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.

(Rachel Held Evans has his church’s contact info here. Tyler Clark has a great post on how this attitude hurts all types of men here).

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About The Author

David Sessions

David Sessions is the founding editor of Patrol. He studies intellectual history at New York University; his writing has appeared in The Daily Beast, Newsweek, Jacobin, Slate and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter here.

  • Chris Pittman

    Wow, this article is riduclous. The haughty superiority over those unsophisticated evangelicals is hardnto read. Nice try to jump on the bullyng bandwagon, though. That may get you a couple fans.

    • Scott

      Um…are you kidding? Please be kidding.

      Do you think that it’s appropriate for a Christian man, much less a well-known pastor of a large church, to put out a public call for stories mocking worship leaders? Really?

      Mark Driscoll isn’t unsophisticated. He is simply DOING WRONG. Calling out Driscoll for this sort of behavior is not haughty. It is completely warranted.

    • http://www.littlelostgaijin.blogspot.com Midnightnoa

      I think that there are a lot of people here who really don’t get what has happened. Everyday we are being told not to harass the homosexuals. The media tells us that if we are not supportive of a homosexual lifestyle that we are bigots. Christians are considered to be close-minded and full of hate. As a Christian I am offended by these messages. I have friends who are homosexual that understand my Faith and don’t belittle me for it. Neither do I discount them as friends who I care about. This whole “if you are not supportive of gay rights then you are committing hate” is an utter farce. However, with the constant bombardment of homosexual political propaganda, and targeted gay marketing is it any wonder that our men are becoming more effeminate even if they are straight? Men are harassed for their masculinity by homosexuals activists who call themselves victims. I believe that those who would call themselves masculine are becoming more and more silenced as their maleness comes under attack.I know of more than a few men who share Driscoll’s sentiment. These men are tired of being called predators and as a result of years of pent-up restraint I promise we will see more of this sort of justified rage. Do you believers not see conformity to society’s love for the effeminate as offensive? I am not saying that there should be a witch hunt on homosexuals. What I am saying is that we are allowing the effeminate side of homosexuality to become the face of America. Even some homosexual men are offended by this because not all gays are effeminate either as the media would have us believe. So why are our pastors and worship pastors conforming to this effeminate metro-sexual image, and projecting themselves in such a manner?

  • http://jaschroeder.blogspot.com Jesse

    Perhaps the best thing to “do” is just ignore it.

  • http://jaschroeder.blogspot.com Jesse

    I retract my comment that we should “ignore” Driscoll. Perhaps if he was not influential and did not pastor a large church, then we could ignore him. There are many such people around the world who say offensive, completely inaccurate things. To give them attention is to bring validity to their statements and increase their popularity. That was my rationale behind initially suggesting we ignore Driscoll.

    But Driscoll already has a large following, and many look to him for direction and as a mouthpiece for God. Therefore, we have an obligation as loving, followers of peace and disciples of Jesus – who always put others before himself, regardless of their social presentation – we have an obligation to speak out against Driscoll’s misrepresentations of the Christian faith.

  • James Jean

    I am 15-year worship leader from Austin, TX. I am pretty confident that I could drop-kick Mark Driscoll in the crotch. You can tell him that I said that.

  • http://late-emerger.blogspot.com Andrew M

    Well, I can’t find the post on his facebook now. Did he – or someone close to him – have the wisdom to take it down?

    [If you're going to call someone out - and if he really posted this, he needs calling out - it helps to have co-ordinates. Page link, time of post, etc. Otherwise it looks like gossip, myth, put-up job.]

    • David Sessions

      He seems to have deleted it. Others have more detailed screenshots…

  • http://joshuakeel.com Joshua Keel

    I second your disgust, David. This kind of thing is just completely out of line.

  • David Rullio

    strange coincidence how the only ones who care about this Facebook post are the people who cry like women about completely trivial things.

    • teigen

      david, your comment clearly illustrates the core issue here. when the worst insult you can come up with is to refer to someone as possessing female characteristics, you imply that there is something wrong with being a woman.

      unless of course you were being subtly sardonic, in which case, my point is still valid.

  • Rachel Haugh

    When your facebook is open to the world you had better filter your posts. This is hurtful and doesn’t represent the heart of God.

  • Timothy

    I thought I read something in this book called the Bible about only speaking that which edifies. Maybe Driscoll’s heard about it?

  • Chris M

    Mark Driscoll is preaching in a culture that has no idea of what constitutes being a man from a Biblical perspective. He not only decries males who prefer style over substance, but also those that refuse to grow up. Mark may have gone over the top here but he is setting many men on a better masculine path – away from video games, casual sex, and bleached blonde highlights. For that we should be thankful. Perhaps the best way to read Mark is not in the worst possible light. Maybe do some research into all that he and his church have done for the marginalized and victimized – you just might be surprised.

    I suspect the outcry here is not that Mark made fun of a certain group of people, but that it was just not the RIGHT group of people. What would the average theological liberal have to say about the students at say, Liberty University? I can point you to many unkind words Brian McLaren has said about theological conservatives too. But defending conservatives tends to get one mocked so I’ll stop here.

