Lord Snow Presides… over Mark Driscoll’s obsession with demons!
We’re now at day 21 of Mark Driscoll’s arrival to Patheos and the novelty hasn’t worn off yet.
The Washington Post openly asked just a few days ago why he’s here at all, though that question is far more properly leveled at whoever’s in charge of running the Evangelical channel (I don’t hold the owners of Patheos as a whole responsible for any blogger’s presence or absence from the site–after all, they don’t mind me being here, and I probably piss Christians off as much as fundagelicals piss everyone else off). The writer of that article goes on to say:
One shudders to think of the abuse suffered by what wives, daughters and other women in the lives of men who follow Driscoll’s teachings have endured.
And he sure hasn’t particularly sounded sincere about the few wishy-washy apologies he has offered, much less demonstrated any ability to learn from his mistakes. As recently as May 2017, he was declaring that the big problem at Mars Hill was “governance,” meaning he blames his elders for his ouster and claims that they wanted him gone and for the church to dissolve. Mark Driscoll’s story, of course, runs counter to the memories of everyone else involved, but we could have guessed that since it was the version of the story most flattering to Mark Driscoll himself. Mark Driscoll has a real affection for revising history that way.
Others have noticed his presence here besides WaPo. One progressive Christian blogger writes about why he isn’t jumping ship, offering up the usual double-death-dog-times-infinity unimpeachable excuse: “it’s not a space where I’m feeling called to organize right now.” Actually most of the progressive bloggers seem upset about Driscoll’s arrival, as are many of his fellow evangelicals (who see his ultra-sexist dudebro act as his personal failure at the otherwise-Jesus-approved and perfect doctrine of complementarianism, which we’ll be taking up next time, I think). Another Christian punts to Jesus and hopes that her god will “protect and spare us all from his servant, Mark Driscoll,” though it seems clear that her god hasn’t ever seen fit to do anything about Driscoll’s abuses. Wartburg Watch has a grab bag of other comments wondering about how this could possibly have happened.
In many places I looked at, commenters pointed out that Driscoll is very far from the very most objectionable blogger on the site–there is also a Scientology blog, as just one example, though it gets very little action. Others talk about how much money this guy is getting overall from donations and royalties, possibly hinting that the blog isn’t bringing in all that much money to Driscoll–particularly since he still does not allow reader engagement on it.
Over on Twitter, where most of Patheos’ site posts garner little to no chatter generally, their post announcing Mark Driscoll’s arrival hilariously got hundreds of comments, almost all of them negative–and, um, 12 likes, which I’m betting are all from people who are blood relations to Mark Driscoll and don’t yet hate him. Also I noticed that progressive leader Tony Jones, who has no room whatsoever to talk, saying “Farewell, Patheos” in that comment thread; he stopped blogging here in 2015 so I guess he means he’s not reading the site anymore. And one awesome commenter just posted a GIF:
Whoever is running the channel, they haven’t said anything public after that announcement, as far as I know.
And Mark Driscoll, the poster boy for fundagelical abuse, hypocrisy, sexism, bigotry, and overreach, is sure as hell not issuing any apologies or showing the least amount of contrition, much less showing people how much he’s changed in the brief time since he fell into disgrace. Instead, he’s recycling content from his previous books and sermons about, um, well, demons.
Isn’t that a weird kind of priority to have? He’s just ignoring the elephant in the room, which is of course himself, to regurgitate fundagelical talking points about supernatural boogeymen, when a very real bad guy is right here before our eyes. The whole situation could not be more surreal if Driscoll were wearing a striped sweater and a hockey mask in his videos.
I began noticing a trend in his posts about demons, and maybe you will too.
In part 1 of his series on demons he asks: “What’s Spiritual Warfare and what’s that got to do with me?” and secondly, “What does the Bible really say about spiritual warfare?” Because obviously fundagelicals don’t know anything about that topic, since it’s only drilled into their heads 24/7 by super-polarizing leaders. And that’s all Christian readers will be getting in the post: fundagelical talking points that make Christians feel oh-so-warrior-like and get them gung-ho for their culture war battles against human rights. About the only thing of note in the whole post is the very weird insistence toward the end that people who don’t buy into fundagelicalism are “tortured and brainwashed” until they convert to his flavor of Christianity. Considering the horror stories that emerged (and to an extent are still emerging) from his time of leadership of Mars Hill, that’s a weird thing for him to say.
