Friday, May 3, 2013

Defending Mark Driscoll

Mark Driscoll isn't my favorite pastor in the whole wide world.  Any ministry that sniffs disdainfully at laypeople who dare to get into the original languages of Scripture instead of just Obeying the Word of Pastor is questionable.  Any ministry that disciplines men who stay at home while their wives work is questionable.

His approach to Jesus is also too aggressive, and not in the bold speaking truth to the Power sort of way.  Jesus didn't spend his energy hammering on the struggling and the world-broken and the weary.

There's a too much kristosterone flowing through his veins, and no amount of hip t-shirt wearing can mask it.

But last week, my feeds were filled with approbation for something he'd said about nagging, negative wives.

Among other things, he'd suggest that wives who undercut their husbands are like water torture.  And the blogosphere went wild.  

It reminded me of something.

Years ago, I spent time with this guy.  He was married to M., the sister of my girlfriend at the time. M.  was hardworking and smart and a good mom.  She was employed, full time, and he...well...he floated in and out of technical school.  Which she paid for.

One day, he needed a ride to class, so I gave it to him.

The entire drive, he complained about her.  About how she didn't make time for him.  About what a lousy cook she was.  About how stupid she was when it came to money.   About how she had no idea how to do anything and was getting in his way.

I listened to him complain about her and cut her down, and heard my efforts to redirect him more constructively utterly ignored, I remember thinking three things.

One, that the only thing his wife had done wrong was to marry him.   

Two, how easy it is for people who are insecure and lost to project their own failures onto the world around them.  It's a defensive mechanism, this turning outward, as we choose to hate or to belittle rather than coming to terms with our own brokenness.

And three, how vital it is that you genuinely respect and honor your wife.  Or your husband.

A spouse or partner...of either gender or of any orientation...who publicly belittles or mocks or undercuts the person they've committed to is tearing apart the covenant foundation of their relationship.  

So in that, Driscoll was not wrong.  Bitter and negative partners are an agony.

What is wrong, though, is not seeing that this is true for all humankind.  It is a universal.

In the seven authentic letters of the Apostle Paul, that's what Paul teaches.   Men and women, he tells the church at Corinth, have equal responsibility for one another.  We are interwoven with each other, interconnected and part of the same creation.   Patterns of power based on gender are meaningless in the Kingdom, he tells the Galatians.

Of course, that was soon forgotten, as the early church blended in with Roman culture.

Our task as lived and taught by Jesus and Paul is modeling that behavior.  Our first and primary task is to repent of our own brokenness.  It is not to criticize, mock, or belittle.   Or to order around the people we view as our spiritual inferiors.

The log in our own eye needs to be our priority, and as we teach, what we teach is our own struggle to live into the Gospel.