    • Scott

      Chris-

      I think the line that Driscoll crossed is that he, in a very public way, explicitly called for people to mock brothers in Christ. He is a leader of men and women, called to defend the meek, and he uses his platform to belittle people who serve Christ and His church. It’s shameful and sad. If it weren’t, why has Driscoll deleted his post?

      I don’t really understand your point about McLaren. When he speaks wrongly, he can be criticized for it. But to excuse Driscoll because someone else speaks unkindly is neither logically or Biblically sound.

      And just out of curiousity, are you equating video games and blonde highlights with casual sex?

      Frankly, I don’t believe Driscoll has any idea what being a man is. Men do not use their powerful stations to hurt the weak. Men use their energies to lift others up.

      • Chris R

        Mark Driscoll has more of an idea about what being a man is than most of the men I hear about on a daily basis. He has repeatedly called out men who abuse their wives and children, refuse to get a job and support their families, cheat on their wives or spend their nights looking at pornography. He most certainly does use his station to defend the weak against those who have failed to do it in the first place.
        As to the facebook post, I believe the point of it is to call out some of the bad cultural norms in the American church today. Is poking fun at metro-sexual worship leaders the best way to go about doing that? Probably not. But Jesus ridiculed the religious establishment of his day as well and they didn’t take kindly to it either…

        • Scott

          Are you making the argument that, in this case, Mark Driscoll is playing the role of Jesus and worship leaders who aren’t Mark Driscoll’s idea of “manly” are playing the role of the religious establishment? Because, COME ON.

    • nathan

      Video Games? A little entertainment/relaxation/veg out from time to time is actually good for you. Enjoying a video game means you’re not a man? Maybe “immature” if you’re lazy and addicted, but unmanly? Really?

      Casual sex? No argument there…but it’s not an issue of gender identity. It’s an issue of a mature adulthood regardless of plumbing. So the “manly” category still doesn’t obtain.

      Blond highlights? Really? WHO CARES?????! talk about elevating personal preferences/style over substance while railing against style over substance.

      The bottom line is that it isn’t necessary to inject “gender identity” into any of these issues.

  • Judy S

    According to the Times article, being a bully is par for the course for this guy. I grew up in Calvinist churches in the south. While the talk was about the omnipotence of God, the actions were all about I’m-a-member-of-the-elect-few-and-you-are-not. I am suspicious of theologies that seem to re-create tribal attitudes: small group loyalites, litmus tests, different ethical standards for treatment of outsiders.

    Having said that, I am glad this church does seems to be welcoming to a variety of people. Faith always changes lives for the better, and the most important step is to start somewhere.

  • Patrick Sawyer

    In the main the ministry of Mark Driscoll is biblically sound. His systematic theology, biblical theology, historical theology, as well as his positions related to Christian ethics and post-modern culture, have much biblical integrity. But he, like all of us, is an imperfect person. His facebook post is lamentable. It was in poor taste and potentially hurtful to more than a few. For those reasons alone it should not have been posted. It is worthy of being called out. Does it betray a deeper issue where he needs some real spade work from Christ? Maybe. Maybe not. I have no idea. I don’t have a deep awareness of his heart and mind (as I suspect none of us do who are involved in this post).

    Some of those who commented directly to Driscoll’s post took exception to it. No doubt he has a circle of accountability that speak directly into his life. I hope (and trust) those people will aid in any recalibration he may need (however slight or serious) on this issue. I hope this for many reasons, chief among them is the fact that God has used Driscoll in significant ways. Christ has been strongly exalted through Mars Hill and Resurgence (Driscoll’s lead ministries). I trust and hope this will continue.

  • matt
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  • Kathy

    “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.”

    As a woman in a highly male-dominated field, I can tell you that what “real men” who make comments like this are actually doing in the locker room is not so much adolescent contempt as an expression of adolescent confusion. They are desperately trying to shore up their own fragile gender identity.

  • Vile Christianist

    “But this made me sick all over, simultaneously nauseous and desperate to apologize to everyone who will inevitably hear about it”

    someone’s been taking blogging lessons from Andrew Sullivan

    • Kathy

      Thanks! Andrew’s humility and genuine faith make him an amazing representative of Christ’s body among us.

  • Steph

    Mark Driscoll is an idiot, so no, this does not surprise me at all. However if any of his FB “followers” want to really stand for Christ, they would publicly condemn this behavior.

  • Jason

    Hi umm is this a Christian site post, seems everyone is a bit angry on here, angry and mob like over a man who is angry and mob like. Maybe everyone here is Righteously angry, but I dunno if Jesus would kicked someone in the privates over being disrespectful. Maybe this is a left wing Democrat site where people just vent their anger, um I have to tell you all there is someone who loves you all, His name is Jesus, He came and died for you all, to give you peace, love, forgiveness, brotherhood, gentleness, meekness, temperance, patience. I believe that maybe Paul said there is no law against these fruits being in a believers life, I invite all of you to ask Jesus to come into your hearts and ask Him for these fruits to be in your lives, please please come to Jesus, I implore you all please give your lives to Jesus, He will take your gossip, anger, resentment, bitterness and give you pure lips of truth, love, forgiveness, and a heart of joy, please please come to Jesus, I beg all of you, please come to know the Lord.