What may be most difficult for those who have always been outside of Mars Hill to appreciate about its history and Mark Driscoll's taxonomy of gender, sexuality and adulthood is that there have been some insoluable double binds inherent in his approach. The most striking problem is what Wenatchee The Hatchet has described as a heteronormative biological determinism. The crude way of putting it is that guys were in a cultural idiom in which, so long as they were straight and ever had erections and were not called to smuggle Bibles to non-white people overseas, then they were basically morally obliged to get married as fast as they could manage. That basic idea was touched upon tangentially here:
Mark and Grace Driscoll
Copyright (c) 2012 by On Mission, LLC
ISBN 978-1-4041-8352-0 (IE)
When we got married, I (Grace) didn't understand the physical and emotional aspects of sex for men. It seemed with his high sex drive that was all Mark wanted from me and that he didn't appreciate anything else I did. His drive seemed to get stronger the less we had sex, and I wondered if it was an idol to him or if that was normal for me. I later realized it was partially a real physical need, [emphasis added] not an obsession, since he wasn't masturbating or getting relief some other way, which I am thankful for. I read somewhere that if you have sex more, it actually decreases the necessity for frequent sex over time for most men. I tried that but it didn't seem to change anything for Mark.
As with many things in marriage, communication is key. When I came to the conclusion that the cure for a lot of my moodiness was having more frequent sex with my wife, I simply told her. Yes, it's that simple. [emphasis added] For years, when I would endure depression, I tried to talk to Grace about it. Her natural inclination was to want to have long talks about our feelings toward each other, and I know that connecting with her like this is important. But sometimes I was jsut too frustrated and ended up blowing up and hurting her feelings. The truth was I wanted to have more frequent sex with my life, and we needed to discuss how that could happen.
To make matters worse, seemingly every book I read by Christians on sex and marriage sounded unfair. Nearly every one said the husband had to work very hard to understand his wife, to relate to her, and when he did that to her satisfaction then, maybe, she would have sex with him as a sort of reward. After many years I finally told Grace that I needed more sex. I asked if we could have sex more days of the week and try a variety of positions. She'd be the one to decide exactly how we would be together> Grace said that helped her think about our intimacy throughout the course of the day, which helped prepare her mind and body. To our mutual delight, we discovered that both of us felt closer more loved and understood, and were more patient with each other if we were together regularly in some way. And whether my depression was testosterone-induced or not, I just generally felt happier.
For a wife, sex comes out of a healthy relationship, whereas, for a husband, it leads to one.
Part 8: 1 Timothy 4:1-8
February 22, 2004
You guys should aspire to get married. You guys should aspire to get--you gotta get a job first. You gotta get a job, not a job where you wear a uniform and ask people fi they wanna supersize something. You gotta get a job. You gotta get a job so you can get a wife so you can get kids. And it's a great, glorious thing to be a husband and a father, and only a demon would tell you otherwise. Only a demon would tell you otherwise. [emphasis added]
And if you're a guy in this church, c'mon. I mean look around. It's like fishing in a trout pond. I mean, any woman that is in this church and endures me as her Bible teacher is obviously patient, kind, forgiving and loyal, right? She's just--she's got all this stuff to be a wife. She does.
Part 8 of 1 Timothy
Pastor Mark Driscoll
1 Timothy 4:1-8
February 22, 2004So as a young boy growing up, I aspired to be like my father. I’m thinking, “You know what? I can’t wait to get married, have kids, be a dad, coach Little League.” This is like my vision and goal. I go to church. Catholic priest is effeminate. No wife, no kids, no Little League, can’t catch, can’t throw, can’t change his own oil, nothing. And I’m looking at him and I’m looking at my dad, saying these two guys are totally different, and I wanna be like my dad. So I didn’t go to church anymore. I just checked out till I got saved at 19, just checked out. Didn’t want anything to do with it. I was thinking, “You know what? I don’t wanna be like this guy. I don’t wanna be single.” Like virginity is a season, not a goal. [emphasis added]
As if all that weren't enough, in 2008 Mark Driscoll made it very explicit what the purpose of the sex drive in males was.
to motivate them toward growing up and honorably taking a wife. Nearly every man wants to have sex. The issue is which woman he will have sex with. If he grows up, leaves home, walks with God, pursues his career, and then marries his bride to enjoy her biblically, then his love for her was part of God's motivation to turn a boy into a man by making him take manly responsibility. Since most young men want sex, that desire is to encourage them not to settle for having sex with their hand or with their girlfriend but rather grow up and lovingly enjoy their wife.
