Mark Driscoll Slammed by Baptist Press over Sex Teaching (via Barth’s Notes on Religion)

Shir HaShirim 1:1-10

Shir HaShirim 1:1-10

apparently, i’m a latecomer to the nonsense peddled by mark driscoll and the mars hill church. here’s a post from richard bartholomew on the neo-fundamentalist driscoll taking liberty with שיר השירים.

if you’ve heard my lectures on שיר השירים, you’ll know that i have fun with the text too. (then again, who wouldn’t – it’s an odd text.) but to command a wife to give head to her husband may stray a bit from the role of a pastor, and certainly does edge rather close to an abuse of pastoral authority.

then again, when it comes to power consolidation and abuses of pastoral authority…..

A number of sites have noted a report from the Baptist Press concerning Pastor Mark Driscoll of Seattle’s Mars Hill Church; a Christian radio station recently yanked a programme featuring Driscoll due to Driscoll’s teachings concerning sex. In particular, this 2007 sermon delivered in Edinburgh was considered unacceptable: During the sermon, which was entitled “Sex, a Study of the Good Bits from Song of Solomon,” Driscoll interpreted Song of Solo … Read More

via Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion

the most egregious misapplication of church demographics and male leadership i’ve ever seen

the irony is, i actually agree with him up to the :45 mark. granted, he sounds like he’s parroting john eldredge’s wild at heart, but he has a point. but, it is precisely at that point (the :45 mark), that driscoll completely derails and misses the point. i mean, really, are you seriously referring to women and men as ‘chicks and dudes’??

and really? the entire mission of the church should revolve around YOUNG MEN??!! really? is this the 50s? are we in afghanistan? if we target young men, we ‘win’???

no wonder driscoll’s church is ‘over half male, single, and in their twenties’: who wants to date an uneducated, ‘perverted’ male who’d rather ‘punch someone in the nose’ or ‘work on their truck’ than go to church?

see for yourself:

how not to do a christmas pageant

Church attendance is a topic that few ever admit to talking about, but church leaders usually do. There exists a balancing act between trying new things to drive up numbers and staying true to what works.

Regardless of your view on how church worship ought to look, the Christmas pageant always seems to be the one time where caution is thrown to the wind, and ridiculous things are tried in an attempt to one-up last year’s pageant (or the church down the street).

Therefore, for those of you thinking about bringing a live camel into a worship service…don’t do it!

Listen to the old Hollywood adage: never work with live animals!

HT: Scott Bailey

on the virtues of doubt

question markI was invited by my friend Jason Boyett to write a piece on doubt for his blog, O Me of Little Faith. I wrote an essay entitled, “On the Virtue of Doubt: A Brief Autobiography of the Skeptic in the Sanctuary,” in which I discuss the influence that doubt, skepticism, and science have had in my life and career. I recount portions of my personal story moving from my Christian upbringing in central California to life as a scholar embracing science, evolution, and the critical method, and rejecting literalistic interpretations of the Bible. I describe my struggles with issues of faith and what I’ve learned from it all.

Please give it a read.

the purpose of worship

i find myself promoting some comments i recently made on worship to a blog post of its own. i feel that if one is going to criticize the practice of others and point out an injustice or a problem, then one ought to do something constructive as well, like offer a viable alternative. in this spirit, please allow me a few brief thoughts on the purpose of worship.


"Contemplation" by Jean Proulx Dibner. Bronze and Stone.

"Contemplation" by Jean Proulx Dibner. Bronze and Stone.

i have a fundamental difference of opinion with many others regarding the purpose of worship. this difference in the understanding of the purpose of worship is based upon a related difference in my understanding of what it means to live a life of faith. i seek enlightenment through knowledge and reason, allowing for the possibility of that which i cannot understand, but rejecting that which has been materially disproved, lamenting that which is ignorant, and attempting to shed light on darkness. a life of faith is not about a set of orthodox beliefs, but a set of adopted behaviors that rejects complacency and instead embraces a life dedicated to solving problems, be they intellectual or practical, individual or social.

a life of faith seeks to utilize one’s talents to help others. for me, a life of faith is to endow others with verifiable facts, teach them to reason, and encourage them to ask questions. a life of faith is one that understands the science of the physical universe, as well as the unquantifiable mysteries of love and beauty. a life of faith is neither about making money nor preserving money, but making sure that others have when they have need.

a life of faith should not revolve around proper doctrine and dogma, but service and compassion. it is not about being right; it is about admitting that we don’t know, and supplementing our ignorance with acts of kindness and service.

this understanding of a life of faith manifests itself in a particular view of worship. the goal of worship is not ecstasy, nor is it communion with the divine. in fact, the goal is not even about getting to heaven, as if proper behavior is somehow a means to an end, a capitalistic investment for a future return on my deposit. rather, the goal of a life of faith should be to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with god. it is to give the cup of cold water when i have one to give. it is to celebrate the joy, lament the sorrow, and laugh with (and at times at) that which is humorous.

for those who see worship as a pep rally, a concert, a money-making endeavor, or a charismatic communion with the divine, they have received their reward. rather, i view worship as an opportunity to say thank you. thank you for my life – good or bad – and for the opportunity to think, wonder, rationalize, philosophize, ponder, ask questions, discuss, learn, experience, and hopefully pass on both a balanced mindset of discovery and disposition of service to those around me.

worship is acknowledging and offering thanks for my very existence, the mere opportunity i’ve had to experience life itself.

if worship has any purpose at all, it is an opportunity to say thank you. it is not for us, but for god.

so here’s my problem with nonsensical charismatic / pentecostal worship

Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. (Prov. 22:15)

unless, of course, the child’s parents and the church authorities are fools as well, in which case, they have no rod. (they’re welcome to borrow some of mine. there’s plenty.)

i don’t know whether to laugh directly at this kid because this is funny, or be angry with his parents and that church’s leaders for allowing this ridiculous nonsense. the child is obviously emulating what he sees on a sunday morning, which gives me even less comfort. i do not see the value in a style of preaching that is little more than a cheerleader screaming theological palaver in a metered cadence.

seriously, what is this? how is this in any way beneficial, worthwhile, or even spiritual? at least someone had the sense to subtitle it with equally ridiculous, phonetically correct subtitles. allowing children to do childish things in an otherwise sacred setting simply because some think it’s ‘cute’ is sheer stupidity. it reveals the foolish nature of the child’s parents and the church’s leaders. it is sheer and utter nonsense. the parents should be embarrassed and the church’s pastor should be canned.

then again, when church is little more than a pep rally, what can you expect?

i’m a fairly smart guy, but i fail to grasp the purpose and value of dancing like a nut in church. church is not jazzercise. seriously, join a gym. if you’re going to jump around like a jackrabbit that’s gotta pee, at least call it what it is: a show. seriously, get a band and some music and sell some tickets. because that’s what it is.

at least someone had the sense to dub some heavy metal over this nonsense. seriously, when church becomes the place to go for a weekly pick-me-up, both church and parishioner have failed. i suggest you leave that congregation, visit a starbucks to get your shot of espresso, and re-examine your life.

(HT:Jim West)

church processional fail

cf. 1 sam 5:3

%d bloggers like this: