Archive for September, 2011

Mother Ought To Look Like Father, And Father Isn’t A Guy

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

If Mother Kirk encourages you to hold any other person in contempt, know that she’s a liar.

Drown her out with the words of the Father, who tells you that the object of your contempt is someone created in the Divine image — a God neither male nor female, and yet, mysteriously and wonderfully, revealed in women as much as in men. And if you feel conflicted, remember Augustine, whose use of “whore” I’ll substitute here:

“The Church is a gay-bashing, macho, unloving bully, and she is my Mother.”

Jamey Rodemeyer

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

A 14-year-old gay boy from New York, Jamey Rodemeyer, killed himself last week after years of bullying. Yeah, you’ve heard versions of this one before. Too many; so many that you might just skip on.

Don’t.

Jamey’s peers, many of them no doubt speaking from the warped cocoon of their Christian youth groups and echoing the words they hear at home and in church, belittled, wrote, whispered, taunted, lied about and harassed this kid until he chose to die rather than endure what he had previously assured other LGBT kids — a life that gets better. Jamey made video diaries and wrote about his struggles; as the horror got worse for him, he reached out more to other kids whose lives are made hellish by their looks, their speech, their mannerisms, and their attempts to simply live just as themselves.

It doesn’t say much for you if your first thought is that he could’ve just, you know, like, TRIED harder. What threat did Jamey pose to you — or anyone else? Does it say something about society that a boy like Jamey turned to pop star Lady Gaga for inspiration and hope? Gaga’s music doesn’t do much for me, but through the glitter, glam, and over-the-top production, she struck a chord in him; indeed, it appears that he tweeted his final good-bye to the woman who this weekend dedicated a show to him and who’s called for the illegalization of bullying as a hate crime.

I’m glad Jamey found some comfort from his favorite pop star, and from his parents, who in their grief have found the courage to speak out against the abuse that led their only son to take his life. But I’m sickened at how many of you think that a kid who lisped, who wasn’t enough “like a guy,” brought it on himself. And I’m sickened that so many of you flocked to the Mark Driscoll/Doug Wilson machismo sideshow earlier this month, where the guys-only talk was about masculinity and the fatherhood of God — an odd emphasis for a conference titled “The Grace Agenda,” but an obsession of the masculinist culture of both Driscoll’s Mars Hill in Seattle and the Wilsonian institutions of Moscow. That grace should be appropriated as a phallic, macho symbol — we need grace because we’re impotent to save ourselves — is disgusting.

And so by doing so — by favoring these bullies with your dollars and your interest — you heaped legitimacy on two men whose words don’t show them to be conservative Christians who see homosexual conduct as sinful, but as nothing more than anti-gay bullies who don’t give a rip about people “not like them.” The death of kids like Jamey ought to make you question your alliances; should you hold to a conservative theology here, you owe it to your God to question your assumption that part and parcel of it is to support bullies — or be one yourself.

Because words have consequences, some of them life or death.

Wilson has previously mocked the “It Gets Better” campaign that exists to encourage LGBT kids to reach for life beyond the jungle of high school; Driscoll thinks it’s cool to call, from the pulpit, the things he doesn’t like “so gay.” You can go back years for more examples of their kick-ass macho approach to showering contempt on the sodomites, queers, fags, catamites and buggarers — thank a Wilson Blog and Mablog post from a few years back for the expansion of your vocabulary here — and it was just a couple of months ago when, in belittling the It Gets Better campaign, Wilson reminded us of what “regular” people do.

Hint: Jamey wasn’t “regular” in Wilson’s eyes.

Nor was he in the eyes of his peers, who, in noting his mannerisms and words and preferences, announced that “Jamey must die.” And they didn’t get that from the hateful R. J. Rushdooney, their own understanding of Leviticus, or an exploration of endocrino-neurobiological evidences that might affect fetal development. They got it from a masculinist, patriarchal culture that’s encouraged at every turn by a masculinist, patriarchal Church that looks nothing like its Author. Wilson, Driscoll, et al, are some of the primary purveyors thereof.

