Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Evolution of Markulinity: seeds of implosion, a poorly reinvented wheel and a backtrack to the chaplaincy of M. S. Evers, Driscoll wanted the man in the trench masculinity but stuck to the "air war" in the end.

Those unfamiliar with church history and the history of Christian faith and practice will always be at risk of doing a whole lot of work to poorly reinvent a wheel.

Mark Driscoll's take on masculinity was not helped by his increasingly "air war" approach to ministry.  As the brand expanded he became a disembodied video presence with a week delay to the vast majority of people he was ostensibly a pastor to.  The long-term fatal flaw in such an approach is that the sort of clean, manly evangelical Christian faith Driscoll wanted to be known for tends to work better, literally, when the man espousing it is willing to meet men in the trenches of the ground war.  Wenatchee The Hatchet discussed the life and work of Chaplain M. S. Evers at moderate length in the following post.

At the risk of quoting from WtH again:

Now the ethos and metaphor of the soldier becomes even more critical when we have a figure like Driscoll espousing a particular kind of manliness.  It really matters when you say men pay their own way if you are really paying your own way or have convinced others to pay at least some of that expense for youHere's another example. It matters if when you tell men not to take shortcuts if it turns out you've taken shortcuts or allowed shortcuts to be made for you.  The kind of manliness Mark Driscoll seems to want is the kind of manliness that doesn't come across in the air war nearly as clearly as it would in the ground war.  For that matter, assuming all positive possible definitions for Mark Driscoll's ideals about a manly evangelical Christian life and example, we've passed the century point for a chaplain in World War I who was all for a "clean manly" Christian witness and ministry a century ago.
What's unfortunate about a "my life was changed by Jesus" narrative in Mark Driscoll's case is that over time he's become the kinds of hands-off executive elder who was able to single handedly make a decision that led to the dissolution and death of the church he spent 18 years saying God told him to plant. Not only that, the resignation he tendered was given after he'd agreed (he says) to submit to the authority of the board that was governing Mars Hill.  Turns out that wasn't quite the case.

Driscoll had spent years not only being in a kind of "God box" where executives made decisions to close campuses or lay people off without campuses being able to appeal, Driscoll's approach had become so "air war" he was no longer in the trenches. As said before, Driscoll's theoretical approach to manliness could work if he were, like Chaplain Evers, literally in the trenches with the people he was a pastor to.  But by now we've seen that he wasn't.


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