Reading Time: 10 minutes you heard him
Reading Time: 10 minutes

I’m sure that Mark Driscoll is terribly thankful for his new gig at Patheos Evangelical, where he’s free to spew out canned videos from his sermons and “adapted” regurgitations from his various ghost-written and plagiarized books. And I’m sure his channel is thrilled to be getting a potential increase in traffic despite his presence there being condemned by most of the other evangelical bloggers and a considerable number of the site’s Christian readers, who have all been quick to remind the channel of his abusive past and lack of accountability. Today, we point and laugh at one of Christianity’s biggest bullies being reduced to scrambling and scrabbling to find a new kingdom of underlings before he goes broke and totally loses what little relevance he still has left. Today, Lord Snow presides once again… over Mark Driscoll.

Not today.
Not today.

A Lesson on Thankfulness From Someone Who Wouldn’t Know Thankfulness if It Bit Him Twice on the Tuckus and Then Introduced Itself Formally and Challenged Him to a Duel.

The post is called “This Thanksgiving, Is God Thankful for You?” and it’s archived here because I’m not giving him clicks if I can help it. It is, like every other post he’s given his channel that sounds like it was written above a second-grade reading level by someone who writes like they do it for a living, what he calls an “adaptation” from one of his previous books–this time around, it’s from Who Do You Think You Are: Finding Your True Identity in Christ, which he helpfully notes has his name on the author tag.

(You can tell Driscoll adapted it himself because he had no idea what to do with the footnotes or sub-headings, so he just copy-pasta’d it all as straight text. Dude doesn’t even know how to italicize the name of his own book–and certainly he’s way too internet-challenged to figure out how to post an Amazon link to the book or anything. Hey, I wonder if his ghostwriter gets any of the money he’s making here through the reprinting of that material? I’m betting not.)

He begins:

We live in an increasingly rude world. Everyone seems to act as if they are more important and what they’re doing is more significant than anyone else.

To which one has to say: Really? This is really how he wants to begin, by reminding people that he’s one of the rudest sumbitches on the planet and someone who actually does think he is more important than anybody else on that planet? That he’s actually done more to increase rudeness, arrogance, and narcissism in Christianity than anybody’s ever done to reverse that tidal wave of anti-social behavior that his tribe now considers its entitled birthright, all thanks to him, his cruelty, his douche-bro attitude, his misogyny, his dishonesty, and his constant chest-thumping?

Why it matters.
Why it matters.

One of the immutable Laws of Rolltodisbelievium is this: the more far-fetched and outlandish and WTF a Christian’s accusation sounds, the more likely we’re hearing a projection from that person.

This post of his is, therefore, just another attempt of his to make his own behavior seem normal–to make arrogant, narcissistic Christian dillholes-for-Jesus like himself seem like they’re just part of modern culture and a natural consequence of increasing secularization. He’s talking to people just like himself, and he’s using himself as the ur-example of the breed he’s criticizing. When he goes on to declare that “we’re all guilty of participating in our culture of rudeness,” that’s a flat-out attempt to distance himself from the evils he’s describing, much like any other Christian abuser would in assuming that why gosh anybody would rape an innocent child if provoked too far, I mean gosh, who hasn’t been there? Remember when Christians rushed to say that about Josh Duggar–and now come up with even worse things to say to try to excuse Roy Moore?

Christians reveal their own total lack of social graces, their total lack of honesty, and their totally predatory natures when they talk like this. Their own crowd, sharing these traits, might nod sagely and agree, but people outside the religion who do not share those traits will wonder WTF they’re even hearing.

Because I’m not rude to others. I try hard to be kind. I am charitable. I even drive politely. I’m not someone who thinks they’re more significant in any given interaction than anyone else. And I’m willing to bet that any regular reader of this blog could say the same. We may suffer fools with varying degrees of gladness, but in the main I’m willing to bet we’re pretty damned polite, thoughtful, and gracious to others–no gods required.

And then he goes on to tell readers to:

Ask yourself, “How does it feel to be neglected?” Are you frustrated when no one says thank you for a job well done? Are you tired of feeling overworked and underappreciated? Is getting more criticism than encouragement grinding you down? Do you wonder if all the time, energy, and money you put into church, work, and life are worth it? Do you find yourself wondering if anyone really cares?

