Monday, November 13, 2006

my ISSUE with Driscoll's recent statements

I really didn't want to take up this issue, but I blew it last week in a post where I made an admittedly vague reference to statements made by Mark Driscoll. Friends have emailed me and approached me personally about it. And some have left comments on this blog. Typically, on this blog, I'll lean toward feeble attempts at comedy and sarcasm before I jump into the fray over the latest scandal.

Let me first say of Pastor Mark Driscoll that I love his teaching (and plagiarize it when necessary) and what he's doing up there in Seattle. I'm jealous of him, in fact. I love Seattle. I think it's cool that he's up there growing a church by not being churchy; by being naturally hip. I can't seem to pull it off.

That said, here are the comments he made that rubbed me the wrong way:
Most pastors I know do not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives. At the risk of being even more widely despised than I currently am, I will lean over the plate and take one for the team on this. 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. 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.
(link to read the whole article in context)

Let me do this one sentence at a time:
Most pastors I know do not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives.

If this is true, this is a truly sad state of affairs. The pastors I know seem to have this base covered. It ought to be a requirement for entry into ministry. It shouldn't be an issue that needs to be overhauled; it should be maintained. I wonder if Pastor Mark is exaggerating a little and confusing something extreme with something common. I can't say that I know this for sure, but that's the opinion I hold to.

At the risk of being even more widely despised than I currently am, I will lean over the plate and take one for the team on this.

Driscoll is definitely not the one leaning over the plate and taking one for the team with this statement. This whole article was posted in response to Ted Haggard's coming out scandal. If anyone leaned over the plate too far, sticking his bat into the other batter's box and take one for the team, it was Haggard not Driscoll.

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.

I'm at a loss for words. I'm going to pretend he didn't say this about our sisters. Changed my mind: again, I wonder if he's confusing extreme examples with common examples to make a point. If so, what is his point? In my experience, it's not uncommon for the pastor to let himself go and still expect his wife to look like his high school sweet heart after bearing his children. Liposuction on fake boobs are commonly part of the discussion. But ask a pastor to maintain his fitness, and he'll thumb through the old excuse rolodex and list a pile of reasons why he's built like he's lazy and then he'll tell you he's too busy to stay fit and live like he's in this thing for the long haul. It's more common for the pastor to live like his wife is trapped into fidelity.

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.

I feel like Driscoll is trying to have it both ways in this statement. He's basically charging the wife with a "sin of ommission" to leads to the comission of sin by her husband.

What is going on in a marriage where a wife is not sexually available? And what does "letting herself go" mean? Did she have kids? Has gravity and age and a life in ministry taken a bit of a toll on her body? Are you, pastor, sending signals that she's not living up to your Barbie doll image? And you wonder why she's not sexually available. She's just breasts and booty to you. Not a soul that God has loaned to you to care for and treasure.

Maybe we need to re-write some wedding vows to read something like "Do you solemly swear to stay hot, a size one, and sexually available while your husband packs on the pounds and watches sports from a dent in the couch with a remote control in his hand?" That scenario is more common in my pastoral experience.

My big question to guys that complain about their wives over these issues is are you loving your wife like Christ loves the church. Are you serving her? Are you laying down your life for her?

If not, why not?

5 comments:

Vicki said...

I've seen plenty of both scenarios. I've also known pastors who did not, in fact, recognize or acknowledge their obligation to love their wives as Christ loved the Church; one theory said that their foremost responsibility was to their (note: *their*) ministry and everything else was secondary. God would have to take care of their family. I heard a pastor telling a group of pastors, once, that they should keep a social and emotional distance between themselves and their flock. I noticed he did that between himself and his "flock" for the weekend. I always suspected his wife was a very lonely woman.

Anyway, in or out of the full-time ministry, both husbands and wives owe it to themselves and to each other not to pack on rolls of fat or otherwise to let themselves go.

Your suggested vows reminded me of my ex-brother-in-law, before he was an ex-.

Josh said...

I think that Driscoll was getting at 1 Cor 7:1-5 with is comments, Which pretty much says what he exactly what he said. We would have been wise to quote this scripture, so that the debate could be centered on God's word, rather than Mark Driscoll.

It is also very important to note that he was not talking about Haggard at all by this point of the post, he had completely changed the subject, and was talking about steps young pastors can take to take to avoid predominately heterosexual temptation.

Most of the Blogstorm is taking his words way of of context.

I would bet Mark meets a ton of pastors, and pastor's wives through his work. He probably knows a good deal of them very well. I don't think his observation is a stretch at all. I would bet most of the population gets lazy about our appearance and our fitness once we get married. Pastors or not, Male or female.

The other thing to note, is that he has already established the fact that the males are having problems. That is why he wrote 12 bullet points on avoiding temptation.

So in essence, he is saying, here are 11 things you men can do to keep your noses clean.. By the way, wives, here is something you can do to help.

Bryon Mondok said...

Josh:

Thanks for your comments. Your thoughts challenged me to re-read for the fourth or fifth time the Driscoll post in question. I also took the time to read 1 Cor 7:1-5.

Driscoll's second point in his list for pastors neither fits the context of his own post nor the scripture you quoted. Pastors need to demonstrate loving their wives, not blaming them. He made the point that pastors need to be open with their wives about their struggles. An exhortation to women to be open to and graceful about that would have been much more productive and less shallow than don't get fat and don't be lazy. Statements like that definitely don't provide the atmosphere for romance at my house.

Let me ask you this: what did your wife think of those comments? Are you married? I wish Driscoll had asked some of the pastors on his staff that question before he posted this. But then, I've heard a bunch of his staff has gotten the axe recently so I wonder how honest they would have been. (low blow, sorry)

Josh, if your profile was available, I would have simply emailed this response to you instead of posting here where I tend to be a little snippy... no hard feelings.

scoobarella said...

umm, i seem to remember dan just teaching on this and saying (not an exact quote) "wifes, if you are holding out on your husbands, you could be contributing to his sin" he said some other similiar things, just not as ballsy or crass as mark did.

Bryon Mondok said...

scoob:

um. hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.