Sunday, November 05, 2006

Fat, Lazy Pastors' Wives

Because it is all over the blogosphere, I've been reading about the Haggard scandal. It is sad, but not surprising, that as we elevate men to positions of power, they topple from the pedestal to which they were elevated.

The stupidest commentary I've read so far came from Mark Driscoll's blog. It will be up to Mark to dig himself out of the latest hole that he dug for himself, to see if he can remove his foot from his mouth.

There is so much wrong with this I don't even know where to begin. This particular paragraph seems to be causing the most controversy (Mark's words in brown):

Mark said:

At the risk of being even more widely despised than I currently am, I will lean over the plate and take one for the team on this.
I wonder what team he believes he represents. Pastors? Husbands? Real men?

It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go;
Of course pastors don't let themselves go, and I am sure that Mark is the picture of fitness and GQ studliness.

Few wives who feel well-loved by their husbands "let themselves go." Show me a person (male or female) who has let themselves go, and I'll guarantee that person is struggling with emotional and self-esteem issues. Not to mention, the wife probably had a great figure before she went through the physical trauma of bearing her husband's 4 or 5 kids! A judgmental and critical spouse will do nothing to improve her well-being.

they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness.
The fact that Mark has such a low view of women and poor understanding of the marriage relationship is astounding considering the number of people he is responsible for leading.

Regarding grooming issues, there are many things that a husband can do to encourage his wife that she is worth the time and attention required to pamper herself.

The emotional dynamics of weight issues are so complex that I will only touch on them here. If a woman is struggling with her weight, there are usually a combination of factors, the least of which is laziness. Childhood sexual abuse is an overwhelming contributor to adult obesity. Family history of food addictions, poor habits, and genetic weight issues are also likely. Finally, the simple biological factors of pregnancy weight fluctuations and slowing metabolism are common struggles for women.

Few women are successful at losing weight for their husband. However, if a woman is struggling with weight issues, the unconditional love and acceptance of a supportive husband can be extremely helpful in succeeding with weight loss.

A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband’s sin, but she may not be helping him either.
Perhaps this shallow attitude is what was most disappointing about Mark's comments. Surely Christian marriages should reflect a deeper commitment. If either the husband or the wife has shut down within the marriage, it is time to get help, before either of them turn outside of the marriage for fulfillment.

I started the church ten years ago when I was twenty-five years of age. Thankfully, I was married to a beautiful woman....I have been blessed with a trustworthy heterosexual male assistant who can travel with me, meet with me, etc., without the fear of any temptations or even false allegations since we have beautiful wives and eight children between us.
One of the issues with pornography and sexual sins is that it objectifies a woman, making her simply an object of fulfillment. This type of arm-candy, trophy-wife mentality also objectifies women.

If we define beauty as simply the vanity defined by our culture, we are promoting values that are actually contrary to the kingdom. I would give Mark the benefit of the doubt and say that he probably meant "inner beauty," but he basically indicated by his own words that he meant that the physical attractiveness of the wife is a contributing factor in the fidelity of her husband.

If the only thing standing between a man and an affair is the fact that his wife is beautiful, I would say that man is on very shaky ground. I hope that every husband sees the beauty in his wife, but I also hope that what he sees is more than skin deep. Sexual attraction is important, but often a lack of attraction is rooted in the insecurities and self-centeredness of the husband, rather than the undesirability of the spouse.

In my opinion, the biggest contributing factor in an affair is an immature ego, a person who can be tempted by the idea that they are sexually desirable to someone besides their spouse. I agree with the points that Mark made about not putting oneself in compromising situations. However, these safeguards are of no use once a person has decided to put their own desires ahead of their spouses.

Humility of heart, unconditional love, preferring one's spouse - these are the things that will stand the test of time. Life is hard, beauty is fleeting, vanity is empty. Love is a choice, a decision to cherish your spouse through all of the changes that happen in a lifetime.

88 comments:

Scott said...

arrogance and stupidity. a wonderful combination.

Anonymous said...

Good post.

Geez, I thought Mark was a think-outside-the-box type of guy. Once a guy is gay, it does not matter how many beautiful women he is surruonded by. Just see Rock Hudson.

This is dumber than what I have read in watchblogs. Haggard sinned because he is not fundamentalist enough. He sinned because he is charismatic. He sinned because he is market driven. He sinned because he adheres to the mega church model.

He sinned because he is not them.

How about this? He sinned because he is just like any of us. He sinned because he shares my sin nature. He sinned because he is me?

It was bad enough to see read that he sinned because he does not believe in a certain doctrinal system. Now he did because his wife is fat? Mrs. Haggard's life has just turned upside down, and she is told that she is fat?

I am a single guy, and I suppose that gives me a license to sin however I want to.

Anonymous said...

I am still sitting here stunned by the sheer magnitude of the ignorance Mark Driscoll revealed in his post. His entire post was riddled with clues that indicated his lack of knowledge about homosexuality and/or the nature of sexual temptation. It's the bluster of someone who is either deep in the weeds or who is so naive he actually believes what he's writing. Either way, he's dangerous.

Cindy said...

i don't know where to start.

Anonymous said...

Ha Ha I knew you'd be on to this.

I came across a link to this (Mark's post) while on the way home. Pam and I had a lot of "fun" with it.

Is it people like this that perpetuate the myth that women who are hit or raped "drove" the men to it by their appearance or behavior? My God, does it ALWAYS have to be the woman's fault?

Ok Ok, I know that's a gross generalization, there are many (mostly?) honest and honorable and respectable men. I'm just making a point on this particular situation.

I like what you have said here, Grace. I will beg to differ with you one one point:

"Show me a person (male or female) who has let themselves go, and I'll guarantee that person is struggling with emotional and self-esteem issues."

While this is true much of the time, I would hesitate to say it is a guarantee. I do know people who are overweight simply for physiological reasons.

"In my opinion, the biggest contributing factor in an affair is an immature ego, a person who can be tempted by the idea that they are sexually desirable to someone besides their spouse.

I agree.

fr'nklin said...

Grace, I haven't read Driscolls article, but reading the quotes on your site just saddens me. For the past few years I've continued to lose respect for Driscoll. The kind of arrogance he displays reminds me of...hmmmm...a guy named Haggard...

