Saturday, December 02, 2006
Mark Driscoll Apologizes (for real this time), Protest Canceled
I'm glad to say that Mark Driscoll and one of his elders recently chose to sit down with several of their critics (including Paul Chapman of PAF - the protest organizers, Rich and Rose Swetman, Nancy & Tom Murphy, Dwight Friesen, and Sandy Brown) in the interest of understanding and reconciliation regarding Mark's insensitive remarks on his Ted Haggard post, and the resulting reaction in the blogosphere.

By all accounts it was a fruitful conversation. Rose said that everyone felt "heard" and all sides were able to share about the hurt and damage that the other's words had caused (Mark about the hurt that the "misogyny" label has caused him & his church, and the others about the hurt caused by Mark's inflammatory language and use of feminine terms as pejoratives - e.g. "chickified".)

Paul gives a good overview of the outcomes at the People Against Fundamentalism blog. He says that the objectives of their planned protest have been met and therefore the protest is off. (Just for reference, the three objectives were 1) to alert the city of Seattle to Mark’s pejorative language; 2) to see Mark removed as a religion columnist for The Seattle Times; 3) to see a sincere apology from Mark for his comments and a pledge to cease demeaning women in the future. - Mark was removed as a columnist by The Seattle Times this past week.) In return, Paul apologized for his "over-the-top" use of the term misogynist to describe Mark.

Another result of the meeting is that Mark has posted a real apology this time at his blog, in which he states:
"I came to the meeting expecting God would speak to me through fellow Christians and had much joy because He did. I learned that my theological convictions, even the most controversial ones, are as unwavering as ever. But I also learned that as my platform has grown, so has my responsibility to speak about my convictions in a way that invites other people to experience charity from me, which means inflammatory language and such need to be scaled back. I was also sad and sorry to hear that various things I have said over the years have been received very personally by some people who felt personally attacked."

While I might hope that Mark would eventually change his mind on his theology as well, I know that was not a realistic outcome for this particular meeting. If they've at least convinced him to tone down the rhetoric and be more respectful with his words, that definitely a good start. Overall, I think this meeting was the best possible outcome for this whole ordeal and I really respect the maturity and grace demonstrated by all involved.

I'm also grateful for people like Paul and Rose who had the courage to speak up against Mark's behavior, and were willing to take criticism of their own for it. For those who thought the threat of protest was a little "extreme" or even "un-Christian", I wonder, would this meeting have been able to take place without it? Would a few angry blogposts been enough to get Mark's attention and lead him to the reflection and repentance his most recent post has indicated? Somehow I doubt it. This is exactly the kind of hoped-for outcome that makes some protests worthwhile.

Update (added 12/04): Several local Seattle papers reported on Mark's apology and the subsequent cancellation of the protest.
Seattle Times
Seattle PI


posted by Mike Clawson at 11:24 PM | Permalink |


At 12/03/2006 12:25:00 AM, Blogger Waters of Time

Hey Mike,
Thanks for the thoughtful post and I am definitely happy that positive dialogue came out of this whole issue:) However, I also wanted to ask a question not directly related to this post, so I hope you don't mind. I noticed in your "Recent Reads" section you have "The Real Mary" up there. Though I consider myself an evangelical Protestant, the Catholic church has had a strong influence on my family and our history, so dialogue with the Catholic Church is something very dear to my heart. I wanted to ask what your initial impressions of the book were. Do you see it as something that could spark positive dialogue? Just wondering:) ~Nick


At 12/03/2006 10:25:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

Hey Nick,

I've only just started reading it. However, I will be reviewing it here once I finish it, so check back. Also, our Emergent Cohort, up/rooted will be meeting with Scot McKnight next Monday (Dec 11) up in Park Ridge to discuss his book, so I should be able to tell you more about it then too. (If you're around the Chicago area next Monday, you should come!)

So far I can say that while it is good stuff, it is not quite as academic as I was hoping for. It's definitely more "lay level". Whether or not it would spark dialogue might depend on the level of the group. Some groups it would be perfect for, while more intellectual groups might find it simplistic.

But I'll tell you more when I finish it. Check back here. :)




At 12/04/2006 05:24:00 PM, Blogger Julie

I'm not really sure what to think about it all.

Mark again didn't really apologize, just shifted the blame to those who were hurt. But this is being seen as an apology so the discussion is over.

I wonder - does it mean that those who alsp had to apologize and call off the protest can't have a voice against the words Driscoll says anymore. I agree that harming him is wrong and that shouldn't be the point. But if people truly think that his words are sexist and therefore hate speech, does the whole "kiss and make-up" show imply that they can no longer speek out. Mark said he was hurt to be called a misogynist and others apologized for hurting him. But if a racist says he is hurt for being called a racist should our response be to care most about his feelings and apologize for speaking the truth or to continue to care for those who are being hurt and then stop the hurting?

Just my random first reactions here...


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