Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The "wink" discussion continues....

I have been reading a lot of comments about Driscoll's use of the word heretic and other adjectives. I commented a little here and there, but the discussion below was long enough that I wanted to give it some more air time. I don't know the person I was trading words with but, overall, I felt it was a civil discussion (compared to some of the other stuff going on out there, whew!)

ryan said:

Maybe you all should start “winking” at Pagitt since he is doing the very thing you all are so up in arms about. How is it that no one has a problem with him calling Jonny Mac’s gospel “harmful” and “dangerous” but when Driscoll does it he is mean and a bully? Oh wait maybe I can answer my own question, because Pagitt right!

Andrew said:

C’mon Ryan, don’t be so partisan. If Driscoll had said, “I believe their views are harmful and dangerous”, then so be it. I may disagree, but fine, we can do that. Driscoll went into personal digs. If you go to any site on “bullying”, one of the suggestions is to turn the bully’s comment into a joke. Perhaps the better response would have been to ignore Driscoll. He may be a Christian bully, but the man is still a bully. A bully needs someone to pick on. Half his audience would be lost if he quit picking on people. It’s like watching a wreck. Various emergent folks could go on just fine without the likes of a Driscoll. Could he say the same? Does he need someone to be against in order to have a platform?

ryan said:

Andrew I think your comment is the one that is partisan. Truth is if you listen to the message Driscoll actually gave he did his best to muster up humility and grace. Was he perfect no. Did he use humor that could be interpreted as “personal digs” possibly. The point is Driscoll gave it an earnest attempt to address serious matters that he felt were important. Just because he is not as likable as McLaren does not mean he deserves to just be caricatured and turned into a joke. Funny thing is when Pagitt does something like this and you are content to make excuses for it, and not hold him to the same standard; it just shows that many in the EV have an attitude of we can dish it out but not take it. Conversation is fine but it involves more than a wink.

Andrew said:

Would any response other than “Gee, Driscoll is right and fair. How did we miss it this whole time?” be acceptable? Also, the dish it out but can’t take it doesn’t work. You are not dishing it out if you are responding. Without the initiator, there would be no response. The “truth” is that all of the anti-emergent people are running around the blogs complaining that they don’t like the way some emergents are responding to attacks. This sounds like some of my elementary students who smack someone and if that person has the audacity to smack them back, they run up and tell on them (conveniently leaving out the part of their instigation).

Driscoll’s likability has nothing to do with it. I know plenty of unlikable people who are civil.

Also, please address my point about Driscoll needing someone to attack. Again, I state that in these scenarios, anti-emergents are complaining about responses to attacks. How about finding a new target to kick and then responses will be immaterial.

Lewis says that evil cannot succeed in being evil the way good can being good. Evil is not original, it can only exist as a corruption of good. Evil needs good, but good does not need evil. In the Harry Potter series, Harry could go on fine in life without Crabbe and Goyle (Malfoy’s two thugs), but they could not go on without Harry (or someone like him). Their nature requires an enemy, someone to be against, or better yet - someone to beat down. Without someone to shove below them, Crabbe and Goyle would not know what to do with themselves.

I think emergent folks could go on fine without anti-emergents, but without emergents the antis would not know what to do with themselves.

ryan said:


Wow you just don’t get it. This is not about changing your mind or making you agree with everything that Driscoll says. I honestly do not care at the end of the day, and that is not meant to be snotty. My point simply remains that when critique comes it deserves more than a “wink.” Like Driscoll or not his talk was civil, and addressed concerns that he sincerely held about the theological errors of some prominent Christian leaders. And yes the dish it out but can’t take it does work, when Pagitt calls another prominent Christian leader out on his understanding of the gospel, it is strangely silent from the emergent crowd, and double standardish, that he is not being labeled a bully for doing so. And the conservative blogs I have read have chosen not to wink at Pagitt’s comments but instead engage them. Sooner or later Emergents will have to decide if conversation means more than agree with us or we will just mock you and say you are being mean.

As to your point about Driscoll only being an antagonist, I suggest you do a little more research. What the guy is about is clear, Jesus. The guy preaches Jesus every week at this church and points people toward Jesus. Thousands of people have been pointed to Jesus by him in Seattle and seem to be able to figure out what he is for. Or how about one of the fastest growing church planting networks in the country that he founded. I think they know what he stands for; planting churches and seeing people’s lives changed by Jesus. Maybe it is really easy for you to cynically dismiss this, but the guy stands for a lot. You just have to read something else than Adam’s blog.

