I seriously keep meaning to go find something else to write about on our LSP days, but I just can’t stop laughing today over Mark Driscoll’s current post. It’s about a “Love Quiz” that he presents to his readers that he himself could not pass in a million years. Today we’ll be fisking that quiz–with links demonstrating that Mark Driscoll himself is not qualified to tell anybody else how to be loving. Today Lord Snow Presides over Mark Driscoll and his hypocritical “Love Quiz.”
The Love Chapter.
One of Christians’ favorite chapters in the Bible is called “the Love Chapter.” It’s found in
One I Corinthians 13 and details what qualities one expects to find in a loving person. One often sees this chapter recited in Christian wedding ceremonies. And for what it’s worth, it’s not a bad list–it’s just one that Christians like putting into their wedding ceremonies and then forgetting about forever in their daily lives. Here it is:
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. . .
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
It’s a very mystical chapter in its way, but what really stood out to me when I was a teenybopper Christian was that it laid out very specific ways that we could use to evaluate another person’s behavior as loving or not loving. And its author very firmly positioned this externally-verifiable form of love as superior to either faith or hope.
In a way, the Love Chapter is a real marker of just how far Christians are missing the mark (that’s me showing off by using against Christians the Christianese they themselves use to denote the committing of a sin, usually by omission–by failure to live up to various standards), since they’ve turned their religion into one where expressions of great faith trump the showing of visible external signs of love, where expressed feelings of religious hope (such as one sees in evangelism) matter more than being kind.
So you can probably guess that I think it’s an absolute howling hilarity that Mark Driscoll is even trying to go there by telling Christians how to love.
I mockingly said of the Love/Life Principles Seminar last time that it was a case of the ignorant teaching the ignorant, but I guess the Lizard King of Fundagelicalism is always going to be there to tell me to hold his beer while he tops whatever low point I think we’ve ever found about his religion.
Fisking the Love Quiz.
1. Am I patient?
2. Am I kind?
These are the big ones, of course. And right out of the gate, Mark Driscoll falls flat on his smirking bro-dude face.
Dave Kraft, a longtime follower and onetime staff member at Mars Hill, told Seattle Times that Driscoll was a bully who had created “a culture of fear” resulting in high staff turnover (that’s one of the signs of a broken system, bee tee dubs). He also said that “[Driscoll] was verbally abusive and arrogant and not interested in changing. And a lot of people were being hurt.” He filed a formal complaint with the elders that didn’t go anywhere and ended up leaving Mars Hill in 2013–but later, when he talked about what had led to his departure on his blog, 19 other pastors joined him by openly complaining about Driscoll’s behavior.
On his private blog, he listed Mark Driscoll’s flaws: “not being self-controlled and disciplined, being domineering, being verbally violent, being arrogant,” and “being quick-tempered.” None of that list is going to be surprising to anyone who follows news about the guy. (What blows my mind is that Mr. Kraft remains at least openly gracious toward Driscoll, requesting prayers that Jesus will strong-arm his onetime pastor into understanding his flaws, repenting of them, and “reconciling” with his onetime victims. Cuz, ya know, we totally know how much Jesus loves doing anything for anyone. Reconciliation is Christianese for getting back into a victim’s good graces, incidentally. If you hear this word out of a Christian in anything but the very most critical sense, especially if “reconciliation” is being demanded by that Christian, RUN, DON’T WALK, away from them.)
Frequently people involved with Mars Hill Church have talked about Mark Driscoll exploding in rage at them–screaming at them, threatening them, belittling them, insulting them, and generally cutting them down to size so he could trample them more effectively. He is the very last human being on the planet who gets to put on a sanctimonious Jesus Smile and tell people to be patient and kind.
Boastful, Proud, Envying.
3. Do I celebrate the success of others instead of jealously envying others?
4. Am I a secure person who does not boast about myself?
5. Am I humble instead of arrogant and proud?
The Seattle Times article about Driscoll has him calling himself “The Brand” embodying Mars Hill Church, claiming that “me in the pulpit holding the Bible” would always be the public image of the megachurch. His board of elders also characterized Driscoll as “being guilty of arrogance.” Mark Driscoll did not dispute that accusation, either, according to his resignation letter.
As far as celebrating the success of others, he once threatened to destroy the new church that one of his church’s former elders had started, saying he’d “tear his church down brick by brick.” And of those who failed to listen to his message, here’s a YouTube capture of one of his sermons in which he says, “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.” And that’s probably the least inflammatory thing he says on that capture. (The worst? He referred to two recently-fired Mars Hill elders as being some of those “dead bodies” that had had to be put “through the wood chipper.”)
