Mark Driscoll Kicks His Own Ass

07/01/2008


By Jesse Benjamin

Mark Driscoll, Pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, took a dramatic stand against girly men at a Pastor’s Conference in Houston last week.

The conference, called “re:tool and re:load,” previously billed as “jesus 2.0,” featured speakers from around the country with the stated focus of “Making the Gospel and Missiology Relevant to Post Modern Culture.” Speaking at the last session of the conference, Driscoll focused his three-and-a-half-hour talk on the need for pastors to be more alpha.

“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.”

Driscoll Hands

Pacing the stage in a vaguely threatening manner, Driscoll focused on Biblical examples. “Jesus and Paul were serious dudes. They had teeth missing. Jesus was a carpenter, Paul was in prison. These guys didn’t eat tofu dogs and bean sprouts. They didn’t play tennis. If there were trucks back in their times, they would have been doing driveway lube jobs on a Saturday afternoon. Same thing with King David. Yeah, he might have played a lyre, but he slaughtered thousands of guys.”

The 300 pastors from around the country roared with approval, even though many of them had heard the same labored formulations at previous conferences called “reGeneration” and “resurge and reform.”

“At the Re:Ignite conference he talked about how Jesus and Peter didn’t wear matching sweatshirts that said ‘Best Buds’,” said John Kinston, a conference attendee who was live-blogging the event.

Kinston is emblematic of the many young pastors who support Driscoll. He planted Kiona Community Church three years ago in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. He attends 37 Mark Driscoll conferences each year, because he said he needs the support of fellow church planters and the inspiration of steroidal statistics.

“Numbers aren’t important, but we’ve grown 81.7% a year since our launch date and I still can’t get the guys to step up and be warriors," said Kinston. "We want to love our city and we can’t do that with a bunch of pansies who would rather play video games than go to a monster truck rally or tattoo their faces like Mike Tyson.

Driscoll Mullet

“At last year’s Converging Conference, Driscoll talked about standing up when you piss and I got really excited. We started a men’s-only Bible Accountability Group. It was a combination of scripture study and Muy Thai Stick Fighting. It was great for a few weeks, until my worship pastor lost an eye. I had to make a tough call then and there: no more Muy Thai Stick Fighting at Kiona Community without protective face gear. I still think it might have been a spiritual compromise.”

In Houston, Driscoll was intent on making absolutely clear that he is in favor of masculinity. At the 2 hour, 15 minute mark, he invited five pastors from the audience to take the stage, put his hands behind his back, stuck out his chin, and said, “Hit me with your best shot. Go on. I won’t hit you back. I want to show everyone what this is all about.” When none of the five took a swing, Driscoll had them escorted from the building and proceeded to hit himself five times.

Driscoll Punch

“This is what being a pastor is about, guys. If you can’t handle it, go back to teaching yoga or playing My Little Pony with the other girls.”

The rest of the session followed the same general tone, with Driscoll ridiculing insulated coffee cups, haiku and dental floss as feminine while extolling athletic cups, tobacco spit and broken load-bearing bones as being “essential for a pastor.”

The blogosphere heated up quickly in the wake of Driscoll’s talk. At Jesuswasaman.blogspot.com, one post read, “This is the only thing that will turn back the tide of the Church’s decline in America. Until more guys step up and start punching themselves in the face, people will continue to leave the Church.”

Driscoll’s detractors had their say as well. At thereisaplacefordriscollinhellbesidehitler.wordpress.com, Angel23 said, “It doesn’t matter that Driscoll’s church has 6,000 people coming to worship God, if he continues to use words like sissy he will be smited.”

Driscoll turned down our request for an interview, saying, “Interviews are for wimpy guys who wear Sans-a-Belt slacks and chew sugar-free gum.”


Comments(448)

Sarah | 07:45 pm on 7/03/2008

I appreciate your comment and fully agree...
The most "manly" men I know are both strong, and kind, and completely at ease with themselves (i.e. they don't need to talk about their gender all the time or try to make other people the same as them, rather they go about the good kingdom work set before them). Through their strength and kindness they have revealed these aspects of God to me. They have a security that I believe comes from experiencing God's love and acceptance, and I hope MD can find that. As it is now, he reminds me of a little boy, blustering and trying to intimidate others because he feels, well, little. May he know God's deep love for all of him.