Let’s be clear: Wilson and Driscoll didn’t literally kill Jamey — or any other gay kid who takes her or his own life. Jamey did, because of the hell those kids put him through. But the bullies and others like them got their inspiration, their identity, their boldness and their cultural views — let’s not dignify it by calling it a “theology” — from the macho men of this culture. And where are they found? By whom are they encouraged, legitimized, and held up as examples? Where is the one place, other than the gridiron and prison, where the violent reflexes and noxious odor of masculinism is still apparent, still applauded?

Not among the people of Jesus Christ, who cooperate in the Spirit’s work to conform them to his character, a life marked by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, mercy and self-control, but certainly in the Church that bears his name. It’s no longer a question of the Church’s being a “safe” place for young people dealing with their sexuality. The Church and the culture it encourages are about as welcoming to LGBT kids as a Roman coliseum teeming with heathens cheering on the bloodthirsty lions. Here, though, the audience proclaims allegiance to the Prince of Peace and — with Bibles duly highlighted — takes its cues from guys not much like him at all.

And it dares call itself “pro-life” in the midst of it all.

Sadly, and tragically for kids like Jamey, it’s becoming apparent to a lost and watching world that the Church of Jesus Christ doesn’t much look like a place where true disciples of his congregate.

The Debt The Rich Owe — It’s A Social Contract, Not "Class Warfare"

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

With thanks to my friend Peggy J.:

“You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory — and hire someone to protect against this — because of the work the rest of us did.

“Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea. God bless — keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

I don’t know whose words they are, but this is right on. The super-rich currently pay about half the tax rate they would have paid in the sensible, community-oriented, and prosperous Eisenhower era, and the burden of not only paying down the national debt but also maintaining even the minimal function of society now falls on the middle class. There are more poor people in America now than in decades — and the gap between the middle class and the rich is widening.

That gap is ripping this country apart. Shame on those religionist Republicans who continue to parade their devotion to Christ while whoring for the richest corporate interests.

And yes, I mean “whoring.”

Does Righteousness Really Matter To The Religious Right?

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

I think we’re pretty clear on the Church of the Republican Party’s interest in what consenting adults do in their bedrooms, yet it occurs to me that there are other areas of righteousness, public AND private, that not only befoul our world but also require a response from those ministering and serving in it.

But this week has brought us a couple of occasions that would seem to require — minimally — comment from Christ followers of any stripe, and particularly those running the country or running for the opportunity to do so as President. The subject, though, is capital punishment, and the death penalty itself doesn’t provoke much comment, ever, from the religious GOP — until, of course, their audiences cheer Rick Perry’s robust record of executions in Texas.

Glory to God, and flip the switch.

Tragically, though, two of the most clear, most grotesque abuses of an evil policy, one of which comes from Perry’s home state, doesn’t seem to merit even a murmur from him or from his co-political moralists. That’s not just a tragedy. That’s evidence of the kind of disregard for righteousness, and even an embrace of evil, railed against by the Old Testament prophets and condemned by Christ Jesus in the New. And the GOP is awash in it.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay of execution hours before convicted murderer Duane Buck was to be put to death in Texas, the state that under Governor Rick Perry and his predecessor, George W. Bush, puts more people to death than all other states combined. Under normal circumstances — those circumstances experienced and affected by a Church committed to the message of Jesus Christ and not to the ugly specter of privilege, power, and punch-drunk machismo it currently is — the dissonance between Evangelical governorship and its tax-funded killing spree would prompt outrage or, better, fasting and mourning.

Sackcloth and ashes would be more appropriate for Governor Perry than polished leather cowboy boots with “LIBERTY” embroidered on them, in other words.

But this is the United States of America, where the Jesus worshiped in the public square too often is a “savior” entirely foreign to the New Testament, entirely absent from the Blessed Trinity, and entirely uninterested in reconciling humankind to Yahweh. So the well-churched GOP seems entirely unconcerned that the most conservative member of a conservative Supreme Court stayed the execution because of his outrage over the sentencing, wherein the fact that Buck is a Black man was said to legitimately represent a greater danger to the public should he ever be freed from prison. Too subtle for you? The fact is, Duane Buck was sentenced to death and not to life in prison without parole because he’s a Black man, and the assumption that that made him more dangerous prevailed.

