Home > Church, Cultural Musings, Death by Love: Letters from the Cross > nyt on driscoll: the paragraph i am supposed to quote

nyt on driscoll: the paragraph i am supposed to quote

If you have yet to read the New York Times’ article (‘Who Would Jesus Smack Down?‘) on Mark Driscoll, my guess is that you are too busy, you don’t pay that close of attention to the buzz in Christian-world, or you just plain don’t want to.

Fine by me – I respect all of those things.

driscollclassI didn’t get around to reading it until today myself.

Here is the part of this blog where I am supposed to quote something from the article – and here is the passage that I am supposed to quote for you:

Conservatives call Driscoll “the cussing pastor” and wish that he’d trade in his fashionably distressed jeans and taste for indie rock for a suit and tie and placid choral arrangements. Liberals wince at his hellfire theology and insistence that women submit to their husbands. But what is new about Driscoll is that he has resurrected a particular strain of fire and brimstone, one that most Americans assume died out with the Puritans: Calvinism, a theology that makes Pat Robertson seem warm and fuzzy.

I think I read this block quote three or four times before I actually got around to reading the article itself – why, you ask? Because it really irritates me that this paragraph was written, to begin with.

I may be assuming too much, but I suspect that the writer of the article, Molly Worthen, is not as ignorant as this paragraph makes her seem.

It seems blatantly obvious to me that this paragraph was written, not in ignorance . . . or with the intention of helping the reader to gain perspective on where Driscoll falls in the spectrum of evangelicalism, but to be inflammatory and provoke a reaction out of the readers.

I think this quote is a brilliant piece of marketing – and a miserable piece of journalism.

It succeeds at ticking everybody off:

  • Calvinists get fired up because they don’t like Pat Robertson.
  • Viewers of the 700 Club are peeved, having mentioned in the same breath as Calvinists.
  • Fans of Driscoll bristle (probably) from the Don Miller “cussing pastor” reference.
  • Traditional evangelicals are suddenly distressed over the idea of a pastor in jeans, listening to indie (“I don’t know what that means, but I don’t like it”) music, and saying a bad word.
  • Liberals did wince over “hellfire” and over pretty much any word beginning with the letters S-U-B.
  • Instantly, reading the word “Puritan” stirred up visions of burning books, witches, and contraceptives in the minds of anybody who took public high school history.

It fails to actually communicate information that is accurate or informative.

It gets the bloggers churning and posting and ranting and raving and slobbering with excitement at the opportunity to enter into a fresh wave of comment wars.

That said, you win Molly Worthen, you succeeded in getting me to post the quote that I am certain you wanted at the top of every rant and review of your article.

But just so we’re clear – I know, and you know; and you know that I know; and we know (if we didn’t know already); so can we just be satisfied to write a good article, call it a day, and let the truth speak for itself?

. . . . . . .

That said: Once you get into the body of the text, it is actually a pretty good article, a solid exploration/wrestling with a (relatively) new phenomenon in evangelicalism that is understandably baffling and foolish to the broader culture.

Forthcoming: I was reminded that I have done absolutely nothing to follow up with my earlier promise to tantalize you with thoughts, snippets, and/or responses to chapters from Driscoll’s book Death by Love (click the link, buy the book, tell me if you agree with me).

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  1. Brandon
    January 16, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    [audio src="http://www.scjag.com/mp3/jag/bloodbank.mp3" /]

    You’ll love me.

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