics instead of actually engaging what he actually did and naming it. The nobody’s perfect defense silences the critics of leaders and preachers who are often (and rightly so) teaching so as to correct those who need correction. What if those in the pew all started saying, “Nobody is perfect” when being instructed. Actually the nobody is perfect defense should tell us something. When we do not feel the need to apologize after ridiculing others, we actually admit we do not believe this. The fact that nobody is perfect should make it easier to apologize and ask for forgiveness.

5. “Paul seemed to be concerned about it, shouldn’t we be concerned about the fact that men have feminine qualities?” Maybe. It’s debatable. But that is not why so many of us are repulsed. We are repulsed because this is the worst way to discuss any issue. There is no way a reasonable person could look at what he said and assume concern for effeminate men, worship leaders among them or the church at large.

6. “The criticism of Mark Driscoll is slanderous gossip.” So, let me get this straight. A high-profile pastor with over 112,000 followers on facebook invites those followers to ridicule effeminate worship leaders – and calling him to account for it is slander and gossip? Slander has to do with making false allegations in order to harm someone’s reputation. And once something is put on facebook and others are asked to comment, the critical comments are not gossip, even if they are now on blogs or news-sites.

7. The Silence.  Am I the only one who thinks it is weird that nothing is being said on all the huge christian blogs about this. Nothing in support. Nothing of rebuke. Just silence. Nothing on Challies. Nothing on TGC. Nothing from the T4G guys. Nothing from World magazine or Christianity Today. Maybe nothing should be said. Maybe something will be said at a later date. But, the silence is strange.

All of these defenses have the distinct aroma of fear around them. Are we afraid of calling to account those whom we before had put so much stock in? Is it because we will be let down if we admit to ourselves that we invested too much into the cult of personality? Is it because we put far too much faith in the celebrity pastors and not enough in the gospel itself? And if we let go of our ill-placed faith, we have too little left?

Aren’t We the Ones Who Should Be for Fighting for Them?

(Update: Driscoll responds to it all. Though there is no apology, he does admit it was “flippant” and thanks his critics for their wisdom.)

(Update 2: I’ve now read over this twice and I am still struck by the lack of apology here. No only that but as someone else pointed out, you should just apologize, not plug a new book you have coming out. When my son hits my other son, we make him actually say, “I’m sorry for hitting you.” We want to instill that habit of acknowledging the wrong and the hurt. This may be the crappiest apology ever.)

(Update 3: A friend pointed me to this list. 4, 6 and 7 are notable.)

A few days ago, Mark Driscoll posted the following to his facebook page:

Listen. I am politically and theologically more conservative than you. I’ve got more albums by the Clash and Springsteen than you and I’m a decent athlete. I’m married with three kids. And I do not recall ever being called effeminate. This is not “personal”. (Update: The reason I point these things out is so you will understand that this is not personal. Although just like Jared Wilson, I am not handy around the house. Also, my favorite novelist is Jane Austen, my favorite album of the year is Adele’s 21 and I do not own a gun…yet. But in Jr High I was more than a few times called ‘faggot’ with meaning. I’m not overly masculine. It’s a damned if you and damned if you don’t issue. If you say you are effeminate, you are taking it personally. If you say you are not, then you still get criticized for pointing out you are not.)

But when Mark Driscoll asked others on facebook to join in his ridicule of “effeminate anatomically male” men who lead worship in churches I was amazed.

How is this possible? How is it possible a pastor can do such a thing and none of his peers publicly call him to account for his actions but instead defend him?

What group of people would a pastor like Driscoll have to make fun of before we in the conservative theological tribe said, “enough”?

What have we become when this is acceptable to anyone within the church? This kind of behavior should be the most abhorrent of all among pastors. The thematic ethic of how we deal with others throughout the New Testament is love for one another. We are told they will know we are followers of Jesus because we love one another. This is not some conservative/liberal issue. This is simple kindness.

We have now gotten to the point where a pastor has to sleep with someone, steal something or kill someone to be publicly called to account. As long as his doctrine accords with our own we set up the pastoral version of what the police call the “blue wall.” We protect our own.

Is this what the celebrity pastor cult of personality has wrought? An untouchability when it comes to inciting young men the world over to attack effeminate men. 


Aren’t we the ones who should be for fighting for them?