Thursday, February 28, 2008

here is a message Driscoll gave last Sunday which rehashes some of the basic info from the mp3 of the last post...with more flavor.

this guy was part of starting the "Emerging Church" movement and was initially very close with the liberal strand which has become known as "The Emergent Village"...so his perspectives are valuable I believe, especially if you are still trying to zero in on how you feel about the "Emerging Church" as an evangelical movement.

21 comments:

Zac said...

Hey Gary,

I have some thoughts on this post (of course) and right now I'm just in the editing phase-- organizing it, adding/deleting, etc. I'll try to post it here for your review before Wednesday.

irreverend fox said...

that sounds great zac! I'd be very interested in reading your thoughts on the whole emergent issue!

Zac said...

First Thoughts:

His t-shirt revolts me. It gives me the impression that he doesn't take Christ seriously, despite what he's saying. Things like these can only really come from a culture that has forsaken the Christian understanding of reverence, or the profound meaning of the fact that God Himself can be depicted in an image. He may not mean this, but it looks like he takes his own "cuteness" more seriously than fearing the Lord of Heaven and Earth, whom he has displayed on his own person in such a demeaning, trivial way.

irreverend fox said...

is Jesus depicted doing anything sinful? if so I'd love to see a chapter and verse with the details.

do you believe in the humanity of Christ? do you believe Christ does not enjoy music? do you think Christ does not enjoy humor?

why is it demeaning or trivial? On what basis to you make that judgment? How is it irreverent? I’m sure it cracks Christ up. I assume He enjoys such intimate friendship with pastor Mark.

that is the difference the born again experience makes…Christ is intimate with those whom He has saved…not far away, foreign or detached from us. He is our brother AND Lord. we have His mercy and we are His children, His beloved.

I'd suggest being careful in judging him and how serious he takes the Lord of Heaven and Earth.

Zac said...

Second Thoughts:
If I could reduce one of his arguments down into a syllogism, it might look something like this:

1) All worship is culturally contextualized

2) Christians use pews, organs, printed books, and sound systems, all of which are products of later cultural developments and which were foreign to the earliest Christians

Therefore,
3) It's not a matter of whether-or-not to culturally contextualize, it's only a matter of how much you do so.

And, assuming that argument to be sound, he implies that those still using things like organs and old hymns are in some way hypocritical. Why be on the cutting-edge of the 17th Century, when one could be on the cutting-edge of the 21st? He represents the un-changeableness of his theological commitments with a tightened fist, and the changeableness of his worship with an opened hand.

I'm sure that at one point I felt this way (probably at the point I joined the ska band of a charismatic youth group in high school). But I do not believe his argument to be sound. I'll just try to pick out a few of the disagreeable assumptions for the sake of honest, open exchange.

First assumption— the Bible (and Tradition) says nothing about worship, or at least nothing that actually binds Christians to a specific manner of worship. The way I understand him, the stalwartness of his theology is based upon (his interpretation of) the Bible's teaching—the Trinity of God, the God-Man Christ, Sola Scriptura, etc. And since he indicates that his approach to worship is thoroughly flexible and malleable, I must assume that Mark Driscoll believes that the Scriptures have little/nothing to say to Christians about worship.

Orthodox would disagree. First, generally speaking, the Orthodox follow the Latin saying, 'lex orandi, lex credendi.' What we mean by this is that the rule of our worship is directly related to what we believe as Orthodox Christians. In modern terms, the medium is the message. To substantially change the way we worship is to reflect, for us, a change in the fabric of our belief.

The Bible (both Old and New Testaments) informed the worship of the Apostles and the early Church. This seems also to be why the first Christians were still attending the liturgical worship at the synagogues and the Temple for many many years after Christ's ascension, and why they were devoted to "the breaking of bread, the apostles' doctrine, and the prayers."(Acts 2:42). There are a number of historical sources you could research in order to understand the liturgical nature of early Christian worship, its derivation from (and fulfillment of) the worship of ancient Judaism, and its Eucharistic character. It'd take me too much time to write it out here. But I will only state the conclusion that I believe can be reasonably drawn from such reading: the worship-tainment philosophy is set at complete odds with the apostolic manner of worship.

Now, this is not to say that the Church's worship has not developed or taken diverse forms in different contexts. Just taking a look at the diversity of liturgies at use around the world: the Greeks, Serbs, Russians, Romanians, Ukrainians, Arabs, and Georgians use the Liturgy written by St. John Chrysostom (although each place has developed it and adapted it locally); the Patriarchate of Jerusalem sometimes makes use of the Liturgy of the Apostle James (the first bishop of that city); the Coptic Egyptians use the Liturgy of St. Mark; the ancient English and Celts used what was called the Sarum Liturgy, which was based on the liturgy of the Church at Ephesus which the Apostle John had founded; the Spanish used to use the Mozarabic Liturgy; the Ethiopians have their own liturgy; the Orthodox Romans used the Liturgy of St. Gregory... So Church unity was NEVER seen to rule out liturgical diversity. However (and it's a big "however"), what was actually being "done" is exactly the same in each Liturgy-- the same "making present" of Christ's sacrifice, the same kinds of prayers and doxologies to the same Triune God, the same Gospels read, the same "substance" of worship expressed in all of these Christian liturgies... and obviously the sameness in their employment of the apostolic liturgical understanding of that worship.