Last, to compare Driscoll and “anti-emergents” to evil is just absurd. First because I do not know what an “anti-emergent” is, and second because comparing people to evil is to miss that our enemies are not flesh and blood. I get that you are trying to say that Driscoll, just like Malfoy needs an antagonist to exist, but as I pointed out above that hardly seems to be the case. Because while many emergents continue to wink at one and other Driscoll just keeps planting churches, giving money to start churches in India, and point people toward Jesus. Andrew I truly hope that you would understand my intent here is not to say Driscoll has it all figured out, there is a lot you can critique him for. But to just dismiss and mock him is below any group who claim to be progressive and open minded. I am simply asking you to live by your values of possibly believing that Jesus might, just might, be working through those you consider to be antagonists.

Andrew said:

I can appreciate that, and I appreciate your attitude. My one contention would be “how about one of the fastest growing church planting networks in the country that he founded.” I really, really wish we could stop using that as a barometer either of success, or lack of it. If Driscoll is in the will of God… he is simply a servant in the will of God. No more or no less than the guy or gal who is stumbling through a church plant that can hardly get off the ground. Or better yet, let us remove the pastor as celebrity altogether. If numbers are the indicator, we should all be heading to the next Benny Hinn crusade.

I suggest you do a little more research.” The thing is, I have heard him… and every time he has a rip for somebody. Even many of his supporters say he runs off at the mouth, but they balance it off with everything good he does. He has a reputation in this regard, and it is not a good one.

The thing teaching for 16 years has shown me is that the only difference between 10-12 year olds and adults is their height and weight. I have a bully in my class right now. There is this kid the bully does not like, and yet the bully cannot stay away from this kid. He sidles up next to him to pester him every chance he gets. I tell my students that they do not all have to be best friends, but that every student has a right to feel safe in our room.

Driscoll doesn’t have to like Mclaren and his crowd. No one is asking them to be buds. I think though that it is bullyish behavior to behave how Driscoll behaves. He reminds me of the bully in my class who cannot stay away from the kid he claims not to like.

I don’t care for Driscoll, but I am not registering a domain. I simply don’t buy his books or listen to his preaching. If he doesn’t like Emergent… QUIT LISTENING. By saying the things he says, he just prejudices people against Rob Bell who have never even heard of him. I think we should let people hear and make their own judgments. If you read a Bell book and you don’t care for it… great! Move on to something else that helps your walk with Jesus. But you are nothing more than a bully if you then choose to follow Bell around and through rocks at his head. And if an emergent pulls the same stunt, I would be calling him on it too. And if I do it, let me have it.

I am simply asking you to live by your values of possibly believing that Jesus might, just might, be working through those you consider to be antagonists.” I don’t argue that point at all. I do not doubt that God works through clay vessels. I just believe that when he quit talking about Jesus and started attacking his brothers in Christ with heretic and deep shi*, it was time for him get off the podium and have a time out. And if he cannot get into a podium without using it as a bully pulpit, he needs to stay out until he can.

Andrew said:

One last one, cause this was your main point but I got lost in my pontification. “My point simply remains that when critique comes it deserves more than a “wink.

Agreed, but I think that was just the catalyst. This response page alone has generated tons of discussion. In total, the written discussion on this topic the past few days over the net has created volumes. Probably though, most folks have the same opinion they started with, but perhaps there was some movement. I am not nearly as attitudinal toward Mark as I was yesterday. ;)

ryan said:

Good remarks and thanks for taking the time to engage, plus after your line how could I not enjoy your response. Truth is I think we just have a different view on the nature of what it is to confront teaching that we view to be harmful. It seems your approach is one of live and let live, while mine might be more proactive. Now I do not know for sure which is right, maybe neither is. But I do believe and I think you do to, that these are serious matters that deserve serious consideration.

And another way to look at Driscoll that I think is worth consideration is not as bully but as untactful spouse. Truth is as a married fellow, I often do dumb stuff that frustrates and exasperates my wife. When she comes to confront me, I can either find one little thing in her approach or tone as a justification to dismiss her valid complaints. Now even if a spouse lacks tact and does not say things as well as they would always like, we still are obliged to listen carefully to their comments. All I was saying is that this whole winking thing reminded me of the times I dismiss what someone has to say just because of their delivery, even though I knew they were trying hard and they had some points worth considering.

Just one last point. It was not my intent to equate Driscoll’s success with God’s blessing or signs of his rightness. I could not agree more with you that numbers are not the only or primary indicator of the working of God. I simply listed the profound impact his church planting organization was having because it is a clear indictment of what the guy is about. It shows fruit that is not related to simply being an antagonist, but actually being for something.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes Andrew it was a pretty civil discussion compared to some other ones that took place!


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