We have to remember that this is the ex-pastor of one of the biggest megachurch systems that’s ever existed who treated his people exactly this way. There are no shortage of accusations of his own power-grasping stunts, his insults and belittlement of those he viewed as his chattel and underlings, his outright abuse and his eventual discarding of anybody who proved too challenging to his vision of himself as Lizard King Mark ruling over the Kingdom of Mars Hill, his word law, his desires law, his preferences law, his hypocrisy covered up forever.

When he finally got run into a corner, this rabid dog turned and bit at people’s hands and heels till finally he found an opening to simply run away. He quit his empire entirely rather than accept a position of anything less than lord and master of the demesne. He fled to Arizona, where the incomes are disposable and the memories are short, and from there he’s been doing his best to claw his way up to another ministry. Hey, if Jim Bakker could sorta-kinda do it, why not him?

It’s beyond hypocritical and well into flabbergasting that he’d write something like this and think nobody would remember that why yes, actually, he acted in Mars Hill exactly this way and has never apologized for it in any meaningful way.

And this is the guy that the leaders of the evangelical channel, who presumably think they’re operating with the full divine guidance of their god and who pray at least a little about every single new blogger they invite to write with them, think is perfect to represent them.

In a way, they’re right.

He is.

It might take time but it's gonna happen.
It might take time but it’s gonna happen.

Thank You, God, For Fixing the Income Stream of Mark Driscoll.

His post here today–more a sermon, really–is meant to shame Christians into wanting to do enough for “God” to be grateful to them for existing and doing his will, and to be assured that if they’re doing as much as they can that this god really is noticing them and appreciating what they do to advance his goals. But Mark Driscoll at all times has himself in mind when he speaks or writes, and this post is no exception. There are half-a-dozen times in the short “adaptation” where it’s clear that he’s really talking about himself, not an ethereal god, and certainly not some nameless, identity-less Christian who yearns for recognition for their hard volunteer work and salesmanship.

Mark Driscoll’s beyond-childish understanding of the Bible also shines through when he says that the Pauline Letters can be seen as this: “God Mentions People He is Thankful for in the Bible.” When Paul writes about stuff like “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you,” that to Mark Driscoll means that the Christian god himself is saying he’s totally thankful for the individual Christians reading that verse. Seriously. He backtracks in the text under that unformatted sub-heading to declare–probably on the very shakiest of theological grounds, if I know him at all–that Christians should be “receiving them each slowly, deliberately, and personally, as if Paul had written about you specifically.”

He ends this pile of cut-rate hamster bedding with one last citation-needed assertion:

This Thanksgiving, as you thank God for all He has done for you, remind yourself that it is possible to live life as the kind of person that God is thankful for!

But if you’re expecting him to tell you anything about how to do that or what it looks like in lived reality, you’ll just have to keep tuning in, I guess–at least as long as his channel keeps him there to regurgitate old material, ignore his glaring problems and past insults to the body of Christ, and post his old sermons in lieu of creating engaging new content.

Our heads are bloody, but unbowed.
Our heads are bloody, but unbowed.

Bad News for the Big Russian.

Once again I am reminded by Mark Driscoll that not only have Christians sold their heritage and potential as human beings to limit themselves through an ancient, reality-free superstition, but that they’ve sold it for a mess of pottage. If this is what passes for leadership in Christianity, this unashamed grabbing for power at others’ expense, no wonder so many people are walking away from the religion.

And yes: Mark Driscoll can and will do nothing to stem that tide. Nothing at all. Nor will any of his pals. Another PRRI survey indicates that disengagement continues to grow in Christianity and that white Christians now represent less than half the population of America (and are continuing to age as young people flee their ranks).

Another survey analysis released last month says exactly the same thing in even more alarming (to Christians at least!) and detailed ways. Allen Downey, a professor who’s written a bunch of books about Java and Python and whatnot, analyzed a data set released by the General Social Survey.

you heard him
you heard him

According to his analysis, Nones are going to replace Protestants as “the largest religious affiliation” within the next 20 years. Religious belief itself is still in freefall as the percentage of people who have no doubts that the Christian god exists dips to 50% of Americans within 20 years. Atheists and agnostics will continue to increase slowly–probably growing to 14% of the population by 2030. The level of confidence people have in Christian leaders has fallen as well to jaw-dropping levels. In the 1970s, 30% of Americans had a lot of confidence in those leaders; now only 19% say this (the numbers of people having “hardly any” rose in the same period from 17% to 26%). Doubt in the Bible’s divinity has also risen markedly in that period, from 13% to 22% of Americans thinking it’s just a book of myths (so, having an accurate view of the book)–and will continue to rise markedly until there are more Americans who think that than there than Christians who take it as divine and literally true, while people with a more liberal-Christian view of the Bible will continue to decline, just not quite as sharply.