Yes, it seems to be that simple. Driscoll declared that the reason God gave young men such strong sexual desires is so that in their desire to get laid they would grow up and get married. Now if Driscoll were still actually Catholic and showed any evidence of taking a natural law approach then, okay, this is still pretty bad. After all, same sex attraction introduces a substantial monkey wrench. Then again, Driscoll emphasized that it was God who gave young men such strong sexual desires without bothering to adduce from any biblical text whether that's the case or to what degree. In other words, in Driscoll's truncated taxonomy of sexual desire as the impetus to inspire men to grow up and therefore marry Driscoll hasn't addressed why gay marriage (in light of a recent SCOTUS ruling) couldn't theoretically be considered. Romans 1? Well, Driscoll didn't quote Romans 1 there, did he?
That's just the phallic half of Mark Driscoll's heteronormative biological determinism. There's also an ovarian version. In Real Marriage, in the chapter on men, Driscoll mentioned that some men are cowardly and are afraid to indulge in the desire of their wives to have children because they're afraid they can't afford children. The wife who wants children is described as having a God-given desire that the cowardly husband sinfully won't grant. The full nature of this double bind can have on men and women alike may need to be spelled out in the bluntest form by way of a case history.
Over time, we were influenced by the pressure we heard from the pulpit on how we need to have children because they are a blessing (not saying they aren’t) and it is biblical to not use birth control. We were in agreement that we would wait until I finished my degree (I was a high school dropout and was almost finished with my High School Completion and AA Degree at this time). The more we went to church the more we thought about having children and so we changed our plans and got pregnant in early 2007. This was where things started to change for us. We were in a great community group that we attended for a year when suddenly the leaders disbanded due to the strain on their growing family and other church commitments. Right when I became pregnant I lost the community I thought would be there to support us through the journey. My husband is a quiet and slow-to-speak type and it took him a very long time to feel comfortable in the group we were in (which basically disqualified us from taking the group over because I am not allowed to lead and he was not the quintessential Mars Hill “man”). So we didn’t find another group until our son was almost born. During this time we moved to West Seattle and that is a whole different story in itself.
Things were weird after our son was born; it was hard, and I mean damn hard. The following may contain explicit information, just an FYI…I fell back into sin with abusing prescription medication because I had a condition after childbirth that made sex extremely painful and literally impossible (I wonder how Mark would handle no sex for 9 months due to something of this nature!) I can honestly say my husband was most gracious with the situation, he didn’t demand any other sexual activities to make up for it, he didn’t complain, he comforted me and supported me to get healthy. I also remember thinking that he would start watching porn or something because of Mark’s teaching on keeping your husband satisfied to keep him from sinning or something along those lines (I specifically remember a sermon where he blamed the wife of a pastor who committed adultery for “letting herself go”). I never saw anything of that nature from my husband, he was self-controlled and was mostly concerned with my well-being.
It wasn’t long before he was laid off from his job and our financial security was gone. Our savings were used up quick and despite my husband’s efforts to find a job, he couldn’t. It was at the beginning of the recession, I was told by church leaders that my husband wasn’t doing enough and wasn’t fit to be a father or husband since he had no job. As if all his other Godly qualities are worthless because of the economy! Unfortunately, I agreed with the church and started to resent my husband for not having a job. I did this because I believed MH knew God’s plan for marriage even though at my core I felt differently.
In the real world, the application of the metrics of Markulinity are reported to have led to a couple being pressured to "trust God" and have children against their own reservations. The local church first applied pressure that the couple should have children and then, when financial crisis hit after their son was born, they were told the man had failed as a husband by not being able to provide. That's a pretty damned evil double bind there, folks. And it's a double bind that is not so latent in Mark Driscoll's conception of gender, sexuality and adulthood as espoused in Real Marriage. Unfortunately the book is in a box somewhere at the moment so Wenatchee isn't in the best spot to cite the page in which Driscoll addressed husbands not being willing to give their wives babies. Perhaps an alert reader can help there.
A disciple is not greater than the teacher but will be, when fully trained, like the teacher. Somebody said that ... .
Meanwhile, in light of what has been shared and how it relates to the teachings and expectations the Driscoll and other MH people have expressed, it seems impossible not to close with Matthew 23.
1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat, 3 so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. 4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear,[a] and lay them on people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.