The panic throughout the socially liberal and Seattle area blogosphere was seismic. It was so hot in Washington state that the fog and rain actually lifted for a few hours. Long enough to see in the bright light of the face of Christ... that even when dressed in tattys and piercings, Christian discipleship is diametrically opposed to the ways of the world.
I said yesterday that I like Driscoll. I've not read any of his books, though I've enjoyed the squinting, sideways, squirming reaction they cause some of my hyper-pinstriped brothers. I've not heard him preach, though from the quotes and clips I've seen posted he does combine crudeness and creativity in a way that surely explodes any sense of Christian sensibility. He's also funny. Period.
I did hang out with him briefly at a seminary bookstore and later have the pleasure of having dinner with him once. That couple of hours is all the firsthand data I have on Mark Driscoll. All the critiques that people might offer aside, I like him. I just plain like him.
And the reason I like him most is that all I heard from him was passion for the Gospel, for the lost, for his family, for the Church, and for Christian living. Oozing it everywhere... yes with tattoos, piercings, and leather... but oozing Jesus. He called his family at least three times that I can recall... anxious to get home and be with his wife and children. He is as solidly reformed theologically as any pastor I've met in a long time, a voracious reader. He was discerning about many current threats to the local church today, and clear about what it takes to do the Acts 29 thang. For all the people who wave the complementarity banner, he is doing as much about in the life of Mars Hill as anyone else I know.
One person commenting over on Justin Taylor's link to the Salon article had this to say about Driscoll:
That I think sums up the Mark Driscoll experience. Complementarianism, rudeness and crudeness. Seriously, how this guy gets a free pass on stuff that would earn Bill Hybles a memorialized page on Slice of Laodicea escapes me.It doesn't escape me. Two reasons.
1. Few of us understand him. Let's go ahead and admit that... he seems wonderfully contradictory, complex and strangely attractive. He loves Jesus and yet he dresses like folks we wouldn't want to meet in the proverbial dark alley. Scintillating juxtaposition of opposites.
2. He has bravely gone where no man has gone before. I like Driscoll because the Gospel, by God's gracious use of Mark, is going into the deep nether regions of a culture that 98% or more of the readers of this post have never really even considered going. I haven't. In the face of what seems an impenetrable cultural fortress, Driscoll has punk rockers living complementarian lives at home and in the church!! And he is doing it with reformed convictions!! Now who of us ever had a vision for that that didn't include the objects of our "loving efforts" becoming more like us, khakis, polos, cover those embarrassing tattoos, remove those piercings, and by all means get a haircut?! Assuming worldliness is always measured by wardrobe, most of us would want to see them "come out" of that culture by washing the outside of the cup.
I like Mark Driscoll. He's tougher than I am. He is bearing more fruit in a more difficult cultural setting than I am. I think more highly of him than I do myself... and for good reason. I'm praying for his sanctification, his growth in the knowledge of our Lord, good fruit from his ministry, and that the Lord would raise up others to continue the work--not weak carbon copies/imitators, but other men of conviction and complexity who with all their faults in tow preach the Gospel to the lost.
I like Mark Driscoll. In the big scheme of things, I don't suppose that carries any weight or influences anyone really. I don't really want it to. I'm glad to see people wrestling with what they see and learn from Mark. But since everybody has an opinion about Mark, I thought I'd share mine. I like Mark Driscoll.
In the immortal words of Snoop... Mark Drizzle is the schnizzle. That's my nizzle. Wes' side!