Anonymous | 09:02 am on 7/02/2008

"Remember, I'm still a guy." Brad Paisley

THUNDER | 09:07 am on 7/02/2008

JUST LIKE JESUS.....YEA, RIGHT??? WHAT A CROCK!! THE CHURCH IS BECOMING EXACTLY LIKE THE WORLD! YOU CAN HARDLY TELL THE DIFFERENCE ANYMORE. PASTOR'S ARE LIKE CEO'S AND ARE ACCOUNTABLE TO NO ONE!! IT'S ALL ABOUT GREED AND MONEY....NOT GOD!!

Joe Louthan | 09:24 am on 7/02/2008

Yea David played a lyre but I like to think the lyre as a Bible times version of the guitar.

In other words, David taking out lions, bears, giants and soldiers while knowing some serious riffs...

... that would make him METALLLLLLL!

Cynth The Poet | 12:44 pm on 7/02/2008

No, that would make him Ted Nugent...for God!

SRebbe | 09:26 am on 7/02/2008

I am so behind in my work thanks to an evil rule in Outlook... I will have to go back and read everything... but I just love the title. and I fully agree with you, Thunder! there are many CEOs who believe that they are following the Truth, Light, and The Way because their wallets are fat and full and "I shall not want". (pretty sure this isn't what David meant.)

pastors too fall into this trap often. but they're way too easy a target because they don't move quickly enough. if at all.

we are some fat, lazy sheep.

Joe Louthan | 09:28 am on 7/02/2008

Lisa,

You hit it on the head, we lost it because we became self-centered.

We men have to man up.

But it is not about doing manly things, it starts at God teaching us how to be men and then showing others the love of Christ through us.

It is our God-given strength, courage, commitment, endurance and leadership that makes leaders in our family, protectors of our community and the first to bow at the knee and worship and love God.

But it is only by God that we men are all those things and so much more. Without God, we can do nothing. Without God, we are nothing.

Anonymous | 10:05 am on 7/02/2008

I don't know if this Mars Hill Church is related to the Mars Hill Graduate School up there in Seattle, but if it is, that "seminary" is full of crackpots. My sister took a class under Dan Allender, their "president", and he basically told her in the most unkind, unloving, un-Christlike manner possible that she needed therapy, lots of drugs and explicitly that she was "pretty screwed up". That's the kind of reaction I suppose one would want in a professor of counseling.

Anonymous | 05:45 pm on 11/17/2008

No they are definitely not connected, random coincidence.

Anonymous | 10:08 am on 7/02/2008

The church is not related to the graduate school

jersey | 10:15 am on 7/02/2008

Mars Hill Church in Seattle is NO WAY associated with the MH Graduate School. it's kind of scary that two such polar opposites would have the same name, but Acts 17 isn't exactly copyrighted if you kwim.

The Rob | 10:18 am on 7/02/2008

I don't often comment on the articles; however, I do feel people like Driscoll only encourage the knuckle-dragging, myopic male stereotype. How does killing 300 people make you more of a man? Most of the true men I've known stand up for what is right, but do it not encourage violence. Gandhi was a real man; Martin Luther King, Jr. was a real man (neither of whom I knew, but are good examples). People who identify themselves as men, like Driscoll, do so with celebrating violence and the subjugation of women. The true man is moral, ethical, and seeks to improve the world. Not pay $40 on pay per view for a night of bar fights. Those are just boys that never grew up.

VenerableBean | 12:33 pm on 7/02/2008

Thank you! SPOT ON!

Remember when "real men" in the church composed hymns, gathered daily to chant the Psalter, painted the ceilings and walls of churches with beauty, wrote poetry, or sat quietly in the confessional and helped people unburden their souls? This macho crap encourages men to be Homer Simposons. Since when is havening a command of one's language a sign of weakness? Perhaps Jesus was misquoted in the Sermon on the Mount? Was "Peace Maker" the name of his baseball bat which he used with force? The best way this "man" can emulate Jesus is to "open not his mouth".

The Rob | 01:07 pm on 7/02/2008

And the wuss St Francis of Assisi. He allowed animals to fly and congregate around him. He should have fought them to the ground and eaten them. At the very least hung their lifeless bodies on the wall.

