I wouldn't normally give extra attention to preening alpha evangedouche Mark Driscoll, but he seems to be popping up more and more in my mainstream feeds lately. His existence is not news, but if people are going to know who this guy is, I want to make sure they know who this guy is. The Seattle-based mega-pastor has turned "cool" Christianity into a thriving brand, luring new parishioners with his salt-and-pepper fauxhawk (I KNOW), phat sound system, and willingness to use phrases like "phat sound system" with a straight face. That marketability has landed him a bunch of book deals, nearly half a million Twitter followers, and the chance to get his butthole caressed on Fox and Friends. Oh, and he also bullies effeminate men for fun, thinks divorce is the fault of ugly wives riddled with sex demons, and requires congregants to sign a covenant vowing to abstain from "homosexuality, pornography, and fornication."
Bitch summed it up tidily in this 2012 article:
The church's blend of pop culture and strict Calvinist doctrine allows congregants to occupy a unique, rebellious niche between middle-aged conservative Christians and their secular liberal contemporaries. Mars Hill members talk about sex, drink alcohol, get tattoos, and swear. They listen to Fleet Foxes; they love Star Wars and graffiti art. They also believe homosexuality is a sin, men are meant to lead, and wives must submit to their husbands as the church submits to God.
I don't blame young people for seeking a worship community that speaks to their demographics and aesthetics, but Driscoll's Mars Hill Church sells oppressive traditionalism dressed up in tattoos and hoodies. I don't think it's unreasonable to suggest that young Christians look for a church that fulfills their spiritual and social needs without making them complicit in misogyny and homophobia. If you're a socially liberal Christian, I don't know why you'd want to make such a massive and destructive compromise. I'd also wager that you're not as socially liberal as your vanity tells you.
Anyway, Driscoll's latest arrived in my inbox via Christian Nightmares—he's now palling around with Friend of Dorothy Glenn Beck on Beck's online talk show. The interview is, predictably, focused on men and men's problems and the importance of men and how men are our only hope of saving "Christiandom" [sic]. Driscoll admonishes his male flock for not bothering to "[take] a gal on a date, maybe to get a wife out of the deal"; parrots that old MRA talking point about how men do shitty in school; and adds that a lot of men don't bother getting driver's licenses because they'd rather "download porn on their phone while they're on their bus trip." (Quick Q: Whaaaaaaaat the fuck are you talking about. If you're trying to convince me that you have no idea how porno works, then NICELY PLAYED, DRISCOLL.)
Because, of course, if you lose control of the men, then who will control the women!?
After that, Beck and Driscoll spend ten minutes whining about how oppressed they are by the concept of "tolerance." Classic stuff. Great stuff.
Anyway, this seemed like as good a time as any to take a look back at a few of Mark Driscoll's Greatest Hits—just in case there are people catching him on The View or being forwarded his video sermons by well-meaning aunts and feeling tempted by his faux-progressive peacocking. This organization is as regressive as they come. This dude is terrible and says terrible shit. But don't take my word for it—take his.
The Time Mark Driscoll Referred to Women as "Weaker Vessels"
I don't know if this really counts as "a time," because it's one of the cornerstones of Driscoll's messaging so he's kind of never not saying it. But don't worry, girls! Just because you're "weaker" doesn't mean you're inferior. In fact, Driscoll goes out of his way to make it clear that men and women are equal: "Equal but different. Within the covenant of marriage, men are the head and women are the helpers."
Like, brah, maybe you're just catching up on the reading list, but I crushed Animal Farm in the SIXTH GRADE.
The Time Mark Driscoll Said that Men Should Prune and Fertilize Their Wives Like a Prize Turnip or Something
Via The Stranger:
A husband should be the firm and responsible head of his household, the leader of a "little flock called home and family." He should think of his wife as "a garden" and himself as "the gardener." If you look at your garden and don't like how it looks, Driscoll preaches, just remember: "You are the gardener."
