Monday, November 13, 2006

my thoughts on sex and power in the context of the recent Mark Driscoll/Mars Hill thing

From here:

I think I have a *great* gut feeling for a powerful abusive system when I see it. Call it whatever you want. There’s something inside that recognizes it immediately becuase I lived in something very similar for years, and it was hella hard to get out of, and to get healed from. Driscoll and Mars Hill Church set that feeling off big time, and the more I read about and interact with them, the more conscious evidence there is for my head of what my gut is telling me. It seems to me that perhaps the major problem over there is a misunderstanding of power. I really think that the leadership doesn’t understand the level of the power they have, and the damage their uncareful use of that power is doing. I think there are two possible paths for them. Either they will just continue to be the way they are–this happens to some people–they never really change, no matter how much pain they cause others and themselves. My hope is that it will go the other way for them–that they will come to understand and feel in their heads and in their guts the pain that their misuse of power is causing, and repent, and start to repair. That would be awesome. the sense I get from Mark, and from Lief, is that they have not yet experienced the depths of brokenness that they need to experience in order to *really* understand their desperate need for love, and for jesus. Mark gives very flippant lip service to being a sinner. It’s scary to see unbroken people wielding power.

and from here:

I think that what a man in a position of power like Mark Driscoll (that is, a man who knows that other people look up to him, listen to his teaching, and intend to implement it) should be emphasizing overwhelmingly to married guys about sex is this: We (guys) live in a culture where the overwhelming message is that women are objects, women are worthless unless they are young, thin, and beautiful, women are sexually assaulted, women are beaten–all in all, women have a pretty shitty time overall, and it’s mostly the fault of guys who are saying and doing all these abusive things to women. So in light of the fact that we are swimming in this pool, and breathing this freaking air, our first priority with our wives should be to give the lie to all this crap, and tell our wives both in words and deeds that they are beautiful, period, and that that they are worthy of respect and love, period. Our number one goal in regards to sex with our wives should be to be romantic, and kind, and gracious, and focused on what *they* want. Etc. Etc. Etc. etc. etc.
And if someone in a position of power, like mark, is focusing on anything else when teaching married men about sex, then by default, that is, by not swimming against the cultural tide, he is swimming with it, and reinforcing it.
That’s what I think.

14 comments:

kate said...

Well said Ben.

The guy on the blog who said a woman who refuses anal sex is selfish sent shivers down my spine.

Imagine just giving birth then dealing with that.

And he used the Bible to support him -- scary.

Jonas said...

Hey! I got something to say! Not about this though. So, there!
But, what do you care? I just stopped to say howdy and see how you guys were doing and now I have posted this greeting right in the middle of your comments! How do you like my overuse of exclamation points? It's weird, but Chris and I were talking and we miss you guys. Such a short time for such a kindred connection. Go figure?

Benjamin Ady said...

jonas, you kick ass!
Chris, you kick ass.

Kate (uh, is it okay to say this to a girl?) (yeah, I think it is)
You kick ass.

Consider this your warm fuzzy for the day from Benjamin

We miss you guys too. If I may be allowed to say it, it *megasucks* that you are in Colorado, and we are in Washington.

iggy said...

Benjamin,

thank you for you response to me on Conversation on the Edge... this is a hard issue that we do need ot deal with...

I too see it should be done in the spirit of MLK and Ghandi... both which chosed not to attack the persons... but the issue on the grand scale.

We are not too far apart... I still believe...

I will be checking your blog out a bit and may even add it to my blogroll... I have many people from many different veiw points already on it.

I really appreciate the discussion and hope to "engage with you in the future" side by side as brothers in Christ.

Blessings,
iggy

Benjamin Ady said...

iggy, glad to see you came over to visit my blog. Welcome. I should probably let you know that the degree to which I am an ex-christian is definitely larger at this point than the degree to which I am a Christian. Just so everything is clear up front. I also look forward to continuing to engage with you (and others) on this subject. It is my hope that this protest on December 3 can be in the spirit of such engagement.

Rob Smith said...

Benj... what you have written here sounds like what I have learned about woman and Mars Hill view of sex. perhaps if you would listen to MH rather than random blogs distorting what Driscoll says, you would find that you like what you hear...