The second assumption of his argument that I picked up on was the idea that all things which concern worship are of equal value. If this is the case, then he is correct: a minor change in how the words are to be read (printed or script), or a change in how/when to sit during worhsip, justifies changing everything. This argument is not convincing for anyone who doesn't buy into this flawed assumption... As the above examples of different practice demonstrate, there is a difference between form and substance, although both are intrinsically related: no substance without some sort of correct form.

He also mentions using hymns from the 17th Century as somehow a bad thing—as though modern people can't relate to them. The Orthodox disagree. We use very ancient hymns and prayers (and also more modern ones) but the music to which these things are set are from all sorts of various times and places. For one hymn, the parish might use a style from 16th Century Kievan Rus, and for another it might use a 5th Century Byzantine melody. The Church has not codified any particular time or place in its worship, but neither has it forsaken all of them for the fleeting opportunity to sound modern. The Church embraces all times and places.

I would also say that another assumption of his with which I tend to disagree is the idea that all cultural developments and styles are worth following, so long as they are modern or culturally contextual. Christians down through the ages have not allowed certain styles of music in church because of an awareness on their part of what might be called a "holy aesthetic." That is, styles of music which do not convey the sense of God's holiness, of His love, of His peace-- but instead stir up passionate or sensual or ego-feeding thoughts and feelings-- are rejected as not acceptable in the worship of the true God, regardless of their source or their relevance.

For the Orthodox, we believe our worship translates us into the Kingdom of God; it makes present Christ's once and for all sacrifice and also the never-ending Day of the Lord, where we foretaste the experience of eternity in God. Once one has really entered into that, something more in the nature of a Christian concert is not even worthy of comparison. We sing, "Let us who mystically represent the cherubim..." not because these are pretty words, but because like the cherubim, we have come in the Liturgy spiritually to stand by the throne of the Lord of Glory, upon Whom the ranks of the angels dare not even gaze. This is our birthright as Christians-- why give that up for the bean soup of the this week's passing fads?

Mark Driscoll is obviously very intelligent, and I'm glad that he has not surrendered to the "emergent liberals" but I think that the open hand of his worship reflects an unsound and un-scriptural methodology when it comes to what should be the center of our lives as Christians. Why settle for the "Monday-morning women's bible study" version of worship, or even the "Def Leopard" version of worship, when there is the unspeakable depth and richness of the apostolic Liturgies?

I guess all I can say is that I've made my choice.

irreverend fox said...

correction:

I don't assume the Lord enjoys that kind of intimate friendship with pastor Mark...I'm sure of it.

Zac said...

Regarding your first response:

Well I suppose we'll have to disagree. I figured I should just make it clear I'm not trying to judge him-- this is simply how a depiction like that impresses upon me.

Intimacy with the Lord is one thing-- flippancy with his image is another. Christ is human, nevertheless depictions of him on the toilet would still be blasphemous to me not because I doubt his humanity, but because of the lack of real fear or reverence for the Subject, and the sense that it ultimately conveys the worst thing about our fallen un-christian culture: an absolute iconoclasm wherein nothing is sacred except our own egotism and the fad of the moment.

irreverend fox said...

I understand where you are coming from and starting from your primary spiritual assumption and proceeding from that point I can certainly see how you've arrived at this conclusion. it all makes sense if your first assumption is correction of course. and it is that first assumption that I strongly challenge.

Authority. How do we know God's will?

irreverend fox said...

does the t-shirt depict Him on the toilet? I didn't catch that, I need to look at it again.

to me it just looks like Christ is mixing music on a turn table. what's the problem with that?

irreverend fox said...

Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 esv

key word: "every"

Zac said...

Regarding Authority.

I don't wish to argue this too much, basically because your post wasn't so much about authority but about modernization in worship. But, I will instead quote you from a short entry of another Orthodox blogger, from her article: Sola Scriptura: An Impossibility

"Even to say, “Our interpretation is drawn wholly from Scripture” is to interpret Scripture a certain way, a point which ought to be obvious to all (and is, to most). Everybody who reads Scripture interprets it, and eveybody inescapably does so according to some norm. This is unavoidable, and it's time to face up to this and admit it.

Moreover – another point to note most carefully! – whatever you are using to interpret (norm) the Holy Scriptures, you are de facto placing that above the Holy Scriptures. That's a very serious thing, a very high rank. We’d best be sure we choose well! Well and Scripturally.

Scripture calls the Church “the pillar and foundation of the Truth.”"

Zac said...

Re: 1 Tim. 3:16.

Forgive me-- I don't understand where you're going with this. Are you applying this passage in your analysis of the DJ shirt? You're going to have to flesh that one out for me.

Zac said...

Re: Your most recent T-shirt comment.

Let's just slow down and make sure we're arguing fairly, instead of just throwing out stuff. A quick recap is in order:

1) I mentioned that the t-shirt depicting Christ at a turn table was cheap, demeaning, and offensive, the result of misguided and disrespectful thinking.

2) You countered by disagreeing. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the basic format of your argument thus far is:

a)DJing is not sinful, so depicting Jesus DJing is fine.
b)Depicting Christ at a turn-table is also fine because He really was a human being who (like the rest of us) liked music and humor.
c)Depicting Christ as a club DJ or perhaps a hip-hop artist/rapper is also ok because it demonstrates Driscoll's intimate relationship with the Lord.

3) First, I responded to argument (c) by saying that there is a marked difference between intimacy and flippancy-- that difference mainly being loving respect... and even "fear" in the case of a relationship with the Living God.

I then respond to argument (b) by pointing out that a depiction of the Lord going to the bathroom could be justified with such hasty reasoning, and that such a thing would also be blasphemously disrespectful. Under such a reasoning one might also depict him getting married, or engaging in marital relations. Such things are not sinful and they are things which humans do; that this obviously cannot be enough to justify such depictions should be self-evident. These would still be blasphemous.

4) You responded only by saying that my example wasn't what was depicted. Can you see how I'm confused? How does that speak to the argument? I think what I'm using is a reductio ad absurdum where I show that your reason(it's ok because Christ is human) is flawed because it leads to an absurd result (the toilet depiction).

I'm just trying to keep things organized so we're not just participating in a one-upmanship. Let's decide on what issue we're going to talk about and go through it deliberately and thoroughly.

Would you like to continue with the t-shirt, or would you like to further discuss what I believe to be Driscoll's flawed assumptions about Biblical worship?

irreverend fox said...

hey zac,

I think your reasoning is off a bit. If it is not...then no picture depicting the humanity of Christ is acceptable because like the turn table jive Jesus logically leading to the Jesus on the toilet (because both depict His true humanity) the same would be true with any other picture highlighting His humanity. All such pictures of His humanity would be revolting for the same reason as the turn table jive Jesus.

my point is that context must play a roll. I don't think a pic of Jesus on the toilet, in this culture, would be appropriate. because in this culture such a picture would be considered disrespectful. Although I am unaware of any culture where this would be the case, but hypothetically I suppose a case could be made where such a picture could be helpful in communicating what we mean by "fully man" to a people group. there is nothing sinful about the use of the toilet and fully human people do use it. strange? of course. in this context (and maybe all) it would be disrespectful and insulting. A picture of Him having material relations would be damnable because it never happened…it would be a lie…and pornographic of course.

Any picture of Christ which ACCURATELY highlights or represents His humanity in a way that is not culturally considered “crude” is just fine. Jesus with a ball cap on at a little league game, a picture of Jesus molding clay on a potters wheel or of Jesus mixing music on a turn table are as justifiable as Jesus holding sheep or on the cross. They would be icons as sacred as any other. Unless one takes the iconoclastic position which is a bit too much for me…but it’s not an issue I’d divide over.

We need to be very careful how we articulate our thoughts here…words like “disgusting” are not helpful at this point and are more inflammatory and over the top than anything else. Many people find the bloody cross “disgusting”, “vulgar” and “obscene”...that’s their problem, frankly. Do I find a pic of Him on the toilet in good taste, absolutely not. but my reason is 100% CULTURAL…Jesus would have used the toilet had their been such conveniences and there was nothings sinful about it. furthermore…because such a pic would be so CULTUALLY offensive it would therefore be a sin to display it because of the conscious of the weaker brother. Again, while I am unaware of a context where a pic like that would be helpful, it could be hypothetically.

BUT the pic on Pastor Marks shirt is not of Him on the toilet and so I find your disgust confusing. Is mixing music on a turn table sinful? If not, then why the disgust? What does the thought of Jesus mixing music like a thief in the night (instead of rockin a mic like a vandal) do to your personal Christology?

btw...I assure you that Christ enjoyed your ska ministry. 1. it was fun for you (He loves you and enjoys watching you enjoy life) and 2. you were trying to spread His message through it...and even if it was a bit silly...He loved it. the distance of maturity between your ska days and the most sanctified and sober monks in Christian history is indistinguishable in comparison with Christ anyway. He loves you both the same and is equally impressed with him, you and me.

Zac said...

