"Chicken or the Egg?" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward
This drawing is inspired by the Ouroboros snake
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
- He titles his post is "Thoughts about Mark Driscoll"
- He talks about the "heady" days of publishing and speaking.
- He dismisses his disturbing personality traits by his use of the word "sure".
- He says it isn't a moral issue (evil) but that he is passionate.
- He says more than once that Driscoll is "extremely smart" or "brilliant".
- He suggests that he will "see" (as in "think"?) his way out of this.
- He writes that Driscoll has just embraced a toxic version of theology.
- He hopes that Driscoll will turn away from this toxic theology.
- He concludes therefore that Driscoll is not the problem, but his theology.
But my question is‚
What came first? The thug or the theology?
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.
Would you like some friends to walk with you through your healing? Join The Lasting Supper
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