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Why Mark Driscoll is not Jon Acuff

Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll's latest publicity stunt is a Facebook post that asked, "So, what story do you have about the most effeminate anatomically male worship leader you've ever personally witnessed?" As often happens with Driscoll's publicity stunts, the post was pulled after causing a wave of controversy. (More details are here and here.)

What I'm wondering is this: Why such a random question out of nowhere? It's true that Driscoll is known for his macho act, but why "effeminate anatomically male worship leaders"? It seems like such an odd, arbitrary pot shot to take. The only possible answer I can think of is this: Mark Driscoll wants to be Jon Acuff.

Acuff, as many of you know, runs a humor blog called Stuff Christians Like, and one of his running jokes is about the "Metrosexual Worship Leader." See examples here, here, here, and here. But here's the thing: Acuff doesn't single out particular worship leaders and make fun of them, nor does he ask his audience to do so. He observes trends among the Christian community and, as a humorist does, he jokes about them. He does this with affection, and he makes sure to include a little balance and understanding.

Driscoll does none of these things in his handling of this particular subject -- even though, as a pastor, one would think it would be his job to speak and act with an extra degree of grace, maturity, and dignity. Ironically, it seems that the man who isn't a pastor is the one acting more pastoral here.

Comments:

Uh, Lee, I really would prefer that brimstone be rained down on someone else's city. That sound's remarkably inconvenient for me.
Actually, Gina, I live in Portland, Oregon, so I'm more of a satellite Seattle-ite. Both Oregon and Washington are two of the most unchurched states in the nation, and home to downright aggressive secularism and atheism.

One does wish, at times, that one could simply bolt through downtown like Jonah, hollering "Ha! HA! You're all gonna die, you heathen!!" and then go up to a hillside to watch the brimstone fall. But that doesn't go very far in building mentoring relationships for new subjects of the Kingdom.

There is a popular bumper sticker here: "Keep Portland Weird!" It appears to take little effort on anyone's part.

It's no particular wonder that Boeing might prefer to build new plants where anarchists and union supporters are fewer. The hypocrisy is that people around here want jobs, but want them from capitalists as much as from the gov't.

So that's the milieu. Driscoll has an impossible job (one that only God can accomplish), but he makes it even harder many times. This leads other Christians to shoot him in the back, making it yet harder. Fortunately, though, he's not the only pastor in these parts.

"Controversy for the sake of controversy is sin. Controversy for the sake of truth is a divine command." --Walter Martin
I appreciate your perspective as a Seattle-ite, Lee. People will often say of Driscoll," But he's in Seattle!" as if that were all the justification needed for anything he wants to say or do. :-) I'm glad you explained more about that while at the same time providing a little balance.
Such a Story
.
“A Man After God’s Own Spleen”

Pastor Symonds arrived at the hospital too late; Everett Bigelow was dead. The doctor had just broken the news to the family and was attempting to console the wife, Adrian, and the two young children, Philip and Susan. Several other friends and relatives were present, sharing the grief of bereavement. Among them was Randolph Murray, whom, Symonds recalled with dismay, was a universalist minister. Murray took over where the doctor left off:

"There, now, Adrian. Remember, Everett is in heaven now, free from suffering forever. This sudden separation, though painful to us all because we all loved Everett so much, is only temporary, until we are all reunited together in everlasting bliss."

"Thank you, Randolph", she said, wiping her eyes. "You're very kind. It, it's just not easy...." Adrian's voice broke with emotion.

"No, of course it isn't." Randolph put his arm around her. "Death is the most unbearable parting any of us has to endure. The Bible even calls death an enemy, so we ought to hate it. But the wonderful thing is, death is a defeated enemy. Its influence is only temporary and superficial. Here, let me show you something."

As Randolph opened a Bible, all the family members and friends gathered around, hungry to hear some words of comfort. Symonds found himself among them, listening intently as Randolph read.

"Listen to this wonderful passage of Scripture: 'For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death, is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?'"

Yes, but that applies to born-again Christians, Symonds found himself thinking.
"And here is another passage in the book of Revelation: 'And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away.'"

Yes, but that applies to CHRISTIANS! Symonds could hardly contain himself. And Everett Bigelow, he mused, moral and upright a person as he unquestionably was, was certainly not a Christian. He rarely, if ever, even attended church. Symonds felt duty-bound to say something.

