Monday, November 13, 2006

Fluffy Baby Bunnies: Unite! (Action on Dec. 3)

In the days following the Ted Haggard scandal, I became aware (thank you, Bobbi) of a blog entry made by Mark Driscoll, pastor of the Mars Hill megachurch in Seattle. As he responded to what had happened in Colorado Springs, Driscoll offered what he described as “encouragement” and “practical suggestions for fellow Christian leaders, especially young men.” Of note: this excerpt from the second bullet point (boldface mine).

DRISCOLL: Most pastors I know do not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives. At the risk of being even more widely despised than I currently am, I will lean over the plate and take one for the team on this. It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband’s sin, but she may not be helping him either.

Unbelievably, this was written in response to Ted Haggard’s situation. I would be remiss if I didn’t suggest that possibly Ted Haggard’s problem (besides the drugs) is not that he stepped out on a wife who had “let herself go” (Gayle Haggard is an attractive woman), but that he was acting upon homosexual desires with a gay prostitute and then lying about it. I must also point out that women and wives are not property, but unique individuals who should be encouraged to do (and generally want to do, given sufficient resources and circumstances) whatever they can to take care of themselves -- not because they can then better service their husbands, but because doing so may help them to realize their own hopes for health and happiness.

For obvious reasons, Driscoll’s post was upsetting and maddening to me. Helen at Conversation at the Edge unpacks it nicely. I've never been to his church, but his reputation for doing harm is far-reaching here on the West coast. I know a therapist in Seattle who has had many former Mars Hill Church members as clients, and who has told me that those are consistently the most wounded and unhealthy (as a direct result of Driscoll's teachings) clients seen in that practice. Women, in particular, seem to suffer greatly as a result of his doctrine.

Driscoll has a national reputation as well, as indicated by this Salon article. It's interesting to note what this woman, Ally – a former parishioner at Mars Hill Church has to say.

Made newly aware of Mark's teachings, and of the damage he is reportedly doing, I checked on his blog the other day and found this post, in which he mocks Katharine Jefferts-Schori's appointment as Episcopalian bishop.

DRISCOLL (again): All of this has led this blogger to speculate that if Christian males do not man up soon, the Episcopalians may vote a fluffy baby bunny rabbit as their next bishop to lead God’s men. When asked for their perspective, some bunny rabbits simply said that they have been discriminated against long enough and that people need to "Get over it."

This is a perfect example of why and how women are still being hurt by Christianity, why long-time people of faith (like me) feel embarrassed at being associated with the contemporary Christian church. This is also why I'm going to try very hard to attend this protest. For the opportunity to simply say: Enough is enough!

For related theological debate, see also: Urban Abbess. My favorite line in comments (#133) "I ask you: was the scriptures made for humanity or humanity for scriptures?"


Blogger relevantgirl said...

There was lots of lively discussion about the wives-being-available quote on my blog:

and then my response here:

I'm so disturbed by some of the apparent misogyny as well as stereotyping that is becoming prevalent in some corners of the church.

11:36 PM  
Blogger ShariMacD said...

Great posts, Mary! I love them both, especially the one that serves as your response. Thanks for your strong, wise voice in this crucial dialogue.

11:50 PM  
Blogger relevantgirl said...

Thanks so much, Shari. Driscoll's comments made me love my husband all the more. He read two of his books and said, "You know, I think Driscoll has some issues with manhood and women." I'm thankful he sees things critically and doesn't jump on an author's bandwagon quickly.

1:28 AM  
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