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.