“Our church services started to stink a whole lot less. We scraped together enough money to buy some big honking speakers, and I stole an unused sound console from my old church along with a projection screen, which were sins that Jesus thankfully died to forgive.” (Confessions, p.62)
Mark Driscoll showing men how to dress like a real man.
Mark Driscoll has raised the attention, admiration, and derision of many. It seems as if folks either love him or can’t stand him. Many question why he gets away with his explicit sermons and foul language. He advocates what appears to be a violent, sexualized view of the faith and seems to consider this a necessary element in order to draw men into the church. However, I question if this has less to do with his view of faith and more to do with his own self-interest. He seems to have lots of opinions on the behavior of others but can appear to give himself a very broad pass. Why?
"Shane" by James C. Work:
How many of you were required to read the penultimate Western novel, Shane? It was also made into a movie? The story takes place during the settlement of the western frontier. Lawless men who steal and plunder from honest hardworking families, however, threaten their ability to settle the land and live in peace.
Enter Shane, a man with a shadowy past, who works for a settler family but eventually becomes a gunslinger as he defends their rights. Here is a synopsis of the book as found on Amazon.com. Link.
“We see what we have suspected, that he is a killer, and there's no place for him in their sunny, settled world. He must go back on the trail and disappear. The mystery of Shane's identity suggests that what he represents in the story is a darker side of ourselves that does not integrate well with the more honorable aspects of self we prefer to acknowledge.”
In other words, Shane looks good and does good things, but there is an underlying darkness that permeates his life. This darkness ultimately affects his ability to live in a civilized society
"I Promise to Hate, Despise and Abuse you Until Death Do Us Part"-Marriage In a Narcissistic Age by Andrea V. Oelger and Troy W. Martin
We will review this book more in depth in the future. This book offers a Biblical perspective and help for women who are trapped in a marriage with a narcissistic husband. One of the chapters gives parameters for deciding whether or not a person might be a narcissist which we will refer to later in the post.
What do these two books have to do with Mark Driscoll?
Besides wanting to impress my fellow blog queen who was a Duke English major, that I, a nurse, can read, I found that both of these books might offer insight into Mark Driscoll’s behavior. A number of readers have asked us why Mark Driscoll behaves the way that he does. Why does he criticize pastors’ wives for “letting themselves go” and not see the evidence of the same issue in himself? Why does he not seem to understand that his explicit talks masquerading as sermons cause profound discomfort in listeners? My contention is that he cannot see himself the way that we see him.
The revealing video
Before I continue, I think it is important to watch the following video. I thank Lydia, a frequent commenter on this site, for alerting us to these remarks. While you view this, think about your initial response as he cops to some of his behaviors in regards to his wife. It is important to understand that Driscoll is calling attention to his actions, which he deems to be “protective.” At one point he lets down his guard and admits to one of his actions being a bit unusual. That, in my opinion, is an understatement.
Driscoll views women as gullible, emotional and easily deceived.
“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. 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.”
(Church Leadership: Explaining the Roles of Jesus, Elders, Deacons, and Members at Mars Hill, Mars Hill Theology Series (Seattle, WA: Mars Hill Church, 2004), 43.)
Driscoll appears to believe that it is desirable for him to beat up staff members.
Driscoll, being the manly man that he is, apparently has disabled the ability to embed these videos. However, these links take you directly to the video which start playing immediately. He confesses to wanting to beat up members of his staff and leadership. By the way, some of Driscoll's talks seem to have a habit of disappearing from the Internet.
Driscoll does not allow criticism of himself.
When one of the renegade elders refused to repent, the church leadership ordered members to shun him. One member complained on an online message board and instantly found his membership privileges suspended. “They are sinning through questioning,” Driscoll preached. Link (quote from NY Times)
Driscoll likes to view Jesus as the Galilean equivalent of Hulk Hogan.
On the same set of posts Driscoll is quoted “In Revelation, Jesus is a prize fighter with a tattoo down His leg, a sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed. That is a guy I can worship. I cannot worship the hippie, diaper, halo Christ because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up.”
Here is a list of some of his concerning behaviors and opinions as expressed by Driscoll himself.
