Last week we pretended to be Mark Driscoll’s comment section for a day, and it proved so popular that we’re doing it again! Since he’s far too busy and Jesus-y to allow comments on his blog, we will have them here. Our RoE still applies, of course, especially to drive-by Christians who are offended that we’re criticizing him.
And if you don’t wanna talk about the latest WTFery to come out of Mark Driscoll’s piehole, please feel perfectly free to talk about anything else you want – this is an off-topic post, after all!
Today Lord Snow presides… over Mark Driscoll and his weird priorities. And demons. Can’t forget the demons.
A Fitting State of Affairs.
I’m not overly surprised to see where this former kingpin of fundagelicalism ended up. When he high-tailed it to Arizona last year and began pastoring new church, I only wondered if Christians would welcome him back with open arms. Wartburg Watch is a great source of information about Driscoll and has been keeping an eye on him for years, and their succinct assessment of him is probably one of the best around (emphasis theirs):
Just who was Mark Driscoll before he retreated to Arizona? Here is what Dee and I observed. He was a young, brash pastor with a macho persona and a potty mouth. He bullied people at his former church and plagiarized in his books. He went around the country instructing guys to ‘man up’; yet when it was time for him to face his own serious problems, he ran like a coward. In our opinion, Mark Driscoll was/is both unreachable and unteachable.
Nor does he seem likely to create a second Christian empire. A more recent boots-on-the-ground report from one of Warren Throckmorton’s readers last week counted about a hundred cars in Driscoll’s new church’s parking lot. I also see from that comment thread that there are protesters who show up there even now with signs to make sure that his congregants are fairly warned that their new pastor is indeed a horrible person, though from the interviews I’ve seen it appears that they stubbornly insist that Jesus really and truly has changed their pastor and that he’s now trustworthy in their eyes.
Still, a hundred stalwart followers, maybe 150? Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
WWJD on Social Media?
The Original Dudebro-for-Jesus’ blog has been a non-starter for the most part. After his first real entry, which he described as a “pencil plan”1 about what sort of schedule and topic list he had in mind, what we actually got are very obviously extracts from older work, some apparently not even actually his own–plus one very weird question about social media that comes straight out of left field.
Now, one of the things he wrote in that first “pencil” post is that he intended to take questions from readers and answer them in what I assume is a properly biblical way. But we weren’t sure how he was going to “post a short video answering a question that has been sent in” when he also provided no easily-discerned way of actually communicating with him.2 Thankfully, he already had in hand one such burning question. Here it is archived.
And I’m just baffled.
The question he chose to answer, the weighty concern that he felt should come before any other questions he might have gotten over the years, the question that he wanted to share on a brand-new blogging platform to demonstrate his discernment and wisdom, the big question he thinks has “only become more relevant and problematic” since it was first asked,3 is basically this:
How should people should handle social media communications with people they either are dating/married to, once dated or were married to, or were broken up or divorced, or only just wanted to date but things didn’t happen that way?
Yes. According to Mark Driscoll at least, someone out there actually still thinks that he is a great source of general life and relationship advice, as well as an ideal person to ask about how to communicate with others online.
ALL. MY. WHAT.
I don’t know what’s worse: that Christians, who generally think that a real live god lives inside of them and imparts to them divine discernment as well as what they call objective morality, have no clue how to behave themselves on social media, or that Mark Driscoll appears to be convinced that everyone is as obsessed with sex as he is.
Just to recap, Mark Driscoll is the guy who cruelly–and repeatedly, and publicly–shamed his wife both for having had relationships with other men before meeting him (even though he himself wasn’t a virgin either) and for not being as interested in sex as he was. This is the chest-thumping hypocrite who unleashed a brutally misogynistic alter ego on his church’s discussion board. He’s the guy who straight-up bullied everyone around himself when he was in control of Mars Hill. He is also the formerly megastar pastor who committed a downright dizzying array of offenses besides the ones he committed against women specifically. Lastly, he’s the macho man who literally quit his post and slunk away, tail between his legs, sacrificing absolutely everything in his professional life, rather than accept even a tiny bit of oversight from others. (I bring it up here because Mark Driscoll sure doesn’t anywhere on his blog. It’s as if he just wants to forget that painful couple of years even happened, just like he thinks “Jesus” forgot about ’em.)
It astonishes me that anybody thinks this is a guy who should be consulted about anything whatsoever. He’s a failure at literally every single arena of life and quite possibly one of the most dishonest and hypocritical leaders in Christianity at the moment. On the other hand, anybody mystified at the rise of Donald Trump should look no further than fundagelicals’ adoration of Mark Driscoll for so long.