In part 2 of the series, Mark Driscoll leads with that ugh-worthy quote from the 1995 movie The Usual Suspects (he misspells the movie’s name and fails to use proper italicization or apostrophes for it, probably because he just cut-and-pasted from other writing done long ago) about how “the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist.” Christians love this line because it basically gives them an excuse to create a worldview that is impossible to test. They don’t look more deeply into the quote than that or wonder what their love of the quote says about their own god. Mark Driscoll is never going to be accused of a really deep thinker or a decent human being–both of which are very likely why he gravitated toward his particular blend of hardline fundagelical Calvinism, two worldviews that only become exponentially more cruel and inhuman when merged together, like vehicles coming together to make one of those big robot warriors in toy lines from the 80s and 90s. (Feel free to delve into that movie quote below–we were only just beginning to toy with it the other day, I thought.)
His actual questions about demons here are: “What do I need to know about this Enemy who wars against me?” and “How do Satan and his agents tempt us today?” And here I have to ask exactly who is asking any of these questions; it sounds suspiciously like Mark Driscoll just pulled them out of his nethers, sorta like how Libby Anne thinks that Debi Pearl makes up questions that she claims are from readers of hers so she can trot out her talking points against feminism of any kind.
In part 3 of the series, released today, Mark Driscoll gets serious!
First he gloats about how his god has totally already won against a “doomed, limping enemy.” (That belligerent combativeness of his hasn’t abated at all.)
His only question in this post is “What specific tactics does Satan employ against us today?” which he answers at length with both regular fundagelical talking points and quotes from The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. Again, he ends up with a worldview that simply can’t be tested. People who believe in his religion get tested and tormented by Satan, but so do people who don’t believe in any of that piffle. There is simply no way to know for sure whether or not a god or a demon is doing anything, much less to tell when no god or demon is involved in anything.
I Have Several Questions About This.
- “Satan lies to you because he is a liar.” Really? And what about people who lie all the time, like I dunno, the ex-leader of a huge complex of churches in the Pacific Northwest who got caught lying about a whole bunch of different stuff? Was Satan responsible for those lies? Was this boogeyman responsible for “tempting” Mark Driscoll into doing all the horrible things he did while he led Mars Hill? Was Satan the culprit behind Mark Driscoll’s absolutely shameful verbal and emotional abuse of his wife in his books and his subsequent abuse of other women in his church? Because a demon is not required for any of that.
- “Satan will come to you when you are weak and tempt you to sin just as he did Jesus, because he is the tempter.” What weakness caused Mark Driscoll to decide to sin? How has that sin been addressed, and how can we know that it is fully addressed to leave him competent and trustworthy enough to lead others again? It sure looks like Mark Driscoll has literally always been the way he was at the height of his power–and at the nadir of his inevitable downfall. How did he fix his predilection to abuse others and distort the truth? What temptation did Satan offer Mark Driscoll to distort the reason for his downfall last May, as recorded by Warren Throckmorton? Or about why Mark Driscoll lied about why his book sales looked so stellar? Because again, no demon is required for someone to do terrible things, so I would love to know exactly how Mark Driscoll sees this idea of his in relation to his own wrongdoing.
- “Satan will come to you as your accuser. . . Some people have brutally negative self-talk that in some instances may in fact be spiritual demonic opposition. . . it may be a spiritual attack.” Mark Driscoll offers no way whatsoever to know whether or not demons are behind anything people say to themselves or think about anything. This willingness to say stuff he can’t support is an endemic and pervasive problem with Christians in his entire flavor of the religion, and it makes them inherently dishonest–or gullible. Mark Driscoll needs people to wonder if they are in fact facing a demonic attack when they criticize themselves, and it isn’t hard to see why. It’s bizarre and off-putting that someone with as much inherent untrustworthiness and hypocrisy as he bears is saying that very critical self-examination is a sign of demonic attack, because it kinda hints that he himself doesn’t feel the very proper shame that he should be feeling over the damage he did to so many thousands of people. An abusive asshat should jolly well feel very critical of himself, and it doesn’t look like Mark Driscoll suffers any loss of sleep over his past.
- “Satan will come to you, often during a season of God’s grace being poured out, to rob you of joy by condemning you. . . ‘There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.'” And again, this is a surreal and off-putting thing for him to assert given his past. It sure looks like Mark Driscoll is being petulant here, judging by the May 2017 interview he gave which put all blame for Mars Hill’s breakup on his elders. After all, his downfall came after he’d ascended to the very heights of power in fundagelical Christianity. I’m wondering if he thinks that Satan, a boogeyman nobody’s ever actually credibly observed in any way, engineered his downfall. And citing the Bible verse about there being no condemnation in Christianity goes far past surreal and off-putting and straight into downright offensive territory. Is he trying to claim that if “Jesus” (another boogeyman nobody’s ever credibly observed in any way) forgave him then nobody else gets to condemn him? Is this an attempt to claim that he doesn’t need to demonstrate contrition or change before being allowed back into leadership roles in the religion?