ScottB said...

I had the same reaction. Your comments on objectification are right on - could it be that Mark's approach actually encourages infidelity by 1) demeaning women and 2) giving men an out? And, to be honest, I question whether infidelity is about attraction anyway. You also said: "In my opinion, the biggest contributing factor in an affair is an immature ego, a person who can be tempted by the idea that they are sexually desirable to someone besides their spouse." Absolutely. I'm in full agreement here.

Robbymac said...

Grace,

Well said, and I couldn't agree me with your assessment of Mark's bizarre blog (which is getting almost as much attention as Haggard's activities which prompted Mark's post).

Dang...

Just read your post aloud to Wendy, and she immediately demanded to see a pic of Markie, and her comment was:

"What a big hunk of cheese. Good thing his wife is such a babe or he'd be spreadin' his seed abroad."

Sounds like Wendy & I are both on the same page with you on this one, Grace!

Wendy also has another suggestion for Mark, but I can't print it here. :)

Robbymac said...

Oops, sorry. First line should've have read:

"I couldn't agree MORE (not me)..."

Fingers got ahead of my brain. (sheepish shrug

Santosh said...

I am so offended by Driscoll's remarks. thank you so much for your thoughtfuland intelligent response. I only pray Driscoll can read them in a spirit of humilty and repentence.

Pastor Astor said...

Great Grace!
I have read a whole bundle of north american posts on Haggard, and there are a whole lot of interesting theories out there conserning the reason for what happened. Driscolls is the worst by far. "The reason is that pastors wifes let the selves go, because their husbands are trapped in fidelity". Another blogger speaks about the danger of hotels (they are infected by demons), yet another one suggests that it is a male menopause issue. You are the first I´ve read that seaks th reason where it is to be found: In the american leadership ideal. You guys tend to put your leaders on a pedistal, expecting them to be superhuman, and this IS NOT COMPATIBLE WITH THE GOSPEL!!! We are all sinners and in need of a saviour. How can it be a surprise that Haggard is human? When it is revealed that the church has been led by a HUMAN BEING (oh, the shame)a team of superhuman garbageguys are called in and he is quickly disposed of. What if pastors would have a place to be human, to confess, to be transparant? Then theese things wouldn´t have to happen! I also think you north american christians have a strange relationship to your sexuality. It is like you view it as a uncontrollable force that posess you all. If a man and a woman (or man and man in Haggards case) end up alone in a room - then the auto pilot kicks in and there is nothing one can do... I think what was first a way of motivating people by fear has been repeated so many times that it is now viewed as the truth. How come american christians are an exeption to what has been true for all other christians, that our sexuality is subject to our will? This is the reason we can talk about celibacy and no sex outside of marriage - because it is possible to say no! I believe the way you american christians talk about it will produce a victim mentality and self fulfilling prophecies: "I wasn´t responsible, I am a victim to my sexuality, because I had the opportunity. And we all know what happens then..."

I hope I haven´t insulted anyone.

freakontheway said...

Dear Grace,
I just read Robbymac's blog and was curious what all his links were about, so I started reading. Your blog always makes me smile and think further, and this time your comments on Mark's blog made my anger and being stunned into s'th more mature... ;) thanx.

My goodness, this Driscoll-thinking is not just very sad, it's very very bad publicity for all the good pastors in this world, who REALLY do think the way the Song of Songs is showing us. I so agree with your commants on this, especially the last.

Poor Mark, too bad for him when the beauty fades, and all is slipped away. I pray that he will finally see the inside of people and especially his wife. In stead of going on looking at just the outside. As more of us have said already: what a stupid arrogance, how is he able to live with that and lead others.

I'm thinking losts more, but that has more to do with reinventing eneuchs, than the problem is non-existing anymore. They were able to live in whole houses full of beautifull Hadassa-like women.

I wonder how his thoughts would sound as he was talking about a female-pastor...

Daniel said...

I want to be the voice of the other and suggest that Mark Driscoll comments are not so far out as everyone is saying. I know he can say things in a way that sometimes make you roll your eyes in disbelief, but the essence and reality of this is true. That is that any wife has a responsibility for their husband's sexual purity, not ultimate responsibility as that is his, but she is to participate with him in protecting it (and he with her). I know that I am more susceptible to sexual sin if sexual relations with my wife are not going very well. This does not condone it but is just the way it is. Therefore both partners need to think about how they can help each other in remaining pure. I believe this involves both seeking to remain attractive and to remain available. Granted this is not always possible, but if it is then we should be doing what we can. If a wife (or husband) thinks this is not their problem then I feel they have lost the point of marriage.

Shane Sowden said...

Interesting read. I am sure that if you actually talked to Driscoll about this he would probably agree with pretty much everything you just posted. I agree with you and Driscoll. I am sure he is wishing he would have explained his point much better to avoid reactions like this. While your point is a very good one what good is it to blast Driscoll without conversing with him first? I see this a lot in the blogger world. Especially Christian blogs.

Anonymous said...

You know what hurts me most? Mark doesn't even sounds the same as my non-christian friends who want to stay pure. They have a more healthy way in looking at others.

The country I live in displays the same way of external looking at eachother, and the churches call that immoral.

Anonymous said...

Shane, about your last comment; I tried all ways but can't post a comment on Marks blog, so what I tried to tell him is not to see for others. If it's too difficult to reach s'b, than the message is clear: no contact anymore about this, please, or s'th like that...

That you see this blasting behind s'b back especially in Christian blogs, is s'th I don't recognize, but hey, my bloggerlife isn't too long, and I usually think that e-mailing s'b is a more personal approach.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post!!!

pat gillen said...

i found this blog via another.
did you read any of the rest of Driscolls post? Why pick this one thing and roll with it? He calls for accountability, for integrity, for more time at home, the fear of God...
Driscoll will be the first to tell you he's not going to act PC -- and he really doesn't care who gets upset at him. I'm not equating him to a Biblical prophet, but was there ever a prophet that didn't sound a little arogant and blunt?
I dont' think he ever recommends pastors tell their fat lazy wives to clean up and pretty up -- he's simply saying that there are women who let themselves go, and they need to realize that this can hurt a situation. He could've mentioned to the husbands the same challenge, but why is this too difficult to hear?

