I am not under the delusion that the “great and mighty” Mark Driscoll, Matt Chandler, or John Piper would read my blog. I am an ant compared to their status. But if I could somehow approach Mark, or any of the others, This is what I would say.
Dear Mark, I’m sorry.
I’m sorry that I treated you like a celebrity. I’m sorry that I bought your book or dropped your name (back when it was still O.K. to do so). I’m sorry that I even used words such as “hero of the emergent movement.” Forgive me for making you think that you had to have a book on the best seller list to be considered worthy or “relevant.” Forgive me for buying into the garbage that is “Christian” marketing in the first place…either mainstream (LifeWay) or obscure (everyone else.) Forgive me for making you think that you were a “brand” at all. Forgive me for making you think you were anything other than what you truly are. A sinner saved by Grace called to be a servant leader of a church. Not called to be a rock star. Not called to be a cultural icon. Not made to have your picture on a shirt. In fact, you were made to teach biblical principles… made to share the good news of the Gospel…made to convey theological thoughts. But you were also made human…the very definition of fallible. And to treat you as anything other than that…I was placing heavy burdens upon your back.
Call it a result of our hero worshiping culture, we drop names like bad habits. It all begins with baseball, football, artistic, and cinematic “heroes.” We become fan boys of our personal favorites. This transitions into our “spiritual” lives. Billy Graham was an O.G. of this curse. My grandfather and father would collect his entire library simply because he was the “pastor to the presidents.” Fast forward a few decades and things haven’t changed a bit. Are you “reformed?” You must think John Piper, R.C., and MacArthur are God’s on earth. Are you into the Passion clique? Louie, Chan, and Moore must never misspeak. How about those Spirit-Filled folks? They got Joyce Meyer, Osteen, and Hinn. We’ve even began digging up long dead theologians and putting their pictures on shirts! I am guilty of this! I want a Martin Luther shirt so bad I can taste it! Derek Webb once wrote that “…We’re turning shepherds into sheep, and leaders into celebrities, it’s holy sabotage, just look around you.”
And I think about what Luther would think. How would a man that once whipped himself in a closet respond to Christians worshiping his long dead visage?
It’s my fault…
It’s my fault that I raised you up to celebrity status…that you fly first class and sell out stadiums. It’s my fault that New York Times best sellers has such a grip on you. It’s my fault that when you repent it matters not. Me and others who decry your name now, saying such statements as “Mark Driscoll is a dark stain on Christianity.” Guess what…I’m a dark stain on Christianity. WE ALL ARE DARK STAINS ON CHRISTIANITY! It’s just that we raised you up to have “followers.”
Instead of following the God you talked about, we followed the mouth-piece.
And granted, when you fell, you were a bad example of our Lord. But it’s not as if the righteous never fall…in fact the bible says they fall often. (Proverbs 24) It’s not infallibility that makes us righteous…its in our rising…our restoration in Jesus.
So forgive me. Forgive me for being star struck. This Summer I was in the same room as a rising “star” preacher, J.R.Vassar…and I was star struck. I wanted to meet him. I wanted to talk to him, as if talking to him would make me somehow a better person. As if it would give me validity. I could casually quip to other pastors in conversation that “I was talking to J.R.Vassar the other day…” Forgive me of this filth. Forgive me of giving you more validity than you deserve.
I’m praying for a full restoration. I’m hoping for the best for you.