Tuesday, February 9, 2010

tender, chickified church guys

"You get around Paul when he was a young guy, you got around John the Baptist or Elijah, , these dudes seem pretty rough to me, you know they don't look like church boys wearing sweater vests and walking around singing love songs to Jesus. guys like David are well-known for their ability to slaughter other men. I kind of think these guys were dudes. heterosexual, win a fight, punch them in the nose, dudes. the problem with the church today is that it's just a bunch of tender, chickified, church guys.

When you walk in [to a church], it's sea foam green and fuchsia and lemon yellow, the whole architecture and aesthetic is kinda feminine, the preacher is feminine, the music is kind of emotional and feminine - why aren't we being innovative? Because . . .


(Caps mine).

Really, just don't know where to start with this one. I can hear a very rational voice in my mind telling me to let it go; there will always be people out there on the fringes of any social movement or religion who you disagree with. That's fine. Just disengage. They want the power that you're giving them by reacting, don't give it to them.

And that's all fine and good, and probably why I don't go around seeking out incendiary videos like this in my spare time. But when I come across them, when I come across this kind of teaching, I don't want to ignore it.

It strikes me first that God, in his infinite wisdom, did not divinely grant the gifts of innovation, creativity, strategic thinking to men only. I know many incredibly innovative women, and believe that it would be nothing less than a denial of God's work in them to say that we have to wait for young men to show up before we can innovate.

Read what follows below, which is excerpted from a booklet Driscoll put out called Church Leadership:

Without blushing, Paul is simply stating that when it comes to leading in the church, women are unfit because they are more gullible and easier to deceive than men. While many irate women have disagreed with his assessment through the years, it does appear from this that such women who fail to trust his instruction and follow his teaching are much like their mother Eve and are well-intended but ill-informed. . . Before you get all emotional like a woman in hearing this, please consider the content of the women’s magazines at your local grocery store that encourages liberated women in our day to watch porno with their boyfriends, master oral sex for men who have no intention of marrying them, pay for their own dates in the name of equality, spend an average of three-fourths of their childbearing years having sex but trying not to get pregnant, and abort 1/3 of all babies – and ask yourself if it doesn’t look like the Serpent is still trolling the garden and that the daughters of Eve aren’t gullible in pronouncing progress, liberation, and equality (p. 43).

If anything could get my blood boiling more quickly, I don't know what it would be. Both because of his glib treatment of significant sociocultural pressures, and the wholesale dismissal of over half the American church population as leaders and influencers in our churches.

As if, it might be fair to say, as if women in the church ought to be defined by the covers and content of magazines in line at the checkout stand. As if women impregnate themselves recreationally and categorically turn down help from their partners who offer endless support because men never run away from the unexpected responsibility of being a father; as if Adam, in the Garden of Eden, bore no responsibility for taking the fruit from the woman and the Serpent is surely not running amid his kind! We are naive and empty-headed, good for looking nice and pouring into our husbands but in a 'seen-and-not-heard' kind of way. As if emotion has no place in the church. As if Jesus himself did not show emotion. Women are gullible and easy to deceive, Driscoll says. And he has every right to think that. And while again I don't buy into this wholesale writing off of all women, and I believe that categorizing ALL women in ONE group makes no sense, EVEN IF IT WERE TRUE, doesn't our God work through broken and weird and gullible people? Or is that just too much for him?

Of course, that isn't true. Women, as a group, don't exist in such a way that they can be characterized by traits. Neither can men. There is no male or female, not anymore, not since Jesus. And if I remember correctly, Jesus, our savior, is the one who let the children come to him when all the men around him said not to. Jesus told Peter to sheathe his sword in Gethsemane, and then put Malchus's ear back onto his head. Jesus reminds us to walk farther than we are required, to be compassionate to those who hurt or cannot care for themselves, to submit to him just as he submits to God. Ours is not a gratuitously violent God, not a God who would belittle those on the margins, not a God who would deny anyone her or his place in his Kingdom for any reason.


Anonymous said...

Laura, I love your last paragraph. Thanks for writing.

It's funny the things that the wealthy Evangelical (capital E) church is concerned with--when there are so many other battles to fight.

My church is poor, and we don't have time to squabble about gender roles when there is so much to DO to help the people around us. It doesn't matter what our sex is--what matters is that we are being Christ's hands and feet in the community.

And I really like that.

Hope you're doing well!

Anna Jordan said...

I'm reading 1 Thessalonians right now, and I think Paul couldn't disagree with Mark Driscoll more. Paul, the man who sang while he was in prison. Paul, the man who chose to hang out with Lydia and the other women while they were gathering water at the well. Paul, who begins every letter with greetings of Grace and Peace. Paul who says to the church of Thessalonica, "but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children." (1 Thessalonians 2:7). And even when Paul compares himself to a father, the words he uses are "encouraging, comforting, and urging" (1 Thessalonians 2:12). Perhaps Mark Driscoll should spend a little time getting to know who Paul really was, and stop trying to make him into such a dude.

Steve said...

i completely agree with most everything you said, except for Mark being "on the fringe". With his church having over 7,000 attendees, 100,000 downloads a week, and 7 campuses in the northwest (ty wiki), I think his theology and teaching is more than just an annoying fly to be swatted at.

He did have me laughing out loud earlier this week on his commentary on the emergent church.


"emergent churches are taking the disgruntled children of evangelical mega-churches and reorienting them into cool hip services where they complain about their parents' church"

have fun in boston. i've heard rumors about a "swipe" dance move. Please be on the look-out if at all possible. love cook.

Laura Ortberg Turner said...

good call about the fringe thing, sjc. it is more than a fly to be swatted at - needs to be taken seriously.

also, i believe the dance move you're referring to is just called 'the wipe.'

no comment.

betsie said...

Thank you, Laura! A theology that is based more on "Fight Club" than the Bible or church tradition is a little insane to me too.

Tony Myles said...

I struggle with some of the amazingly profound things Driscoll says in combination with some of his... um... vomit. He is incredibly grounded in so many areas of theology, and yet in this area he almost seems smug.

Which makes me wonder - is that good? By that I mean that the Gospel in its original day and age was very counter-cultural, speaking against legalisms that shouldn't have existed in the first place.

Then you get into our culture - especially America, a country that was founded in rebellion against its original authority. Is it possible that we have become so progressive that we're no longer able to consider a conservative perspective.

Again - Driscoll does tend to spew his stuff in such a way that the smell overpowers anything productive. But maybe in all that puke there is still some protein.

(Searching to find it...)

collin said...

I loved your last paragraph too.

That was an astonishing video clip. It didn't make much sense, but it wasn't quite 100% nonsense; some ideas remind me of "Why Men Hate Going to Church" but that's about it. The rest of it is mostly embarrassing.

We took a class last fall, "Encountering the World of Islam" (put on by the Harvest Group) which came to mind because Muslims and Christians have more in common than I used to think. They want to protect their kids from the culture's corruption, as do we. They sometimes feel marginalized; so do we. And as I've become fond of saying, "they've got wackos, we've got wackos." We certainly do.