Yesterday I sat back and didn’t comment — I was busy with other things, including some writing, but it seems to me that something needs to be said about this whole Mark Driscoll flap. And right off, this isn’t about Driscoll, or Pagitt, or Bell, or even Don Carson or the matchstick boys. It’s about criticism. And I hardly know where to begin… but challenges have been issued, and though most of them aren’t directed at me personally, I think I’ve got something to say (alright, I always have something to say, whether or not I should say it). There are times when criticism deserves a response, as do certain kinds of responses to criticism. I said yesterday that I probably had things to say that could get everyone upset with me… and while that’s not my intent, there are things that need saying. And I’m just dumb enough to be the one to say them.
I’m thinking today about criticism. Not in the fine sense of the word, like “literary criticism” or critique as in “peer review.” But then, today everyone’s thinking about criticism, I think. I have some stuff to say on the matter, but I haven’t finished counting to ten yet. I’m deliberately counting s…l…o…w…l…y. But when I’m done, I’ll probably open my trap and say something. I’ve already been quoted (nicely, thankfully) as commenting upon this whole critical debacle. I’m glad it was something good that I said. I’m omitting all the links from this post, saving them for a future one… but I’m still going to offer some preliminary to think over while I mull over some more prepared words. I find I’m disagreeing with both sides to some extent, so yes, I’m disagreeing with some of the people I’m supposed to agree with… which isn’t to say I’m exactly agreeing with the people they disagree with. If you know what I’m talking about, the commentary below will be apropos, and you don’t need the links. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, links will be forthcoming, and I’ll explain everything — but the preliminary commentary I offer here is important background. I think we all need to stop and consider the following.
Well, I guess I’m just going to unsubscribe. I’ve got (without exaggeration) more than 200 other RSS feeds to read, and though I don’t keep up with every word of all of them, I find each of them fairly regularly offers me something of value… encouragement, information, inspiration. There are other blogs out there that I’ve studiously avoided (you know, like ones that name themselves for a portion of one of the seven churches in Revelation) reading or linking because I just don’t find any value. There is no open conversation and there’s more disinformation than information. Other people tend to tackle that, but not me. I get too frustrated. I go into a conversation thinking I can be good-natured and friendly and we can have an open dialogue, only to get blindsided and disappointed in the whole thing. Me and my ideas can be mocked, but I think I’ll just prefer for now to avoid the whole thing. People like Mike and Andrew and Bob can handle all of that without me… and if their blogs mention something worth knowing about the ones I’m not going to bother with, I’ll get it second-hand from them… whom I’ll still be reading.
Last week we were having dinner with friends, and they asked me why I hadn’t said anything about Mark Driscoll’s ill-advised comment about pastors” wives “letting themselves go” in the wake of the Ted Haggard scandal.
I had a couple of different responses to this… the first being that I didn’t really want to talk about Ted Haggard (this is the first time I’ve mentioned it, now see what I’ve gone and done?). The second was an off-the-cuff quip that Mark Driscoll is a young man with a young wife, and I’d be curious to see what he says in 10 or 15 years’ time.
Seems that everyone’s talking about the aftermath of the recent Desiring God conference, Above All Earthly Powers: The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World featuring David Wells, Don Carson, Tim Keller, Mark Driscoll, Voddie Baucham, and John Piper. And good on them too, for quickly posting the MP3s of the conference sessions. TSK posts about it, with discussion following; Blind Beggar mentions it as well, noting several good suggestions for emerging church critics. He also links to more such suggestions from Bob Hyatt.
Somewhere in the fray there came the idea that John Piper and Mark Driscoll are at odds, and several people have been quick on the draw to pick sides. Oh, people.
Andrew Jones has a great thoughtul post on Reformed roots in the emerging-missional church. Having noticed an almost anti-Reformed undercurrent in the emerging church… I love it.
“A truly apostolic Church can never be satisfied with merely sponsoring missionary interest or in giving birth to “missions”. It must itself become the mission.”
Am I saying the the missional emphasis of the emerging-missional church has its roots in Reformed thinking?
Yes I am. The emerging-missional church has placed a stronger emphasis on the sovereignty of the Triune God in the area of mission, an emphasis with a clear heritage back to the 1950’s.
Good stuff — keep reading….
Seems some people don’t like what Piper had to say about the Tsunami… typically reading anti-Calvinist sentiment into his comments and missing the point. Whether one likes Reformed Theology or not, Piper’s response (about which I blogged favorably) is better than The Archbishop of Canterbury’s; he says, “The Asian tsunami disaster should make all Christians question the existence of God.” Uh, yeah, that’s a helpful response from someone to whom other believers will look for leadership. If he’d have stuck to saying it made him personally question God it would have been candidly honest; as it is, it’s destructive to the faith of others. Some under his care might do well to read Piper, who answers the question he cannot. This isn’t meant to be a defense of Piper’s response I actually want to point you where the anti-Piper bloggers (who are not his typical audience anyway) generally point, to N.T. Wright’s response, which is a good piece that I quite liked. Wright explores the motif of the sea in scripture as representative of evil. I don’t think it answers any of the big questions, but it doesn’t really try, which is kinda nice, actually. Good thought-fodder.