Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Mark Driscoll and the Gospel of [escaping] white trash: Part 5, tales of redneck carnival play and life in the ghetto, by Mark Driscoll.



Part 9 of The Peasant Princess

Pastor Mark Driscoll | Song of Songs 8:1-7 | November 23, 2008


Grace put her — left her purse in the car, and I had my key, and my money. We were going out for our time around Seattle, walking around, little adventure. Grace looks at me, she says, “Oh, I need to get my money out of my purse.” I said – non-Christian, 17 year-old guy – “Money? I pay. It’s my job to pay. We’re going on a date. I asked you out. I pay.” I know some of you go Dutch. Don’t go Dutch. Men pay. That’s the rule. So, she said,

“No, no, no, no, I need to pay for my dinner. I need to pay for whatever we do. I need to pay for my half.” And I’m like, “There’s no way you’re gonna pay for half.” I mean, I really was smitten with her, and I was really interested in her, and my thought was, if this actually goes somewhere, we’re not starting Dutch. We’re starting me loving you.

So she came to me and tried to fight me. Now, she’s petite, but she’s quick. Okay? She’s a – she tried to grab my key — my car key. I just had my car key. She tried to grab my car - I’m like, “No, you cannot,”- So we’re sort of wrestling, play wrestling. I mean, it wasn’t like she was dirty boxing, had me in the clinch and dropped a knee and a moi tai, you know? So — but she’s trying to get my key, and it fell out, down the drain, six feet down through a manhole cover, into the public sewer system. That’s where we started. At that point, you’re like, “It only can get better.” You know, like – and she started laughing, and I started laughing, which was a good sign, because actually this was kind of funny. And I was like, “We gotta get that key. that’s my only key.” I had one key to my car; brilliant, 17 year-old strategist that I was.

So then it’s six feet down, can barely see it. So we went walking around, and at one restaurant we found a long piece of string and in another, we found a magnet. Next thing I know, we are doing like some goofy, redneck, carnival game, trying to get my key out of the bottom of like a six-foot drop, and you know what? [emphasis added] I think it was made out of aluminum, because I finally got the magnet on it. Felt like I was a real man, like I was accomplishing something, and you know what? It didn’t stick because it wasn’t metal. It was like some aluminum thing, so it wouldn’t pick up my key. My key’s gone. Next thing I know, I gotta get a crowbar. I gotta take the manhole cover off the public sewer system – and there’s nothing more romantic than this – jump down six feet. Get the key. There wasn’t water or feces or homeless guys. It was just a hole. Got my key; got out.



Part 12 of The Gospel of John

Pastor Mark Driscoll | John 6:1-14 | January 21, 2001



Somebody buys a building. Somebody scrapes the paint off the wall. Somebody takes the trash out. Somebody helps sand the seats. And then all of a sudden people come here and connect and they hear about God. And the church gets planted and a couple hundred people are coming to services there and you’re like, “Yeah, it’s just fishes and loaves.” That’s all it really is. It’s just God’s kindness taking our contributions, time, energy, food, counsel, affection, prayer – whatever it is – just taking the bit that we have to give him and then doing something beautiful with it.

I’ll tell ya a couple more stories. Grace and I, when we first started the church, we were living in a little rented home in Wallingford and we were starting our family. And Grace was working, and she was making good money, and she wanted to – we wanted to pull her out of work so that we could start our family. And our deal was, “Well we have to buy a house now, because if we just try to qualify for a house off of my income, we’re gonna end up with a honey bucket in Puyallup. That’s about all we’re gonna prequalify for. And so we have to use your income to help us prequalify for a house.” So we prequalified, and we looked and looked and looked, and most of the houses that we looked at – I mean if you’ve ever tried to buy a house, this is the most frightening thing in the world, because you walk into a house and you’re sure – you’re like, “Okay, is the whole house supposed to be at an angle? Is this” –


“No, it’s charm.”

“No, it’s crooked. This is crooked. It’s not charm. That’s crooked.”

“Well the plumbing doesn’t work.”

“Oh, it gives it that Old World feel.”

“No, it doesn’t flush, and that’s – I want the New World feel. I want to flush.”


We start looking for a house and we found one house that was nice and felt like would take care of our family, but it was north. It was quite a bit north up the I-5 corridor. And so I was really pressing for it. “Well let’s buy it. Let’s get this done. Let’s get you out of work.” And my wife, with all of her faith, says, “No, we had a conviction that we should live in the city near the church so we could be accessible to the people and open our home. And that’s the deal, so we can’t do that.”