Scott said...

Pat,
i don't think the issue has anything to do with political correctness. saying the non-pc thing is not the same as saying the totally incorrect thing.

and as to the whole "letting yourself go" contributing to the problem, when my wife got a mastectomy did that mean i was to think of her as any less attractive? to say a portly wife, for example, contributes to infidelity is to allege that physical attractiveness contributes to fidelity and that our morality is dependent upon outside circumstances.
god help him if his wife gets fat, or sick, or Alzheimer's or an eating disorder or a bag hair day.
our motivation needs to be intrinsic, not sexual or otherwise. many of us find his comments to be incredibly naive and shallow.

Anonymous said...

OK, I've listened to many of Mark's sermons via podcast and have been impressed with the integrity and theology. But I'm pretty disappointed with these statements.

1) As a woman struggling with about 40 extra pounds who was sexually abused, who was thinner before giving birth, and is into middle age, I can attest to the fact that my weight is NOT something I've been "lazy" about. Even though I work out and try to eat healthy, my body has changed. To hear a pastor say that some wives have "let themselves go" is demeaning, misogynistic and unfair.

2) While I'm going to assume in Christian love that he's referring to the INNER beauty of his wife and is not reducing her to a set of body parts. He has to realize that his words will be taken more seriously as a leading Christian pastor just as Haggard's offense was...because they lead people and must be extra careful in their word and deed. (James 3:1)

3) Society puts enough pressure on women to look a certain way. I'm really disappointed to hear that standard reflected in our church, especially since I don't see where the Bible says that women are required to be forever beautiful.

Bad call on this one, Pastor Driscoll. I don't think this encouraged, edified or challenged anyone.

Anonymous said...

Having read both your post and Mark Driscolls post, I have to say that your attack is as one sided and lacking in thought as his is self righteous.

Anonymous said...

OMG, OMG! mark driscle is a mysoginist!!!!11oneone

pat gillen said...

Just so i'm not misunderstood, i don't claim that he is 100% right on the subject. It was just one of his many points. I don't think it's shallow to say that there is some outward factors that contribute to attractiveness. No matter what my wife goes through -- i'll be by her side. (Especially if there is something outside of her control) but what Mark is saying is that many 'pastors wives' have let themselves go.
it may not be a fair assumption of his -- but he's not blaming anyone who has a problem, issue, disease, surgery, etc. He's merely saying that men who have wives who don't give a rip what they look like (meaning they are not trying to be attractive for their husbands) may find themselves more open to infidelity if someone comes along who tries to meet their needs in that area. He's not saying every wife has to look like a super model. but not caring about your appearance (and yes, health is in there too) results from a poor attitude about what a healthy marriage is about. it's not the root, or the cause -- but it may reflect deeper issues.
i don't think it's superficial, naive, or in any way shallow to say that a husband and wife ought to be attracted to one another. there's this thought that once you've "conquered" by marrying the person that you can both let yourself go. this is unhealthy. Romance is something that is on-going and beautiful. There is the inner-person that you ultimately love, but in some ways how we 'deal' (not how we look) with our outer person reflects deeply about that inner person. for an extreme example, someone who cuts themselves reflects much deeper inner issues that are reflected outside. giving up on taking care of yourself physically can also reflect inner choices and priorities. does this all make sense?

please read the remaining post of his. this was one small part. he promotes family, integrity, and honesty. of course, that is just a hunch.

Makeesha said...

Oh Mark, buddy, you need to take a break from writing and get some perspective or something. I seriously think he does this on purpose so he can declare himself a martyr for the "truth"...he practically said as much himself.

You are right on here sister - way to tell it like it is. I'm linking over here.

grace said...

Yes scott, and often a dangerous combination.

David,
I'm still pondering what combination of factors can lead an intelligent and gifted person to deliberately make such poor choices.

The people that I feel the worst for at this time are his wife and children. They are the innocent victims of his intentional behavior. Yes, the last thing Mrs. Haggard needs to hear today is the insinuation that she has "let herself go."

sonja,
What surprises me are the number of people willing to tolerate and justify Mark's often-rude manner.

cindy,
I know what you mean. I still don't feel like I've adequately expressed what is so wrong about this. However, the comments have added some other great insights.

Lily,
This paragraph does imply that men simply can't be expected to control themselves, therefore it is a woman's responsibility or fault.

My writing wasn't clear in the paragraph that you mentioned. I meant that if a person let's themselves go in every way, there are deeper issues involved. I do agree with you that weight issues can be simply physiological. Sorry I jumped from one thought to the next without clarifying.

fr'nklin,
Hmmm...yes I agree. Arrogance is a dangerous quality in a spiritual leader, both for themselves and those that they lead.

scottb,
I agree that infidelity probably isn't about attraction. I believe that it is about unmet needs, usually not sexual, that seek to be met in a sexual way. I've been asking myself, I wonder what it was that Ted really needed when he first sought out the other man.

robbymac and wendy,
I showed Mark's post to my husband in order to see if I perhaps was overreacting. His comments were too colorful to print.

Big hunk of cheese, eh? :)

santosh,
Nice to meet you! It's not likely Mark will be stopping by.

pastor astor,
There seems to have been a deliberateness about all of this that makes it pretty difficult to write off as a momentary lapse of judgment. I'd like to believe that our self-control is stronger than simply arranging our lives so that we are never tempted. I tend to believe that we make personal life decisions about the lines we will or will not cross. If we find those lines being pushed, we should run to God and make ourselves accountable to our spouse before we end up in trouble.

freak,
Can I call you that?

The focus on the external appearance really was disappointing. Married love should be so much deeper and richer than that.

Interestingly, in Song of Solomon, it is possible that the bride was not necessarily considered beautiful according to the cultural standards of the time. She was ashamed of her skin, darkened from working in the fields.

daniel,
I agree that a healthy sexual relationship is a wonderful and important aspect of marriage. I wish Mark had said this instead of what he said. The issue in the Haggard situation is not that Mrs. Haggard let herself go, it is that Ted turned away from the marriage for the fulfillment of his sexual desires.

shane,
These comments are not atypical of the types of comments that Mark routinely makes about women. I don't believe that I have blasted Mark here. I simply shared my thoughts about his comments.

