The Aperture and its Pretenders

The phenomenon of the nuclear family is specific to wealthy, highly mobile societies. This tendency is especially pronounced in North America, where people have, at most, a few generations on the land of their birth. The phenomenon of the intrusive preacher is (not coincidentally) also prevalent here, where outsiders rush in to fill the emotional and moral vacuum where tradition and elders once held sway.

Pastor Mark Driscoll, a fortysomething preacher from Seattle, is an excellent example of an outsider who regularly intruded into the lives of various members of his congregation. Over the course of the last decade, his behavior became so extreme that he was eventually ordered to resign from the church he founded.

The prevalence of the Driscoll phenotype is partially cultural. The lack of family and community support creates a social aperture, through which seemingly well-intentioned scoundrels can enter into a protected discourse with individuals. Here they are free to take advantage of the most vulnerable and pliable. Driscoll himself became a surrogate father-figure to many in his flock, and he seems to have enjoyed the psychological power of this position, without ever providing much in the way of support to his “children”.

Driscoll himself was quite forthright about his own motivations. In his magnum opus, a poorly written sex-manual, he laid out the details of his own marital failures. One reviewer described the book as “astoundingly disrespectful”. Another notes that Driscoll’s wife, Grace “is often cast as the damaged and sinful wife who withholds sex from her deserving husband.”

sigmundHere we get a glimpse into the motivations of “Pastor Mark” as he berates the husbands and fathers in his congregation. The astonishing lack of intimacy at home, coupled with the social cachet of his position, led him to begin to enter into intimate relationships with the wives and daughters of his congregation. To be clear, no physical intercourse is implied. The psychological phenomenon of closure with the women in his audience appears to have satisfied his needs for intimacy.

To justify the symbolic cuckolding of the men who funded the construction of his churches, supported him emotionally, and worked to provide him with years of unearned income, he succeeded in painting all the men in his congregation as deficient.

A much more comprehensive exposé of Driscoll is now published over on Dalrock. I strongly recommend them to any incipient sociologists, who seek a deeper understanding of the intersections of family dysfunction, social isolation and the ongoing sellout of the religious ideological apparatus in twenty-first century North America.

The Only Real Man In The Room details Driscoll’s sermons about masculinity, which ranged from bombastic AMOGing to laughable public meltdowns. This pattern of lunacy likely had the effect of driving self-respecting families out of his congregation, and over time led to a congregation filled with unusually docile sheep, which only intensified Pastor Mark’s insane theatrics.

Don’t Overlook Single Mothers is an interesting article which illuminates some of the bad advice which Pastor Mark gave to the men in his spiritual care, namely that they should wife up skank-ho single mothers. The article also serves as a close look at some of his more innovative theological concepts, in that Pastor Mark regularly compared the Virgin Mary to these eligible skanks, and Jesus to one of their kids in tow. Needless to say, Christians take issue with this, as do non-Christian fans of mythology (like y’r boy Boxer).

Driscoll, Where Do Baby-Mamas Come From is a brief but expository illustration of the phenomenon detailed in the previous article. Unlike many traditional Christians, who hold that Mary (the mother of Jesus) was “without sin,” Pastor Mark believes that a sinless nature is inherent in all women. Any perceived sin in women is a misperception, therefore, and the ultimate responsible party is some man, who failed to “man up” when required.

If Suzie is pregnant again, it’s because she can’t find a decent man. That’s why she has sex with random bad men in the public toilet outside the nightclub she goes to on Friday evening. It’s not her fault, really. It’s yours. You’re a bad man, and you caused Suzie’s poor decision. Does this make sense? Not to worry, you can make things right with the Christian god by marrying Suzie, and raising her bastards as your own.

Message Received is another look at Driscoll’s evisceration of the fathers and husbands in his congregation. He goes into nauseating detail as to the faults of all the men who work to support him, detailing their various failures, and noting how worthless they all are compared to their pastor.

Oh Lord, It’s Hard To Be Humble is an account of Driscoll’s lame attempt at an “apology”, delivered as growth waned and his career began its slow descent to disaster in 2007. Driscoll confessed his faults, which largely consisted of pride in being better than all the people who were still paying him to throw fits on stage. It’s really hard to believe the hubris here, but it’s all documented in its embarrassing glory.

She Who Must Be Obeyed is the last, and by far the most interesting article about Pastor Mark. A clever liar and cunning manipulator of others, our hero is able to inject radical feminist theory into his sermons, which supposedly champion traditional values.

Marc Driscoll is one of a great many pretenders who are currently feeding on the decaying carcass of Western civilization. Why devote so much space to him? It’s a fair question.

While I’m generally apathetic about religion, I do find it interesting (and quite sad) to see the institution of the church dissolve before my eyes, in real time. It is rare that someone makes the effort to thoroughly document the historical processes surrounding such an event. Mark Driscoll is a visible example of the intersection of these larger historical processes, and the author of Dalrock has done an admirable job documenting his rise and fall, which is relevant to everyone alive today who is interested in larger social tendencies.