So Mark Driscoll, right? Eh.
I’ve never been the blogger who jumps on every controversy du jour with a quick take that will get easy traffic. After watching the Driscollversies roll like choking waves week after week lately I might as well offer my take.
Driscoll is a controversial preacher from Mars Hill which is a church in Seattle and not a different planet. He’s often angry and/or saying offensive things. A quick Google search should explain what I mean. I know people who like Driscoll and those who loathe him. Kristen from Rage Against the Minivan recently did a good job describing how @PastorMark has brought a certain Howard Stern style to the pulpit.
Now we can move onto his most recent muck-up. Here’s what the mad chatter said during President Obama’s inauguration:
Praying for our president, who today will place his hand on a Bible he does not believe to take an oath to a God he likely does not know.— Mark Driscoll (@PastorMark) January 21, 2013
What a guy. In a TOTALLY unrelated note can you believe that some people think Christians are arrogant and judgmental? Where could they possibly get this stuff?
Here’s what I’m NOT going to do. I’m not going turn the beat around on Driscoll and spit venom back at him. One, that’s not the gracious thing to do. Two, he’s already giving opponents of Christianity enough ammunition without me jumping off the top rope, elbow of justice poised, into the ring of Christian infighting. Although, confession time, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t chuckle at some of these reviews of Driscoll’s new book. Yes, I know that ultimately it’s a sad commentary and stuff, but he kind of asked for it.
Responses to Driscoll’s Inauguration tweet were fiery and explosive. You know we’re living in strange time indeed when one of the best replies comes from, *checks notes, wait that can’t be right*, Alyssa Milano? (Insert Who’s The Boss pun here.)
@pastormark Your last tweet is not very Christian of you. Shouldn't you be inspiring people to love and have compassion and respect?— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) January 21, 2013
It’s tough to respond in a measured way sometimes (although I recommend this take from Lore at A Deeper Church as well as this one from Christian Piatt). It’s difficult to not rage a little when a high profile pastor feels like he can tell the world exactly what our president believes. Glad to hear Driscoll knows what’s in every man’s heart.
‘But wait Clay, do you really think Obama is a Christian?’ I’m sorry if that question comes to your mind. Here’s a quick rundown on some of the Greatest Hits of Jesus:
- Love God with everything you’ve got.
- Love others exactly as you want to be loved.
- Go tell people everywhere that God loves them and they need Jesus.
- Don’t judge people.
Not only are we not supposed to judge what’s in the hearts of others, we are explicitly told NOT to do that. Now, I don’t want to get worked up here so let’s anagram. It helps me relax.
Mark Driscoll=I’m Dark Scroll, Kill Mars Cord, and my personal favorite Mad Rick Rolls.
Okay, now I feel better. Stress gone.
So this is the point where some people say, “Well, what are we supposed to do, ignore the evil ways of everyone? Somebody has to speak up! We expected to never stand up when Obama/people…?”
Here’s the way I see it, and no, I don’t pretend to have it all figured out.
1. The Bible says to respect government leaders and always remember that God is in control (check out Romans 13). New Testament peeps didn’t defy the rulers unless they were told to renounce their faith. Far as I can tell, no one is forcing us to renounce our faith.
2. We’re also supposed to take the plank out of our own eye instead of throwing handfuls of saw dust into our neighbor’s eyes. While Driscoll is saying the president is a liar who doesn’t believe in the faith he professes, many people are looking at Driscoll asking why he says and does the things he does while professing the same faith.
3. And what about Jesus’ command to love our neighbors as we love ourselves? Does Driscoll or any of us like being judged? Should we ask Driscoll if he really believes these things he’s saying then what about the part of speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15)? It’s okay to disagree with behavior that God calls wrong, necessary even if you want to be more specific, but we seem incapable of criticizing ideas without attacking others.
I don’t know, maybe Driscoll is tapped into some God line I never read about in the Bible. He seems to have his own gospel anchored in a style that Christianity needs to escape because it’s not always very good news. It’s hard enough to represent Jesus well when we don’t fill up at the pride pump every day on our commute to life. Humility is as closely related to truth as love is. We do well to ensure those virtues are in our own hearts rather than examining the hearts of others.
This post originally appeared on Clay Morgan's blog.