I cannot worship the hippie, diaper, halo Christ
because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up."
In the latest transformation of theology and within Right Wing Christian circles, the cult of "Rambo Jesus" has emerged as the theology du jour: Fmr. Gen. Jerry Boykin recently characterized the Second Coming as Jesus carrying an AR-15.
Blasphemous to many, the cult has nonetheless become a small epidemic, a virus spread by "emerging church" ministers who want to take on an aggressive, take-no-prisoners stance against progressive Christians, atheists and other religions. It has a "become Christian or suffer the consequences" strategy that relies on strict obedience.
Master of Misogyny
Mark Driscoll and his Mars Hill Church (Seattle) came on the scene in 1996. At first the start of "church planting" endeavor, it seemed to grow exponentially, from 11 churches in 1998 to 410 by 2011. Along with Acts 29 (the church planting network) and it's growth, however, other things began to grow: organization, workload ... and Driscoll's ego. Driscoll divested himself of some responsibility, but not the attendant fame and notoriety. He became known as the "cussing pastor", the "Holy Hipster" and the "Rush Limbaugh of Evangelism" as well as an ardent proponent of "Rambo Jesus":
The problem with our churches today is that the lead pastor is some sissy boy who wears cardigan sweaters, has The Carpenters dialed in on his iPod, gets his hair cut at a salon instead of a barber shop, hasn’t been to an Ultimate Fighting match, works out on an elliptical machine instead of going to isolated regions of Russia like in Rocky IV in order to harvest lumber with his teeth, and generally swishes around like Jack from Three’s Company whenever Mr. Roper was around.”
He also became known for out-and-out misogyny: when Driscoll and his wife, Grace, published a book entitled Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship & Life Together, it raised eyebrows not only because it described sex in graphic terms (and OK'd formerly taboo subjects like anal sex), but because:
"Grace [Driscoll] is often cast as the damaged and sinful wife who withholds sex from her deserving husband, Mark the hero who is justified in leaving his wife but instead comes along to rescue her." (Rachel Held Evans)
Jezebel ("Worst Guy Ever")
Women will be saved by going back to that role that God has chosen for them. Ladies, if the hair on the back of your neck stands up it is because you are fighting your role in the scripture.
They're quarrelsome. They're a nag. And some women — you're a nag. You're disrespectful. You're quarrelsome. Being married to you is like a life sentence, and the guy's just scratching on his wall every day.
First, masturbation can be a form of homosexuality because it is a sexual act that does not involve a woman. If a man were to masturbate while engaged in other forms of sexual intimacy with his wife then he would not be doing so in a homosexual way. However, any man who does so without his wife in the room is bordering on homosexuality activity, particularly if he's watching himself in a mirror and being turned on by his own male body.Driscoll's blog also had a turn at Ted Haggard's predicament:
"A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband is not responsible for her husband's sin, but she may not be helping him, either,"In early January of this year, it was easy for this writer to give Mark Driscoll the Righteous Arrogance Award simply because of this tweet:
Father, Son and Spirit. But some chicks and some chickified dudes with limp wrists and minors in 'women's studies' are not happy because two persons of the trinity have a dude-ish ring."
Of course, along with the misogyny, the homophobia naturally follows: Driscoll's touting of MMA (mixed martial arts fighting) for "real" men got people to thinking about Driscoll's own sexuality*:
Religion Dispatches (Elizabeth Drescher)
So it is, of course, ironic that the churches and pastors who are touting MMA are doing so in order to inject some masculinity into American Christianity. What they seem to be missing—or maybe just what they refuse to admit—is that they’ve chosen the one sport on the American scene that is highly sexually charged. And the sexuality in MMA is not hetero.Anatomy Of A Fall
Driscoll's fall from grace could be traced in these steps:
- Janet Mefferd, super Right-Wing Christian radio talk show host accuses Driscoll of plagiarism.
- Real Marriage's bestseller status is discovered to be engineered by ResultSource, Inc., a company paid over $210,000 by Mars Hill (not Driscoll).
- Acts 29 Network removed Driscoll and Mars Hill from its membership
- 21 former Mars Hill Pastors charge Driscoll with abusive behavior and creating a "Culture of Fear"
- 80 members of Mars Hill allege lack of financial transparency.
- Lifeway Christian Stores drops all of Driscoll's books
- After Driscoll dismisses facebook criticisms because they are "anonymous", former Mars Hill members stage a protest:
A Long, Long Hiatus
Last Sunday, Driscoll stepped down from his role in Mars Hill for "six weeks" while a range of charges are being "investigated." He has also insinuated that, at the request of Acts 29 and others, he is "seeking help". Earlier this year, he stated:
In the last year or two, I have been deeply convicted by God that my angry-young-prophet days are over, to be replaced by a helpful, Bible-teaching spiritual father.
The range and intensity of the allegations, however, belie the possibility of a mere six-week hiatus: Driscoll's anger-management issues alone will take months (if not years) to resolve. He may have to cut back on his core belief in "Rambo Jesus," the theology that made him famous in the first place. In terms of therapy, Driscoll has a long, long way to go.
And his forgiveness may be a long time in coming.
Hollis Phelps, Religion Dispatches
All of which is to say, any criticism of Driscoll should also be directed at the system that allowed him to emerge in the first place. Driscoll may certainly be an extreme case among evangelical leaders and evangelical culture more generally, but we should not understand him as an exception.
The "system" Phelps refers to is one in which obedience and control are keys to a theology that strives to gain a foothold among an already strident American Fundamentalism.
an pobvious fail
*My husband, btw, who is a master at judging male anatomy proportions (even fully clothed) has opined that Mark Driscoll is definitely compensating for something. That may sound like a cheap shot, but given Driscoll's cheap shots at women and gays, it might be fitting.