Be Careful Little Fingers What You Type
A few days ago the entire world got to see what happens when a pastor does dumb things on the Internet. Mark Driscoll, the uber-pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle (a mega, multi-site church) posted this unfortunate post on his Facebook page:
this blog), called Driscoll out on her blog and encouraged her readers to contact Mars Hill Church and complain. They did. After getting called on the carpet by his church elders, Driscoll issued this sort-of apology yesterday.
Before I comment on all of this and tie it all together in a lesson for Yours Truly (or any one else for that matter), let me say this:
Here's some things that you should know about Mark Driscoll.
He believes that women should not work outside the home, church has become too feminized, and, as was revealed in the great book Righteous by Lauren Sandler that I also reviewed on this blog, that one of his callings is to raise up a community of faith that is bent on repopulating America with conservative, evangelical Christians.
This is one of the dumbest things about women that Driscoll has said on his blog.
This is what happened as a result. Gotta love that great Christian witness.
Early in his ministry he was known as the "cussing" pastor because he used swear words in his sermons. Driscoll has since repented of his homiletic expletives, but has oft been criticized for saying dogmatic, misogynistic, homophobic, legalistic and controversial stuff. This is what the New York Times wrote about Driscoll.
Lots of people who aren't Christians read the New York Times, so this is pretty much the kind of image that sticks in their minds when they think of Evangelical Christians. Goody.
I heard Driscoll speak years ago at a Pastor's Conference when he was being feted as a darling of the Evangelical Christian Church and as a sort of neo-Calvinist. I had no idea that this kind of thing was going on at his church.
I don't agree with Driscoll on most of the things that he teaches, believes, interprets from the Bible. I think he exhibits some pretty boorish behavior. He's done a lot of damage to the Gospel outside of the confines of his church, and if you actually clicked on some of the imbedded links you probably dislike him a great deal by now.
Having said all of that, I know how Driscoll feels to a certain extent. I have said some dumb stuff online. I've been called on the carpet by these dumb things by friends and acquaintances. Sometimes I've been dinged for things that weren't even that controversial---to me. I had a semi-crazy, ultra-orthodox Catholic lady stalk me online berating me for saying my wife is "hot" in a blog post, and trying to debate me on end times theology. I've twittered things in anger that I wished I hadn't.
Heck, if we had someone following us around listening to everything we said all day long and then broadcasting it to the world, we'd ALL be in the kind of hot water Driscoll found himself this week.
When I saw all of this happening this week, I found myself feeling kind of bad for Driscoll. He and I aren't that dissimilar in that we sometimes say or do things in a moment of passion or silliness that we wish we could take back.
To that end, I propose my newest list of guidelines for Tweeting, Facebooking or posting on Google+ (it's a guideline, so don't yell at me too much if I violate it---I'm a work in progress):
1. I will try not post any negative things about Baptists or Glenn Beck (these two topics have caused more arguments on my FB feed than any other topic)
2. I will try to give myself a full minute after composing a post to re-read it, and ask myself: "What Would Jesus Post?" (no snide comments about Jesus never needing to use social media...if it existed then, he would have been twittering like a boss)
3. I will try to replace all expletives or symbols that could be interpreted as expletives with words that Bobby Bowden would use if he was mad (dadgummit, dadblameit, goshdarnit, heck, etc.... Bobby, I miss you man, but not enough to have you coach my Noles)
4. I will try not to argue too much with my very conservative colleagues, friends, brothers and sisters in Christ.
5. I will try not to argue too much with my very liberal colleagues, friends, brothers and sisters in Christ.
6. I will try not to say too many derogatory things about the leadership of my church's denomination... (this one is going to hurt)
7. I will definitely not post any self-portraits taken on my cell phone in front of the bathroom mirror with a pouty expression on my lips.
8. I will try to stop complaining about: working too hard, the heat, living in Florida, driving, politics, church stuff, other people, long lines and my sports teams when they lose.
9. I will try not to make fun of Jay Cutler when he throws interceptions. And he will.
10. I will definitely remember that like my buddy Mark Driscoll, I am a Christian and a leader too boot, and there are lots of people who are looking for Christian leaders to fall flat on their faces so they can confirm their negative feelings about Christianity that were probably caused by Christian leaders falling flat on their faces.As you monitor my progress toward better social media decisions, show me some grace, my brothers and sisters. I need it.
I promise, I'll show you the same if you make a dadgum mistake.