It is important to consider the following point. Pastors, such a Driscoll, crave media attention, ostensibly because they are seeking to influence the world for the faith. He obviously wants us to pay attention to what he teaches. His thoughts are easily accessible on You Tube and other venues. So, I am doing exactly as he wishes, evaluating his public thoughts and actions.
- He, who was not a student at the college, threatened guys in a dorm setting who lived on the same floor as his then girlfriend, now wife.
- He drove 600 miles round trip to make sure his girlfriend had arrived at her college because she “forgot” to call him as she had promised.
- He faces the front door in restaurants and puts her against the wall to protect her in case something “bad goes down”
- He censors her email so she doesn’t get bad emails.
- He seems to convey that physically assaulting members of his staff and leadership is normal.
- He needs to worship a Jesus that he cannot beat up.
- Jesus has tattoos, a sword and is committed to making someone bleed.
- Questioning a pastor is a sin and he will suspend your membership privileges if you question him.
Driscoll appears to fashion himself as a knight errant who is committed to defending his wife’s honor with violence. He also appears to need to be self-protective of his own image. In the book on narcissism that I reference above, on page 78, we find a list of questions intended to assess whether someone is at risk for domestic violence from the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
"Does your partner:
- Behave in an over-protective manner or become extremely jealous?
- Threaten to hurt you, your children, pets, family members, friends of himself?
- Constantly criticize you and your abilities as a spouse, parent or employee?
- Use intimidation or manipulation to control you or your children?
- Get suddenly angry or lose his temper?"
In the book, Shane, people notice that Shane always sits with his back to the wall, facing the front door. He obviously has a past and has been involved with violence and appears to expect violence at every turn.
Traits of narcissists
In the book on Narcissism, the authors state that a narcissist “directs all his energies, not to true accomplishments but toward preserving his projected illusion.” (P.29)
The book goes on to quote from the "American Psychiatric Association on some characteristic of a narcissist (p.32):
- He can lack empathy: is unwilling to identify with the feelings and needs of others.
- He shows arrogant, haughty behavior or attitudes.
- He requires excessive admiration.
- He has a sense of entitlement, i.e. unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his expectations.”
The book also describes individuals with a potential for narcissism as believing that they perceive themselves to be the only authoritative decision maker (p.40)
I want to emphasize that I do not know Driscoll’s motivation. However, his outward actions and speech raise a red flag.
- Why did he drive 600 miles over a forgotten phone call? Interestingly, it does not say that the girl’s parents were concerned. Also, why didn't she return his phone call?
- Is he protecting her from ill will by screening her emails or simply controlling his own image within his family?
- He seems to enjoy speaking about violence. Why? Was he bullied as a child and this is payback time or is he the perpetual bully?
- He equates spirituality with physically violent characteristics. Jesus is worthy of being worshiped only if He is able to “take out” others? I would imagine Driscoll would have enjoyed the Sermon on the Mount if Jesus had turned it into WWE Smackdown with Peter “The Rock” facing off against “Stone Cold” Lazarus. Who needs any of that “Blessed are the peacemakers” nonsense? Let’s take ‘em down!
- He appears to perceive the world as imminently and personally violent. He cannot go to a restaurant without making it seem that he is stepping into the role of Shane in the Wild West.
- He appears to have a low image of women. He blames females for the Garden Incident and blames women if their husbands have a predilection for other men. By marginalizing women, Driscoll has the advantage of removing 50% of the opposition.
- He seems to be comfortable admitting he stole electricity or a sound system as he said in his book. Why?
- He seems to hold himself in very high esteem. He allows himself to be immune from the same criticism that he piles on women and those he perceives to be his opponents. How else could he dress the way that he does and then believe that he is an example?
- He does not seem to have the ability to deal calmly with criticism. What job in the world protects an individual from negative assertions? Does he believe that there is a Biblical mandate to protect him from critique?
I am well aware that Driscoll views himself as a strong and “manly” leader. To me, he seems to come across as a narcissistic cowboy that could conceivably have a hidden, dark side. However, being a gullible and easily deceived woman, I could just be getting emotional on you all. I think time will tell the true story. And, if I were his wife, I would make sure that some good friends and counselors surrounded me.
Lydia's Corner: Deuteronomy 31:1-32:27 Luke 12:8-34 Psalm 78:32-55 Proverbs 12:21-23