He is welcome to view my opinions here as well as anyone else, although I'm fairly sure he's not worried about what's going on in my pretty little head.

Hi Rob, thanks!

Pat,
I read the entire post several times. I posted on this section because it was part I wanted to comment on, and this post was plenty long as is.

My feelings about the rest of his post are mixed. I do believe in using wisdom about the circumstances we put ourselves in. However, ultimately self-control must be an issue of inner character and integrity.

A prophet's words reflect the character and nature of God. Mark's words fall very short of that standard.

This might be especially difficult for Mrs. Haggard to hear at this time. I hope she never does.

Amen scott!

Very well said anonymous. I agree with each of your points and your closing.

grace said...

shari,
I'm sorry you feel that way. However, I would claim that this wasn't an attack. It was simply my opinion about Mark's comments. It's okay with me that you and others don't agree with my views.

pat,
Thanks for clarifying your thoughts. I believe that there are very few women, if any, who don't give a rip what they look like. I agree with you that it is an indication of deeper emotional issues.

Because of this, a woman who has "let herself go" needs, more than ever, the loving support of her husband. Far too often though, her condition is a reflection of the lack of love she is experiencing.

I agree with you that an unhealthy sexual relationship is an indication of deeper issues. I believe that these issues should be worked on together by both partners rather than used as an excuse for infidelity.

My comments about the rest of Mark's post are in my earlier reply to you.

makeesha,
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the link! :)

Makeesha said...

hehe...Rob, I just read your comment..too funny.

Grace - yes, my husband often has very choice words to say about driscoll. He is rarely as "tough on" people as I am, he's much more gracious that way, but when it comes to this kind of stuff, it's no holds barred

Makeesha said...

by the way, I find it very interesting that in some people's minds, Driscoll can way whatever he wants about anyone and any situation and it's labeled "righteous judging" or "righteous indignation" or "holy discernment" or that he's just too manly for the rest of us (gag, cough, hack) but when we call him to the mat on his arrogance and disrespectful behavior unbecoming a pastor, we're told we're being harsh or judgmental or whatever...interesting.

I also wanted to add that I think Driscoll shouts about his honor a bit too loudly...does the phrase "me thinks he dost protest too much" mean anything?

Anonymous said...

If he really meant it when he said "I will lean over the plate and take one for the team," he at least should have had the foresight to don a helmet before the ball ricocheted off his head.

Brett said...

I saw his wife on an interview and she is beautifully attractive to me.

Kim said...

I still feel a lot of women let themselves go and leave little to be desired from their husbands. Also long term struggling with being overweight is usuallt tied to laziness in terms of being undisciplined and lacking self-control in diet and exercise required.

Anonymous said...

I just have to de-lurk for this one. This has nothing to do with his wife! My husband of 14 years always told me how beautiful I was and how much he appreciated the way I kept myself in shape. He bragged to his friends about me and loved to show me off. His friends often complimented me on my looks and told him what a lucky guy he was. I never turned down his sexual advances because I was of the opinion that he wouldn't stray if I kept him satisfied. I was wrong.

I am now married to a wonderful man who loves me for who I am, and he couldn't care less how I look (thank the Lord, because I'm not getting any younger!)

Blaming someone's sexual perversion on his/her spouse is ridiculous.

My prayers are with Mrs. Haggard and their children.

Jude said...

While I am not a pastor's wife, I am a woman who has struggled with weight issues as since elementary school, and "laziness" and "letting myself go" have had nothing to do with it. A shaky family background, continual rejection and belittlement plus a genetic predisposition combined to lead to food addictions and many extra pounds.

Hubby, however, through weight gain and weight loss, has continued to tell me and show me that he thinks I'm beautiful and his support has been vital in being able to address my weight issues in inner and outer levels. EG, your comments are right on the money.

Anonymous said...

why is it so hard to understand there is a huge difference between, "letting yourself go" and just getting older having your metabolism slow down, or health issues out of your control. Read things in context people. Driscoll is directly addressing women who purposely "let themselves go" and stop worrying about their appearance and health. He is not saying if you got older, or had a baby, or medical condition. There is a big difference. It just seems that most of the people here are raising objections along those lines.

Please accept that both Men and Women should continue to romance, woo, and love their partner. This means that men do not take advantage of their wife by checking out and concerning himself more with work, and hobbies, then taking her out on dates and showing her affection. And women should continue to do all they can to be lovely and desirable to their husband. Why is this so controversial? He is not saying if you are not a super model and wear a size two then you have "let yourself go," he is saying love your partner and make fidelity easier and enjoyable for your parnter.

One more thing lets stop saying that Driscoll is blaming Ted's wife for his gay sex relationship. We are all much better readers than that.

ryan

John said...

Mark is the Lord's servant; I will not judge him. I will confess, however, two years ago I was a "fat, lazy" preacher who "let myself go." My wife, thank God, had the courage to challenge me. I'm now at a healthy weight and I'm a better husband and father. Please pray for me that I'll be able to sustain the good eating and exercise habits I've learned.

Dave said...

anonymous, the metabolism slowing down is just a cop out for your apathy...face up to it. Other nationalities don't find weight gain among the aging. Nice try.

Anonymous said...

"He is not saying if you are not a super model and wear a size two then you have "let yourself go," he is saying love your partner and make fidelity easier and enjoyable for your parnter."

Indeed, ryan, I think that's Driscoll's point. If a wife of a male leader- let's be clear who he's referring to here- is complacent, lowering her standards of herself and taking her husband for granted, that can't be good.

Driscoll does himself no favors by expressing this the way he did though. It appears to alienate his women readers, which is pretty short-sighted. No wonder women are responding so defensively. However, although they make some valid points, it also misses some too. (I asked some pertinent questions at Jordon Cooper's blog.)

Then again, I've never been married and resist relationships generally, so I may have no idea what I'm talking about.

Pleather Naugahyde said...

Just wanted to say that Mark Driscoll comes across as a jerk to those of us in the "outside world." It's not merely the part about pastors' wives letting themselves go. The whole blog post reeks of fear of women (even while he praises his beautiful wife over and over again).

He doesn't think pastors should travel alone...what, you might be tempted to call the front desk for meth and a hooker? Where's the personal responsibility? I traveled across country in October and it never occurred to me to do this.

And what about being approached by single women with children? It's as if he doesn't want to even know what their problems are, that he has to insulate himself from them.

Finally, what about this not having women as assistants? Mark talks about being blessed with an assistant who is a heterosexual male. Really? How does he know? His assistant could be as deeply in the closet as Ted Haggard. Plus, there's a very definite desire by Driscoll to keep women out of decision-making roles in the church.

Mark's whole post reeks of misogyny. Moreover, it doesn't reflect what I've read about Jesus in the New Testament. I left the church in part because I figured out something was seriously wrong if I, as a woman, got more respect at my employer than I did in the church.

Anonymous said...

HEllo? Does Mark even own a mirror? He's overweight and scruffy. . . . Can we talk about letting ones self go here mark? I guess if anyone has a reason then its Mrs Driscoll!

Scott said...

well at least he cleared it up today by telling us that women can't be pastors or elders and that he was not trying to take a shot at haggard's wife at all. you women probably aren't allowed to express your opinion either so let's tow the line now ladies...(suffer not a woman to speak on blogs...)

Anonymous said...

I've been ambivalent about Driscoll, wanting to give him the benefit of the doubt on a lot of issues, but this is breathtakingly ignorant and wrongheaded. And this man is a pastor? I wouldn't recommend going to him for counsel. Men who allow themselves to slide down this moral slope do so because evil is more attractive to them than good, not because their wives aren't movie stars.

Makeesha said...

Scott - hehe...

ryan, well no kidding. No one is arguing that wives (why single out pastor's wives? because he's referencing the Haggard situation) should just stop caring about their appearance once they get married. No one is suggesting that his point in and of itself is wrong. I think maybe you need to listen more carefully if you think that's what we're saying.

But since I've seen more ugly, haggard, overweight and shaggy pastors than I have pastor's wives (they're usually the better looking of the pair), I wonder where he gets his proof from anyway.

Of course, Driscoll wouldn't recognize my ministry anyway since I'm a woman leading men so *shrug* I obviously have a bone to pick with him any time he talks about women...I personally wish he would have stuck to equipping pastors instead of telling their wives what to do.

If nothing else, his words were ill chosen and ill timed and if anyone can't at least see that, I think you might be blinded by the light that shines on Driscoll's ministry.

Makeesha said...

I forgot to write what I really wanted to say. Why couldn't he just have said "married people need to continue to take an interest in their health and appearance throughout the course of their marriage" ? why? because he doesn't think that way. His writings betray a truth about himself regarding how he views women.

I also don't understand - pastor's wives are supposed to stay attractive for their husbands but it's attractive women who supposedly lure pastors away? Isn't that kind of a contradiction?

Anonymous said...

But it isn't just attractive *women* who lure pastors away, now is it?

Anonymous said...

I agree that it's a bad idea for either spouse to "let themself go", but that is no excuse for the other to defile the marriage. It's that kind of thinking that led Moses to write the law of divorce, which required a certificate to protect the rights of the women who were being put away for "any reason at all."

If I were to seek marital counseling from a pastor, I would expect him to point us to Ephesians 5:22-33. Husbands have at least as much, if not more, responsibility in maintaining the marriage as their wives. We're talking about a covenant relationship here, not a physical attraction.

And another thing. How often have we found ourselves doing the very thing we thought we'd never do? Peter did. I have. The whole "without the fear of any temptations" line of reasoning is what gets us into trouble. The area in which we think we are least susceptible to fall is most likely where Satan will launch his most vicious attack.

1 Corinthians 10:12 - "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall."

Anonymous said...

Wow, grace - I read your post soon after you first posted, but hadn't followed the comments...

Just wanted to pipe up in the middle of all this brou-ha-ha and say that I loved your post, I think you nailed it and I couldn't have said it better. Thank you.

jthomas899 said...

Mark was absolutely and completely right on this one. How can you judge his comments since they are just words? His words? His opinion, everyone is entitled to a opinion.

BTW, How do we define "stupid?" The term is still emerging.

J

grace said...

makeesha,
I am suspect of that kind of arrogance in a spiritual leader. I believe it is one of the factors that leads to this kind of moral downfall.

Good one Dave!

Brett,
I agree, Mrs. Haggard is a beautiful woman.

kim,
As I said in my post, I don't agree with these conclusions. I personally don't know any women who don't want to be attractive. If they aren't succeeding in that, there are emotional issues that need help and support.

brenda,
Thanks for delurking and sharing your story. An obsession with beauty indicates a lack of the kind of love that will endure through many years.

jude,
Thanks for sharing. I'm so glad that you have the loving support of your husband. I'm sorry that you've had to read the insensitivity of some of the replies to this post.

Ryan,
The paragraph I have responded to in my post is out of context among the rest of Mark's suggestions to male pastors. True pastoral concern would address nurturing one's spouse and the marriage relationship if there are problems in this area.

I agree with you that romance should continue in marriage. This isn't what Mark said though. Instead he created an unflattering caricature of pastor's wives ascribing attributes of manipulation and laziness to them.

Yes it is too bad that Mark has been so grossly misrepresented and misread by thousands of readers both within and outside of the church. Perhaps the issue isn't with reading skills as you imply.

john,
Congratulations to you! Maintaining our weight and health is a struggle for most of us, especially as we get older. The love and encouragement of a supportive spouse is invaluable.

jadon,
You make some valid points. I think that Mark is assuming too much when he thinks he can simply look at a woman and because of her appearance decide that she is lazy, taking her husband for granted, and withholding sex.
BTW, relationships can be good. :)

pleather,
I agree with your comments. It seems that in Mark's world, women are either a threat or an accessory.

scott,
Yes, Mark's clarifying remarks didn't do much for me.

Makeesha,
This is what concerns me the most,
"His writings betray a truth about himself regarding how he views women."

This truth is what is continually pouring from his mouth and being justified by the boys' club saying, "Oh that's just Mark."

anonymous, anonymous, and anonymous,
Thanks for your comments. :)

Brenda,
That was what was most disappointing about his comments, they didn't focus on the quality of the marriage, just externals. As you and others have said, ultimately resisting temptation comes from inner character, not external circumstances.

chris,
Thanks for joining in the brou-ha-ha!

j,
I absolutely agree that Mark is entitled to his opinion. My opinion just happens to be that his comments were stupid. As you said, everyone is entitled to an opinion.