If that doesn’t make you flinch in horror, your soul is calloused and your heart hardened. That includes Rick Perry,

And then last night brought about the shameful execution of Troy Davis, a Georgia man convicted of killing a cop. But seven of nine witnesses had retracted their testimonies against him, and even the prosecution acknowledged doubts regarding his guilt. There was no DNA evidence linking him to the murder; another man confessed to the crime. Davis, also Black, maintained his innocence until the State killed him late last night. Even William Sessions, former director of the FBI, objected to his execution. Davis’ lawyer rightly called it a legal lynching. And Davis’ message to his executioners?

“May God have mercy on your souls.”

The State of Georgia has killed an innocent man, it appears, and the State of Texas was eager to kill a man sentenced to death because he was Black. And if none of the religiously-saturated, cross-draped-in-the-flag GOP candidates don’t at least question Davis’ execution and affirm the rightness of Buck’s stay of execution, they show themselves to be nothing more than pretenders to the throne of Christian leadership. I would not want to be one of them, however, at the great white Throne of Jesus Christ. Indeed, may God have mercy on their souls — and on ours if we remain silent.

The American Hikers’ Release: It Ain’t The Allergies . . .

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

I’ve been tuned in to CBN much of the morning as two young American hikers — and two mothers’ sons — were released a few minutes ago after more than two years in the Iranian prison from which another young woman was released last year.

Their offense? Naive imprudence, perhaps, in apparently hiking too close to the Iranian-Iraqi border, but certainly not espionage, and most certainly not something deserving of 25 months in an Iranian hellhole. Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer were hiking with Bauer’s now-fiancee Sarah Shourd in September 2009 when they were arrested by officers of one of the, ahem, least-stable administrations in the world. Shourd was released last year on “humanitarian grounds,” and I just watched live footage of Fattal and Bauer rushing down the jetway to plunge into a small crowd of family and friends, including Shourd.

I cannot imagine what Bauer’s, Fattal’s, and Shourd’s families have endured. I have a friend here in Moscow who lost her son quite suddenly just two weeks ago, and her pain is unlike any I imagine I’ve ever felt. Missing a child hurts; losing a child, or being separated from a child under circumstances neither of you have control over, would be almost unendurable. I have words that I think might describe the hell of not knowing if they’re well, if they’re ill or injured, or if you’ll ever see them again alive — but what words could be sufficient?

I do things around the house most days wistfully thinking of my eldest, who’s only six hours away and who picks up his cell phone ninety percent of the time; my youngest lives here in town, and I can see him pretty much whenever I want to. But my small home holds a million memories; even folding bath towels prompts thoughts of them both. (Like when Anthony discovered the effects of accidentally running a Korean-English New Testament through a load of laundry. I picked sodden bits of Philippians from my washer and all that was in it with astonishment that 27 books times two, on fine Bible paper, could create such a mess, while balled-up wads of Revelation clogged the lint filter for months). Even when my new UI graduate leaves to teach in Korea for a year or two, my longing for him will be tempered by the fact that he’s there because he wants to be, and he’ll be fine. In fact, it’s ironic that his being in better shape than I’ll be is a testimony to what a great thing we have. I’ll cry, but . . . I’ll KNOW.

But the Fattals, Shourds, and Bauers, as well as their friends, spent more than two years not knowing. And as anyone who’s ever had to wait for results from a medical test or news of loved one in crisis understands, it’s the not knowing that sucks life out of the soul.

The sniffling you hear and the tears slipping down my face aren’t from an unusually wacky Moscow autumn, but from my joy that God heard the prayers of millions of people around the world and gave these two young men, and Ms. Shourd before them, back to their families and back to each other. It’s a good day, and may God be praised.

Speechless, I Am

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

I love the person who sent this to me, who agrees with it entirely, she says, but the video clip here is quite likely the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of in my life:

http://www.therightscoop.com/open-thread-grinding-america-down/

Yes. It’s true. “Commies” are trying to take down America, and they’ve succeeded, pretty much, by following the point-by-point agenda revealed in “The Naked Communist,” a tell-all, we’re told, by a former FBI agent.

Google Rep. Curtis Bowers. He appears to be a wellspring of misguided, albeit sincere, fears that rooms full of dedicated Communist “professionals” in their 60s, 70s, and even 80s — with briefcases! — have pretty much won the day; you’re suffering from their successes far more than you realize, evidently. I think that perhaps Rep. Bowers is in a bit over his head. Further, the alleged Josef Stalin quote below is not prescient because of Communism, regardless of his intent. The Religious Right has corruptively used these three pillars of American strength far more egregiously, and far more effectively, to damage our nation than stadiums full of Bolsheviks.

Let the eldercommies totter off into the night. It’s men like Bowers who frighten me a whole lot more, because they multiply and become Tea Party organizers, pastors, legislators, and media pundits. Tragically, good people, like the woman who sent this to me, take them at their word, believing it to be the Word, and perpetuate the whole thing by voting. And hitting the “send” button.

So. Josef Stalin, on how to weaken the United States, as quoted in the video link above:

“America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality, and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within.”

Oh, Shoot. Forgot Newt. And, Try Though I Might, I Can’t Forget Palin.

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

In my comments about the GOP presidential candidates, I forgot good ol’ Newt Gingrich, about whom, for me at least, the less said the better. But just so the Coiffed Newt doesn’t feel neglected, I’ll just say this:

If he’s honestly repented to the Lord Jesus of his serial adultery, then he’s forgiven. Period. What I’m looking forward to is his repentance for his dishonest attempts to poison the political process that’s been so very — exceedingly, abundantly — good to him. Take this, for example, from the just-published “Blind Allegiance To Sarah Palin” by former Palin head honcho Frank Bailey:

“. . . Newt Gingrich (was) regularly emailing advice like suggesting she (Palin) not answer difficult questions but instead ‘reframe it into the question she wishes they asked,’ or better yet, ‘When your opponent has posed a question designed to put you on defense, the right strategy is to destroy the very legitimacy of the question and pose a new question of your own.’ ”

I consider any support of Sarah Palin’s political ambitions to be a sign of either sheer lunacy, near-preternatural ignorance, or, as I think is the case here, gross manipulation for personal gain by encouraging the destruction of the political process. Hyperbole? This is Newt Gingrich we’re speaking of; there’s no discussion of Newt, even BY Newt, without an oddly sonorous hyperbole. It fits. And that’s why, when it comes to Newt Gingrich, I think it’s best I move on . . .

Bailey’s book is 380 pages of minutiae dedicated, as far as I can tell, to two things: First, expressing the evangelical Bailey’s presumably sincere regret that he was so instrumental in her rise to prominence in Alaska — he believed her to be “chosen of God,” which, and I say this honestly, puts his grasp of theology in serious question. He also sets out a convincing, detailed, and ultimately damning case that Palin is — surprise! — an unstable, narcissistic, rage-prone prima donna of limited intellectual capability. How this would be a revelation to anyone is puzzling, but Bailey’s repentance seems to require that we understand that he was enthralled with her, charmed beyond reason and righteousness, and yet eventually was left holding the Palin Shitstorm Bag enough times to have his reasoning faculties and moral compass restored.

Good for him, I suppose, although it doesn’t say much for me that I spent the whole night reading the entire thing.

He also drops a bombshell about rival Palin-writer Joe McGinniss, who, according to Bailey, lifted publisher’s draft copies of the Bailey manuscript and circulated the information throughout Alaska and the Capitol. That makes it highly unlikely that I’ll now buy McGinniss’ book, although I suspect it’s a better read. But that’s a tremendous ethical breach, and I can almost hear my tough, print-journalist dad roaring his disapproval from the feet of his Savior in Heaven. Besides, after a night with Frank ‘n Sarah ‘n Todd ‘n Everyone In The World Who’s Out To Get Them, I think I’ll look for something more fun to do.

Like get a spinal tap.

The GOP Candidates. I Mean, I’m Really Trying . . .

Monday, September 19th, 2011

OK, here it is, several days after the GOP Presidential Candidates’ Debate co-sponsored by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, looking as though he’s just accidentally walked into the Fifth Grade Girls’ Health Movie, complete with free product samples, and the Tea Party Express, which demonstrated, for those who’ve always wondered, what lemmings look like when they gleefully surge right off the cliff.

It was, early on, a spectacle-in-the-making; the arrival of the candidates only confirmed the sense of unease in the air beforehand. There was tension you could cut with a knife, if only you trusted anyone there with sharp instruments. As a debate, it was meaningless — even reasonably cogent, specific questions were answered with pallid sound bites and tired platitudes — but it was terrifically insightful as a look into what the GOP has to offer the American people in a presidential candidate.

Here’s my take on each of the candidates:

Rick Perry, with a permanent scowl that belies his pasted-on grimace of a smile, looks like he’s just itchin’ to kick ass and take names . . . but can’t remember how to spell them. Kudos to him, though, for his defense of the Gardasil vaccine and Texas’ version of the DREAM act for immigrants. There just MAY be a heart in there.

Mitt Romney looks like central casting’s idea of an executive, a leader, and a Captain of industry, but unfortunately he debates as someone who’s disgusted with the script handed to him. While I suppose that speaks well for him, given the chaos of the Republican Party, he has it in him, as a moral free agent, to write his own. The voice of Dwight Eisenhower clearly is nagging at him. I just wish he’d listen

John Huntsman clearly chafes at the restrictions he feels, and he demonstrated, with his reference to a Nirvana song, that he doesn’t know his audience and doesn’t particularly care to. So do the right thing, John: Stop with the not-at-all convincing paeans to Paul Ryan, et al, and just run as a Democratic centrist in 2016. Problem solved and conscience salved.

Michelle Bachmann demonstrated once again that the commandment to not bear false witness matters little to her. There is no evidence that the anti-HPV vaccine Gardasil causes, as she claimed the next day she was told by a woman in the audience, mental retardation. What it DOES do is protect girls from a disease, cervical cancer, that’s almost always caused by this largely, but not always, sexually-transmitted virus. Bachmann may not like the fact that the Gardasil vaccine’s addition to the list of mandated immunizations recognizes the reality that girls will eventually have sexual relations, but she ought not act as though the vaccine is equivalent to the sexual corruption of “innocent little girls,” many of whose lives could be saved by this vaccine. Also, she’s dumb.

Herman Cain is refreshingly unscripted, and with his Nine-Nine-Nine program, he’s at least offering something reasonably specific to address the economic crisis we find ourselves in. But I object — I STRENUOUSLY object — to his having been “anointed” as God’s choice by clergy prior to the first GOP debate. Cain may have a deep, personal faith, and good for him if he does. But his deep, personal faith must not ever echo the deep, personal faith in the Ayn Rand-inspired Tea Party that’s flocked to him. Cain’s faith is of no consequence — not temporally, not eternally — if it doesn’t comport to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. No matter how witty he is.

Ron Paul looks like he’d be the most compassionate, wise doctor you’ve ever seen, and I’d have him as my next-door neighbor in a heartbeat. But his Randian Libertarianism is frightening; it’s also entirely inappropriate for the Christian. I’d rather have a flat tire on a rainy night in front of Paul’s house than in front of anyone else’s, but I have zero trust in his followers’ sense of empathy, justice, and righteousness in the public square. In fact, I’m afraid of them, and I consider them a population that needs to be evangelized — not standard-bearers of evangelicalism.

I think that’s everyone, and all-in-all, it’s a pretty dismal group. I am an unabashed Obama supporter, even as I’ve been deeply disappointed by his failure to be the leader I know he can be in the face of the coming GOP self-immolation. This nation needs an alternative to simpering, impotent Democrats and Republican flame-throwers. A centrist-liberal — Obama is not a liberal, and he’s ineffective as a centrist — could not only survive the coming political disaster, but also regroup and rebuild the confidence of a citizenry stupified by wrong-headed rhetoric and devastated by a chaotic economy left to him by his predecessor.

It would — I speak in the conditional, not in the certainty of the future tense — be a good day if Obama reached deep down into his heart and put his formidable gifts in the service not of pacifying Democrats and enabling Republicans, but of leading this country to higher ground. He can, I know.

This Is A Long One, And Worth Your Time In Reading It (And Be Sure To Scroll Down For A Comment On Driscoll)

Monday, September 19th, 2011

OK, so you might want to hit the bathroom before you start, but this is the most cogent, insightful, and courageous analysis of the modern GOP — from a Republican apitol Hill staffer — I’ve ever read:

http://www.truth-out.org/goodbye-all-reflections-gop-operative-who-left-cult/1314907779

Yes, he calls the Religious Right/Tea Party-controlled GOP a cult, and I agree with him. Now, I don’t use the word “cult,” in either its sociological or religious sense, carelessly; I’ve never, for example, referred to Doug Wilson’s various organizations (“ministries” just doesn’t fit) as “cults.” There’s enough there to object to without wrongly, in my mind, jumping to the conclusion that any weird or objectionable religious group is a cult. It’s enough to be weird or, as is more the case with Wilson, objectionable; it needn’t be a cult.

But the modern GOP meets the sociological definition, I think, of a cultish movement; that is, a group that adheres to a rigid, fundamentalist — politically and religiously, in this case — ideology and imposes strict litmus tests of ideological purity to determine who’s in and who’s out. It also utterly marginalizes the sociological “Other” and uses the vitriol it spews to energize its followers. While I had not previously thought of the GOP as a cult (content as I was to simply believe them to be obnoxious, ignorant, and entirely dangerous to the future of this country), I concede the writer’s point. The GOP has become more a cult than a political party, and it’s an exceedingly dangerous one.

Read the whole article, and I’ll likely follow up with some thoughts of my own, now that the Driscoll Macho Circus has left town. And a note to erstwhile correspondent Rob: As I said in responding to your comment, you evidently are unaware that the Grace Agenda was a guy thing, and you probably don’t realize my strong objection to sex-segregated theological and ecclesiastical conferences. But I wouldn’t attend the Dangerous Woman sideshow for two reasons: One, most of the women there would recognize me, and I have no right to upset their plans, no matter how offensive I find them to be. Two, I would never pay money to attend a conference whose entire existence is predicated on the idea that I’d have nothing at all to learn from the “men’s conference,” which, dealing as it does with the subject of grace, ought never to have been a guy thing anyway.

That should clear it up.

Wilson, Describing Driscoll Better Than I Could

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

So Doug Wilson and his two most loyal acolytes — his son, N.D. Wilson, and his son-in-law, Ben Merkle — have invited the coolest dude on campus over to their lunch table. And, wonder of wonders, he’s accepted the invite, leaving the other bullies and jocks and moving over to the smart kids table with a swagger and a cafeteria tray full of in-your-face talk about “relevance” and “authenticity.” All of the other kids are watching, even. Does it get much better?

Probably not. But it has gotten a whole lot worse.

Turns out that Reformed Christianity’s coolest kid in school, Mark Driscoll, is a buffoon and a bully — which could be why Wilson, et al, initially found him so appealing — but, alas, his buffoonery and bullying come with an unexpected taint of the kind of controversy that’s not, actually, all that cool, not at all, but kind of off-putting. Kind of unsavory. Kind of, in fact, grotesque. And while Driscoll might be the Big Man on the Reformed Campus, there are other alumni thereof who think he’s a loose cannon, and not in the cool and masculinely hep “up yours, you sentimental girly-man” way, and is also a pretender both to orthodoxy and to simple decency — the kind of decency their elders, and their ecclesiastical elders, expect those gathered around the lunch table to adhere to.

I’ve written about Wilson’s pretzel logic in explaining how it is that a cessationist like Mark Driscoll, someone who, like Wilson, believes the “sign” gifts of the Holy Spirit have ceased, nonetheless says the Holy Spirit “shows” him sort of a sign or bulletin board-like thing over someone’s head that tells Mark the particulars, in graphic detail, of their past sin or past suffering. Most of the people Mark sees this about are women, it seems, and it generally tends to focus on Mark’s belief that, thanks to the Spirit, he can just “know” when some young woman’s been raped by her grandpa. (You can scroll down a few posts for the link). It’s terribly inconvenient for Wilson, even if Driscoll’s flights of fancy — we must not call them “Spirit-gift” names like “words of wisdom,” Wilson would say, because we’re cessationists — involved fairly pedestrian pronouncements. But Mark Driscoll appears able to see sex in most anything. He just doesn’t normally thank the Holy Spirit for the view.

In fact, evangelical stalwarts like MacArthur Study Bible Editor John MacArthur of The Master’s Seminary and the Grace To You radio program have taken Driscoll to the woodshed for his “soft porn” version of the Biblical Song of Solomon, and others in the Body have criticized those evangelical leaders who embrace the macho, coarse Seattle pastor. Driscoll is notorious for talking from the pulpit of things that most people tend not to discuss with anyone other than their partner, and his hearty endorsement of marital practices like anal sex, something that Wilson in earlier days would call a “foul sexual habit,” as well as his recent assertion that women can help win their unbelieving husbands to Christ by performing regular and robust blowjobs has our local Bishop of Bluster . . . befuddled indeed.

Here’s a recent Blog and Mablog post on pastors and other Christians who need to be seen as “edgy” and “real,” but who, Wilson says, are deluded, like a “jungle full of monkeys.” It doesn’t solve his Driscollian horny-in-the-side problem, but it is, I suppose, a brave attempt to deflect attention from the now-crowded cafeteria table over which Wilson will preside this weekend, when “The Grace Agenda” storms, or limps, its way into the confines of Moscow’s Nazarene Church:

“There are two basic ways for evangelical Christians to care about the arts. One is the Kuyperian Reformed route, and the other is the way of bohemian pose-striking. One of the most heartening aspects of the “young, restless, and Reformed” development is the possibility of a real aesthetic reformation. Perhaps I should explain myself.

Scripture teaches us, over and over again, that deliverance comes from odd and unexpected places. And Scripture also tells us repeatedly that the faithful who are waiting for such deliverance have a tendency to wait by the wrong door. David was just a shepherd boy. Joseph was handed off to a passing caravan for a bit of money. Daniel was a slave, captured in war. Esther was just one more beauty for the harem. Jeremiah was just a kid. And Jesus grew up in that podunk place, Galilee of the Gentiles.

When it comes to what is true, what is good, and what is beautiful, the emergent types have gone bohemian in all three areas. Their truth has gone to relativistic mush, their ideas of goodness are more interested in anal intercourse than they ought to be, and their concept of beauty is summed up by outre tattoos in inappropriate places. They have fallen for the simplest of Screwtape’s devices, the idea that “gritty” is real and “lovely” is bourgeois. They fell into that simple trap because they are such deep people…” (Blog and Mablog, Sept. 7, 2011)

Wilson continues, as he must, with the assertion that the Spirit may yet choose to do wondrous works in these types — because that’s the prerogative of the Spirit, who chooses, as Wilson’s words demonstrate, the most unlikely people to further the Divine will. Deft handling of the anal-sex favoring, tattoo-loving Driscoll required; deft handling done more-or-less well. But there is no handling so deft as to soothe the self-inflicted wound Wilson is suffering from.

Until he acknowledges that it was daft, not deft, to associate with Driscoll, that thorn in his side will continue to fester. Sadly, the infection will affect the reputation of the Nazarene Church, already compromised after having hosted the Sitler wedding in June, as well as that of the good people who worship there. I know that Wilson omitted news of Driscoll’s attendance at this “local” conference when he made arrangements with Nazarene Pastor Eby. Even in late winter and early spring, Wilson knew Driscoll was who he was, and “who he was” was evidently not something Moscow’s biggest pastor thought the conservative, Wesleyan Eby needed to know about. That’s dishonest, and Eby’s likely veto of the Driscoll Show would’ve saved Wilson a large measure of embarrassment, although Merkle and Nate sometimes provide some cringeworthy moments as well.

Still, they at least have their scripts OK’d by Dad, if not literally then by conditioning. Oh, to be a guy next weekend and hear the uncomfortable shifting in the seats that accompanies a Mark Driscoll appearance — either from embarrassment or unforeseen provocation of lust or dismay over bad theology. With any luck, it just might drown out the yammering of the Dangerous Women conference attendees as they discuss the “radicalness” of blindly accepting permanent, functional subordination to the chair-squeaking guys inside.

Mercy.