And what was all that about Jesus weeping? Real men don't weep right?

Journeyman | 10:21 am on 7/02/2008

Wow! Kind of makes me wish I had attended just for the chance to hit his glass jaw and drop him. I'll bet that he had those pastors he called up planted. IF he were a REAL man, Driscoll would have gone to a biker bar and had one of THEM take a shot at him.

Anonymous | 10:32 am on 7/02/2008

A lot of interesting comments here on the grad school from a former faculty member:

http://chronicle.com/news/article/3763/mars-hill-graduate-school-settles...

Brother Mo | 11:18 am on 7/02/2008

being macho is a knee jerk reaction to our passitivity that was born not out of our femininity but our fear. When you lose your way you pick up the pace..rationalizing: "we don't where were going but we're making good time" Some emerging Pastors should do weekly gigs at Yuk YuK's or the Comedy Store..there they will enjoy genuine applause for their silliness.
The meek will inherit the earth..so move aside steroid brains.

Fightingpreacher | 11:29 am on 7/02/2008

Charles, I believe there is nothing wrong with the UFC and I believe God is ok with it too. I think maybe you should read the Bible a little more.

Exodus 15:1 states that the "Lord your God is a Warrior"
Psalm 144:1 states that the "Lord trains your hands for Battle and your fingers for war"

The single greatest compliment in the Bible is reserved for a legionare in the Gospel of Matthew "Never have I seen such faith in all of Israel"

Paul on numerous occassion makes reference to wrestling (which depends but in greek culture was wrestling or UFC style fighting).

So if you need a more comprehensive list let me know.

michaelw | 12:11 pm on 7/02/2008

You seriously just pulled the "you should read the Bible a little more" card.

....yeah and we all know Jesus was huge on encouraging violence.

VenerableBean | 01:01 pm on 7/02/2008

Jesus commends the centurion's faith, not his occupation. Paul is making a comparison to illustrate his point, he is not advocating pummeling the crap out of each other. When Christ uses a sower of seeds in his parable he does so to make a point. Our Lord wasn't suggesting we all need to be farmers.

Lets see here:

-Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

-Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

-The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.

-be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.

It is one thing to protect yourself, your friends, or your family with physical might when necessary. Just what part of beating the crap out of another man for money is a laudable Christian pursuit?

By all means, quote scripture to try and prove your point, but please don't speak on behalf of God. That is more than presumptuous.

Kimberly | 01:31 pm on 7/02/2008

I'm not so sure... the pictures I've seen of ancient Greek wrestling don't exactly fit my image of Driscoll's "manliness"...

VenerableBean | 01:43 pm on 7/02/2008

What? Real men don't play "leap frog"?

pk | 05:22 pm on 9/07/2008

I don't think we need to pull out the "if you read the Bible, you'd know that..." chestnut on this one. Most of the examples you're citing seem to be pretty obviously metaphors, for that matter. Just for the sake of argument, wouldn't Jacob wrestling God (and God, for that matter, injuring him) be a better example?

To me, fighting without hatred seems to be in the same category that Lewis puts going for walks and brushing teeth in... God doesn't really care one way or the other. It becomes an issue if it's bringing out sinful pride, or a happiness at the pain of others, or if your training is becoming the center of your life... but while all these things seem like they'd be likely to tempt me if I became a UFC fighter, I am a sissified non-Driscoll-approved Y-chromosome-lacking needs-constant-protection-and-reminders-of-authority certified girl and probably won't be one anytime soon.
And while I find a strong truth in the idea that my body is God's temple, I have a hard time shutting out the other ideas where Jesus let himself get taken apart, the temple in Jerusalem was taken down stone by stone, or the curtain was torn open. I don't think it means that letting yourself get hurt or injured or sick is a sin. Treating it as poor stewardship of God-given resources? Maybe. But is training your body intensely and taking care of it to that end worse than letting it go all to hell out of pure apathy? I doubt it.
To borrow from Lewis yet again, it does seem like a lifestyle that would support different virtues and vices than mine. They may seem brutal and inhumane to me; I may seem cowardly, vain and undisciplined to them. Good thing we all have to work out our own salvation, huh.

