Life On Mars: A Sample of Mark Driscoll's Christianity
In the world of contemporary evangelical Christianity, Mark Driscoll is a god. And I really do mean to give him this designation, because my fear is that those in his congregations are way too interested in hearing what he has to say about scripture than its context, or even the scripture itself.
This post is a point-by-point response to your average Driscoll blog post entitled "Finance Before Romance?", a post meant as part of his larger series surrounding his new book, Real Marriage, written with his wife, Grace. There is really so much to say on this matter, but I'll keep to my word. So here goes (All scripture is from the NIV).:
Driscoll begins with a story:
Driscoll's assumptions here are plentiful. First, we're assuming that Larry is probably middle class and has knowledge of job-finding resources, and has the ability to get a job, but doesn't want to keep one. With the American unemployment rate still hovering between eight and nine percent, this is a felonious assumption, though a common one from someone with Driscoll's socioeconomic background...i.e., "Why don't these damn lazy jobless people just get off their asses and get a job?" If I were unemployed and my wife ended up as the primary provider for us, you're damn skippy I'd be excited for her. Would that be an abdication of my God-given duties? Let's continue:
Driscoll is using anecdotal knowledge here to prove his point, something that can neither be proven or unproven, namely that many women are writing off men and "taking matters into their own hands." The implication here is troubling. A parallel is drawn between unemployed, "lazy" men (again, a false assumption) and women's newfound desire to do for themselves, something Driscoll's seems to implicitly find undesirable. That there are more women in the workplace, more women in college, and more single women (we are assuming here, admittedly) creating strong careers for themselves instead of submitting to historically-bound definitions of themselves is something that we should find a biblical alternative to? I believe you have found the wrong Jesus, my brother.
A Man Provides
Now, let's hit that scripture he mentions, because Driscoll LOVES him some Paul's letters to Timothy. Note his usual gloss-over of the scripture without actually dissecting it. In I Timothy 5:8, Paul states, "Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." Pretty harsh, unless you take it in its context. Paul is elaborating on the responsibilities one has to one's entire family, one's neighborhood, one's community. In fact, he reckons that widows, slaves, and elders are to be cared for the same as if they were one's family. Take the first two verses of the chapter, for example: " 1 Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity." So, random older men become fathers, older women mother, and younger women sisters...family, community, togetherness, responsibility, love. Not hierarchy. Not "you're in, you're out." Paul is saying that if you don't treat even those right around you with kindness and make yourself responsible for the weakest in your midst, you might as well stop calling yourself a Christian, because you're worse that people who don't.
The quote from Genesis is laughable in its lack of support for the statement Driscoll makes. Genesis 2:24: "That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh." The "that," presumably refers to the story of God creating Eve from Adam's rib. In other words, a man leaves his parents to be united with his wife because man and woman were meant to be together. The jump from there to paying bills, not living in your parents' house, and getting a job is a huge chasm in logic. I'd love for Driscoll to say that to my brother's face, a single parent living in my parents' house busting his ass to provide for his daughter. He might get some Southern hospitality upside the head.
But I digress.
So finding a good job is hard because God said work would be hard, which includes the work of finding a job. What about the writer of Ecclesiastes, who says, "17 So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind." Can I struggle to find meaning in work? Am I allowed to question the meaning of my toils? Isn't that struggle a beautifully fucked up part of the human condition? Or should I just stop my complaining and get a job?
Providing Isn’t Easy
Again, middle-class assumptions. To be sure, these men-boys are his audience. Doesn't really seem like ministering to the "least of these," though, if your audience's biggest problems are that they have too much time on their hands to play PS3.
It’s Not about Where You Are, but Where You Are Going
Stop. Just...stop. Right there. The key to understanding masculinity is to analyze the culture around you. I know some smart people who study this stuff, Driscoll. I'll put you in touch. The key to understanding how to be a man OR a woman is Jesus Christ. The cultural lines are irrelevant in God's eyes. Christ found himself hanging out with the people he was never supposed to even touch or talk to. Christ wasn't important to our definitions of gender because he was a man. He's important to our definitions of gender because he told us to throw all those definitions out to Sheol (see Galatians 3).
You May Just Have to Get a Joe Job
Women, children, suffering, humble. Look at that string there. Look at the implicit comparisons. Look at the assumptions made.
Yeah that Jesus. What a fucking badass.
So why the hell do you continually tweet about your wife's addiction to top-designer shoes? And why the hell is that funny to you? How is that not being conformed to the things of this world, and being continually dissatisfied what what you provide?
Find the Right Woman
I welcome your adamant disagreements and questioning arguments.