A well-established definition of "stupid" would be lacking comprehension, reason, or consideration.

jthomas899 said...

And so this is what emerging grace looks like.....Sorta different than what I know as biblical grace...

Mark, the problem with men, not the problem with women who commit immorality. Why you (pl) can't see that is beyond me?

If it had been a woman, he could have easily said something in a similar vain.

Perhaps, the real stupidity is in not being able to grasp the point being made, not in the point that was made.

Good Day and Brigther Days Ahead
Jeff

Joy said...

Grace,

I knew you'd be on this!!

MD is inflammatory in his rhetoric. Mars Hill should put a zipper on him and keep him in the pulpit only. I don't know if he is like this in the pulpit, but almost everything I've read online comes across as arrogant and demeaning, especially concerning women... even those in his own congregation.

Not only does he not care about who gets angry at him, he has not a care for the way he degrades women overall. Women are the one's hurt by this type of language and attitude. Was TH wrong... obviously! Is MD wrong... My question is this... Wasn't TH's immorality homosexual in nature?? And MD wants to vilify women for this? And he wants to make sure HE is surrounded by men? Hmm... Is this what they men by strawman arguement??

Although this may be a 'minor' point in his post... the attitude is prevalent in all he says... He is degrading and demeaning to women...

Do pastors need higher accountability? YES!! Do they need to be above reproach? YES!! Does blaming women for another man's sinful and alleged homosexual sin bring restoration and healing? NEVER!

I think MD's comments prove out that men cannot help themselves from indiscretion and it is up to women to keep them sexually satisfied. So, what if a woman ends up with an illness that prevents her from satisfying him sexually. Will this beast of a man not be able to control himself... is the world not safe from his unwanted sexual advances... all because his woman cannot satisfy his animal desire??

GOD help us!

Grace, thanks for your voice. I am sending everyone here to read this. It is a gem!

Corrie said...

The question I have is this:

Why do all these women NOT want to have sex with their husbands? Most women I know enjoy sex and many of them want it more than their husbands want it.

So, wouldn't Mark's statement make people think why so many women are not desiring their husbands? Could the answer lie with the husband?

Good comments on this subject.

Inheritor of Heaven said...

Who the heck is Ted Haggard and also who is Mark Driscoll? (no, really, who are they?)....Just looked them up and nope, still don't remember hearing of either of them....guess I don't read Time Magazine enough.

Dave said...

Corrie, I highly doubt that more women want sex more than men do. Come onnnn!

Scott said...

dave,
scientific study would back you up, so does 2o years of counselling. it's a biological issue.

course, now we can have a whole different discussion!

Corrie said...

Dave, go back and read what I said. I didn't say that women want more sex than men. I said: " Most women I know enjoy sex and many of them want it more than their husbands want it. "

See the difference? I was speaking about the women I personally know and how most of them like sex and even want to have sex. And then I said that many of them want it more than their husbands.

I am talking about women I know personally.

I agree with you and Scott.

MTR said...

I kinda liked Driscoll's comments. Why? Because too often wives (and husbands) do let themselves go. Men really are attracted to attractiveness, and when the wife because lazy and lets her looks go, it says a lot about how much she desires to please her husband, don't ya think?

I do...
[FTM]

Helen said...

*sigh* yeah, I agree with everything you wrote, grace.

I just blogged my own thoughts about this:

Mark Driscoll and women

Jim said...

"In my opinion, the biggest contributing factor in an affair is an immature ego, a person who can be tempted by the idea that they are sexually desirable to someone besides their spouse."

Arent you simply describing Driscoll here?

BarBarA said...

Grace, THANK YOU.

Your response to Mark D. was wonderful. I am so disgusted with the Christian leadership in this country I could scream.

I wrote about it today on my blog, but I was focusing on Dr. Dobson's choice to NOT counsel Haggard.

naimas said...

Will Somebody Please Shut Mark Driscoll Up!

I had to minister to two Pastor's wives today who were in tears over Mark's stupid words.

He has his blind followers who worship whatever he says but if anyone wants to read my blog they can see just how much I am sick of people like him knowingly saying hurtful things.

GarY Means said...

Grace,
I live in the Seattle area and have heard a lot about this little man. In fact he was on the local news this evening defending his recent "controversial" blog statements.

I'd heard that he's a misogynist troll, but I hadn't really read much about him.

So tonight I decided to look a little further. On my blog I've posted excerpts from articles in a local newspaper and from Salon. There are a lot of quotes directly from that man. It's incredible. He's dangerous. The evil one has a field day using men like him.

Pam Hogeweide said...

you guys are still talking about this?

Robbymac said...

Grace,

Wow. I think this has set the record as the-post-most-commented-on since you started blogging!

It's a raw nerve for a lot of us; probably means someone(s) should do some thoughtful reflection on positive gender stuff in the near future...

Anonymous said...

One thing...perhaps instead of hetersexual male assistants, Mark could just hire ugly pastor's wives who've let themselves go. That seems to be the least sexually attractive option for him.

Pam Hogeweide said...

yes, i agree robbymac. when are you going to start? :-)

Helen said...

People against Fundamentalism is organizing a protest to be held November 19 outside one of Mark Driscoll's church campuses. If you will be in the Seattle area that day and want to participate you can find more information here:

Take Action on Nov 19: Mark the Misogynist and Mars Hill

Jude said...

What bothers me most about Driscoll's comment is the total ASSumption it makes. How does he know that laziness is the motive behind any particular woman's actions or inactions? How does he know that they think their husbands are trapped in fidelity and they don't have to try? Did he ask THEM? I somehow doubt it, and it's disrespectful and irresponsible to assume others' motives. I can guess all I want, too, about what is behind a situation where a man feels his woman is unavailable. My guess would be different than Driscoll's. But it, too, would be a guess. His guess, however, reveals a way that he sees women, and it is disturbing to think that such a mind is leading women in a church.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Grace, now I know where everybody's been. They've all been here!

I'm so glad you have opened discussion on this subject. Obviously it's a great conversation starter!

Lily

Corrie said...

