The Effeminate Battle

12 Jul, 2011

Pastor Mark Driscoll caused another great stir by going after Worship Leaders who come across as effeminate. Here is his original post from his Facebook fan page.

So, what story do you have about the most effeminate anatomically male worship leader you’ve ever personally witnessed?

What did Driscoll mean by effeminate? He provides a definition.

1: having feminine qualities untypical of a man: not manly in appearance or manner 2″ marked by unbecoming delicacy or overrefinement. 

So what in the world was his motivation for this discussion? He gave this for clarity in the discussion.

It’s a real issue. Most churches do not have nearly as many men as women. Women tend to feel more comfortable in a feminine environment than men do in a feminine environment. Many churches that attract women repel men. Sometimes it has a lot to do with the guy up front leading the music. This comes out of a recent conversation with a blue collar non-Christian who wanted to learn the Bible but felt very uncomfortable with the guy on the mic leading worship so he walked out.

Besides the hundreds of comments to the original question (which has since been taken off his page) many bloggers have taken to their pages to express their opinion. Here are a few I appreciated:

I think Grace, Rachel and Tyler give Mark the tag team butt kicking he deserves (though I do hope his elders follow up with more). What I’d like to add to the conversation is Mark’s motivation to make his church meeting attractive. It is a trap! When we play dress up with our faith and try to present it in such a way that is more about presentation than it is about proclamation, then we are masquerading the true Kingdom.

In terms of being a “Body” with are to be clothed with Christ. This doesn’t mean either tailored white robes or masculine 501 Levis with the button up fly. In fact it says in that same paragraph (in the Letter Paul wrote to the Galatians) that being in Christ isn’t dependent upon cultural or religious backgrounds (neither Jew nor Gentile), affluence or position (neither slave nor free), or gender differences (nor male and female). If we belong to Christ, then we are family. Period. There are no red-headed step children in the Kingdom (no offence meant to the Gingers out there).

When Jesus walked our streets he didn’t pursue people based on popularity. He didn’t have the most prominent followers or ones that would attract the well-to-do crowd. Some of his front people were actually very unpopular—the tax collector was hated by the Jews, while the zealot was hated by the Romans.

What attracted people to Jesus wasn’t his appearance – it was what he taught and how he lived. It was the mercy he showed and the people he touched. It was his listening ear to his Father and the miraculous things that happened because of his obedience.

What attracts people to us, at least how it is supposed to work, is by the way we care for each other – the young the old, the rich the poor, the articulate and the stutterer, the bright and the simple. The truth is we are all so broken, weak, and dysfunctional that if we are loving people at their core, not their external expressions, masks and classifications, then the rest of the broken world will feel safe to come be loved as well.

Do you ever feel tempted to dress up church? How is it working for you?

Pinging is currently not allowed15 Responses

  1. davidjfisher says:

    With you on this one 100% The problem is that people mix up what the word church means (not that church is even a Biblical word anyway). It's meeting is interchangable. The blue collar worker who walke out, did not walk out on people, he walked out on a meeting… Maybe in the same way that Jesus follower would walk out if they attended somewhere with a sex show, or a black person might walk out on a racist comedian, or a teenager walk out of a dull concert.

    There are four things that 'church' has come to mean…
    1) A meeting held once a week
    2) A building where people gather
    3) An organisation run by church staff with members
    4) A affiliation of people under the name of a registered name

    Each one of these entities has to have an image, and meet the needs of a certain group of people… whereas ekklesia is a whole different story :-)

  2. AndrewFinden says:

    While I agree with the criticisms of Driscoll's comment about effeminate worship leaders (though are you sure it was him who said that third quote, or someone paraphrasing him?) I don't know that he can necessarily be accused of trying to be popular or put presentation over proclamation. His view of what it means to 'manly' might well be culturally particularly, but I on the whole he does see the proclamation of the gospel as central and he recognises that he's not always going to be popular for saying that (and some of the other things he does).

    • Grace says:

      But in fact popularity with a particular demographic (young men) is what Driscoll is going for, and he's said so many times. Here, for example: He basically says the church needs to get young men and associates that with the church getting money, power, business, etc., etc. He and other MHC folks associate the large size of the church and their ability to "attract men" with blessing from God and a sign that they're doing things right. Now, it's been a while since I've been to church, but the gospel I remember is neither about church growth nor about tailoring the message to make it more attractive to men who feel threatened and disenfranchised by the concept of female equality.

      Given how consistently Driscoll goes for shock value, provacation, titillation, and mockery of various groups, it's amazing to me that people don't see that he's all about presentation.

  3. Grace says:

    Thanks for the link to my blog (Are Women Human?), Chad! Just wanted to clear up a few things – The third quote is my paraphrase of what Driscoll is saying, not a quote from Driscoll. The post on my blog is by me, but I excerpt a lot of Dianna's post, which is why it's titled as it is.

    It's very encouraging to me to see evangelicals starting to call Mark to accountability for the harmful things he says and does.

  4. Tomm Lemon says:

    Has anyone here listened to a sermon from Mark in its entirety?

  5. Still Sad says:

    "I think Grace, Rachel and Tyler give Mark the tag team butt kicking he deserves (though I do hope his elders follow up with more)."


    When the elders of his church still had some legal authority, two questioned his demand that new bylaws be passed that took away the elders' legal authority to vote on important church matters. The result?

    "Driscoll reported….'I break their nose.’ When one of the renegade elders refused to repent, the church leadership ordered members to shun him. One member complained on an online message board and instantly found his membership privileges suspended. 'They are sinning through questioning,' Driscoll preached."

    • Chad Estes says:

      I do remember that NY Timers article. Yikes…

    • justinboggs says:

      Rewriting what I had said before. It's hard to judge something out of context, but that could be a big issue. What was the Elder's sin? How was the parishioner supportive? I have been, and still am, on the wrong side of a bad disfellowship (not me personally but it involved friends and family) so I can be sensitive to these issues. I also have seen where giving someone the boot led them to repentance and was the right thing to do.

  6. Being a person who tends to think internationally, here is a good post about Mark Driscoll's comments from Belgium (i.e. the folks overseas don't have a clue what Mark is trying to say!)

  7. Bryan Vanshur says:

    I'm probably the ONLY person who hasn't heard of Driscoll so I'm not qualified to either diss him or sing his praises. Still, he's not the only Christian writer to express similar concerns although I'm a bit puzzled as to why worship leaders were singled out by him. Anyway, John Eldredge wrote in "Wild At Heart":

    "Christianity, as it currently exists, has done damage to masculinity. When all is said and done, I think most men in the church believe that God put them on the earth to be a good boy. The problem with men, we are told, is that they don't know how to keep their promises, be spiritual leaders, talk to their wives, or raise their children. But, if they will try real hard they can reach the lofty summit of becoming…a nice guy. That's what we hold up as models of Christian maturity: Really Nice Guys. We don't smoke , drink, or swear; that's what makes us men. Now let me ask my male readers: in all your boyhood dreams growing up, did you ever dream of being a Nice Guy?"

    As I said, I'm not necessarily agreeing 100% with Driscoll but he does bring up a valid concern. Anyway, that's my two cents. :)

  8. societyvs says:

    Driscoll, retire from your post. Why is it people that are kind of hardcore Christians feel if they are not 'against' something they are not doing anything? Driscoll always has to be against something, now a worship leader being a nice guy rubs him the wrong way. Thats a dumb thing to be against…not sensible even.

    What Driscoll wants is what he views men to be as meaningful…and effeminate or 'in touch with your emotions' might be a problem. Maybe he should get rappers leading worship and drop the stupid folky crap then?

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