"Yes", he said, and suddenly all eyes were upon him, noticing him for the first time.

"There is great comfort for all who have been born again through personal faith in Jesus Christ."

He and Randolph exhanged momentary, knowing looks, but said nothing to one another.
Adrian, regaining a measure of self-control, and oblivious to the warfare brewing, spoke.

"Yes, yes. Thank you. Both of you. You're both very kind. Everett was a good Christian man, the best man I've ever known, a perfect husband and father. I know there's a place in heaven for him."

Symond's mind raced. Things were getting out of hand. He recalled a number of Scripture verses that, under the circumstances, he strongly suspected were being brought to his recollection by the Holy Spirit. A couple of verses fit the situation perfectly. For example, "There is none righteous, no not one;” and, “Why callest thou me good? There is none good but God." Symonds was in a dilemma. He knew that error uncorrected (and, after all, Scripture is profitable for correction) could lead a soul away from Christ ("if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him, let him know that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death"). He also knew that as an evangelical pastor, he was under divine obligation to "cry aloud and spare not". The duty clearly was his. He knew he could leave to God the consequences of his being faithful in this matter. Even so, he was reluctant to upset these poor, sorrowing souls, to dash the hopes (false though they were) to which they held so tenaciously in this their hour of extreme trial. He looked at little Philip, who clung tightly to his mother's side, eyes red with tears.

"Here, Adrian," Randolph said, gently placing in her hand a small, green booklet. "This is a book of verse that many in our congregation have found very uplifting in just such times as these."


Symonds noted with horror that the book bore the inscription of a well-known universalist publisher on the spine. He could feel the Spirit prompting him to action. But what to say? And when? Symonds was inclined to approach Adrian later, at a more opportune time. But after hasty reflection he dismissed that cowardly notion with a "get thee behind me, Satan!" He was not ignorant of the devil's wiles. It was clear the public reputation of God was at stake here, and there were no less than nine souls (Symonds counted) who were being led astray by the heretical doctrine of Randolph Murray. No, now was definitely the time, and this was the place, Symonds decided. And though it was a dreadful responsibility, as a minister of the gospel of Christ, he knew he could not shirk it. "What ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops", he heard the Spirit say. And "whosoever shall be ashamed of me and my words, of him shall the Son of Man be ashamed." And, "woe unto me if I preach not the gospel!"

The little group was preparing to leave, gathering up purses and belongings, replacing magazines, when Pastor Symonds, now full of the Spirit and of power, opened his mouth and thus spake boldly in a loud voice:

"There are some other passages I think we all ought to look at before we go our separate ways." And so saying, he proceeded to read to them from the prophet Ezekiel, Chapter 3 verses 17 through 19...
In becoming a conservative, evangelical megachurch pastor in ***Seattle***, of all places, Mark Driscoll has stormed Hell armed with little more than a squirt gun. (Y'all from the fringes of the Bible Belt have *no* idea.)

Outrageous liberal street theater is a regular feature of life out here; it ain't called the "Left" Coast for nothin'. Stunts that draw attention? Relatively speaking, this one was pretty mild by comparison with our nightly news. There's a lot of Elijah's "you bring *your* sacrifice to the mountaintop, and I'll bring *mine*" bravado here.

That said, you're spot-on, Gina: it's not really possible to try to be a prophet, splitting the people into "us" versus "them", and also be a pastor who lovingly accepts everyone just as they are. Mark Driscoll will never be Jim Cymbala of Brooklyn Tabernacle.

And as I look in the mirror, I see someone who struggles with trying to be an Acuff-style uniter instead of a Driscoll-style divider. It's absolutely true that two people can tell essentially the same joke, but one will phrase it in terms that convey self-deprecation and a confirmation that the target of the joke is a target because they're part of a self-deprecating group, while that joke coming from the second person sounds like veiled hostility.

The mirror's telling me to come back and discuss some more.
What story do you have about the most self-important, petty, loud-mouthed pastor you've ever personally witnessed?
Gina, I hate to admit it, but I didn't know who Jon Acuff was, but his wit and humor delights!
Funny, I can't think of any effeminate, anatomically male, worship leaders, right off the bat. Our pastor can build an airplane, and our assistant pastor looks like a sixteenth-century galley captain.