The Time Mark Driscoll Told Women that If They're Unhappy with Constrictive Gender Roles Then the Baby Jesus Will Send Them a Punishment-Headache
Women will be saved by going back to that role that God has chosen for them. Ladies, if the hair on the back of your neck stands up it is because you are fighting your role in the scripture.
The Time Mark Driscoll Compared Being Married to a Woman to Water Torture
They're quarrelsome. They're a nag. And some women — you're a nag. You're disrespectful. You're quarrelsome. Being married to you is like a life sentence, and the guy's just scratching on his wall every day. Proverbs talks about certain women—they're like a dripping faucet. You ever tried to sleep with a dripping faucet? Plunk, plunk, plunk, plunk, plunk. It's what we use to torture people who are prisoners of war. A wife is like that.
A wife is like that.
The Time Mars Hill Church Announced They Were Opening a Parish Near Seattle's Historically LGBT-Friendly Neighborhood So They Could Help All the Gross AIDS People
In January of this year, Mars Hill management announced the opening of a new parish in downtown Seattle (taking over the gorgeous First United Methodist Church, where I had my choir concerts when I was little, so SCREW THEM FOR THAT TOO), gleefully explaining: "Being closer to Capitol Hill is a blessing as we are serving and ministering to those who are infected with AIDS on the hill." Spoken like a true ally/medical doctor! As usual, Slog responded best:
What services does Mars Hill perform for people with AIDS on Capitol Hill? Did they mean actually HIV, which is more common than AIDS? Why do they believe Capitol Hill is such a hotbed of AIDS? Because it's younger? Because it's gayer? Do they regret moving farther away from older neighborhoods like Magnolia that presumably have higher rates of cancer and other, generally more fatal diseases? Do they think that Capitol Hill is a disease-infested bastion of faggot heathens who can only find salvation in their hateful rhetoric, generalizations, and misappropriation of Jesus to control their cultish society and promote their repressive political agenda?
The Time Mars Hill Didn't Actually Let Gay People Be Members of the Church, Despite All the AIDS They Supposedly Have that Needs Ministering
To be clear, GLBT are welcome to attend and participate at Mars Hill Downtown. They are not able to become members of the church.
The Time It Turned Out They Were Just Lying About Doing that HIV/AIDS Outreach Anyway
When asked what sort of "serving and ministering" they'd be doing for Seattle's purportedly AIDS-riddled homosexuals, a Mars Hill spokesman explained that they were in the "beginning stages" of volunteering with the Lifelong AIDS Alliance. When reached for comment, Lifelong replied, "What? Ugh, no."
The Time Mark Driscoll Said that Jesus Sends Him Special Hallucinations of Children Being Molested
That's probably the greatest impression of "grandfather admitting to molesting a baby" ever committed to film.
The Time Mark Driscoll Asked His Congregants to Join Him in Mocking Effeminate Men
Via Rachel Held Evans:
"So, what story do you have about the most effeminate anatomically male worship leader you've ever personally witnessed?"
The Time Mark Driscoll Told a Woman in Marriage Counseling that She Had "Sex Demons" and Then Performed a "Surprise Exorcism"
Amy describes Mark's demeanor toward her as a "fiery tirade". During this encounter, Mark told Amy he believed that every one of her sins were "sex based." He said that the demons inside her were out to destroy every one of the marriages in their circle of friends.
"At one point," says Amy, "he asked me which one of my husband's friends I had imagined sleeping with."
Amy was dumbfounded by Mark's questions and accusations. But she also admits, because she no longer trusted Mark, she was also slightly terrified of what was about to happen.
The Time Mark Driscoll Said that Male Masturbation "Borders on Homosexuality" Because You're Touching a Dude's Dong
First, masturbation can be a form of homosexuality because it is a sexual act that does not involve a woman. If a man were to masturbate while engaged in other forms of sexual intimacy with his wife then he would not be doing so in a homosexual way. However, any man who does so without his wife in the room is bordering on homosexuality activity, particularly if he's watching himself in a mirror and being turned on by his own male body.