Anonymous | 11:58 am on 7/02/2008

To those who have spoken of "losing the culture" as if that is, of course, something (Evangelical) Christians had or should have: on what basis should we/they "have" the culture? I'm hard pressed to think that the Christ who shunned the stallion of a conqueror in favor of a lowly donkey at his "triumphal" entry (nice bit of irony there) thinks that control of culture or society is the answer, to say nothing of the ways that the church has abused that power when it has had it throughout history. Being "salt" and "light" are not domination and control. Christ's kingdom is "not of this world" or his followers would fight. So is Christ's redemptive suffering—not redemptive violence—too wussified for Driscoll's macho version of Jesus?

Anonymous | 12:12 pm on 7/02/2008

So because I don't like UFC I am not a Christian? Is that the point?

BJ | 12:19 pm on 7/02/2008

Bite my toenails, play some pocket pool, spit

The Rob | 12:52 pm on 7/02/2008

Everyone should see the movie Idiocracy. It clearly exemplifies this new masculinity (and highlights other problems as well). I have seen the way people act after watching UFC. They want to fight and wrestle each other. These folks call people who can read; speak and write properly; and prefer non-violence and helping people "wussies". I would not dare say you cannot like UFC or monster truck rallies and not be a Christian, but do not mock me for trying to uphold the ethical principles and lifestyle I feel is expressed in the Bible. Read Stephen Prothero's book "American Jesus" it is about the different characters of Jesus American Christians have recognized. The chapter to read is "Manly Redeemer" it rings some truth to this entire debate.

VenerableBean | 01:16 pm on 7/02/2008

Once again... SPOT ON!

For seven years I taught photography at a Christian high school. I got all the "reject boys" (like I was). My room was filled with the geeks, bookworms, and social outcasts. I showed them that Christians are called to the hallmarks of art: truth, beauty, and goodness. I've seen what the UFC type meat-heads have turned into. Most of them are prematurely middle age slobs with unfulfilled lives. Their days of glory are over... except for the hour they let wrath and rage take over their souls by watching UFC and Truck Rallies. That garbage is porn for anger! My boys went on to be authors, chefs, musicians, artist, and good fathers. In other words real Christian men.

And thanks for the book recommendation! Oh... was that unmanly?

Anonymous | 01:47 pm on 7/02/2008

what's the link to listen to the mp3 of that message? or a link to the conference for that matter? i can't seem to find any info via google? is this for real?

budda | 03:53 pm on 7/02/2008

Jessie probably made up the specific conference that was used but she/he got the words and tone just right. All you have to do is go to youtube and type in Mark Driscoll and you'll get all this and more. There is even a web site out there run by former associate pastors and lay people supposedly steam rolled by Driscoll. Mark has some "interesting" theology on missions and missiology that you might want to hear as well. He takes himself pretty serious.

If you want church to be like "Fight Club" then it might be the place for you.

whatever and ever amen | 01:54 pm on 7/02/2008

Driscoll means well. But unfortunatly he is trying so hard to be "relevant" that he looks like a gorilla with all his chest thumping. At some point being "relevant" starts to make you compromise what is important. If one needs to constantly make jokes to keep the congregations attention, or scream like a hellfire preacher when serious, then the message isn't all that great. If jokes and screaming are all he has then he doesn't have much. Being the "Chris Rock of preaching" shouldn't be a complement.

I attended there over 7 years. And in all honesty I can't recall a single sermon of his that made a true impact. All I recall is popular culture references and jokes. For being all "meat" in his preaching, I can't recall anything but jokes.

It started off so well too.....but what do you expect from the man that gave us William Wallace II and thought that "Fight Club" was a movie to shape masculinity after? (reference to his original online presence on the first MH BB site).

I pray that he eventually will drop the act and focus on his message rather than his delivery more.

budda | 04:02 pm on 7/02/2008

No chance, Whatever and ever, (great name btw) Driscoll has a lot of attention building up right now. He will fine tune the carnival act and pump up the volume even more now.

The bullies and loud obnoxious kids never got quiet after getting the attention they so desperately craved. They got louder and more obnoxious. Be prepared for the inevitable.

seriously? | 05:14 pm on 7/03/2008

Whatever,
I find it very hard to belive this is your honest opinion if you really attended MH for 7 years. I was there for 3. He did several series with literally NO pop culture references or jokes (Christ on the Cross is the one that comes to mind). If a 12-week series based solely on the atonement and the Gospel did not have an affect on you, something is wrong. Driscoll's MO is always making the text point to Christ, not making jokes or rocking the boat. If you think otherwise after 7 years of attendance, I'd love to know your reasoning.

whatever and ever amen | 02:39 am on 7/05/2008

I left before that sermon series. Every single series from Nehemiah and before has pop culture references or "fire and brimstone."