But no, someone out there thinks they’ve found just the right person to ask about how to handle a basic, standard-issue problem in modern culture. And this anonymous Christian’s question is so pressing that Mark Driscoll stops reprinting his favorite fundagelical party-line glurge “Bible studies” to reply personally to it. His response seems chiefly concerned with people arranging hookups on social media and offers little to nothing in the way of concrete suggestions other than don’t let Mr. Happy out of your pants and maybe talk to your partner or friend or ex about how y’all plan to handle social media communication.
Demons, I Tells Ya, Demons Just Errywhere!
The second post is one I just recently noticed. It’s about how demons are totally real and lurking around every corner to drag down even the strongest and most faithful TRUE CHRISTIAN™.
And yes, I’m sure he’s the world expert on the topic of falls from grace, having gone from being one of the more popular and influential Christians in America to, well, presiding over a little bitty church in the fungus-infected toenails of America.
Like most of his other posts so far, this one comes out of previously-published books. And it’s nothing but a string of fundagelical talking points and Bible proof-texting of the same sort that convinces fundagelicals that same-sex marriage makes Jesus throw a hissy fit. (Also did he misuse the phrase begs the question?)
Absolutely nothing in Driscoll’s ZOMG DEMONS post will be anything new to anybody who’s attended more than a couple of fundagelical church services. They’re downright obsessed with blaming their problems on demons. It’s intended, I think, to make Christians feel like they’re more warrior-like than they actually are, and to think that their daily lives are actually a big grand ol’ action movie with themselves as the stars. Fundagelicalism is one of the most intellectually stultifying and emotionally oppressive systems ever devised–so the Christians who tangle with it must prop themselves up with this kind of rah-rah regularly. Constantly. I saw it all the time, even imagined myself in the same way when I was one of them.
(I’m betting Mark Driscoll gives himself a c’mon Mark, c’mon, man, be a good little soldier, there ya go, attaboy! pep talk every half hour on the half hour.)
Reading his post, I am struck once again with this grand and glorious wave of relief that I am no longer mired in that broken system or enslaved to its wackadoodle ideas. I can embrace the life I have now without laying this action movie visual over it, and if I don’t like something I can make changes if need be to make my life more like what I want it to be–no gods required.
To borrow a phrase, I’m here now. But I couldn’t be when I was Christian and imagining devils and imps and demons and boogeymen everywhere around me, all just waiting for a moment of weakness. I can’t even really remember what it was like to imagine myself as being so important that nothing less than an Archduke of Hell was waiting to leap at me if my faith waned too much.
A Tentative Hypothesis.
Is Mark Driscoll engaging in vaguebooking with these posts?
Vaguebooking is when someone writes a very vague social-media post (like on Facebook) airing a complaint about someone specific who they know personally and have in their friends list on that platform (and thus, someone they know will see the complaint), but the vaguebooker doesn’t want to say that target’s name or contact them privately to resolve the complaint. I’ve also seen the word refer to someone posting some strong emotion they’re feeling, like “I just can’t believe this,” or “I always have the worst luck!” but not saying what happened. This vague exclamation is supposed to prod everyone seeing it into asking what’s wrong. If nobody asks or tries to draw out what’s happening, then you can be sure the next post will be a mega-whinefest about how nobody cares about them.
Most of us have done something like that once or twice, but some people do it all the time. And in the case of someone who seems to vaguebook every other day, the goal stops being about resolving the complaint. No, it’s all about stirring up some juicy interpersonal drama or getting lots of sympathy. I’ve seen some folks assert that doing a lot of vaguebooking is a brightly-blinking indicator light of someone who really loves attention–such as a narcissist.
Is this maybe what we’re seeing coming out of Mark Driscoll?
I mean, look at the posts in question. One is about social media–definitely not one of Mark Driscoll’s strong points, considering the gaffes and scandals he seemed to spew on the regular back in his Mars Hill days. Is he trying to tell people that he’s reformed and will be a good boy from now on?
And in the demons post, is he hinting that “the devil made him do it,” a sorta-joke he pre-emptively makes in the first line of the post?
Maybe ol’ “Pastor Mark” isn’t getting enough attention in what is apparently a suburban neighborhood of wealthy white retirees to feed his need for high-stakes drama.
Soooo…… what say you?
2 One of our plucky commenters, Azel, figured it out. You have to go to the “About” page on his blog, then go to his personal site, and then there’s a link to “Ask Pastor Mark.” Seriously.