My manhood hasn’t always been a huge concern for me. I mean, occasionally I’ll experience the brief insecurity of letting Taylor Swift finish her song as I’m riding in a car full of dudes, but who hasn’t? (and honestly, who doesn’t love her?). There’s also the times when the demon incarnate baseball will roll up to my feet, and I have a moment similar to Smalls in the Sandlot, where I, uh, run it over to its owner. Oh, and also, I don’t really fall under the hetero tent either.
But I have some manly qualities about me. And, in all seriousness, I am very proud to be a man. It’s a unique part of my identity, and just for sake deconstructing stereotypes: no, not all gay men wish they were women or are feminine.
I’m practical, logical, enjoy the outdoors, love fishing, action flicks, working on my core, eating steak-rare, (this is starting to sound like a dating profile), anyhow, my point is, even if you were to judge me from societal standards, I think you’d consider me a man of men. But all the reasons listed above do not equate to the Biblical definition of what a man is. They are what pop culture defines masculinity as. I am not Chuck Norris nor am I Rambo. And I am no less a man than these two real/fictional characters would have you believe.
Oh, and I am also nothing like Mark Driscoll.
“The mainstream church, Driscoll has written, has transformed Jesus into “a Richard Simmons, hippie, queer Christ,” a “neutered and limp-wristed popular Sky Fairy of pop culture that . . . would never talk about sin or send anyone to hell.” (http://blog.beliefnet.com/stevenwaldman/2009/01/limp-wristed-jesus.html/)
“Latte-sipping Cabriolet drivers do not represent biblical masculinity, because real men — like Jesus, Paul, and John the Baptist — are dudes: heterosexual, win-a-fight, punch-you-in-the-nose dudes. In other words, because Jesus is not a limp-wristed, dress-wearing hippie, the men created in his image are not sissified church boys; they are aggressive, assertive, and nonverbal.”
Music to my ears.
According to the list, Driscoll’s list, I flunk with flying colors.
Heterosexual- Doomed from the start
Win-a-fight- Have fought, well wrestled, when I was 7, and I always lost.
Punch-you-in-the-nose- Hate seeing people bleed, next.
Dress wearing hippie- I’ve never worn a dress! Check. But, some would call me hippie-like.
Assertive- sort of?
Nonverbal– I like to talk about feelings.
So there you have it, I cannot be a member of Mark Driscoll’s Macho Man Club.
Additionally, I don’t make my heavenly father proud.
So, there’s that.
Hold on, let’s tap the brakes.
Jesus, Paul, and John’s turn
While I have very strong doubts that John the Baptist, Paul or Jesus Christ were gay men, they never made public declarations of their sexuality, or even mention a single instance of personal sexual attraction. (perhaps because they weren’t so insecure about it.. driscoll). If this was such an important credential to being a real man, why didn’t they simply say so?
Jesus nixed our natural tendency towards self-defense by declaring that we take the hit on both sides of the face (Matthew 5:39), and by submitting to a criminal’s death undeserved. And in his instructions for evangelism, he asked us to be “harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16, NLT). Not bullies.
Paul was beaten to a pulp, unprovoked, and he refused to raise his fist. Why? Because according to him, we should not “overcome evil by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21, NIV).
John the Baptist looked soldiers in the eye and told them, “do violence to no man.” (Luke 3:14, KJV)
For the sake of serious argument, I will pass on talking about how Paul, and Jesus all likely wore clothes resembling dresses, but John, on the other hand, preferred threads of camel hair (Matthew 3:4).
But the hippie charge. I’ll make this short and sweet. Jesus was raised in poverty and led an all out nonviolent rebellion against the religious order. He hung out with societal undesirables (including WOMEN), and had Woodstock-esque gatherings during his sermon on the mount, and when he fed the five thousand. In today’s context, Jesus would be a hippie.
John the Baptist, was head to toe hippie, he chose a radical lifestyle. He ate bugs, and held gatherings in rivers. His statement to the soldiers reminds me of the flower power generation placing roses in the rifles of cadets.
Paul is the perfect example of a hippie’s biography. He started out as a fundamentalist, a legalist, a persecutor, and then, a life altering talk with Christ, and boom, he abandoned the old ways. Additionally, he was a man of utter tolerance. He brought in Gentiles, women, and children. His reasoning?
“for the Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.” (Romans 14:17, NIV)
That’s hippie talk.
Perhaps the most ridiculous statement made by Mark Driscoll. Jesus turned oration into an art form. The poetic nature of his parables were sensitive stylistically, and incredibly elegant. Jesus never turned anyone away, nor did he dodge dialogue.
*Additionally, this places us in an awkward position if we are to be nonverbal, cause prayer requires the opposite (although it also requires listening!)
Paul was even more verbal and open about his story. He wrote deeply personal accounts of his own pain, regrets and struggles. He didn’t man up and shut up. He wanted to share, yes, his feelings!
John the Baptist was a preacher. Yes, a preacher. But somehow nonverbal? He engaged with the outcasts and was quite vocal about the coming Kingdom.
The irony of Mark Driscoll’s statements in light of these three men (one of them, being God), would be laughable if it wasn’t so dangerous. Tragically, Driscoll took his hate speech one step further.
He beckoned forth the bullies.
I cannot imagine what it was like for these worship pastors to be insulted so publicly. And by none other than a pastor!
I cannot understand how Pastor Mark believes this behavior is becoming of a man of God. In an age of teen suicides resulting from cyber-bullying, pastor Mark called for Christian hazing to his some 200,000 followers on twitter and facebook. It is nothing short of sickening.
And, more than anything, I am amazed that people still follow him.
Rachel Held Evans, a personal favorite of mine, wrote a response post to Mark Driscoll’s declarations.
“Godly men stick up for people, not make fun of them.
Godly men honor women, not belittle them.
Godly men love their gay and lesbian neighbors, not ridicule them.
Godly men celebrate femininity, not trash it.
Godly men own their sexuality, not flaunt it.
Godly men pursue peace, not dismiss it.
Godly men rise above violence, not glorify it.
Godly men build up the Church, not embarrass it.
Godly men imitate Christ—who praised the gentle and the peacemakers, who stood up for the exploited and abused, who showed compassion for the downtrodden, who valued women, and who loved his enemies to the point of death.” – Rachel Held Evans (http://rachelheldevans.com/mark-driscoll-bully)
This woman of God knows more about what’s in the fabric of Biblical manhood than Pastor Macho.
Finally, I am glad I do not make the cut for Mark’s Macho Man club.
Because guess what?
Christ wouldn’t either.