One thing I don’t do nearly enough of is mention some of the other great blogs I read regularly. It just so happened that this week three of my favorites, Joy, Elizabeth, and Preston, all addressed the same controversy involving a prominent pastor of one of those megachurches that people on the East Coast really don’t understand. Normally I wouldn’t get myself too worked up over this, because, frankly, I don’t expect a Calvinist to have the same beliefs and opinions I do, and because controversies within Catholicism give me more than enough to worry about. But this one caught my eye.
Basically, Mr. Driscoll, who has already courted controversy with comments on gender roles and by promoting a distinctly “macho” Christianity, posted a facebook status asking followers to write about the gayest worship leader they had ever seen (to be fair, he used the word ‘effeminate’, but let’s cut through the euphemisms). It seemed, to my eye, to be nasty and juvenile, and it created quite a stir.
Most of this controversy centered on the fundamental lack of charity manifested in such a quip. I have to say, that despite a few theological differences that I can see, Preston came closest to writing the post I wish I’d written, especially in how he deals with some of our models of Biblical masculinity (Samson, anyone?) and whether or not some of our Christian heroes would last very long in a hyper-masculinized Church.
Readers probably know that forcing anyone into gendered boxes is something that really gets my goat. It is hard enough to be a good person without having to worry about being a “good” (read: socially acceptable) woman or man.
This reflection comes on the heels of another conversation about the public perception of how the religiously observant are “supposed” to act. In the minds of many people we are “supposed” to be pretentiously pious and blandly inoffensive. We don’t drink or swear, we don’t have opinions, we don’t speak up, we don’t laugh loudly or dance wildly.
The whole thing wears me out and baffles me. What does the Lord require? to do justice, to love kindness and walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8) And what is the greatest commandment? To love your neighbor as yourself. I have to say that it blows my mind that we bother ourselves with all the other nonsense.
How can someone really think that God’s law requires that we behave in hyper-masculinized or -feminized ways that just happen to jive with the worst parts of our 21st century culture? Did Jesus, whose preaching totally turned the world upside-down, really mean for us to take our behavioral cues from action movies 2000 years later?
Apparently when we don’t fit our approved gender roles it makes people “uncomfortable”. Good. Christianity is uncomfortable. The idea that God exalts the powerless and the foolish, that God works through sinners, that God loves everyone, even those who are different from me, even those who’s opinions offend me – all of this is unsettling. That the Church is made up of a messy amalgam of every type of miscreant is unsettling. That God’s house has many dwelling places can be very uncomfortable on those days when we want so desperately to be right.
This is part of an attempt to be a little more timely and a little less formal in my writing once in a while- what do you think? Will you keep reading even if my posts aren’t perfectly thought-through, long-pondered and heavily edited versions of my Deepest Thoughts? And what other blogs should I be reading and sharing?