Monday, June 27, 2016

Mark Driscoll and the influence of porn: prelude, Driscoll talking about the question in 2016 vs 2006 and articulating his background

Earlier this year Mark Driscoll did a vodcast where he decided to field a question about porn from an anonymous enquirer who shared a self-identified addiction to pornography.  Driscoll's roughly 15 minute vodcast isn't something we'll transcribe here.  The first couple of minutes establish the tone and content clearly enough.

http://markdriscoll.org/im-addicted-to-pornwhat-do-i-do/
May 2, 2016
00:53
...
I grew up, down the street, from a couple of strip clubs next to an airport. Prostitution. Green River Killer. Ted Bundy. Highly dangerous, volatile, sexualized climate. I grew up in an area that was just rife with pornography and thankfully it was before the advent of the internet [emphasis added], and for guys who now have access to every conceivable disgusting, debased, deplorable thing on their phone privately that communication is absolutely deadly.  And so for every man, especially for young men, this is the war of a generation. 

And so this guy asks me this question. He said, "I write this to you feeling totally defeated." Buddy, you're not alone. There's a whole generation of young men, in particular, and I'm addressing this to all men but especially to young men in light of this young man's question.  They feel totally defeated. They feel ashamed, embarrassed. [emphasis added] Their pastor doesn't talk about porn or it's just to talk about sickos and they feel disgusting, and they feel disqualified and they feel defeated. ...
2.20ish

So I'm honored to answer this question.  I've answered it for hundreds and thousands of guys in conferences and classes over the years and I'm glad to answer it again. It says, "I struggle with a daily addiction to pornography."  Let me just say this, that sin leads to death, that the appetites of the flesh are never satisfied and fulfilled. So if you start feeding sinful appetites it's not like you can manage them; their goal is to destroy you. 

Driscoll has a couple of suggested books on his recommended reading list.  Perhaps somewhat surprisingly Driscoll's own writings, such as "Porn Again Christian" don't seem to come up much.

http://markdriscoll.org/allbooks/#pornography

While others have, in the past, raised questions about Driscoll's talk about Ted Bundy and whether or not the things he said about the famous killers he claimed lived or operated in his childhood neighborhood were entirely accurate, this series of posts will pause to consider what Driscoll has emphasized, that he grew up near a strip club.  But there are other things we'll have to consider.  

For instance, ten years ago, in the book Confessions of a Reformission Rev, Mark Driscoll had a notoriously less compassionate-seeming reply to a guy who admitted to using porn. This story was recounted in a review of the book published by Tim Challies years ago and is worth republishing, although we'll add a bit more from the book:


Confessions of a Reformission Rev
Mark Driscoll, Zondervan 2006
ISBN-13: 978-0-310-27016-4
ISBN-10:0-310-27016-2

http://www.challies.com/book-reviews/confessions-of-a-reformission-rev
...
This was drilled home for me one night when the church phone in our house rang at some godforsaken hour when I'm not even a Christian, like 3:00 a.m. I answered it in a stupor, and on the other line was some college guy who was crying. I asked him what was wrong, and he said it was an emergency and he really needed to talk to me. Trying to muster up my inner pastor, I sat down and tried to pretend I was concerned. I asked him what was wrong, and he rambled for a while about nothing, which usually means that a guy has sinned and is wasting time with dumb chitchat because he's ashamed to just get to the point and confess. So I interrupted him blurting out, "It's three a.m., so stop jerking me around. What have you done?"

"I masturbated," he said.
"That's it?" I said.
"Yes," he replied. "Tonight I watched a porno and I masturbated."
"Is the porno over?" I asked.
"Yes," he said.

"Was it a good porno?" I asked.
He did not reply.

"Well, you've already watched the whole porno and tugged your tool, so what am I supposed to do?" I asked.

"I don't know," he said, "You are my pastor, so I thought that maybe you could pray for me."
 
To be honest, I did not want to pray, so I just said the first thing that came to mind. "Jesus, thank you for not killing him for being a pervert. Amen," I prayed. "Alright, well you should sleep good now, so go to bed and don't call me again tonight because I'm sleeping and you are making me angry," I said.
 
"Well, what I am supposed to do now?" he asked.

"You need to stop watching porno and crying like a baby afterward and grow up, man. I don't have time to be your accountability partner, so you need to be a man and nut up and take care of this yourself. A naked lady is good to look at, so get a job, get a wife, ask her to get naked, and look at her instead. Alright?" I said.
 
"Alright. Thanks,lastor Mark," he said as I hung up the phone and walked back to bed shaking my head.
 
He actually called me "Pastor" and was not laughing like Pete had, which was an encouraging first. You may think I'm ajerk of a counselor, but I think deep down most other pastors think like I do and just don't say what they think because they lack whatever deep psychological problem I have that prevents me from filtering my words through a grid of propriety. The truth is that the guy actually did what I told him and today has a wife and some kids and no longer watches porno.
 
The next day I sat alone in my house, wondering if I really wanted to be a pastor. Meanwhile, the phone kept ringing. So I turned the ringer off because it was otherwise very hard to ignore.

Phone calls in the wee hours can be frustrating, to be sure, but Driscoll may never have lived down writing that he asked "Was it a good porno?" 2016 features a kindler, gentler more fatherly figure presenting Mark Driscoll, so tone can change.  Plus choosing to do a vodcast during the day rather than fielding a phone call from someone attending the church at 3am makes a difference.

But we who were at Mars Hill in the earlier years and who have witnessed what came from Driscoll not only at the pulpit but on the old Midrash or his books or other contexts may have a duty to consider Mark Driscoll on the influence of porn.  It could be plausibly proposed that while Driscoll himself has made it one of his missions to get guys to not be influenced by pornography it's possible that contact with pornography, or with strip clubs, or with similar content or lifestyles more thoroughly permeated his public teaching and perspective than even some of his critics might have considered, let alone former loyal members of Mars Hill. 

We'll turn momentarily to a blast from the past.  A few of you probably remember the old post that featured the raw text of William Wallace II's "Using Your Penis".

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