Recently, the Evangelical community was shocked by revelations that Pastor Mark Driscoll made intensely controversial statements (on an anonymous internet forum) some 15-years-ago. If you need some context for the outrage, he ranted about women and homosexuals.
(Here’s the post I wrote about it. You may want to read it first, since it contains direct quotes.)
I’ve tried explaining that not EVERYBODY takes deep offense to colorfully-phrased opinions–that it’s actually more of a cultural preference to expect a thick coating of niceness slathered over every conversation.
(“A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down!” I guess the British like that approach, too.)
Most people want speakers/writers to avoid certain terms altogether, and then heavily use phrases like “in my opinion” or “that’s just how I see it.” This makes things..,just…nicer.
On the other hand, I argue: It’s not wrong to cut to the chase, and spell out your beliefs with a little added “shock” on top. Certainly, it doesn’t make a person crazy, the way Rachel Held Evans claims…
But I know several of you are waiting to object.
“Okay, Amanda. Maybe shock-style isn’t MORALLY WRONG. But, compared with Mark Driscoll’s angry tirade, there are much better ways to make a point.”
(*wistful sigh*) If I had a dime for every time I said something similar, when I first got married. My Life Motto goes something like this: “Some things are black and white–and then, in between, there are thousands of possibilities ranging from totally ridiculous to much, much better.” (Guess which methods I found “totally ridiculous” as a newlywed: my own or Luke’s? Go ahead, guess.)
Here’s a sample conversation:
Me: Thanks for washing the dishes, Honey.
Luke: (*as he’s still rinsing the last few*) You’re welcome.
Me: You know, I usually fill the sink with water instead of washing and rinsing under a constantly-running tap.
Luke: Oh, do you?
*He continues doing it his way.*
Me: Yeah, it really conserves more water. Ya can’t go wrong saving money!
Luke: Well, you should keep doing it that way…
*He continues letting the water run, and washing each dish individually.*
Me: (*shuffles feet*) Is there a reason you won’t do it my way?
Luke: (*shrugging calmly*) This is how I wash dishes.
Me: …Yeah… (*cough*)…but I just explained to you why my way is better!
Luke: (*still calm and matter-of-fact*) You can’t always be so logical.
Me: (*losing it*) YES YOU CAN! That’s what life is ALL ABOUT! When something makes sense, we do it! Without logic, what is there!?!? WHY would you choose to waste water and money if there’s a better way?!?!
Luke: (*also getting frustrated*) How did we go from, “Thanks for doing the dishes” to “you’re doing it wrong,” that quickly? Why can’t I just do what works for me?
Me: Becaaaaaaaause, I have good reasons for my method–and you don’t have any!
Luke: (*regaining composure and returning to the dishes*) I DO have a good reason: this is how I do the dishes.
I know, I know. You’re ready to object again. “Buuuuut, Amanda, there is a very big difference between appropriate dish-washing and appropriate speech. Mark Driscoll crossed a line.”
Are you sure about that? So, you’re ready to say that Driscoll was definitely, unequivocally sinning, by hitting “send” on his angry comments?
If there is one thing I’ve learned in marriage, it’s that different people do things differently, and it doesn’t always make sense. Sometimes I don’t understand.
And I totally would be willing to agree that some techniques are just better than others–and we should just ask Mark Driscoll to BE NICER when he talks–because it MAKES MORE SENSE…
EXCEPT, unfortunately, Jesus throws in a stumbling block. (As He is known to do.)
I just don’t know how to handle His whole Temple-Table-Flipping thing.
We’re so used to reading the story that we’re sort of numbed to the extremism involved. But make no mistake: if Jesus waltzed into your church foyer today and put on the display He did 2000 years ago, it would make news.
People would be horrified.
Jesus–waving a gun over his head–starts yelling at the pastor and Sunday school teacher. He calls a few people names and accuses them of horrible crimes against God. Then he dumps the coffee on the floor and pops the balloons on his way out…
Let me repeat: He was wielding a weapon and shouting at people!
I am NOT comfortable with this.
Rachel Held Evans would have called Jesus a “psycho” and demanded He seek counseling.
And, if Jesus were a true diplomat, interested in keeping the peace, He might comply. He might seek help for his anger problem.
That exchange might go like this:
Counselor: So, tell me about your outburst, Jesus.
Jesus: My people have eyes but can’t see. They have ears but can’t hear. Somehow, I need to get their attention.
Counselor: But you understand you’ve caused a scandal, right? Some people think you’ve gone too far!
Jesus: Those walking in darkness will find light painful at first.
Counselor: Well, if you really want people to listen, it helps to be gentle–and earn their trust! It works muuuuuuuch better than raging in like a bull.
Jesus: No doubt, there are situations which require tenderness. “Do unto others,” and all that.
Counselor: Sooooo, you want people to call you names and throw your drink on the floor?
Jesus: I want people to love Truth with a fiery passion.
Counselor: (*sigh*) Just answer me this, Jesus. WHY be so rough this time? WHY cause a scene and scare people, if there’s a better way?
Jesus: Better according to whom, Friend…? (*shrugs*) I AM what I AM.
So, there you have it. Jesus sought help for His issues, and they’re worse than we thought. He won’t even try to explain Himself. He just says, “This is how I wash dishes.”
It’s not how I would have done it…
As far as I’m concerned, there’s not much logic to it.
My Jesus just isn’t easily understood.