Saturday, February 06, 2016

Mark Driscoll starts up the morning with a partial proverb about mockers and a city, a reflection on the half-verse meditations of Driscollian twitter theology
“Mockers stir up a city…” Prov 29:8
7:20 AM - 6 Feb 2016  

He's got that first part but why not quote the second half about the wise turning away anger?  Is that implied automatically? Does Driscoll hope that in wisdom he can turn away anger?  Can it be turned away without admitting something, at least, about the previous 18 years of ministry he had at Mars Hill? 

It's the nature of twitter to try to traffic in wit but in order to traffic in wit you need a track record of reliable observation; and the limit of witticism is that it frequently goes just for the punchline rather than serious observation.

Proverbs warns that not everyone who invokes a proverb isn't a fool.  Consider a few chestnuts from Proverbs 26 (ESV)

7. Like a lame man’s legs, which hang useless, is a proverb in the mouth of fools.

9. Like a thorn that goes up into the hand of a drunkard is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
When the fool uses a proverb it is at best useless or at worst causes harm when used.  One of the ways this can happen is to mistakenly suppose that proverbs, observations about life compiled by sages, can be interpreted as actual promises of any sort from God.  Another way an axiom can be abused is by wresting it from its larger literary context and treating it as if it were a generalized observation.  Driscoll shared the following back in 2015 ...
The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly toil. Eccl 9:9
5:09 AM - 5 Nov 2015

Of course we've looked at the problem with such an atomized application before.  For those guys who would insist that the wife is a gift from God and a sign of God's favor, Proverbs can't be read separated from the rest of the Bible where Hosea was told to marry a prostitute; where Job's wife advised him to die; where Lot's wife became a pillar of salt; and where Ezekiel was ordered to not mourn publicly the death of his beloved wife.  We discussed a bit of that over here. In cultural settings in which you didn't necessarily get to choose if you were married proverbs could have different encouraging roles.  If you were arranged into a marriage to someone you weren't in love with but with whom you were to inherit a family estate the wisdom could be in making the best of a situation not entirely in your control and developing mutual good will. 

For a guy like Mark Driscoll, it seems, a passage from Ecclesiastes might as well be about the rationale for a white guy in America having a trophy wife.

Yes, on twitter it's easy to share the pious bromide version of a Bible verse.
…my God will hear me. Micah 7:7
7:25 AM - 30 Jan 2016  

The pattern so far, however, can look like pulling just the half of the verse that seems emotionally resonant to a dude.  Just paraphrase half of one verse from Micah 7 misses out a few parts.

How about verse 9?

I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause
and executes judgment for me. He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon his vindication.

It'd be easy to focus on the latter two thirds, until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me; he will bring me out to the light and I shall look upon his vindication.  That part could be appealing.  What about "I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against him"?  Did Mark Driscoll wait and bear the indignation of the Lord because of his sin? Or did Driscoll decide to take matters into his own hands and resign?  Let's consider that we can take at face value the assertion that God said "a trap has been set" but why did Driscoll ignore so many passages in scripture in which the Psalmists asked God to deliver him from traps rather than talk about how he needed to deliver himself?  What about the detail that in many cases when God warned that a trap had been set it was a trap that could not be escaped?  Ironically even when warning Ahab a trap had been set Ahab's disobedience to God meant he marched into the trap anyway and met his end.

Over the years at Mars Hill Mark Driscoll would occasionally prepare to launch into a joke but include a proviso, "My wife told me I shouldn't tell this joke but I'm gonna tell it anyway." Mark Driscoll spent more than just a few minutes here and there playing the role of a mocker who stirred up the city of Seattle.  Back in those days he'd say we all need to stop taking ourselves so seriously.  For whatever reasons Mark Driscoll seems to be aiming for the earnest, sincere and serious thing this time around. 

As optimism for a new year goes ... Driscoll tweeted ...
Surely there is a future… Pr 23:18
8:24 AM - 24 Jan 2016  

Well, there's only a future in that one verse in connection to instructions from preceding verses.  These include:

13 Do not withhold discipline from a child;
if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.
14 If you strike him with the rod,
you will save his soul from Sheol.

15 My son, if your heart is wise,
my heart too will be glad.
16 My inmost being will exult
when your lips speak what is right.
17 Let not your heart envy sinners,
but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day.
18 Surely there is a future,
and your hope will not be cut off.

Would Driscoll consent to being the child who gets struck with a rod? Unpleasant as it's described as being that rod is described as saving a child's soul from the grave.  Driscoll might insist that Sheol is better interpreted as Hell.  Okay, then. If so, then Driscoll gets to be the one who can consider whether avoiding the rod of discipline because he's claiming a trap has been set could have been done in a way that imperils his soul (for those who believe he has one, at least).

Then there's the 15-18 segment.  You have a future and your hope will not be cut off if you have gained wisdom and your lips speak what is right and your heart does not envy sinners and continues in the fear of the Lord.

How well does someone who went along with Mars Hill contracting with Result Source to rig a place on the New York Times bestseller list for Real Marriage fit that?

None of this is to say it's impossible for even a Mark Driscoll to have some shot at restoration to a ministry of some kind.  I wrote a few times that if he'd chosen to be a regular rank and file tithing member of a church, one he didn't start, and submitted to just being a normal guy for half a decade before being reinstated to a ministry capacity that would be a good thing. 

He didn't do that.  He not only bailed on participating in a restoration plan he said was proposed by the board at Mars Hill, he retroactively claimed it was at the behest of God.  If so that would have been information to have lead with in his resignation letter, not something to share repeatedly on the conference circuit in 2015.  That's easy for people with no intimate sense of the history of Mark Driscoll's leadership style to accept at face value in a charismatic scene.  But for anyone who heard Mark say in 2014 that you can't just take at face value any claim from some guy who says "God told me" it looks like Driscoll's new career depends on ignoring just about everything he spent 18 years at Mars Hill advising people to do.

Can Driscoll say that having the NYT rigged for Real Marriage didn't even possibly reflect a heart envying the success of sinners?  Or is rigging a best seller list not a sin?  Would there be a defense to be made for that?  The BoAA tried making a defense that the Result Source plan was not technically illegal. 

But if Driscoll wants to keep going with one-liner Bible tweets, how about this golden oldie from the NAS reading of Proverbs 13:11
Wealth obtained by fraud dwindles, But the one who gathers by labor increases it.

Or the NIV
Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.

If Driscoll wants to do theology by way of twitter Proverbs 13:11 seems like a great verse. He won't even have to cut out half the verse.


Of course someone noted the following:

He who is often reproved,
yet stiffens his neck,
will suddenly be broken beyond healing.
-- Proverbs 29:1

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