Monday, June 27, 2016

Mark Driscoll and the influence of porn: "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"
How many of you would think that a couple that doesn't have enough sex is experiencing demonic spiritual warfare? It's true. How many Christian marriages divorce?  Well, statistically, more than those who are not Christian. When non-Christians can work it out a rate that is more successful than Christians that would indicate to me that Satan has really found a way to climb into bed between a husband and a wife and, in one way or another, cause devastation.

When I'm meeting with a couple and one of them, maybe it's the husband, says, "Well, my wife's not being very nice to me so I'm gonna deny her sex and until she's nice to me I'm gonna withhold it."  That's demonic. ...

To be sure, there are sex addicts in marriage who are unreasonable in their expectations of their spouse but what I'm talking about is the common situation where one person in the marriage wants to be intimate more often than the other and they're rejected, they become bitter,  Satan comes in and feeds that bitterness, baits the hook of their flesh with the temptation of the world, and all of a sudden Satan puts in front of them images and people and opportunities to lead them astray and to destroy everything.

Back in 2008 instructing leaders of Mars Hill (but not from the Sunday morning pulpit), Driscoll formulated the negative version of his teaching, warning that not-enough-sex-within-marriage was part of the ordinary demonic.  It would seem that that wasn't the approach Mark Driscoll took with his wife.  Instead, he came up with a positive formulation, that more frequent sex with him would cure his mood swings and depression.  We'll start with a long excerpt in which Grace Driscoll (or whoever wrote the words with her name attached to them, in case that's what happened), explained how she had to come to an understanding that sex was something close to a real, physical need for her husband.

Real Marriage
Mark and Grace Driscoll
Copyright (c) 2012 by On Mission, LLC
Thomas Nelson
ISBN 978-1-4002-0383-3
ISBN 978-1-4041-8352-0 (IE)

page 121
... When we married, I (Mark) tended toward sex as god. I was a newer Christian who had accumulated most of his knowledge about sex from culture, locker-room talk, and sinning sexually with a few young women. Conversely, Grace was raised in a home that was religiously conservative when it came to sex, had sinned sexually, and had been sinned against sexually. She considered sex gross. For her I was too much sexually. For me she was too little sexually. We made very little progress for many years until we had spent considerable time talking through our sexual history and beliefs, working together through many hours in the Bible and Christian books to arrive at a unified view of sex as gift.  Once we came to the same place in our thinking about sex, we began to work as allies instead of enemies. Our marriage has never been the same since, and our sex gets better all the time.

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, not an obsession, since he wasn't masturbating  or getting relief some other way, which I am thank 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.

But is sexual intercourse partially a real physical need for an unmarried man or an unmarried woman?  What about a gay man?  What the Driscolls have frequently failed to articulate in the midst of this "partially a real physical need" about Mark Driscoll's self-perceived need for sex is whether it's really a need and, if so, in what way.  That said, Mark Driscoll was clear enough about why he believed he needed more frequent sex.

page 164

As with many things in marriage, communication is key. When I cam 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. 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.

But the question that needs to be asked after surveying all this material from Mark Driscoll about himself and on the topic of sex is this--if Mark Driscoll would deign to tell guys in 2016 how to shae free from the influence of porn or strip club culture has he really  engaged all that seriously with the possibility that proximity to strip clubs in his youth and his peculiar attitudes about sex haven't been the cart before the horse?  Mark Driscoll's preaching and teaching for public record on the topic of sex has been taken by a number of Christian critics as functionally being a type of verbal pornography.  As we saw early on in this series from his writings as William Wallace II, there was a point at which Mark Driscoll advocated that there was functionally such a thing as "redeemed" Christian pornography between a husband and wife and he insisted on saying to those who questioned the scriptural and ethical basis for this idea that they were "tweaked in the head".

When Driscoll made fun of interpretations of Song of Songs as a typology of God's love for the Church he peppered his sermons with "I love Jesus, but not like that!" even though he has had no problems with the Groom and Bride metaphor when it appeared in Revelation.  The speed with which Driscoll deployed gay panic jokes to dismiss allegorical or typological readings of Song of Songs and his emphasis on certain texts having to mean what he says they mean in spite of a lack of demonstrable competence in the relevant Hebrew and cherry-picking secondary literature suggests that Mark Driscoll has had a long, long history reading what he wants to read into Song of Songs.  What he's wanted to see in Song of Songs makes it seem improbable that he, of all people, is in a very good place to instruct young guys as to how to shake free of the influence of porn. I can't have been the only person who'd never even heard of the phrase "clear heels" before Mark Driscoll peppered it into his sermons.

My friend Wendy has blogged in the past about how at Mars Hill there was a teaching there that told wives to be their husbands' personal porn stars.

Wendy was discreet in how she broached the subject and described the teaching at Mars Hill in general terms.  While I believe that's necessary, since Mark Driscoll has deigned to vodcast this year about how some guys struggle with porn and that a whole generation is in a battle over this, it seemed necessary to build upon Wendy's observations that at Mars Hill there was a teaching to the effect that a wife should be her husband's personal porn star.  There was no shortage of material to draw upon to illustrate the point.  Driscoll has been able to sell himself as the guy who talks straight talk about sex the way other people won't or don't, as though Christian writing about sex hasn't been a cottage industry for evangelicalism for a generation.

Evangelicals have been making the case that sex within marriage the conservative evangelical way is hotter and healthier since the Reagan administration.  A guy who convinces his wife that the cure for his mood swings and depression is more frequent sex and who sincerely believes this is the one thing that will cure him ... who should trust that guy to instruct young guys who admit to being hooked on porn?  It's not that difficult to establish from the rest of this set of posts who did the lion's share of work formulating the ideal that a man's wife would be his personal porn star within the culture of Mars Hill.  When Mark Driscoll used to scold men for having unrealistic expectations about what sex lives with their wives would be like it seems as if he did everything except look at his own face in the mirror considering where these guys might have gotten those unrealistic expectations he was talking about.


For those who don't remember the various reviews of Real Marriage when it came out in 2012, Heath Lambert noted a very specific irony about the book in his review of it.
The Driscolls desire for people to avoid a pornographic culture, but much of their book grows out of that same pornographic culture and will guide many people into it. [emphasis original]

Had Lambert had an opportunity to read everything presented in this series of posts prior to his 2012 review he might have narrowed "The Driscolls" down to just Mark Driscoll.

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