So named in honor of Mark Driscoll, who publicly stated that "It is not uncommon to meet pastors' wives who really let themselves go." What a guy!

Just doing our job, as women, to bring glamor to the church.

(Please see addendum)



“Perfect humility dispenses with modesty.”

–C.S. Lewis:  The Weight of Glory


When I was a child, Palm Sunday was one of my favorite days. All church attendees got a palm to hold, although the real meaning of said palms was lost on this child. My brother and I would have sword fights and tickle each other with them. 


One Palm Sunday during my college days, I attended a Palm Sunday service. Afterwards, while I was talking with a friend, an irate, elderly lady came up to me and told me I was dishonoring God in the way I was holding my palm. She then went on to demonstrate the “godly” way to hold the palm in which the frond was held in open hands, no lower than waist level.   This made no sense to me, for by that time, I was minimally aware that the crowds waved their palms, triumphantly and vigorously, when Jesus rode into Jerusalem. I was taught that the Jews were celebrating their “king.”  So how could I wave it while cradling the palm in my open hand?


As time went on, I became aware of the history behind the palms. But, that was my first introduction to “rules” of behavior and belief within the Christian community that would make no sense to me.   The Apocryphal Books of 1+2 Maccabees cover the history behind the significance of the palms. Although Protestant evangelicals do not accept the Apocrypha as divinely inspired, these books are exceedingly useful as history texts.   Upon the death of Alexander the Great, the conquered territories (which included Judah) were divided into separate kingdoms. In 323 B.C., Judah would come under the rules of two dynasties — Ptolemy and Seleucid.


For a time the Jews were allowed to practice their faith freely. In 175 B.C., the Seleucid King Antiochus IV (175-163) decided to impose Greek culture on the Jews and to destroy the Jewish religion and culture. This would give rise to a revolt, led by members of the Maccabaeus family.


To make matters worse, Onias III, the last legitimate high priest of the line of Zadok, was assassinated.  Tensions were high. The famed Qumran community that produced the Dead Sea Scrolls formed during this time in opposition to the illegitimate high priest who replaced Onias.  


In 168 B.C., Antiochus IV, tired of the mutinous Jews, marched into the Temple’s Holy of Holies and had a pig sacrificed on the altar. He then erected an altar and statue of the Greek god Zeus whose worship would replace the God of Israel. This is the "abomination of desolation"  prophesized by Daniel and was the final straw for the occupied Jews.  


In 166 B.C., the Maccabean Revolt began, and the Jews were eventually successful in the endeavors to rout their oppressors.   In 165 B.C. the Temple was purified and rededicated.  According to some sources, the palm fronds were used to sweep clean the Temple floors in a ritual sense.  


When Simon Maccabaeus, the leader of those who liberated Jerusalem from the Greeks, rode triumphantly into the Jerusalem, he was feted "with praise and palm branches." (1 Maccabees 13:51) Hanukah remembered events that surrounded this triumph.   There are many good online sources that discuss this history. The following site had some easy to follow information.  

So, although the crowd celebrated Jesus when He came into Jerusalem, they quickly deserted Him. The answer as to why is readily apparent. They wanted an earthly king who would overthrow their Roman oppressors. Jesus would not live up to their expectations. They waved palms expecting Jesus to be a Simon Maccabeus. They didn’t expect, want, or understand a king who would die for their sins. So, this King conquered death and, one day, may it be soon, He will also come again and establish a physical kingdom that will have no end.  


It is so sad that many churches barely pay lip service to this event. One church I attended in the past didn’t even celebrate Good Friday or other events of this wonderful and tragic week.  When I inquired about it, I was told that the pastors were just too pressed for time to add one more thing to the calendar. They claimed that Easter Sunday embodied all of this. They wouldn't even allow a group of of church members to put on a simple service during the week. Guess only honest to gosh ordained pastors are allowed to do such things.


I used to buy palms and hand them out to random members of that church on Palm Sunday.  Church attendees remarked that they missed such a tradition and so many wanted them that they had to be torn into tiny pieces so that everyone would have a small piece of one.


By the way, let me anticipate a usual, ho-hum response that the money would be better served elsewhere. A whole bunch of palms only cost around $15. Didn’t Jesus commend the woman who poured expensive oil on His feet?  My guess is that churches could spring for this item.   Perhaps that church might reconsider their priorities and make Easter week a bit more important in their "busy" calendar.


Meantime, my new church hands out palms on Sunday, and I'm looking at the one I recently received as I write this. Come soon, King Jesus.  

We look forward to your thoughts.





In case you didn't understand Dee's explanation about Mark Driscoll above, here's his infamous  remark which he made in the aftermath of Ted Haggard's indiscretion.  I echo what Dee wrote – WHAT A GUY!

From the CT article "Pastor Provocateur" :

"It is not uncommon to meet pastors' wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness," Driscoll wrote. "A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband's sin, but she may not be helping him either."



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    Thank you for the fascinating post on the history of palm fronds and Christian Holy Week traditions.

    Yes it is sad that this lovely tradition of free expression may be fading, or worse yet, placed in a confining legal structure such as the one insisted upon by the elderly lady you described.

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    The piece on Driscoll was so disgusting he had to take it off his site. Then he denied it was what he meant. (He does this often. Me thinks he is not very wise in his original thoughts)

    It did not even make sense in light of the Haggard scandal because Haggard was attracted to men!

    Anyway, I could not help but feel sorry for Mrs. Driscoll. Let us hope she never needs a double masectomy or has a disfiguring accident or is forced to take steriod for Lupus. I felt sorry for her for being married to someone so shallow who cannot simply love her for her spirituality and intellect. But then, she is married to a 40 year old who still wears puca shell necklaces and filters her emails before she can read them.

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    You are truly the Knower of All Things Personal (KATIP)! I couldn’t agree with you more. He lectures women whilst wearing his Mickey Mouse shirt. Frankly, that shirt says it all.Why would he even interject stuff like that into his talks. He is obviously not “put together” himself. This stuff would be laughable if it weren’t so strange.

    I did not know that he goes through her emails first. I used to do followup on abuse situations when I did public health nursing. That sort of things would raise an alarm bell in terms of abuse-highly controlling, etc. Where did you find out that piece of information? I would like to read about it. I feel a post coming on.

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    Were you reading our blog when we covered Mark Driscoll a year ago?

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    He talked about going through her email in a series he did. I cannot remember which. He also does not want her meeting with women in the church because it is nothing but gossip fests and when she was in college, he went to every dorm room with guys in it in her building and warned them away from her. He is quite proud of all this.

    I think the guy has serious problems.

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    I do not know…I need to go back and look at the posts.

    I think we need to ask a larger question when it comes to Driscoll. Why is he so popular with young men who profess Christ? What is the draw?

    I met a woman last year on blogs that came out of his church. She wrote a lot about him. If I can remember her blog name, I will post it here.

  7. Pingback: PALMS ON PALM SUNDAY: WHY? ยป The Wartburg Watch « Wartburg

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    “Afterwards, while I was talking with a friend, an irate, elderly lady came up to me and told me I was dishonoring God in the way I was holding my palm. She then went on to demonstrate the ‘godly’ way to hold the palm in which the frond was held in open hands, no lower than waist level.”

    You’re kidding. Who knew?!

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    This is called “Stupid” faith, based on tradition, not the Bible. Jesus went after the Pharisees for this stuff.