The Time Mars Hill Church Harassed and Invasively Pried into the Lives of Members Who Violated Its "Covenant"
Via The Stranger:
Lance quit the church.
But the church didn't quit him. Not only was he barred from speaking with his now-former friends at the church, Lance says his pastor threatened to contact any future church that he might attend. And then Lance's pastor took the extra step of calling the father of Lance's girlfriend in Colorado. "They were warning him how dangerous I was," Lance says. "That I was on a path of destruction that could result in the death of his daughter."
The Time Mars Hill Church Used "Cool" Christianity to Prey on Vulnerable Young People Who Are New in Town, Going Through a Traumatic Stage of Life, Estranged from Their Families, and/or Just Lonely and Looking for Friends at the Coffee Shop
I don't need a citation for that one. I live in Seattle.
The Time Mark Driscoll Wrote Nine Million Words About How Yoga Is "Demonic"
Via Pastor Mark TV:
As I've explained in this post, yoga is a religious philosophy that is in direct opposition to Christianity. Thus, in its true form, yoga cannot be simply received by any Christian in good conscious [UGH, SIC]. To do so would be to reject the truths of Scripture and thus Jesus himself.
The Time Pastor Mark Wrote "Conscious" Instead of "Conscience" Like a Fucking 9th-Grader
SEE ABOVE. UGH.
The Time Mark Driscoll Behaves Just Like the Satan He's Supposedly Decrying
He saves his Satan talk for the last chapter in which he says "Satan's goal is for you to take the bait without seeing the hook. Once the hook is in your mouth, he'll reel you in to take you as his captive" (p. 222) which is especially eerie for me in context of those I've known who have been involved at Mars Hill Church and have left. The good things on the surface drew them in. The shame and vying for absolution kept them there. But if Jesus said his yoke is easy and you are toiling under what you are being taught, is it possible something is wrong? If you are not allowed to bring your questions to your faith community, is it even a community of faith?
The Time Mars Hill Church Was So Oppressive and Abusive and Manipulative that Former Members Felt the Need to Form Support Groups and Blog Communities to Cope with Their Experiences There
The Time Mark Driscoll Said that Ted Haggard Had Meth-Sex with a Male Prostitute Because His Ugly Wife Probably Didn't Blow Him Enough
Via The Stranger:
"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."
The Time Mark Driscoll Called James Cameron's Avatar "The Most Demonic, Satanic Movie I've Ever Seen"
Via Christianity Today:
Driscoll denounced its "demonic paganism" and its portrayal of a "false Jesus" and a "false heaven." He also took issue with the film's depiction of "connecting, literally, with trees and animals and beasts and birds." Driscoll also said, "That any Christian could watch that without seeing the overt demonism is beyond me."
Everyone's a critic.
The Time Mark Driscoll Called Me a Murderer
Via Fox News:
Both science and Scripture are absolutely clear that life begins at conception. Taking a human life is murder, by definition, which makes abortion a murderous act.
I'm assuming "Science" is just the name of a guy he met on the bus?
The Time Mark Driscoll ALL OF THIS
Via the NYT:
As hip as he looks, his message brooks no compromise with Seattle's permissive culture. New members can keep their taste in music, their retro T-shirts and their intimidating facial hair, but they had better abandon their feminism, premarital sex and any "modern" interpretations of the Bible. Driscoll is adamantly not the "weepy worship dude" he associates with liberal and mainstream evangelical churches, "singing prom songs to a Jesus who is presented as a wuss who took a beating and spent a lot of time putting product in his long hair."
...The mainstream church, Driscoll has written, has transformed Jesus into "a Richard Simmons, hippie, queer Christ," a "neutered and limp-wristed popular Sky Fairy of pop culture that . . . would never talk about sin or send anyone to hell."
Okey dokey, bro.