This was posted at "Conversation at the Edge". Can anyone confirm that this is true?

"11/11/06 1:54 PM | Comment Link |
Hello,

I wanted to chime in here and say that I at first related to Mr. Driscoll. A few years ago I attended a Men’s retreat and sat in on a sermon that he gave for married men only.

I was pretty shocked when he launched into a long explaination of why our wives should make themselves available for anal sex when they are on their monthly cylcles or if they are pregnant or otherwise vaginally unavailable. I confess that at first I was a bit too excited by the prospect and even felt anger at my wife for not agreeing. Lets just say I was in the dog house for quite a while.

My family and I no longer attend the church, but I still struggle with the feelings of unadequacy that was instilled in me by Mr. Driscoll’s teaching. I was convinced for a long time that I am not much of a providor and that I am simply not a good enough man for my family. I didn’t feel that way before and now I still do. I am in counceling for it and I want to be the best dad and husband I can. I do not think Mr. Driscoll is aware of how harmful his comments are to men. Allot has been said about his affect on women but I want everyone to know it’s men too."

Robbymac said...

A protest...

Soumds scary. Our church endured a protest by rabid MacArthur-ites once, waving signs that said "Vineyard Repent" and "An evil generation seeks a sign", and shoving copies of MacArthur's book Charismatic Chaos in our faces.

They scared a lot of the children with their hate and rage, as they yelled and harrassed people on their way to church. It was SUCH a great witness to our city (note dripping sarcasm).

I don't like what Mark said, either, but a protest during one of their church services? Is it just me, or has this whole thing suddenly got hijacked for another agenda?

Pam Hogeweide said...

i hear ya robby... hopefully the protestors will be few in number and hopefully other believers (like me) will not celebrate the harassment of mars hill. there is toxicity there, to be sure, yet mars hill is still part of us.

if i were in seattle what would i do? i certainly wouldn't participate in a protest against a church. and i'd be quite concerned about the emotions and anger getting out of hand and freaking out kids, as you mentioned robbymac which happened at your church (so sorry to hear that happened at all...sigh...)

can i suggest that we pray a blessing of protection and wisdom for the community of mars hill in how to respond to protestors greeting them next week?

Gary Means said...

I've read a number of comments on other blogs about the "hateful" attitude of those who oppose Mark Driscoll's teaching and autocratic, authoritarian leadership style. I fully agree that he is probably a Christian and that we have a scriptural injunction to love him. There are those who deride all complaints against Mark as being nothing more than a bunch of "fundamentalist liberals" and feminists with no better place to vent their anger.

Yet, I wonder if those same people who criticize me and others like me, have the same criticism of those in the Catholic Church who spoke out against (and protested) the protection of Priest-pedophiles? The same arguments they make kept people quiet for decades, and the abuse continued.

Now I'm sure that some people will be outraged that I compare Mark Driscoll to a pedophile. But in both cases it is men who claim to speak for God, in positions of spiritual and moral authority, with power and influence in the personal lives of their congregants (they both advise families on what to do in the bedroom). And, they both abuse. In one case it is sexual abuse, in the other, spiritual abuse.

As I said in my blog, you could easily take Mark's comments about women and substitute blacks or Jews, and find many Christians in the 19th and early 20th century who could find plenty of scriptural justification for those views.

Obviously many people see Mark as a bit eccentric, but basically harmless. But that's what a lot of people said about a little Austrian failed architect with a goofy mustache. And then few people spoke out. Bonhoeffer was one, and he paid for it with his life. Mark is no Hitler, but every man has a little bit of Hitler in him, just read "Night" by Elie Wiesel. Give a man enough power, isolate him from those he serves, stroke his ego, and watch out.

oh, and by all means, please do pray for Mars Hill and for the protestors both. This is a very incindiary situation. Two camps, each vehemently believing the other is wrong, and that the others are dishonouring the God we all profess to love. Where is there room for love in all of this? Yes, much prayer is needed.

I confess that I have a difficult time loving a man like Mark Driscoll, especially when he does what he does in the name of God.

Pam Hogeweide said...

you make some good points gary. protesting what we consider to be distortions of God's character and his word and abuses of power are, as history has proven, sometimes necessary. jesus staged his own protest in the temple court itself over the abuse of power and money.

these days protests tend to take place in cyberspace and blogospheres. Showing up at the guy's church, though, to picket or yell slogans? I don't think so... .

How we publicly respond to what we believe are misperceptions about womankind and marriage and the kingdom of God, etc... tells more than what we claim to believe. We can talk it (or blog it) but can we walk it. How shall we respond to the Mark Driscolls of the world?

Anonymous said...

H'm, I think I have a long story, but hey, even freaks can change ;-S

Pam, you're so right in your last question; and I sometimes get the idea that young people and women especially suffer from the struggle with this question. That's mere logic: they are the ones that are virtually never consulted for advice or opinion, so their points of view are usually 'new' to boards, leaders and usually most of the men (the ones I encountered... ;-D maybe Dutch men are different ...)

In the churches and christian organisations (last category are by the way US and Canadian) I've been, all my politically stated comments and hints for current situations were always welcomed with 'oh it's so nice of you that you want to think and give us your ideas, but we don't need that right now (or someting else to get it over with soon)'
Those situation urged me to ask myself that question too: in the first place for leaders in general (because the leaders I encountered in 'my' churches and organisations reacted particularly scared of me and my words, and believe that the half of the church is not allowed to say anything at all times, why did God make them (women in church)anyway (freakin' synism)) but also 'how do we respond to those Driscoll-like types?' or 'how to respond to manipulative dangerous leaders?'

This blogging helps ventilate negative things like frustration and also the good things like ideas (THANKS FOR READING and reacting), but does it help those Driscoll-types get a wiser and more/better informed?
In the cases I talked to those guys face to face, I got storms and twisters right back in my face.
Because I knew I was right in some of those cases, and I didn't know how to say it that they would listen, I started a study in theology. Today I'm somewhere at the BA-level (we don't have those exact levels in the Netherlands yet) and 2.5 years to go, and now the start listening a little... and the board even took my advices of the last year serious. By the way, the only way I know that they did, is from the things they write in the newsbulletin, the things they invented on the meetings... ah well whatever, if it works, that's okay.