None of that is going to reverse, either. There’s not a single sign that Christianity is going to come back from the tipping point it hit in these past couple of years. Mr. Downey notes that his predictions are, if anything, made on the conservative side and are likely to accelerate more quickly than he’s predicted.

But that doesn’t matter to his commenter “William L.,” and I doubt any of that matters to Mark Driscoll either. I don’t know who William L. is, but I do know that he shares with Mark Driscoll an inability to adjust his thinking to account for reality.

You just keep thinking that. It'll keep you from doing anything substantive to reverse the trend. (Screengrab from comments.
You just keep thinking that. It’ll keep you from doing anything substantive to reverse the trend. (Screengrab from comments.)

And for what it’s worth, though I know no gods exist I’m thankful for that level of bees-headedness. Humanity’s going to claw its way out of this pit of religion eventually, and no gods will be needed to get the job done. The truly hilarious part is that Christians themselves–like Mark Driscoll and William L.–are going to be the instruments of their religion’s destruction simply because they can’t accept reality even enough to recognize when a massive paradigm and strategy shift is needed. It’s more important to them to keep doing things the way they do them than it is to save their religion. That’s why not one single reputable survey indicates anything but continuing losses for them: so far, not a single Christian leader or group has actually come up with a single new strategy that effectively works to change a thing.

In other words, I bring us good news, friends, news we can feel good about, news we can take with us into the coming season and year to give us hope as we see fundagelicals turning increasingly belligerent and violent and creepy. As we turn our attention from the same-old same-old ramblings of Mark Driscoll, we see a new day coming that he can’t stop or change or alter or vanquish. I don’t know about you, but that’s something truly wondrous.

See, ultimately only peasants and servants care if their masters appreciate them or not–and they care because that approval means everything to their continued material comfort in life. Mark Driscoll is trying hard to create a new ruling position for himself, and I’m glad that he’s failing at the task so dramatically on his own without anyone having to say a word about it.

Today, then, Lord Snow opens his off-topic comment section to those wishing to say something about this latest post of Mark Driscoll’s. You don’t have to, of course! This is off-topic, so chat about anything that’s got your attention lately. Pet pictures are especially welcome. I just think it’s hilarious as anything when we tell Mark Driscoll the things he’s trying sooooooooo hard to avoid hearing.

Today, we pity Mark Driscoll, who has fallen so low that he must remind himself–in writing, in public, where anyone with perception can tell who he’s really addressing and why–of the two most important things in his universe: first, that he’s a perfectly normal example of a Christian, and second, that he’s still toooooootally totally totally important to the schoolyard bully he calls his master.

It will come here to this eventually.
Metaphorically, it’s going to come to this: an offer of something we don’t want for something they can’t give us anyway to replace something they’ve stolen from us that they can never replace.

Special LSP Invitation: Post a link to your favorite (secular or at least not a “ministry”) charity and a short note about what attracted you to it and made itself your favorite!

Don’t worry if it seems like small potatoes or isn’t as grand-sounding as something else might be. It speaks to you, and that’s what matters. If you don’t have one yet, I bet you’re going to have a bunch of recommendations before too long. Just think: in that one small thing, you’ll already have done more for the world than Mark Driscoll has in the entire time he’s been a pastor.

Mine: Doctors Without Borders, which is doing life-saving work all over the world–with its physicians, nurses, and support personnel often facing physical danger and hardship as they do stuff like operate search-and-rescue boats to help people fleeing dangerous countries via the Mediterranean Sea.

And: Alley Cat Allies. They focus on ensuring that pounds and shelters are run in humane ways–and work toward ending the practice of euthanizing healthy potential pets in these places. They also do stuff like helping cats left in desperate need of help after the hurricanes in Texas.


ROLL TO DISBELIEVE "Captain Cassidy" is Cassidy McGillicuddy, a Gen Xer and ex-Pentecostal. (The title is metaphorical.) She writes about the intersection of psychology, belief, popular culture, science,...