Updating my earlier entry, Mark Driscoll thanks his critics on his blog this week. He stresses that his advice was directed towards young male clergy, and wasn’t intended nor thought through for a wider audience. So, as Stephen Shields summarizes:
“What I did not mean to communicate was anything regarding the Haggards, particularly Mrs. Haggard. She is not to blame for the sin of her husband.
Lastly, I want to thank my critics, especially the most vocal. They have helped me to understand that more than just pastors are following what I am saying. Subsequently, they are helping me to learn how to more clearly articulate what I am trying to communicate. In that way, they have been of great assistance to me as I seek to pastor most effectively for Jesus. I have waited some time to post this clarification because in times past I have gotten angry and responded with a tone that was defensive, prideful, and not helpful. I am learning that critics in some ways are also friends because there is often some truth in what they are pointing out. Subsequently, God is using my critics to teach me and is asking me to be willing to listen.”
I’d suggest you read the Driscoll’s entire post. I admire the attitude of appreciation for critique (one such was from Andrew Jones, outlined on his blog TallSkinnyKiwi, who incidentally and rightly points to bob.blog as a helpful summary source of the whole affair).
I guess my thing is that Mark doesn’t seem to get what the big deal was: its not just that he intimated that it was Ms. Haggard’s fault, but it intimated that women in general are somewhat at fault when men go astray. True, this response is all about what the male pastor needs to do to get his sexual house in order. But that whole wives “letting themselves go” bit wasn’t mentioned in Driscoll’s response to the critics. He talked about full biblical sexuality within Christian marriage. He spoke about the importance of solid marriages for clergy. But nothing about the blaming the victim schtick. You know, the “she dressed provocatively so I couldn’t help ravaging her” thing. The “she’s not sexy enough anymore so I slept with a male prostitute in a meth-haze” thing. Not to mention how the deeper issue–the systematic suppression of innate homosexual orientation–isn’t even considered, but I gather there might be on his part a feeling that these are either choices or can/should be suppressed.
Now, was this original problem due to the audience that Driscoll was writing to, as he says?:
As I have re-read my blog, I can see how some may have misconstrued what I said. Because I was writing to male pastors, I spoke in such a way that was not as clear as it could have been regarding what is true of Christian marriage in general. Therefore, I hope that this post is more clarifying.
Whether written to male pastors or not, the point he made about women is just plain wrong. Whether its misogynistic or chauvinistic, as the debate is currently going in some parts of the blogsophere, isn’t really that germane to me. Its wrong. Not misconstrued. Wrong. Sinful, in fact. So I’m not satisfied. I appreciate Mark’s attitude of gratitude for the critique. I just don’t think he gets it. Still. In short, I continue to think that he’s a cad.
…by way of addendum, two quick other thoughts. First, as I think it should be clear, I don’t think that anyone should be letting Mark Driscoll off the hook because of this statement. Sure, we should be glad that he has an attitude of listening to his critics. But his critics should then point out, well, the obvious. Second, I also don’t think that anyone should protest someone else’s worship service, regardless of Driscoll’s response or views. There are ways to protest, complain, cajole, ridicule, critique, lambaste, etc, without disrupting a religious community’s worship of God.