I am tired. There is a battle waging, on behalf of my sisters in Christ and in my own heart. I have become keenly aware of my femininity and how it is recognized, acknowledged and judged in the body of Christ. A paradigm shift is in the making and to be honest, I feel like I haven’t settled my feet on the solid foundation yet.
In the midst of this change of course, my journey has been saturated the past two weeks with blog conversations about Mark Driscoll and his statements about and against women. Not just his comments and advice in the aftermath of Ted Haggard’s confession but former quotes and attitudes attributed to him that have been maybe correctly labeled as demeaning and misogynistic.
I haven’t really offered my thoughts about the whole issue because I am still formulating my words, finding my voice, pushing aside the fear to speak out. I would never had identified myself as one who has been silenced by the church or those in the church. Though I cannot point to a single person or a single incident, the propaganda still abides deep in my heart, my being … women are to be silent. Even as I am punching my way out of this darkness, even as my husband is running beside, cheering me on, even as my best friend inspires me to keep fighting … I still find it difficult to step to the front, to have my voice heard.
The caution I must exercise is not to direct my anger, my hurt, my frustration toward a person. Mark Driscoll drives me crazy. I have never identified with his style of communication. I have described him as arrogant, one who loves to hear himself speak and thumping a potentially damaging message about women and their place in the kingdom.
It was not surprising, in fact, it was predictable to read his answer to the Ted Haggard disaster. Mark Driscoll makes several glaring remarks about women. Yes, I know he wasn’t blaming Gayle Haggard for her husband’s sin, but it certainly seemed like he was suggesting that women share in the blame of their husbands’ wandering minds, hearts and bodies if they don’t keep themselves beautiful and available to them. In taking a hit for the home team, he perpetuates the home-boy attitude that reduces women to mere objects for sexual pleasure.
I have already posted the best response to MD’s unfortunate words that I have read and I re-post it here with a few more, including one letter that calls for a public apology and discourse.
Fat, Lazy, Pastors’ Wives by Emerging Grace
The Wisdom of Mark Driscoll by Wendy
Mark Driscoll and Women by Helen
An Open Letter to Mark Driscoll by Rose
Then today …
As I have re-read my blog, I can see how some may have misconstrued what I said. Because I was writing to male pastors, I spoke in such a way that was not as clear as it could have been regarding what is true of Christian marriage in general. Therefore, I hope that this post is more clarifying.
My stomach churns as I realize that either this smart young pastor doesn’t realize the public nature of a blog, which I doubt … OR … he was speaking to male pastors and felt comfortable conveying to male pastors that their wives may share in the responsibility of their own sinful choices. This makes what Mark Driscoll originally said even more disturbing.
My friend sums up my emotions about it all when she says, Thanks for Nothing!
Scot McKnight surprised me by his delight at Mark Driscoll’s clarification (note: it wasn’t an apology or admittance of wrongdoing or harm toward women … it was just a kinder, gentler clarification). I wasn’t able to respond before Scot closed the comments but thankfully, some bold people spoke out.
I have listened in to some who are predicting the fall of Mark Driscoll … pride goes before a fall, you know. Can I just say that I pray it will not be so. No church, no people should have to go through a scandal and tragedy. I pray that Mark Driscoll will be graced with a humble heart that will empower him with the grace of God.
And today, while washing dishes, listening to summer podcast of Engage, Chad Norris was speaking about friendships. He began to talk about how Jesus commanded his followers to love one another and how Jesus washed their feet. I crumpled to a stool as the spirit of God whispered to my heart, “would you wash the feet of Mark Driscoll?”
NOOooooo, God! You wouldn’t ask me to do something like that, would you? Would you?
Again, the paradox that I spoke of in the previous post? Exposed!!!
I am driven to the scripture and Jesus reminds me,
Matthew 5: 43-47
“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
48“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”
So, now what? Is Mark Driscoll my enemy? If I label him as a misogynist, maybe he is? Then what am I to do about that?
Let him bring out the best in me, not the worst in me! and I am an intercessor, a prayer warrior. So, I must pray, wash Mark Driscoll’s feet with prayers to the Lord.
I can pray for Mars Hill, Mark Driscoll and his ministry … for God’s protection, blessing and direction. I can continue to learn and renew my own mind about God’s heart toward women. I can speak out boldly about the new beliefs that God is planting in my heart. I can be available to share the burden of other women who have been wounded and silenced. I can encourage them to let God nurture their voice.
I want to be a positive voice. Are there times for exposing the lies and harmful teaching? Absolutely, but with kindness and grace. I wish this were my first response and maybe one day I will be transformed enough that it will be. But today, I must set aside this first response and respond as God does … in mercy, in grace and in love.
Immersed in the Mystery,
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