BJ | 02:06 pm on 7/02/2008

Pick my nose, clean my ear with a pocket knife, spit

Interesting comments... | 03:02 pm on 7/02/2008

Actually...
Not a big fan of UFC.
Not into farting, etc...
Really, really appreciate Driscoll - as do Piper, Keller, D.A. Carson, C.J. Mahaney, Crossway Books, etc. not to mention the hundreds of young people who came to Jesus at Mars Hill this year, and last year, and the year before that, etc. plus all the church planters who have been helped by him.

Opinions are cool and not being into Driscoll is cool as well, I guess... also, the pictures with this article are FANTASTIC!

To paraphrase what I'm sure Driscoll would say, "May we all have such influence for the gospel as to be so criticized (as in these comments) and/or satirized (as in the article)."

dorsey | 10:39 pm on 7/02/2008

That is rich. Driscoll probably would say that.

But being called on the carpet for being a dumbass IS JUST NOT THE SAME THING as being persecuted for the sake of the gospel.

Hermaphrodite | 03:05 pm on 7/02/2008

I enjoy violent video games (as well as other types), UFC, sports etc... Yet, I enjoy reading, hate conflict (unless I have the upper hand, mostly in theological issues), like to help solve peoples problems (without violence), and am generally passive...

I must be going through a gender identity crisis...

Bumps chests with BJ.

BJ | 03:10 pm on 7/02/2008

Pull my finger

traveling sam | 03:10 pm on 7/02/2008

BJ -- they went straight into the circle jerk after that one pastor remembered hearing talk about "standing up and pissing" and got all excited.

Hellbound | 04:21 pm on 7/02/2008

Are you ready for your Jesus Smack-Down? An Apostle Cage Match? Get ready to rrruuummble! Driscoll punching that old guy out was scriptual and inspired.
Hey BJ, I really don't want to pull your finger.

Andrew | 08:03 pm on 7/02/2008

"Your right, he sure isn't compromised. Crazy yes, but not, thank God, compromised. That would be horrible."

That was the funniest description of Driscoll I have heard yet. I think Driscoll would feel right at home during the farting campfire scene in Blazing Saddles.

Process Deist | 08:07 pm on 7/02/2008

Will this lead to a Ted Nugent, Bow-and-Arrow, worship service.

budda | 11:12 pm on 7/02/2008

Now that would be a church 'meetin. While I don't agree with him about most things, Terrible Ted is a very smart, entertaining guy. He lives a near here. Southern Michigan is filled with hunters, and militia types.

BJ | 08:38 am on 7/03/2008

"wang dang sweet poon tang"

Mike Morrell | 10:32 pm on 7/02/2008

Well done! The sad thing is, I can't tell if you made up these quotes or not. They sound eerily similar to ones I've read.

Dean Smith | 10:43 pm on 7/02/2008

Mark Driscoll has become his own parody.

Sovann | 01:32 am on 7/03/2008

lol.
I say John Piper would take him via old man strength.
Driscoll would gas. Piper's got Kimbo-esque street smarts.

Mark Driscoll | 06:27 am on 7/03/2008

I will kick John Piper's ass any day of the week. Bring it, bitch! I'll show you some dangerous delight!

Jadon | 05:00 am on 7/03/2008

This blogger figures Driscoll is sorta like Hancock:

http://stufffchristianslike.blogspot.com/2008/07/325-superhero-guide-to-...

"Hancock is the superhero movie Will Smith has coming out right now. In the film, he plays a reluctant hero that is rough around the edges and grittier than most other superheroes. That's Mark Driscoll to me. He seems to be a little more raw, a little more direct than some of the other pastors I know. And he makes mistakes, which he admits and airs pretty openly. Which I dig. Plus, like Rob Bell, he tends to elicit strong emotion in people. You don't feel OK about Mark, you love or hate him. And I think that's a good thing. I don't want middle of the road superheroes."

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