I was like, “Yeah, you’re right. You’re right.” So I said, “Well I guess we’re just gonna rent for the rest of our lives and just be jacked with a bad rent and a little place.” I’m Puddleglum out of Narnia. “Oh, it’s just gonna stink I guess.” And my wife says, “No, no. The Lord will take care of it.” My wife always says that, and usually I’m thinking, “Yeah, sure he will.” O’ye of no faith. And so my wife says, “No, God will take care of us. I know God will take care of us. God always takes care of us.”

Well she was raised in a pastor’s home and I was raised in the ghetto. In my neighborhood, you took care of yourself. In her neighborhood, God took care of you. [emphasis added] So she’s got a lot of faith and I’m trying to figure out how I can steal enough money to get a down payment on a home. Well we’re living in our house just doing our ministry, and all of a sudden get a call from a friend in the church. And he says, “I’ve got a big house. Do you want to live there?”

“Well yeah, totally.” And it’s right in the city right at the intersection, and he shows me the house. I’m like, “This is incredible. This is – I can’t believe this house. This is more than we prayed for, but it does everything that we wanted.” We wanted a place where people could live with us who we can train for ministry; where we could put our kids to bed upstairs and entertain on the main floor; have lots of Bible studies; home office. Just our family could be in ministry together and working together and serving together, and the kids could participate in the work of the gospel with us. And we had all these dreams that we were hoping that God would take care of, and he did. So we moved into the house. And through basically the situation that was negotiated, we were able to get into that house and build equity and ultimately buy it here in the recent past.




Part 21 of The Gospel of John

Pastor Mark Driscoll | John 12:1-12 | April 29, 2001


This is a problem. Paul tells us in Romans 1:18 that certain men who are wicked suppress the truth. If I can give you a word picture that always comes to me with that word, it is – if you’ve ever been a kid that went swimming in a lake or in a pool and you bring with you a beach ball, or if you grew up in the ghetto like me, you bring your basketball so you have something to swim with so you don’t drown. [emphasis added] And as a kid, it’s always an attempt that you have to try and suppress the ball and keep it under the water line, and what happens? It comes up and hits you in the mouth is what it does. That’s not the point of the story; it’s just a painful memory that I have from childhood. But you try and suppress that, you try and hold that down, but what happens is it always fights you and comes back up.





Part 5 of Proverbs

Pastor Mark Driscoll | October 28, 2001


You know why schools, Christian schools, Christian churches, Christian ministries are primarily female? Because the church is feminine, and masculine men don’t feel comfortable there. It’s true. The church has adopted, I would say, inordinately the bride metaphor from scripture. Women are very comfortable from that. Men don’t understand that. It’s very hard for a man to think of himself as a bride, wearing a white gown and walking down the aisle. If he’s very comfortable with that, he has significant issues. He has much to work through. And so, there are different metaphors in scripture that men and women will gravitate toward in regards to their relationship with God. For me, this is – this is a very important issue. I was raised in south Seattle, in the ghetto, behind the Déjà vu, next to the airport. Okay? If you’ve been there, you can repent and don’t go there anymore. [emphasis added] But, for the rest of you, if you don’t know where it’s at, that’s fine. It’s – it’s an interesting neighborhood. Gang-banging, drive-by’s, drugs, prostitution, the green river killer was there, the whole thing. One of the local elementary schools would have to go out on Monday and take the used condoms and the syringes off the playground before the kids came. And so, I was the oldest of five kids. And I grew-up in a blue-collar, hard-working, union family. My dad’s name is Joe, and he hangs drywall. Okay?


We – we didn’t watch Will and Grace and think it was funny. We didn’t – we were – we were a very masculine home. Okay? And I had two sisters and two brothers. My brothers’ names are: Mike and Matt. So, it’s Mike, and Mark, and Matt, and Melanie, and Michelle. That’s our family. I don’t know how that happened, but apparently we got stuck right in the middle of the alphabet. And in my neighborhood, my dad hung drywall every day to provide for the family. If you’ve ever hung drywall, it’s work; it’s significant work. To the point where, a few years ago, my dad broke his back hanging drywall and had to give-up drywall, because he literally severed his back. And my dad, when I was little, I remember him telling me, “This is a rough neighborhood. You look out for your brothers. You look out for your sisters. If I’m gone, you take care of the family.” And you had to in my neighborhood. There was kids who were thugs, who were mean. They carried guns. They shot-out one of the cars in front of our house in a drive-by. All kinds of stuff. You have knives and guns pulled on you all the time. So, if you’re gonna be a big brother in that neighborhood, you have got to be tough. And so, I kinda turned into a bit of a street brawler, and kinda the protector of my brothers and my sisters. And this is the way I think the world works. [emphasis added]


My dad’s a guy. My brothers are guys. I’m a guy. We love each other. Things are good. I come from a decent home. And one my biggest fears in high school was becoming a Christian, because I thought immediately I would have to become very feminine. ‘Cause all the guys I knew who were Christians were just very – very soft, very tender, very sort of weak guys. And I thought, “That’s just not gonna work.” So, I wouldn’t go to youth group. They tried to drag me to – I was in a Catholic church and our priest was gay, and I didn’t get this guy at all. He would wear silk shirts and silk pants, and he would wear low – basically, like, bathroom slippers all the time. And he would tan all year. So, he had a nice bronze glow.


And I didn’t relate to this guy at all, not in the least. I don’t – I don’t – silk? Just – I don’t get that. And so, he – he was this very, very feminine guy. And they tried to – I tried to go to church with my family and I didn’t get it. So, they tried to take me into this youth thing, and it just didn’t work. So, I just left. I said, “That’s it. I’m gone. There’s no men here.” ‘Cause it was all older ladies, women and children. You couldn’t find a guy anywhere near it, and that’s not unusual. When I came to Christ in college, reading the Bible, and realized the gospel, and I went looking for a church; and a few of the first churches I went to were just completely uncomfortable. It was like walking into Victoria’s Secret. The décor, at first, it’s like fuchsia and baby blue, and there’s pink, and it’s just like, “What in the world has happened here?” And then the songs are very emotive, and it’s like love songs to Jesus, like we’re on a prom together or something. And I didn’t get that at all, ‘cause that made me feel real odd. And then – and then the guy preaches, and he’s crying and all this stuff, and trying to appeal to my emotions. And I was just like, “This didn’t work.” So, I kept looking for a church. So, I found a church where the guy got up and he said, “This week I was out bow-hunting.” He used that as an illustration. So, I became a member of that church. True story. I didn’t have any theological convictions, but if a guy killed things then I – he could be my pastor.


And then we moved back to Seattle, my wife and I did, after we got married in college. And we were looking for a church. Couldn’t find a church. Finally ended-up at a good Bible-teaching church with a guy, Hutch, over at Antioch that, you know, he’s a line-backer and played football; and he carries a gun; and he has dogs; and he lives in the woods and he kills things. So, I was like, “This will work.” So, we went there. And I never consciously put this all together until fairly recently; that the average church has primarily older people, small children, and women. [emphasis added]


And you only find, generally, three kinds of men in the average Protestant, Christian church. Catholic, it’s actually the same. One is, guys who are being drug there against their will by their wives. They don’t wanna be there, but their wives just want them there so bad that they have to put a noose around him and drag his carcass to the church. And usually, the only reason she can get him to go is because she wants the children to go, and the children won’t go unless dad goes; especially the boys won’t go. ‘Cause if dad doesn’t go, then the boys won’t go ‘cause they don’t think it’s manly to go to church.

To reinforce this lengthy account with another from 2011


… The last thing I ever thought I would be was a pastor, because growing up Catholic, the pastor is a guy who lives at the church, is flat broke, is committed to never having sex, and walks around in a dress. So pretty much, that was a last career choice of all possible career choices. [emphasis added]

Joe: When he got into high school, he was always into student body president, journalist on a newspaper, redid the high school— somehow or another, he got involved in that. He was always into something.

Yeah, I was a nice—at least I thought—nice, moral Catholic guy. I had a pretty bad temper, did well in school and sports, was dating Grace as a high school student, sleeping with her. She was a pastor’s daughter. So definitely, life was put together wrong.

Exactly when Mark Driscoll picked up a set of criteria for assessing who was and wasn’t gay based on sartorial choices, the model for what constituted manhood to Mark Driscoll and his siblings was probably never in doubt:



Part 15 of Proverbs

Pastor Mark Driscoll | January 27, 2002


To me, when I grew up, man, there were a few rules that my dad laid down. I actually grew up in a good home. My dad was the head of the home. The food chain was clear. And the rules were work hard, never lie, and do not cause your mother grief. You break, one of those rules, run for your life. We were never allowed to speak ill toward my mom or about my mom. And if you lied or you didn’t work hard, you were in over your head. And I am so glad. My – we had five kids in a ghetto poor neighborhood. My mom was a good mom, and my dad held us to a good standard of obedience. [emphases added] I love my parents. We get along very, very well. And my brothers and I all graduated. All of us kids college bound. All did well. All happily married. All making decent money. All doing okay. Young. Why? Because, early on, my dad was like, “You do not curse me. You do not curse your mother. In fact, your duty is to bless her and that’ll build character in you. You speak well of mom. You speak well to mom.”



Part 6 of Ecclesiastes

Pastor Mark Driscoll | Ecclesiastes 4:4-16 | April 27, 2003


The last one is just plain old safety. Verse 12. “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” What he’s saying is this. “If any of you wanna fight me, bring somebody with you.” That’s what he’s saying. Why? “because I fight dirty, but if there’s two of you, your odds go up.” That’s exactly what he’s saying. “I grew up in the hood. I grew up in the ghetto.” [emphasis added] This is genius, really. This is the way it works.



Part 8 of Ecclesiastes

Pastor Mark Driscoll | Ecclesiastes 5:8-20 | May 18, 2003


...  Jesus was poor and righteous. Homeless. Poor. Some of you, you are not gonna get a promotion at work and you’ll get a demotion or you’ll get laid off because you’re righteous. I have a cousin who has a sickly child that has been struggling with a brain tumor for many, many years. He’s eight years old and he’s in the process of dying. They’ve just been told that he is going to die. He’s not going to live. So, my cousin, who loves the

Lord, took two weeks off of work and flew his family, including a nurse and his eight year old son, down to Disneyland because that’s his son’s dying wish is to go to Disneyland. Now, his company said, “You don’t have enough vacation time. If you take it, we will fire you.” If he gets fired and he’s poor, he’s still righteous. His poverty is because of his righteousness, that he took his dying son to Disneyland. And because of that, he could lose his job. There is such a thing as a righteous poverty. There is also such a thing as an unrighteous poverty. Lazy deadbeats who blow their money on stupid things. I grew up in the ghetto. I grew up in the hood. I tell you this all the time. I grew up behind a strip club next to the airport. Lovely neighborhood. Just – it’s like Precious Moments without any of the good stuff. [emphasis added] Ummm.


And I grew up in a neighborhood where lots of people were poor, but they were poor because they were lazy and because they made stupid choices. [emphasis added] You could give people in my neighborhood a million dollars and you know what they’d have? New cars. Bling, bling, all this jewelry. They would blow it on lottery tickets. They would go to Vegas. Slurpees.


They would find a way to blow a million dollars. And so, it’s not about being rich or poor; it’s about being righteous and unrighteous and righteousness really comes down to three questions. How do you get your money? How do you get it? In a healthy, good, godly, Biblical way or an unhealthy, godless, un-Biblical way? Then, how do you spend your money? Do you spend it on things that are wise investments and good uses or are you foolish?

And then, thirdly, why? Why do you use money the way that you use it? How do you get it? How do you spend it? And what’s the condition of your heart that compels you toward those decisions? And it’s very, very curious to me that people still get hung up in this issue of rich and poor. It’s not about that. It’s about righteous and unrighteous. It’s interesting, too.

Over the course of twenty years as a self-selected public speaker Mark Driscoll let it be known he grew up in the ghetto, the rough neighborhood. He also let it be known that as he grew up being a street brawler who looked out for his siblings he considered church life to be pretty lame and pretty gay.  What has become evident over the course of his career is that in terms of the family legend he created about how the patriarch Joe Driscoll chose a path out of the drunken white trash redneck milieu of North Dakota, the story Mark Driscoll has shared is that he, too, aspired to more, to better and smarter and nobler things than the other stupid people in the ghetto were content with.  We’ll discuss this more shortly, for every redneck joke Mark Driscoll told he was establishing his background just long enough to trade on the legitimacy it granted him for a few specific polemical contexts; in any other circumstance the redneck background was the butt of jokes, all the better to demonstrate Mark Driscoll was from the white trash culture but no longer part of it.