"I think that what a man in a position of power like Mark Driscoll (that is, a man who knows that other people look up to him, listen to his teaching, and intend to implement it) should be emphasizing overwhelmingly to married guys about sex is this: We (guys) live in a culture where the overwhelming message is that women are objects, women are worthless unless they are young, thin, and beautiful, women are sexually assaulted, women are beaten–all in all, women have a pretty shitty time overall, and it’s mostly the fault of guys who are saying and doing all these abusive things to women. So in light of the fact that we are swimming in this pool, and breathing this freaking air, our first priority with our wives should be to give the lie to all this crap, and tell our wives both in words and deeds that they are beautiful, period, and that that they are worthy of respect and love, period. Our number one goal in regards to sex with our wives should be to be romantic, and kind, and gracious, and focused on what *they* want. Etc. Etc. Etc. etc. etc."

me said...

benjamin, howdy! this was probably a comment due 10 million posts ago back when you linked your churhc rater feedback and interview with Conversation at the edge etc to someone's blog..., but in terms of your bad experience with the church, I just feel i want to say that I am sorry for that - i don;t know what went on which makes the 'sorry' hollow, (and am happy to hear about it) - but irrespective of what happened, it sounds like you were hurt by it. I know it means little coming from someone on another continent, but as someone who is part of the wider church, I am sorry ... Really.
hope that sounds like it's intended, and not trite. ... R

Stephanie said...

ben, i like hearing your thoughts on this. i have listened to mark driscoll sermons in hope of finding some redemptive value but instead end up frustrated. so i empathize with you.

Benjamin Ady said...

Rhea--thankyou. You are very gracious. I'm so glad that along with all the toxic churches out there, there are really healthy loving grace filled churches. I totally believe this is true, and people like you help prove it.

Benjamin Ady said...

Stephanie--is that Stephanie D, of "why are you such an asshole" fame? If so--you rock! Welcome to my blog! Do you have a favorite Christian speaker who you *do* like to listen to?

Benjamin Ady said...

Rob Smith--that's really surprising. Amazing how different people can have such differnt experiences of the same thing. The overall impression I've gotten from Mark Driscoll, on his blog, is that he is *not* really making this message (the one I outlined) about women and sex his primary message.

Anonymous said...

I don't know you but you are seriously in my prayers. Remember that Mark is human and he's not in power or has power he just does his job. Teaching people about Jesus and I don't think you know them personally and I think you have to be careful by what you say online because do you know if Pastor Mark has been broken? Everyone has been broken. He understands He's needs Jesus. So many time's he's mentioned he's sinned beyond all measures. We have all been broken.
In different forms, different stories. We are all different and have our broken stories.

Please, just be careful by what you say. We all need Jesus yes but for different reasons and the same.

Benjamin Ady said...

Anonymous. Welcome to my blog. I'm sorry to see you didn't feel comfortable enough to leave your name.
I'm going to assume that you capitilized the pronoun referring to Mark on accident (He)?
It strikes me as slightly silly to say that Mark Driscoll doesn't have power nor is he in power. There is most certainly power in having 4000 people listen to you speak for an hour every week. Words are enormously powerful. Moreoever, there is power *inherent* in the position of senior pastor. This is espcially true in a place like Mars Hill, which openly talks about a system of headship that goes: God, pastor, husband, wife, children, animals. What do you mean when you say he has no power?
I agree with you that I do not *know* if pastor Mark has been broken. However, it has been my experience that people who experience brokenness tend to respond in one of two general ways. They either get harder and harder, or they get gentler and gentler. Mark doesn't seem to me to be very hardened, and he clearly isn't very gentle, at least not with his words. That's why I said it doesn't look to me like he has experienced a lot of brokenness.
The pastor in the scary abusive sect I grew up in used to say things like "I've sinned beyond all measure" all the time. I've come to realize it's an almost meaningless phrase. What that pastor, and what (from my limited experience) Mark never talk about is their *specific* sinfulness in a way that shows they are honestly humbled and broken over the damage that specific sinfulness has done to other people.
Thankyou for the wise advice to be careful what I say. It's something I need to hear. I think it's something that Mark needs to hear as well, and perhaps more so than me, since more people are listening to/reading his words.

Gary Means said...

I appreciate your calm, reasonable comments on this situation. I agree with you.