Mark Driscoll, as usual, telling it like it is, recently posted on his Facebook page “So what story do you have about the most effeminate anatomically male worship leader you’ve ever personally witnessed?” He did this as the result of a conversation he had with a non-Christian, blue collar man who asked him if the Bible allowed for effeminate worship leaders like the one he currently encountered at church. Actually, Driscoll replied, it doesn’t; David the warrior-king wrote the book of Psalms.
The post set off a storm of criticism which you can read about here and here. Brian McLaren and others take issue with Driscoll’s tone and message, which is why I think it was a good one. Throw a rock into a pack of dogs and the one that barks is the one that got hit. Shouldn’t all the people promoting effeminate worship leaders get their hackles up when they are made fun of?
One blogger called Driscoll a “bully”, a truly odd accusation. He didn’t name any particular leaders or encourage people to go smack the most effeminate worship leader they knew. He simply asked for stories. God writes comedy in the contemporary church, and you’re a bully for wanting to hear the jokes? Driscoll wrote a subsequent post describing his comments as flippant. His elders challenged him to say these things in an environment where people can be persuaded. I’m not close enough to the situation to understand all their rationale, and I’m thankful for faithful elders who are willing to call pastors out. But I do doubt whether many of Jesus’ offensive statements could be described as persuasive or made in a context where they could be persuasive. He makes fun of the Pharisees’ robes, prayers, tithes, oaths, devotion, and grooming. Did it get him anywhere? No where but up on that cross.
Not all prophetic speech is meant to be persuasive to all people. Sometimes it’s meant to offend the right people, and to encourage others. None of this excludes the motive of love, but it excludes a sentimental definition of it. We need more of these challenges.