The top comment on that capture, by the way, was from “Mitch Nichols,” who tells us that “after six months attending Mars Hill. . . I can say that this man is not only evil, maniacal, but also a cult leader.” This guy is seriously the last person who gets to sanctimoniously opine about being humble!
Interpersonal Skills: Needs Improvement.
6. Are my words and actions thoughtful rather than rude?
7. Do I allow others to have their way instead of demanding my own way?
8. Am I easygoing instead of irritable and grumpy?
In one of the Stranger’s writeups of Mark Driscoll, we find an interesting anecdote told by Liam McPherson, who quit Driscoll’s megachurch back in 2005. He had kept some copies of his onetime pastor’s various bizarre sermons. But a few years later, one of Driscoll’s assistants asked him to destroy those documents–and Mr. McPherson thinks this request was made because they’d be very damaging to Driscoll’s already shattered credibility. Mr. McPherson told the assistant that if Driscoll wanted that, he could bloody well call him up and ask for that favor himself.
Then Mr. McPherson ends the anecdote with a curious statement about Driscoll: he refers to Driscoll as having an attitude of “you’re going to submit to me or else.” The “or else,” he explained, was “getting kicked out of the church” and an implication that Driscoll might actually come over to beat up the person who’d refused his controlling demands. Though Driscoll had initially been “a pretty humble guy,” that changed once “he started believing his own press.”
Warren Throckmorton’s noted that Mars Hill Church under Driscoll’s watch liked to abuse non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) by having abused, victimized staff members sign them to prevent them from ever speaking out about what they’d suffered at that church, which doesn’t exactly speak highly of Mark Driscoll’s willingness to let others have their way either.Dude needs to take kindergarten over again, for reals.
Longsuffering? Sure. Totes.
9. Am I a forgiving person who is not resentful or bitter?
10. Do I want good for others instead of rejoicing at wrongdoing and the suffering of others?
11. Do I rejoice at the truth even if it exposes something bad about me?
12. Am I a longsuffering person who bears all things in relationship with God and others?
Ron Wheeler, who describes himself in an open letter to Mark Driscoll as one of the then-megapastor’s closest friends and earliest followers, had quite a bit to say on this topic. He wrote about how Driscoll “slandered and maligned the men and women we worked with behind their backs.” Mr. Wheeler was also devastated about the way that Driscoll literally swiped ideas from him without credit–but that was just one of many things he had to learn to live with if he wanted to maintain their relationship.
When Mr. Wheeler appealed to Driscoll for spiritual help and advice about a private matter, he wrote that Driscoll “dropped the hammer” on him–and then when Driscoll’s directions weren’t followed to the letter, he “came unglued” and “cursed [Mr. Wheeler] up one side and down the other,” “threatened and berated” him, and talked to him in “vicious and startling” ways that he’d never in his life heard anybody use with him. He went on to describe Driscoll’s leadership regarding the Eldership (a council of veteran, older members of Mars Hill formed to provide Driscoll much-needed advice and feedback, one which the megapastor instead clearly regarded as a tribe of yes-men) as “irresponsible and reckless.” He described Driscoll’s leadership with terms like “slander, threats, and verbal abuse” and “ugly, slanderous, defaming lies.” (Yay! Correct use of an Oxford comma! I notice weird things sometimes, I admit.)
Cracks in the megapastor’s armor began showing in 2013 after a completely botched interview with a radio host accusing him of plagiarism. But then more cracks appeared–with shorter and shorter gaps between each new one. After that interview, which probably has Driscoll eating his own liver even today over his mishandling of it, his decision to purchase a position on bestseller lists came out–and then from there people began asking some serious questions about exactly how he handled his church’s money and how he behaved as a whole (questions which Driscoll characterized as people “challeng[ing] various aspects of my personality and leadership” in ways that he didn’t feel were completely merited, which totally fits into the directive to “rejoice at the truth”).
Driscoll decided to take a six-week leave of absence from Mars Hill when the worst of it seemed to have come to light. The Elders wrangled control over the failing megachurch system from him and even suggested a path to restoration of his pastor role–through working with the elders to improve his glaring personality flaws. They didn’t fire him or even ask him to quit, but he almost immediately quit out from under them when it became obvious to all that Mars Hill Church was no longer Mark Driscoll’s private fiefdom. Ron Wheeler and a number of other Christians associated with Mars Hill spoke about their shock and appalled indignation over Mark Driscoll’s reaction to the Elders of his church demanding oversight over his behavior. Mars Hill Church ended up closing entirely not too long afterward.
