The Mark Driscoll Beat Goes On ~ BitterSweetLife

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Mark Driscoll Beat Goes On

Salon.com currently features a lengthy piece on a preacher who is "a stocky, square-headed figure ...with a leather cord around his thick neck." While appreciating the calm, unbiased tone of the commentary, one can't help wondering: Who is this squat ziggurat of a man?

Well, it's none other than Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, and more recently of blog-discussion fame here at BitterSweetLife. Here are a few more excerpts from the remarkably objective, level-handed piece (which is, of course, what we have come to expect from Salon.com).

Hipster culture is what sweetens the proverbial Kool-Aid, which parishioners here seem to gulp by the gallon. This is a land where housewives cradle babies in tattooed arms, where young men balance responsibilities as breadwinners in their families and lead guitarists in their local rock bands, and where biblical orthodoxy rules as strictly as in Hasidism or Opus Dei...

Accountability and community is ballasted by intricately organized cells -- gender-isolated support groups that form a social life as warm and tight as swaddling clothes, or weekly coed sermon studies and family dinner parties that provide further insulation against the secular world...

Driscoll and his Mars Hills followers epitomize the mounting evangelical youth movement in America. Within this movement lies something as old as America itself, and as terrifying and alluring as anything Orwell predicted; something that is at once political, emotional, deeply anti-intellectual, and more galvanized than you can imagine.

(You can read the highly-quotable article in its entirety by clicking on Salon's sponsor button.) I suspect that, for Driscoll, ticking off pc media types is becoming part of the day's work. Meanwhile, in another part of the blogosphere, Thabiti posts a thoughtful piece on why he, for one, likes Mark Driscoll. Commenting on the Salon.com piece:
The panic throughout the socially liberal and Seattle area blogosphere was seismic. It was so hot in Washington state that the fog and rain actually lifted for a few hours. Long enough to see in the bright light of the face of Christ... that even when dressed in tattys and piercings, Christian discipleship is diametrically opposed to the ways of the world.

What's fascinating, I think, is that feminist/liberal media types and theologians probably fear and hate what Driscoll represents for some of the same factors that Thabiti notes in his defense. This, to me, is very, very interesting. I'd like to comment more, but I'm lacking the time right now... Perhaps you'll add some commentary yourselves?

To cap off this Driscoll update (as it has become), here's a post from Mark Driscoll himself, in which he utilizes a highly-publicized father-son rift (between Chuck Smith Sr. and Jr.) to illustrate some very telling differences between Emergent and Orthodox theology, Modern and Postmodern culture. (In his own, inimitable, "anti-intellectual" way, of course! [note dry tone of voice]) Driscoll offers some suggestions for reconciliation, and the "real time" example makes this assessment very eye-opening.



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4 comments:

John said...

Hi, Im from Melbourne Australia. I am a dreaded pro feminist left liberal.

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e-Mom said...

A very meaty/enlightening post, esp. the Resurgence article about Smith Sr. & Jr. personifying Modern and Post-Modern culture. Driscoll has deftly articulated classic male and female sensibilities using theological vocabulary.

I became aware of the Salon article on Friday when my sitemeter started registering hits from SeattleSt.com. Said zine (secular, liberal) published their own critique of the Salon piece:

http://www.seattlest.com/archives/news_seattle/

Toward the end, they linked to moi--whadaya know! (An interview with a MH community group leader.)

On Thabiti: He's right... everyone has an opinion about Driscoll. I agree wholeheartedly with his statement:

Few of us understand him. Let's go ahead and admit that... he seems wonderfully contradictory, complex and strangely attractive. He loves Jesus and yet he dresses like folks we wouldn't want to meet in the proverbial dark alley. Scintillating juxtaposition of opposites.

I have to say also that Salon's quote from Driscoll reveals a conflicted man who does a lot of projecting: "Jesus pissed people off, so he got whacked," he tells me. "That's a guy with some edges. Marketing firms and spin doctors have been trying to round out those edges for centuries."

Sorry, but Jesus came down hard on the Pharisees, the so-called "righteous ones." With tax collectors and (unparented, tattooed) sinners, he was wise, gentle, and compassionate.

Salon's quote from MH's Dietz bothers me too: "Fear is an entirely appropriate way to be born again," Dietz tells me. "If we ever encountered God it would crush us. If you're in danger of being destroyed forever, that should strike fear in you. That's where all this starts for me."

Sure, fear/awe of God is the beginning of wisdom... but it's not the end. Methinks Driscoll's Catholic roots are lurking somewhere in the pulpit alongside his Reformed evangelicalism.

That said, I plan to join the rest of tattooed Seattle (smirk) at Mars Hill Church on October 20, 2006 to hear Dr. Martin Abegg of Trinity Western University (B.C. Canada) share his insights and experience with the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Scrolls will be on display at "the emerald city's" Pacific Science Center from Sept. 23-Jan. 27.-- a rare opportunity.

Please let me know if you plan to visit. *-)

Too long? Hit delete...

Ariel said...

"Hi, Im from Melbourne Australia. I am a dreaded pro feminist left liberal."

Hey John, far from dreading feminist/liberal types, I typically like them and am interested in discussing theology with them.

I'll try and scan the material you sent my way (which looks pretty substantial), but I'd especially encourage you to send me a summary or post a comment that highlights some of your main assertions. I'd be more than happy to talk about them, especially as regarding Jesus Christ.

Ariel said...

As always, thanks for the inside stuff, e-mom. You can probably rest on your laurels at this point, with confidence that your comments won't be deleted. Keep posting them, I say.

"Methinks Driscoll's Catholic roots are lurking somewhere in the pulpit alongside his Reformed evangelicalism."

That's a fascinating thought, and one that I bet Driscoll would repudiate. Agreed, he does seem to uneccessarily pit the wrath, power, invincibility, invincibility of God against his love and compassion. I'd like to hear a fusion of the two (wrath & love), which reveal God as more glorious yet...

Of course, I haven't heard Driscoll speak live, so perhaps the scriptural (not wussy/cultural) elements of God's kindness are more present than I realize.

About that visit...it could happen.

 

Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife