Monday, March 17, 2014

On Driscoll stating the angry young man days are over

So an open letter from Mark Driscoll got posted to The City which then got posted on the internet and has been reported about.

What there was to report was not too much.  Driscoll expressed regret about using Result Source to buy a #1 spot for Real Marriage on the NYT bestseller list.  He also expressed some regret about leading from anger and stuff, which he says is going to change.  Well, there's a difficulty with the phrase itself of "angry young", because it's arguable from Mark Driscoll's most recent promotion for A Call to Resurgence that he's certainly past 40 by now and anger has been part of his appeal and approach for just about the entirety of his ministry.  If he wishes to put away anger as the prime mover in his whole approach then, great, he can be like Prince Zuko and learn an approach to fire-bending that's not based on anger.  :) 

But it remains to be seen just how recently (and it was pretty recently) he leaned on anger as part of a sales pitch for a book.

1:36 into the book trailer for A Call to Resurgence, replete with electric guitar riffs in the background:

"The average person doesn't do anything until they're really ticked off. You gotta just get to a certain point where you're frustrated, annoyed by it. It's gotten under your skin. You're sick of it. You can't do it anymore and something needs to change and then, all of a sudden, you move to action. That's the point of the book. 

Now at the end of the trailer there's that bit about the #1 NYT bestselling author Mark Driscoll. We're confident that will get excised or blacked out at some point.

But the main thing about the quote for the book that was published just late last year is that Driscoll regaled the viewer with the axiom that the average person doesn't do anything until they're really ticked off, that you have to basically get angry enough about something to catalyze a change.

If Driscoll's going to start putting the angry young man thing behind him he's got to realize that angry man is his shtick, his public persona he's been cultivating through essentially the entirety of his ministry.  It's not like we can entirely forget "How Dare You!?" back in 2009.

And, of course, significantly further back around 2001 or so, William Wallace II.

It's not that it's completely impossible for Driscoll to have a homiletic approach that isn't motivated by anger, it's that as recently as, well, the promotional campaign for A Call to Resurgence, he's been going for the angry guy telling it like it is approach.  Neither Mark Driscoll nor Mars Hill Church as a community may realize what words saying Driscoll's angry young prophet days are over will actually have to entail.  His entire approach to humor could be summed up as basically laughing at people rather than with them.  That's not an entirely unfair categorization if you've managed to hear ten years of his sermons. 

And Driscoll has issued apologies in the past, like in the sermon "The Rebel's Guide to Joy in Humiliity" (which you may or may not be able to easily find these days). 

But there's a step back to be taken here.  Mark Driscoll has shared, it seems, that Mars Hill Church now is not close to what he was envisioning in the earlier days.  Driscoll's own words testify otherwise and we have seen over the years that he's cast a vision for Mars Hill that Mars Hill Church is actually only just now starting to resemble in reality and practice.  It's not that people thought he was crazy, it's that they agreed that these things were ideals to bring into being, dreams to engineer into reality. 

And for a long time we assumed that Mark and Grace Driscoll were, pretty much the whole way through, happily married.  For the long-time, old-school and now often former attenders of Mars Hill Church the narrative in Real Marriage was a lot of ice water to the face. It forced some of us to drastically rethink the entire narrative and for reasons that no outsider can even begin to imagine.  But we can turn to an element of that in a subsequent post.

POSTSCRIPT 03.20.2014

It would appear that Mars Hill Church leadership got the idea that obliterating the sermons preached prior to 2008's Doctrine series should also include obliterating Trial: 8 studies from 1 & Peter while they were at it.  How this provides a role model for young men to follow is hard to explain.  Young men on the internet may often make foolish statements they may later come to regret where as old guys have media empires, it seems, that permit entire decades of potentially embarrassing media content to be removed by fiat?

No comments: