Mark And Mark Driscoll’s Wife On Being Married t o Mark Driscoll The Way Mark Driscoll Says His Gal Should Be

Mark Driscoll and his lovely wife Gail have put out a new book on marriage. I have ordered their new book on marriage, and not just because the publisher swears I’ll be, like the rest of the Church, blown away by the wisdom therein. My response will probably be explosive; I think his publishers meant something different. But it’s important that I remain open to new, explosive, experiences, and so I discovered how to hit “one-click order” while holding my nose; new skill thus mastered, I’ll read the book, I’ll throw something against the wall, and then I’ll write about it.

I’ll do this because of the emotional — nay, near-hysterical — sense of loathing I feel whenever I read anything by Driscoll. Not that I generally enjoy cultivating nausea; it’s just that Driscoll and Douglas Wilson have recently fallen into each others’ arms, emerging as evangelicalism’s oddest couple, and no matter how ill it makes me, it makes the Body of Christ a lot sicker.

Turns out I have a pretty strong stomach for a little gal.

Together, the two are pretty different from each other: Wilson is a faux-intellectual, would-be Oxford Don Wannabe whose Federal Vision theology is off the rails and whose contempt for evangelicalism, revivalism, and “winning souls for Jesus” is almost as profound as it is for icky people with tattoos and piercings; Driscoll is a buff, rock ‘n roll-loving megachurch pastor whose theology of thuggery — he once remarked that he could never imagine worshiping a god he could beat up — attracts street people, whose lives he often claims to see through the Holy Spirit with film-clip clarity.

Together, though, they provide a potent argument for Christian machismo and “Biblical” patriarchy, a posture stiffened by their mutual disgust over “sentimental” and “feminized” churches made soft by “girly men” and egalitarian theology. Driscoll’s female congregants may sport ink and studs while pushing their strollers and submit to their men on denim-clad knees. Women in Wilson’s churches eschew tattoos and nose rings and focus on amassing breathtaking arrays of teacups and napkin rings. A gathering of the women’s groups from Driscoll’s Seattle Mars Hill congregation and Wilson’s Christ Church/Trinity Reformed Church would likely be a culture shock for either one, but their menfolk are well endowed with a rock-hard theology of male headship, female subordination, and robust fecundity.

In other words, Driscoll offers the same old culturally-bound, un-Biblical masculinist wine, only in cool, tattooed, hipster-bedecked wineskins, while Wilson serves the wine of suspicious, stodgy sexism from moldy old wineskins whose externally refined appearance only makes more foul the wine within. Wilson has written books on marriage that ignore the clearest New Testament teachings about the covenant between a man and a woman while straining beyond credulity the metaphorical and illustrative, and always in service of a hierarchical approach to relationship foreign to the Trinity — or the Bible. Now it’s Driscoll’s turn, and while he’s not the . . . ahem . . . classicist Wilson is, he has his own approach.

It’s not real promising. Driscoll’s theology of the marital relationship just HAS to be more than “Because I’m a dude, that’s why, and she eventually got ahold of herself,” although the excerpt I read doesn’t leave me with much hope that he’ll expand his take on Biblical marriage.

The single-chapter excerpt I read was utterly nauseating, an exercise in that special Driscollian Patriarchy that makes its Stud-In-Chief cheerfully recount, for example, cringeworthy moments like the time he made Gail cry because her new haircut was too “mom-looking.” He tells us how “hot” she was before marriage and how “frigid” she was for a time afterwards, and while the book is written, supposedly, by the two of them, I would imagine that if Driscoll ever struggled with erectile dysfunction, his would be a purely physiological issue — nothing, you know, that his followers would ever have to know about. Gail gets no such break. She’s now an open book, simply because at one point in her life she was at least a semi-open door.

Usually, in Driscoll’s knuckledragger approach to theology, culture, and relationship, the risk is assigned to and eagerly assumed by his rabid, more-hep-than-thou devotees. They devour his every take on marriage, sex, relationships, parenting, family, culture, and media, believing that because Mars Hill is where the action is, it must be where the Spirit is. It’s a toxic place and a vile message, but they’ve embraced it, and no single Driscollian will likely face his public scorn.

This time, however, Driscoll has a target for much of his anger, dismay, and frustration. It’s Grace, or at least has been Grace. Driscoll has put his wife front-and-center; while he comes off as a gruff, insensitive doofus, his “guyness” rescues him. Grace, however, appears to be left twisting in the wind as Driscoll recounts her cheating on him during their courtship and his struggle to “forgive her” for behavior that she claimed was the result of past sexual abuse suffered at the hands of another man in her life. One wonders if Driscoll’s congregants and the breathless masses who envy them needed to know about Gail’s sexual past; it may just be me, but I marvel at how little his unabashed relational idiocy likely will matter to his fans. I have no doubt that they’ll be fascinated at the revelation of her occasional lack of sexual response and yet completely unbothered that they have any inkling at all of it.

I think Mark Driscoll is a blight on Christiandom, and I think an undiscerning, culturally-compromised, media-prostituted Church deserves him. I can see how he lends a bit of youthful “cool” to Wilson; I see how Wilson serves to lend some legitimacy in Reformed and “classical” circles to the street-smart Driscoll. Sadly, I can also see that those who confer legitimacy on either of them appear to be sorely lacking any example of Christian leadership that looks even remotely like Jesus. Driscoll’s and Wilson’s ministerial track records, public pronouncements and behavior and shipwrecked theology prove handily that they should, if we were in a sane and reasonable Church culture, be focuses of evangelism and not recipients of statesmen-like respect.

It takes more than being male to be Christlike, but that’ll be lost on these two as long as their eyes, hearts, and hands are focused on a worldview whose origin is comfortably lodged below their belts, not in their hearts.

4 Responses to “Mark And Mark Driscoll’s Wife On Being Married t o Mark Driscoll The Way Mark Driscoll Says His Gal Should Be”

  1. Natalie Rose says:

    Thank you for telling it like it, Keely. We should talk sometime; I’ve seen a darker, uglier side of the church than I ever knew existed, and in my healing process I’ve found that openness and communication is a helpful too, aside from that, I think you might have some interesting things to say about my experience. :-) Thanks again for the post, people need to open their eyes and stop their arrogant pissing in the name of this ‘Jesus’ – someone who’s words I so often hear about and so rarely see personified.

  2. Natalie, your comment means so much to me. There is much ugliness and horror going on here on the Palouse courtesy of our local bigots, patriarchs, and business moguls. There message is not of Christ; I’ll oppose it ’til my dying breath, as the Holy Spirit gives me strength. I look forward to talking with you soon. Love, Keely

  3. ben says:

    It would be a lot easier for me to believe you knew anything about Mark Driscoll and had read this book if you actually knew his wifes name….

  4. Good catch, Ben. I should’ve caught the errors — although I reference Mrs. Driscoll as “Grace” as often as I carelessly referred to her as “Gail.” I guess the thought of grace didn’t come up as I was reading the preview chapter I was sent. I have the participant’s guide to the book, remain unimpressed, and am waiting for the book itself. Be assured, however, that I know quite a bit about Driscoll and his thuggery. Be assured, too, that when I make a mistake, I put it front and center. So thanks for your comment, which is now a blog post.

    Keely

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