- Satan will use your sincere heart to heap upon you a very vague, general conviction that, if not recognized, will propel you into deep introspection as you frantically search for some wrongdoing. . . satan [sic] is basically like an abusive parent and, like all abusive parents, his intent is not to correct you but to harm you, causing suffering and grief. . .” And I’m sure Mark Driscoll knows all about propelling people into deep introspection and frantic searches for thoughtcrime and crimethink. I’m sure that he’s quite well aware of what abusive parents are like, too, given his glee in abusing the people under him at Mars Hill. The dude knew he was hurting people and he delighted in hurting them. He loved being in power; he loved the perks it gave him. And there’s not even a question here he needs to answer–we see already the answer from him in the blog itself: he not only sees no reason to question himself, but no reason to allay any Christians’ concerns about ongoing personality defects that might lead him back to that same very satisfying well he used to haunt. He’s chosen to use his platform on Patheos to regurgitate his previous work, when he could be using it to achieve whatever passes for real redemption in fundagelical circles.
- “Satan will seek to gain ground in your life through bitterness. The sad truth is that there is virtually no way that everyone who has ever sinned against you will come forward to repent and ask your forgiveness.” I think this sorta speaks for itself. Mark Driscoll is not gonna apologize, not that he even thinks he needs to do so. So if anybody’s still mad or upset at him, then they are “bitter,” which is Christianese for anger that the Christian making the accusation thinks has gone on for too long or is greater than the accuser thinks it should be. Again, no questions needed; I’m too disgusted.
- “Satan will seek to get your eyes off Jesus.” I have no idea what this means and neither does Mark Driscoll, which is why he couches this part in pure, unfiltered Christianese that means absolutely nothing in real life. I’m guessing it has something to do with his critics–a sort of slam on them for still remaining critical of him and not letting him ignore what he’s done.
- “Satan will seek to use your unbelief in him.” He’s not talking to Christians here, but to those who have rejected the idea that Satan even exists. Having spent many thousands of words outlining all the various ways that he imagines “Satan” works evil upon TRUE CHRISTIANS™, he now cautions people not to “blame everything on them as Eve did.” But he won’t offer any way to tell when to “take responsibility for your own shortcomings” and when to blame demons for hassling people.
- “Satan will seek to use your pride.” And Mark Driscoll is a world authority on pride! He admonishes people to do that which he cannot do: “continually speak, think, and act in humility, as God’s grace to you requires. . . Humility is a weapon that you can use to walk in victory over your Enemy.” But I guess he feels that he’s got more than enough weapons as it is, since I don’t think I’ve ever seen or heard anything out of him that reflects humility in any way whatsoever–except stuff I think he felt forced to say or was simply lying about.
Not an Accident At All.
Christians are quite right to look askance at Mark Driscoll’s triumphant return to the public sphere–or, well, as public as a blog that has comments turned off can be, I guess. He is showing even less self-awareness here than he normally does, and it isn’t hard to notice that the copyright dates on the books he’s adapting for these glurge-fests are from times when he was at his most despotic, proud, cruel, malevolent, dishonest, and misogynistic. At the same time as he was demanding that women perform oral sex for their husbands without question or backtalk because “Jesus” ordered them to do so (through him), he was working on the book that would become Death by Love (2008).
I don’t believe that his blog series about demons is an accident, either. He chose this topic very deliberately out of all the thousands and millions of topics he could have run with, and there’s surely a reason for it. Me myself, I think he’s greasing the wheels for another pastor position, or maybe to continue with his second career as an author or public speaker. And I think the very last thing he wants is for people to ask real questions of him–questions he can’t answer, questions he won’t answer, questions he doesn’t even think he needs to answer.
But we will ask anyway.
What say you, Roll to Disbelieve readers? In this off-topic Monday post, what would you ask Mark Driscoll if you were on his blog and could comment there? What observations would you make? (If you don’t wanna talk about him, this is an off-topic post: feel free to talk about anything else you want! Also, our rules still apply for comments.)
And because the kittens had their second birthday recently… here’s one of the first videos of them I ever made, just a couple of days after they’d gotten here. As you can see, they settled in very quickly:
They’re tussling again today for some reason, so it made me think of this video. Their play-fighting is still just this cute and adorable.