On Purity and Mark Driscoll

Where does purity come from?

If God's intent was for all of human life to be pure, and we've somehow managed to transform ourselves into something impure, is it possible to get purity back?


I'm teaching Gawain and the Green Knight for a friend's English class, and the central theological question of this poem is "what justifies a courteous man?"
"Courtesy"--basically, behaviour appropriate for the court--is a system established for very specific political and sexual situations. The author of the poem never takes that for granted; instead, the whole societal model of King Arthur's Camelot (One good king ruling over a court of peers) is up for review.

Our church is up for a similar review.

You could say that our entire society has been under the scruples of an auditor from the very beginning; but that's not a very "relational" way to think about God. He's not just a number-cruncher, he's a Father.

So the audit that we're making of the church's justification has to be different than that one. Not "are we committing sin against our father in heaven?" because the answer to that question is probably "yes." Not "are we offending people and driving them away from healthy relationships with people/their Father?" because pursuing the answer to that question will drive us mad.

I've been discussing "emerg(ent/ing/ed) church" questions with a few of my friends over the past week or three, and the dominant trend in this whole movement seems to be a questioning of the church's actions. Brian McLaren tells me that my Orthodoxy must change, that my Christianinty must change, that Everything Must Change, but I'm not certain that he's asking the same question of the church that I am.
Put another way: I'm not sure that McLaren is asking me to be accountable for the state of the church.

The question I'm looking for is more like this:
"If I were forced to make a choice tomorrow, what would be driving my decision?"
The answer to that question isn't simple, isn't black-and-white reductivism, isn't wishy-washy equivocation. The answer to that question is the entire basis for my identity.
There's another part to it, though: Unlike the other two questions, this question isn't in the imperfect tense. Rather than questioning behaviour that has gone on in the past for some indefinite period of time and seems likely to repeat at some point, I'm questioning a motivation that can actually get better (closer to the obvious best answer: "Jesus is driving my decision") OR worse ("[x] is driving my decision" {where [x] is anything less than Jesus.})

This is the point where I leave Brian McLaren and take sides with Mark Driscoll. Not because I like Driscoll more, and not because I dislike McLaren, but because I see an inability in Brian McLaren's teaching to ask the question "what does Jesus really want from me?"

I understand why McLaren can't write that, I think; and maybe that's a sign of a pure intention. Maybe He asked himself the same question, and got "Jesus wants you to teach all the name-droppers a lesson in true religion." I hope so.

If all goes well, the implications for the teaching of both men will be the same: Faith, Hope, and Love in a world desperately short of all three. But with Driscoll, I'm more certain of where I stand on the motivation for that outcome. For some reason, that's the most important part of the discussion--could that be on account of my need to reduce everything in my world to an existential crisis?

3 comments:

Michael said...

Not Driscoll! Please, anyone else.

What sparked the Emergent discussion?

Michael said...

:) I should clarify that I'm complaining about Driscoll not because I know him, but because he seems to be a figure people love to love and love to hate.

I'd enjoy hearing more about your deliberations.

rush said...

Alright Daniel... I must force your hand by staging a coupe here on your blog. You are not dealing with your pastor's Sunday morning message in a timely manner!

As background for interesting parties... this Sunday morning was a missions emphasis, and featured prominently the YouTube video below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0R6oAJCVvg

My question is... didn't we try this already? The children's crusade comes to mind.

I accept that a large percentage of church-going adults experienced a salvation experience before age 12; however, the converse doesn't seem to necessarily be true.

My intuition tells me; of the children that experience a conversion experience before age 12, a high attrition rate occurs as they become adults.

Methinks this falling away happens when the faculties for critical thinking begin to bloom in adolescence. Which means that those of us still clinging to our childhood faith are either late-bloomers or non-bloomers.

Or we've found it necessary to think critically about our faith. Does this ring a bell? "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

Any comments?