Monday, November 28, 2016

HT Warren Throckmorton--Driscoll claims to have had a Malthusian past that he's repudiated, although it was ten years ago he bluntly articulated his "shoot your dogs" approach to practical ministry and eight years ago he said whole family lines could be demonically inspired

Throckmorton has a clip of Driscoll preaching recently with a tale of how he was once a Malthusian and was for abortion and contraception and how he was wrong.  We've already discussed at some length the slippery aspects of Driscoll's ways with narrative.  There are six not-always-subtly different narratives as to how and why and when he made the decision to resign from Mars Hill, for instanceWe've also explored how, depending on the rhetorical/polemical context Driscoll at times saw fit to tell the story of his conversion to Christianity without any recourse to mention (even once) of Grace Martin. In the tagged series of posts "Mark Driscoll and the power of the sob story"we took a survey of Driscoll's stories of woe from the 2007-2014 period and noted that as controversy swirled around him his appeals for sympathy shifted from "here's how rough I had it" to "here's how rough my wife and kids have had it".  All that review is to say that it's very, very difficult to simply accept a narrative asserted by Mark Driscoll at face value even when the core facts of the narrative can, actually, be basically agreed upon.

Now if one were to attempt even a guess as to what on earth could inspire an ambitious young sort like Mark Driscoll that some people simply didn't deserve to reproduce his urban redneck background might have been what inspired this observational approach.  That got discussed at some length in the series "Mark Driscoll and the Gospel of [escaping] white trash" earlier this year. Driscoll's description of his working class Irish-Catholic family travelled in just enough jokes about rednecks and living in the ghetto that the only plausible explanation for any former Malthusian convictions he may claim to have had in his teens and early twenties would have to at least partly consider those alleged views in light of his self-described urban redneck milieu.

So even if Mark Driscoll sincerely held to what he thinks of as Malthusian ideals this doesn't mean he's necessarily fleshed out WHY he embraced those views.  After all, a Malthusian view, albeit defined pejoratively, tends to worry about the unworthy reproducing than the more-than-worthy reproducing.   That he viewed himself as one of the superior sorts is easily considered even if he DIDN'T say he viewed himself as a superior being.  The sort of guy who backs out of a restorative disciplinary process at the church he co-founded because he claims God gave him permission to is someone who is arguably STILL living and speaking as though he's a genuinely superior being not bound to live by the rules he'd admonished just about everyone else in the history of Mars Hill to live by.

Which reminds me ... ten years ago Driscoll articulated a practical philosophy about ministry that included the axiom "shoot your dogs".

Confessions of a Reformission Rev
Mark Driscoll, Zondervan, 2006
Copyright 2006 by Mark Driscoll
From pages 34-35

Question 9
Do you have the courage to shoot your dogs?

Dogs are idiotic ideas, stinky styles, stupid systems, failed facilities, terrible technologies, loser leaders, and pathetic people. Most churches know who and what their dogs are but simply lack the courage to pull the trigger and shoot their dogs. Therefore it is vital to name with brutal candor the people, programs, structures, and ministry philosophies that are dogs needing to be shot. Be sure to make it count and shoot them only once so that they don't come back and bite you. [endnote 35 here]

Page 202
35. I took the concept of shooting our dogs from a conversation I had with a friend named Jon Phelps, who is the president of DC-3 Entertainment and the founder of Full Sail College. 
Jon Phelps is co-credited with Mark Driscoll for Reverse-Engineering Your Life
So whether or not Driscoll actually rejected Malthusian thinking for humanity itself it's not entirely clear he didn't embrace a kind of practical quasi-Malthusian approach to ministry.

POSTSCRIPT 11-28-2016 0800p

One of the simpler problems with Driscoll's account of Malthusian eugenics is the implicit presumption in his account that people weren't concerned with overpopulation and that people weren't necessarily advocating measures to prevent overpopulation.  This was one of many concerns held by Catholic political leaders and theologians in the medieval period, for instance.  Given how Jack a Jack Catholic Mark Driscoll has often said he was it's no surprise if he once again proved his ignorance.

So ... let's take a gander over to this old book.

A History of Political Thought: The Middle Ages
Walter Ullman
Penguin Books
first published 1965
ISBN-10: 0140207783
ISBN-13: 978-0140207781

The continuator of his commentaries on the Politics, his [Thomas Aquinas'] pupil at Paris and later Bishop of Claremont, Peter of Auvergne, struck up quite radical naturalist chords, particularly in connexion with social and economic questions and problems connected with marriage. For instance, he held that, since the State had to be self-sufficient, it was imperative to limit the number of citizens, otherwise poverty would follow. Hence he advocated limitations in the size of families. Aristotle's suggestion of abortion was not endorsed, but in order to avoid over-population he suggested restrictions of procreation between the ages of 37 and 55 with men and 18 to 37 with women, because then fewer children would be born. Beyond these age groups there should not be sexual intercourse with a view to procreation, but simply for the sake of health or some other valid reason.

So advised restrictions on how often to have children so as to forestall over-population that could lead to systemic poverty was something people were concerned about back in the medieval period.  Driscoll's implication about population control and eugenics could be mistaken as saying these were relatively recent concerns.  They aren't and they weren't.  Whether or not you have particular issues with Planned Parenthood the case that poor people should refrain from birthing children faster than they can produce enough food to feed them or home enough to shelter them goes back as far (and obviously farther back then) the middle ages.

In all of Driscoll's spiel on Malthusian eugenics did he mention that Thomas Robert Malthus was a cleric?  The topic of whether or not Malthus' views have been misunderstood or misrepresented would be fascinating for someone else to field.  For the sake of this blog post it's merely sufficient to highlight that when Driscoll tries to unfurl what he seems to take to be wisdom about Malthusian eugenics he highlights yet more gaps in his knowledge about how far back concerns about over-population go and misses the boat on the extent to which the origination of Malthus' ideas could be construed as being founded on an evolutionary or materialistic paradigm.


One of the other reasons to doubt whether or not Mark Driscoll really put what he calls his Malthusian eugenics ideas behind him comes from the 2008 spiritual warfare session he gave to leadership at Mars Hill.
Spiritual Warfare
February 5, 2008
Pastor Mark Driscoll
Christus Victor (Part 3)

I then ask them to confess sins and cancel ground and command leaving one at a time. `s all before we start, "How did you open the door?" proverbially speaking?  "Well, it was I committed adultery then after that I started having nightmares."

"Well, guess what?  Probably a connection there, huh?  Probably opened the door with adultery. Have you ever really repented of that to Jesus and asked him to forgive you?"

"Not really."

"Well let's do that right now. Let's stop right now and have you repent of that sin, ask Jesus to forgive you. He died.  Receive forgiveness."

Let's get--cuz, see, Satan and demons, with a believer, in addition to external torment and such, most of what they have is what we've given them by opening the door through sin.

"Well then, confess it is a sin.  Let's kick `em out, lock the door but you gotta straighten this out with Jesus. You gotta repent."

So a good chunk of time is just spent on repentence of particular sin. It's all it is. Getting rid of those handholds and footholds.
I then ask them a series of questions. This is where we start, number ten. I'll usually check with ancestral sin. I'm looking at their past.

Now if they come from ten generations of third degree Masons I'm startin' there. If they're grandma was into witchcraft and their mama was into witchcraft and they have some demonic issues it shouldn't be shocking to think that this has been an issue in their family for a while. [emphasis added]

I know one family where incest was just part of the family. They actually had very intricate rules to control incest. The grandfathers and uncles could molest little girls but daddies couldn't and you could only do that once they hit the age of ten. You couldn't molest any child before that. I get these complicated rules that have been passed down for generations for the sexual abuse of the children. You're like, this, your struggle here, your temptations, your issues, they have generational lineage.

There are whole family lines that are just demonically inspired. You ever wonder why, in the Old Testament, God will occasionally tell his people, "When you go to war against that nation kill ALL of them. Don't let one of them live." People say, "Oh, oh that's terrible." Not if that whole line is demonized. Not if that whole line of people exists for the express purpose of fighting God and killing his people. The issue is either you get rid of them or they get rid of you. Satan is inspiring them to destroy you and you gotta get rid of them. Satan DOES work through family lines. There are family lines like the Herods who, just from one generation to the next, they're trying to kill Jesus and his people. Some of the family fights in Genesis, they continue all the way to this day. Not saying every person in the family line is demonized, but it seems like Satan likes to work through family lines, ancestral sin. [emphasis added[

So ... if Mark Driscoll asserted in 2008 that there were whole family lines that were demonically originated and inspired and that in the Old Testament it was not wrong for God to command Israel to massacre entire nations, would there have been any consideration of whether this would still be an approach in the present?  In other words, how could a Mark Driscoll who could make these assertions still have a moral basis from which to argue against what he describes as Malthusian eugenics.  If entire family lines could be described as demonically inspired what's the remedy?  This hardly seems like a great set of assertions for a guy like Mark Driscoll to make about whole family lines being demonically inspired if his long-term goal is to repudiate whatever he regards as Malthusian eugenics.


Even assuming that the writings of an English cleric from centuries ago could somehow be conflated with what Driscoll describes as ideological evolutionary thought ... let's never forget that in 2007 Mark Driscoll still had his comment about the pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus.
October 1, 2007

... Too many guys spend too much time trying to move stiff-necked obstinate people. I am all about blessed subtraction. There is a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus and by God's grace it'll be a mountain by the time we're done. You either get on the bus or get run over by the bus (those are the options) but the bus ain't gonna stop. I'm just a, I'm just a guy who is like, "Look, we love ya but this is what we're doin'."

There's a few kind of people. There's people who get in the way of the bus.  They gotta get run over. There are people who want to take turns driving the bus. They gotta get thrown off cuz they want to go somewhere else. There are people who will be on the bus (leaders and helpers and servants, they're awesome).  There's also sometimes nice people who just sit on the bus and shut up. They're not helping or hurting. Just let `em ride along. You know what I'm saying? But don't look at the nice people who are just gonna sit on the bus and shut their mouth and think, "I need you to lead the mission." They're never going to. At the most you'll give `em a job to do and they'll serve somewhere and help out in a minimal way. If someone can sit in a place that  hasn't been on mission for a really long time they are by definition not a leader and so they're never going to lead. You need to gather a whole new core. [emphasis added]

I'll tell you what, you don't just do this for church planting or replanting, you know what? I'm doing it right now. I'm doing it right now. We just took certain guys and rearranged the seats on the bus. Yesterday we fired two elders for the first time in the history of Mars Hill last night. They're off the bus, under the bus. They were off mission so now they're unemployed. This will be the defining issue as to whether or not you succeed or fail.

If those were the words of a guy who repudiated the Malthusian eugenics views he claims he had earlier either Malthusian thought doesn't seem to mean what Driscoll has lately claimed it means ... or a person could repudiate the allegedly Malthusian views he claimed to have earlier and STILL say with an apparently clear conscience that you could either get on the bus or get run over by the bus but the bus ain't gonna stop.

Of course there isn't a Mars Hill bus NOW, is there?