Yep, quitting rather than accepting any kind of oversight or correction is definitely my definition of being longsuffering. (And that bit about NDAs from the above section definitely fits the question about rejoicing even about unflattering personal revelations!) (/s)
Believing and Enduring? Umm…
13. Do I believe all the things that God says?
14. Do I continue to have hope for God to work in all things?
15. Do I endure all things, even the toughest parts of life?
Jim Henderson, described by the Stranger as “a longtime Mars Hill observer but never a member,” noted that as Mars Hill disintegrated under allegations of abuse and dangerous cult-like control-grabs from the topmost levels of leadership all the way down, its downfall was “jeopardizing the reputations of Christians–it’s already difficult in Seattle for people to take Christians seriously. Now we have to contend with this guy.”
After Mars Hill Church closed, of course, Mark Driscoll characterized his onetime church’s disintegration as being everyone else’s fault but his own. He also claimed that the elders of Mars Hill Church had specifically wanted to break up the megachurch into individual churches–a claim that’s been resoundingly denied by everyone else involved directly with the church’s leadership.
The last thing Mark Driscoll could be said to be is “enduring.” The moment his life at Mars Hill Church got tough, he got going–right out of the state!
Mark Driscoll took that iconic 80s song the whole wrong way.
Considering the deep level of hypocrisy that Mark Driscoll’s managed to hit in his brief time on this planet, as well, it seems unlikely that he actually believes in anything the Bible has to say. As I’ve said, the behavior of Christians is one of the best indicators we have that they don’t think anything in the Bible is worth taking seriously, especially not its threats about what’ll happen to those who violate its many rules.
The iconic Patton Oswalt routine touching on this idea.
FINALLY: A Hit! A Very Palpable Hit!
On his very last question, he finally scores a hit in asking if the person being evaluated for love is actually a currently-believing Christian.
16. Does my love for God or others keep going no matter what, and not come to an end?
This trait is one of the three qualifications of being a TRUE CHRISTIAN™. (The full list: the person (1) believes all the important stuff that the Christian using the term believes; (2) hasn’t been caught doing something the Christian using the term thinks is totally out-of-bounds; and (3) dies in the traces.) The second someone deconverts, it doesn’t matter how fervent they were or how much time, energy, and money they gave to their church. They left, and that instantly and irrevocably invalidates any claim they might have had about being a TRUE CHRISTIAN™ at one time.
So when Mark Driscoll specifically picks out this quality as being the ultimate mark of someone truly loving, it’s probably the only one he actually hits in his own personal life. Hooray, Team Jesus! Mark Driscoll hasn’t visibly deconverted yet!
But around here, we’re very well accustomed to seeing Christians behave in obscenely hurtful and hateful ways. Being a currently-believing and active Christian is in no way a mark of a person’s loving character, any more than not being a Christian is a mark of someone’s lack of love or inability to love. Toxic Christians love to imagine that this is the case, but nobody outside their particular tribe would agree.
So Mark Driscoll’s given the world 16 quiz questions about love and he can answer “yes” to exactly one of those questions. And this total and complete hypocrite thinks that he is totally qualified to tell other Christians how to be a loving person!
The funniest part is that this quiz of his is clearly intended to be given by parents to their own children. It’s “based upon” previously-written work he’s got on his own private blog, which is probably why it sounds marginally more coherent and better-written than most of his own freshly-written stuff.
Wait, wait, I was wrong. By far the funniest part of this post is that he seriously thinks Jesus could have said “yes” to every single question:
Jesus is patient and kind; Jesus does not envy or boast; Jesus is not arrogant or rude. Jesus does not insist on His own way; Jesus is not irritable or resentful; Jesus does not rejoice at wrongdoing, Jesus rejoices with the truth. Jesus bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Jesus never ends.
I suppose only time will tell if Christians really have so little discernment concerning the people in their leadership that they’d flock back to the leadership of this wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Tell me, friends: since Mark Driscoll still doesn’t want to expose himself to unwanted (but much-needed) criticism by opening his blog up to comments, what oh what would you say to this post of his if you only could?
Fundagelical U. is back in session tomorrow — see you then! Bring your notebooks!
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