Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day as well as the Inauguration of President Barack Obama to start his second 4-year term in office. Based upon the tweets and Facebook statuses I have seen all day, I am having uncontrollable lapses back into election season.
Also today there have been thousands of people that suddenly want to post MLK Jr. quotes. I don’t mind. I love MLK Jr. But we need to actually listen to what these quotes say. One that may benefit every body is the following.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
What if we were to embody that line of thought and take that quotation seriously?
This leads me to the main thing that this post is about.
Not all the tweets were friendly today, in fact, the notorious hipster reformist struck again.
Mark Driscoll tweeted the following.
I have never met Pastor Mark Driscoll, but I would like to. I would like to talk to this very angry and judgmental man. Notice I said, “talk”. That’s because I don’t want to punch his face in for his obviously out of line comment.
How do we go about handling a relentless, evangelical bully like him? How do we get Pastor Mark to stop letting out more and more wrath onto an already broken world?
Well we can hate him back. We can take to our Twitter accounts and cuss him out. We can call him a ‘bigot’. We can even threaten him. But isn’t that what he’s done? Isn’t that like shooting a campfire with a flamethrower in hopes that the fire will go out?
You see as long as there is that percentage of Progressives that will say rash things back to Mark, then there is always more fuel put back in his tank. We always leave room for criticism from his flock to say “You guys are out of control! How are you any better?” (And other annoying replies). These replies are annoying because we know they are true to an extent. We aren’t much better, at least in theory. Although folks are right to critique Pastor Mark, we often get caught up in reflecting his same ugly attitude only under a different guise. This spoils the cause and eliminates the chance of a change.
But then there is the other cliff that we should be weary of stepping off of. We cannot just say ‘to each his/her own. We need to give Mark a hug and not worry about it’. Too often we end up pampering these bullies and losing the prophetic voice that our Messiah had when he slammed those in his day that perverted God’s name.
So what do we do? If we aren’t to lash out in haste or to pamper and let it go, then what else is there to do? Is there a third option between silence and being a douche?
I think there is.
We are to be a catalyst. The problem in Driscoll’s comment is certainty. Driscoll is certain that he knows President Obama is not a Christian, simply because Obama does not believe exactly like Pastor Mark does. And when we respond with our perspectives we often sound like we are certain that we are right (when both Driscoll and his critics could be potentially wrong) simply because he does not believe like we do.
Jesus never called his opponents dirty names, took cheap shots, or stooped to their level. Jesus always just brought these folks into a point of reflection.
Jesus challenged them with questions that forced them to search their perspectives. We should too.
We should pose the question to Mark, “Where is your grace? Where is your mercy? Where is your love? Where is your concern? Where is your compassion?”
We are to catalyze a moment in which Pastor Mark might actually shut up and analyze his life by his own standards. We can point out to him how wrong he is, where he is wrong, and quote bible verses at him, etc. But will that matter? No. It’s just going to piss him off even more.
Pastor Mark is to be loved in the same way that our enemies are. We are to serve them. How can we serve folks like Pastor Mark? We can be the mirrors that make him face his own monstrosity.
Even though this is wishful thinking, maybe posing questions in love can stifle some of the anger and hatred in Pastor Mark’s comments. But that’s the best shot we have, I think, in bringing Pastor Mark’s abusing of the broken to a halt.
Until then, let’s pray that he doesn’t spontaneously combust from unnecessary anger due some vulnerable ‘sinner’ not conforming to his style of Christianity.