You write: I think your reasoning is off a bit.
>> I’m willing to be convinced of this, so that even if the argument I’m making is unreasonable, I myself wish to remain reasonable.<<<

You write: If it is not...then no picture depicting the humanity of Christ is acceptable because like the turn table jive Jesus logically leading to the Jesus on the toilet (because both depict His true humanity) the same would be true with any other picture highlighting His humanity. All such pictures of His humanity would be revolting for the same reason as the turn table jive Jesus.
>> Ok, let’s wade into this here. You had countered my disdain for the DJ depiction by arguing that such an image is ok since Christ really became human. I then respond by saying that if this argument were enough to support such a depiction—that so long as He is depicted as a human, doing a non-sinful action that a human would do—depictions like “toilet” or “marital relations” would also be justified thereby. In other words, I’m saying that it’s not enough to say that, “This is something non-sinful humans do, Jesus was a human, so we can depict Him doing it and it is immune from charges of disrespect, flippancy, or blasphemy.”

Now your counter-argument seems to be (quoted above): Any picture highlighting Christ’s humanity leads to “toilet” depictions, and therefore all pictures of His humanity would be revolting for the same reason the DJ depiction is. Please help me to understand if this isn’t what you’re trying to say.

If so, then it’s important to remember the various sides. My argument is NOT that depicting Christ’s humanity is disgusting, but that defending a demeaning depiction of Christ by saying it is fine because he was really human and humans do those things is flawed because it leads to other absurd results—toilet depictions, marital relations depictions, etc.<<<

You write: my point is that context must play a roll. I don't think a pic of Jesus on the toilet, in this culture, would be appropriate. because in this culture such a picture would be considered disrespectful. Although I am unaware of any culture where this would be the case, but hypothetically I suppose a case could be made where such a picture could be helpful in communicating what we mean by "fully man" to a people group. there is nothing sinful about the use of the toilet and fully human people do use it. strange?
>> Again, this just seems to be the same argument as before, but modified with a second part. You’re now saying: if Jesus is a man, then portraying him as a DJ or on the toilet is ok if:
1) it is a non-sinful activity which humans do, AND (now you add)
2) it is culturally relevant to communicate the message of Christ’s full humanity to a particular group.

I think I’ve fully responded to the first prong of your argument. The second prong deserves more careful attention, and we should first really discuss important terms like “culture” and “culturally acceptable.” After all, if one is too broad in such a definition, one could almost certainly find in the United States various “cultures” that would find such toilet or marital depictions “acceptable”—maybe some sort of perverted fetish group for example. So I’ll just have to toss the ball back to your court with what you mean here by “culture” and “acceptable.”

While I wait on your definitions, I’m going to propose an alternative: the reason we don’t depict the Lord of Heaven and Earth in disrespectful ways is because even as a man He deserves our worship, our respect, our honor, and our love. To me, the definitions of these terms mutually exclude depictions of Christ as a club DJ or having marital relations (or even lesser things like getting married). My rule might be something like this:

Depictions of Christ should be:
1)ones which indicate his divine-human personhood; OR
2)ones which are recorded/ discussed in the Scriptures: his birth, teaching, miracles, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, and return; OR
3)ones which generally reflect a parable or saying of Christ(e.g., “I stand at the Door and Knock” or “I am the Good Shepherd” or “I am the Vine”)
-- ALL of which MUST BE depicted in a way that is reasonably intended to inspire the viewer to worship, honor, love, and revere Him.

You write: A picture of Him having marital relations would be damnable because it never happened…it would be a lie…and pornographic of course. Any picture of Christ which ACCURATELY highlights or represents His humanity in a way that is not culturally considered “crude” is just fine. Jesus with a ball cap on at a little league game, a picture of Jesus molding clay on a potters wheel or of Jesus mixing music on a turn table are as justifiable as Jesus holding sheep or on the cross. They would be icons as sacred as any other. Unless one takes the iconoclastic position which is a bit too much for me…but it’s not an issue I’d divide over.

Your argument in this section seems to be: Depictions of Christ having marital relations would be damnable because it never happened in his earthly life. And you would be correct. Christ remained celibate, as did Paul, and many others in the early Church. Nevertheless, it confuses me why you would take this position.

Certainly I agree with you that such things are damnable, but do you see how your reasoning (it never happened) unravels your own argument in defense of DJ depictions, since He also never DJed? Now you also say that such a thing would be pornographic, although let’s assume for a moment that we take that element out—let’s say instead it’s more in the nature of depicting Christ as “the Bridegroom” with the Church as His “bride”… and it’s not pornographic, but in some way indicates marital relations will soon take place.

Let’s see how it figures into your proposed analysis
1)Is it a non-sinful activity which normal humans do? Yes.
2)Is it culturally relevant to communicate Christ’s humanity to a particular group? