There's good Biblical teaching, and then there's good Biblical teaching styles. Often we separate the two when really, they cannot be taken apart. How you deliver a message is as important as the message itself. Christ lived His message — He died for it. In fact, He WAS the message… the entire embodiment of truth and love.
Mark Driscoll is coming under fire for his comments towards 'effeminate men' (gay or straight), the respect of women, and his ultra-macho fighting cage approach, and other criticisms. Rachel Held Evans offers a incredibly insightful blog addressing the growing concerns over Pastor Driscoll (see Mark Driscoll is a bully: stand up to him). I have to admit, while I understand that perhaps certain guys in a cultural context need a 2×4-to-the-head approach in terms of spirituality and sexuality, I have concerns too.
One common scenario: a brutalized child, woman or man exiting the sex trade comes to Christ and begins the reconciliation and healing process. He/she stumbles across Mark's excited sermon over his Song of Songs interpretation declaring women delighting to be under their men, while giving them blow jobs.
"WHAT?! So the submissive Christian wife is just the same as when I was forced to do guys when and where they wanted??"
You might think: "Okay, perhaps his teaching here is not the right time for such a person who's been through a massive trauma."
Which brings me to the point of this blog: how much of this celeb status is our responsibility too?
How many people do we crown as heroes in the Christian faith?
I understand we need role models. We need elders who are mature in Christ to learn from, ask questions to, dialogue with, and work alongside of. That's biblical. But have we gone too far, like the rest of pop culture, towards hero worship? Driscoll is so cool, so macho, so "out-there" that his persona is what we look to, and overlook many disrespectful, unkind, degrading, sexist comments. Case in point, Driscoll expressed disdain for effeminate men (see Evans' blog above) linking the experience of a straight man, considered 'effeminate' and the effect Driscoll's teaching on him and his family.
When do heroes turn into idols? I fully admit, I really like Shane Claiborne and a lot of his teachings about intentional community and pacifism. To me, the guy and his family and team are bang on when they live what they teach about Christ, community, life and love — the Gospel in action. I don't agree with everything (still mulling over the civil disobedience dialogue) which is a good thing. Refusing to agree with everything a teacher states is, in my mind, a positive thing. It can be a sign that someone is seriously considering what's being said, how it applies to life and the Bible.
I could easily walk down the path of hanging off of Shane's every word. May Shane smack me upside the head should that ever happen! (except he's a pacifist, so smack me in way that honours non-violence…lol!). My point is: is Driscoll getting away with his cruelty towards others because of his pop ultra-coolness "screw-you, sinner!" approach? Is the approach offending the Message?
Just putting the question out there.