April 24, 2008

(un)Critical Contextualization and Mark Driscoll

I'm going to step out on a limb here and assume that Mark Driscoll, pastor of all things dude and masculine, reads and probably likes folks like John Piper, John MacArthur, and Phil Johnson. Reformed folks gots to stick together right?

The reason I want to make this link is because of two conversations. First, one of the most important voices in the emerging culture and mission movement, Andrew Jones has been talking about the importance of contextualization over at his blog. Prompted by MacArthur and Johnson's ridiculing of all things contextual, Andrew argues well that "context matters." I especially like this:
WE WERE BLIND TO OUR COLONIAL ABUSE BECAUSE WE WERE BLIND TO THE IMPACT OF OUR OWN CULTURE ON THE GOSPEL WE CARRIED.
The second conversation is over at Out of Ur. Bouncing off of an article from Christianity Today called "A Jesus for Real Men," Out of Ur asks if this approach is encouraging or insulting. Here's a verse from GodMen, Brad Stine's forum where "men can be men; raw and uninhibited; completely free to express themselves in the uniquely male way that only men understand."

We've been beaten down
Feminized by the culture crowd
No more nice guy, timid and ashamed …
Grab a sword, don't be scared
Be a man, grow a pair!


These two conversations collide with the quote above from Andrew in that today we still cannot see the impact of our own culture. I refer to Mark Driscoll of course because he seems to be leading this movement that has been hijacked by our misgonistic, sexist culture! Why transform culture, why not embrace it uncritically?

Driscoll is an example of why critical contextualization is so important, because when approached uncritically the gospel suffers. Living in the Kingdom means living in a world where this is no male or female, or so I thought. I realize that Driscoll is in Seattle trying to reach people that are unreached, but to what end is he going to allow the means to get in the way. Sure, he wants to reach men, but why allow yourself to be controlled by the culture of those men? Sometimes we cannot see how our culture affects us, even if the gospel has to suffer for it.

Mark Driscoll meet Jurgen Moltmann:
In sexism male characteristics are used for self-justification and for the legitimation of privileges. But as long as 'being human' is primarily identified with 'being a man', the man does not arrive at human identity. As long as social roles and economic privileges are justified by sexual differences, it is impossible to talk about a 'human' society. As in racialism, sexism breeds feelings of superiority among men and feelings of inferiority among women; and this hinders the 'human' development of both. Sexism has two sides as well: it is as emotional mechanism of self-justification, and an ideological mechanism of subjection."- Moltmann, CPS, 184-5.
This movement is offensive, both because it uncritically swallows a culture of superiority and because it continues one of the longest human states of oppression: men over women. I believe that this "Jesus for Real Men" movement is a promotion of the brokenness of our culture in the church by uncritically contextualizing the gospel to "reach men and subject women."

1 comment:

Chad said...

Spot on Joe Bum. You also used a quote from my favorite theologian, Molty.