But it's absurd to be a master in theology first to get the 'right' to join in the discussion or ventilate ideas. For female churchmembers that is. And still, we're not alowed to think 'in' church; just outside, close to the door, on the porch.

The thing we did with manipulative leaders, was talking to the rest of the team to get sure we were not the crazy ones ;-D. Try to talk to the leaders, got banged on the head, closed our mouths. Untill we could talk to the ones above those leaders (or to a board) and we could tell our story. They listened and recognized the urge to do something, so they did. Still not s'th we did ourselves. We just told it to the 'higher ones'...

I have no more ideas of how to respond to the Driscoll-types, and I do hope some of you can say a little more about Pam's question.

Brett said...

Shari de Loop, oh my goodness, with feet like that you're giving Grace a run for her money!

Gary Means said...

This is what I just posted on the endfundamentalism.org blog,

I wonder how many people would come if there were a meeting devoted to prayer for Mark Driscoll and his church?

I wonder how people would react if this time of prayer started with the assumption that advocating the subjugation/abuse of women in the name of God is wrong, dishonoring to God, an impediment to God's Kingdom, and harmful to Christians and the community at large?

If wonder, if that were the presupposition, would people be willing to gather to pray for grace, love, freedom, and humility to prevail in Mark's heart and mind, in his teachings, and in his church? I would.

To be honest, I have more confidence in God changing Mark's heart than in a positive outcome resulting from a protest. I am not saying that people should not protest, I understand the desire to make a public statement against an evil practice. I am simply proposing a complementary tactic.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't protest the church, either. Driscoll is not a favorite of mine, but protesting his church seems a little extreme and ill-advised.

What will it accomplish? Truly?

I see a familiar reaction arising from within Mars Hill: "We're being protested. That's persecution. We're doing something right. Thanks be to God." Any other action may bring the same reaction, but this just doesn't seem like it will do much good...at least in terms of changing Driscoll's attitude.

If it is to bring attention to what he says, it will certainly do that. But that will bring mixed results as well.

Anonymous said...

Who is to say that prayer will not take place at the meeting? Have you read the webpage or are you just blindly thinking it will be a WTO protest?

People will be praying. I am sure. Both inside and outside of the church.

Gary Means said...

naimas,
Thank you for your sensitive questions. Yes, undoubtedly prayer will take place at the protest. But I suspect that prayer happens at WTO protests too. Although I am surely not as clever as many, I did manage to fumble my way over to the webpage and read it despite the many big words. Eventually, despite my initial blindness, I was able to puzzle out the fact that this will not be a WTO protest. What a surprise that was to me!

However, I would make a strong differentiation between the purpose and nature of a public protest and a prayer meeting.

It is my understanding, and I may be quite wrong in this, that the intent of a protest is usually to make a public statement to raise community awareness, and thereby influence the person/organization being protested to change, out of concern about their public perception. It is also to make a statement that there are people who oppose what is happening, so that the silence of the community does not infer that the behaviour of the person/organization are blithely condoned.

The intent of a separate prayer meeting would be to come together as the Body of Christ to ask God to influence and transform Mark within his heart.

Ultimately, judging by the combative nature of many of the parties involved on both sides of this issue, I doubt that a public protest will do anything but escalate tensions, causing Mark and his MHers to feel self-righteous because of their perception that they are being persecuted "for the sake of Christ and His Gospel".

Gary Means said...

naimas,
My apologies for the snarky tone in my previous comments. I could have responded with grace, but I was in a foul mood and I blew it. Sorry.

Rose said...

Grace, I am a woman pastor in the Seattle area and have posted an Open Letter to Mark Driscoll here

http://rosemswetman.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

I still think fatter women who let themselves go like that contribute to their husband's wandering eye.

grace said...

I'm sorry I don't have replies for everyone. I do appreciate your comments, especially those I agree with. :)

Helen,
Great post! Nice to meet you and visit your blog.

Gary,
I thought that your blog posts about this were insightful.

Rose,
Bravo to you! My hope is that you will have an opportunity to speak for the majority of us who will never be heard by someone like Mark.

Anonymous said...

Dave seems to have some issues.

Kathleen F. said...

This was a good post, even if I came to it kind of late. Would somebody please stick a donut in Driscoll's mouth?! Seriously, though, you were very fair and insightful in your review of his blog entry.

My husband likes to listen to his sermons, and I've brought up my concerns with him before, but he has said that Driscoll has "repented" of some of the things he's said from the pulpit. (I don't know since I don't listen to him). He sounds like one of those young, inexperienced youth pastors (some of you may know what I'm talking about).

Anonymous said...

I don't see the big deal. I'm a woman, i've been cheated on. I'm not a member of Mars Hill, i'm just a down to earth person. I think he has a good point. People like yourself just encourage the double standard. I'd be mad if I married a guy and he got fat and ugly. Course if it's the other way around then we have all these bloggers going wahh wahh wahh eating disorders, self esteem issues, what a pig, wahhh. Get over it. We all know its true.

littlebean said...

I know I am chiming in late but....I just read Marks blog and I think you are taking his comments out of context. He is not saying that Haggard's actions were due to his wife's weight. Rather this is a blog to help fellow pastors stay aware of possible pit falls, in light of Pastor Haggard's dreadful mistakes.

I can see how some folks might be offended by Mark Driscoll's boldness or personality. However I think we must put that aside and measure his statements against scripture.

Some of his most important points he made in this blog are the following:
"Lastly, the big issue is a love and fear of God. Only a man really knows his heart and whether or not he loves and fears God above all else. Without this a man will fail to live for God's glory, and it is only a matter of time."

I am a woman who is not offended by Mark and find comfort in the fact that he is a warrior for Christ. He is a man who is not hiding behind a safe and domesticated westernized Christianity.

I encourage all who post here to not get caught up in the focus on this pastor's personality and instead stay focused on God and how he is using men like Mark Driscoll to lead more men to Christ. Our world need more men who follow Christ and Mark speaks to them.
Stop bashing him and start praying for him.

Peace out Sista's....YIC

protospheric said...

Grace,

I guess you're a fat, lazy housewife, and that is why you're so inflamed about what MD said in his post about fat wives.

Get some exercise and go on a diet. Your husband will thank you.