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This drawing is inspired by the Ouroboros Snake... of the snake eating its own tail.
What came first? The chicken or the egg? What came first? The thug or the theology? I read Tony Jones' thoughts on Mark Driscoll.
Jones has always admired Driscoll, maybe envies him a little, wants the best for him, believes he can be redeemed, and suggests that things can be restored.
What I found most interesting though is that Jones believes the problem with Driscoll is theological.
That is, did Driscoll become the focus of concern because of his theology? Or was it because of his behavior?
I'm concerned that Jones' post reflects the refusal of the church to understand spiritual abuse. It neglects the pathology of its abusive leaders. I don't think this is being fair to the victims or the perpetrators of spiritual abuse. People are victims of not just a bad theology, but a pathological cruelty.
I don't think Driscoll's theology made this happen. Driscoll "embraced" his toxic version of theology because it aligned with his moral compass. It fit his personality. It worked for him to achieve his goals. Then it manifested the worst in him. Then he continued to develop his toxic theology in order to make more room for his pathological behavior. Mars Hill Church too.
Jones' sentence, "It could have happened to any of us." is true, because I believe we all participate in this dynamic. Theology is our creation. It is a reflection of our drives and desires.
Then, not satisfied to only be the product of our drives and desires, it also becomes the producer of them. Theology is a vicious cycle of our desperate need to understand and control our universe.
Step into this cycle at any point and you can see that we are both the root and fruit of our theology and pathology.
And yes, it spins out of control by manifesting itself in toxic, controlling, and abusive behavior. Nothing can be done about bad theology because of free thought and speech.
But we can do something when this manifests itself in bad behavior. Cruel theology is a nuisance. Cruel behavior is unacceptable.
When Driscoll thinks bully to his people, we can say please stop. But when he actually bullies people, we can step in and say you will stop now!
I don't think this is a theological issue. I think it is a pathological one. Not just for Driscoll and Jones, but for the entire church.
If we would be healed, our theology would take care of itself.