I assume by now you’ve probably seen this, which has been making the rounds, in which Seattle evangelical rock star-pastor Mark Driscoll invites his Facebook followers to mock the “effeminate” worship leaders they’ve come across:
Usually when I hear about evangelical ridiculousness—the standard confusion of cultural values with the Christian gospel, anti-intellectualism, whatever—I feel nothing. It may solidify my doubt that it will ever move far beyond its past and present. But I’m not in the group anymore, after all, so I make an effort not to let it weigh too much.
But this made me sick all over, simultaneously nauseous and desperate to apologize to everyone who will inevitably hear about it. I will assume I don’t need to explain why I had that reaction to a “star” Christian pastor, who enjoys the respect and friendship of numerous influential evangelical leaders, publicly inviting his followers to shame and bully people about their physical appearance or manner. I suppose I don’t need to remind anyone that kids try to kill themselves over this type of treatment.
This is not a first-time offense for Driscoll; in fact, he’s been harping on this very theme for a long time. I won’t pretend to be more familiar with him than I am, but even at a pretty far distance, I’ve heard more mean-spirited, pointless aggression than anyone resembling a religious person should tolerate. To an outside observer, it is easy to read his gender theology as a defense of a new Christian locker room where the “real men” can convene to relive their adolescent contempt for those who don’t qualify for the club.
Evangelicals tend to talk about Driscoll in a winking way, all Oh that Mark, he can get a little worked up! As if to say he’s a little extreme, but we love it. Well, you shouldn’t love it, you should be ashamed. Many of you clearly are and have said so. So do something about it.
David Sessions is the founding editor of Patrol. He covers religion for Newsweek and The Daily Beast, and is a graduate student in the Draper Program for Humanities and Social Thought at New York University. He can be reached at hdavidsessions at gmail dot com.
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