Rather than step in and suggest Driscoll re-think real marriage, as he did when he called Pastor Mark to account for his use of expletives, Piper chooses rather to manufacture a foundation for Driscoll’s MMA vision of Jesus for modern Christianity. Who will hold Piper to account for sloppy theology?
I first read of Piper’s words while traveling. My schedule did not allow time to put together my own thoughts. Maybe I will get to it this week. However, I may not be able to surpass Emily’s attention to Piper’s premises (Part 2). Rachel Held Evans has already put together her favorite responses by male bloggers.
You can be sure once a person or persons believe they have reached a particular status in Christendom they will happily hold others to account. But, again, who will hold them to account for sloppy theology?
3 comments on “Piper Casts Foundation for Driscoll”
Admittedly, responding to Piper is like shooting fish in a barrel – not much sport in it and you end up putting holes in the barrel.
More interesting, to me, was his account of Ryle’s personal life and how he came to his own version of “masculine” Christianity. There’s a lot to learn there about how early childhood trauma and loss can ultimately contribute to a longing for the kind of structure, discipline and authority that Ryle associates with masculinity. I’ve been down that path myself, in my early life, and wound up not far from where Piper lives. But it never rang true to my lived experience, particularly in my relationships with women and men, and I eventually gravitated to a much less rigid understanding of Christianity, God and gender – not unlike the “jellyfish” that Ryle finds so distasteful.
If time permitted it would be interesting to reflect on what it is about jellyfish – one of God’s creations, after all – that makes it play the role it does in Ryle’s – and presumably Piper’s – thinking. I dare say that it represents an underlying anxiety about the perceived polymorphousness of feminine sexuality and desire – i.e., a source of anxiety that threatens to reveal the underlying instability of men’s sense of phallic power and mastery.
Much to consider, but others do a good job of deflating Piper (and Ryle) by means of simple historical contextualization. Both men seem oblivious to the significance of cultural change over time, and project their own experience onto that of the writers of Scripture and their (then) contemporary audiences. They are also both revealed as very poor readers of those same Scriptures, since the tension between the radically liberatory message of the Gospels – including in terms of gender – and the demands of cultural context, are already present all over the New Testament, if they were inclined to see it.
Nice move to get below the surface of the very public discourse on masculinity and Christianity. I suspect you are right about the potential contributing factors that produce the move Piper. via Ryle, makes. Interestingly, one may suspect somewhere along the way someone who claims to be self-aware, and thus needed a Sabbatical to address personal issues, would now be self-aware enough to jettison such sloppy ways of doing theology.
Maybe time will allow the exploration of the jellyfish and its particularly targeted anti-type for masculine Christianity. Surely it is much more than a simple illustration of an invertebrate.
As always, glad when you stop by and leave a thought to two.