Monday, August 25, 2014

Fight for Your Right

When I was living in Ballard, I remember seeing this warehouse church and wondering what these guys were about.  There were always young persons hanging out Friday and Saturday night like it was some music club.  As it turns out, it was the hip new church in Seattle, led by a charismatic young minister, Mark Driscoll, who would use any hook or crook to attract new parishioners into his Mars Hill Church.  Within in a few short years, he went from this garage church to a megachurch.  Doesn't seem like too many persons asked questions at the time, but now Driscoll finds himself under a harsh spotlight.

He is part of the new wave of religious teachings where you have to be a man's man to enter heaven, as there is no longer any room for "pussies."  One of Driscoll's catch phrases was that America had become a "pussified nation."  He assumed the moniker of William Wallace and took to the blogs chastising a liberal country that had become much too sensitive and needed to have the balls of Braveheart to make itself feel whole again.  I think he gets this image more from Mel Gibson's movie than from history.  He litters his posts with colorful epithets, like Rush Limbaugh, and for several years got away with this masquerade, but in a recent book admitted to his many shortcomings.

Warren Throckmorton has been following Driscoll for some time in his blog, describing the power struggle taking place at Mars Hill as the pastor secured the church for himself.  What began as a council of elders all too quickly devolved into an autocracy of one, with Driscoll bullying the elders who didn't like his methods.  Plus, the church had become a lucrative business and like a brash CEO, he wanted to control those assets.  He used church funds to push his books to the top of best seller lists   He was also charged with plagiarism in A Call to Resurgence.  Throckmorton offers a snapshot of the man in this article for the Daily Beast.

Driscoll appears to have an exceedingly high testosterone level, preaching a great deal on the joys of sex, even providing a manual of sorts in Real Marriage.  It is the sense of power that seems to get him off, like one of those porn kings from the 1970s, although to hear him tell it he has been faithful to his wife.  Naturally, he doesn't have any time for homosexuals.  He doesn't like any overt show of male bonding, referring to such demonstrations as "homoerotic huddles."  It's a Man's World, as far as this big buck is concerned.

Jesus wasn't one to take it on the chin and turn the other cheek.  Driscoll is one of those ministers who believes that Jesus would have fought back, often using the language and imagery of the resistance movements of the 60s and 70s and even the Hip-Hop language of the 80s and 90s.  You gotta fight for your right to party with God!

There's certainly nothing new about Driscoll.  The only concern is that this attitude seems to have become pervasive in the conservative evangelical church and is now seen as a form of resistance to what these church-goers believe to be the "emasculated" world we live in, ruined by years of equal rights.  Seattle is the perfect place for a guy like this, as it is one of the most liberal cities in the country, providing no end of material for his sermons on the mount.  I'm sure he will bounce back from this little setback, as he strongly feels he has God on his side.

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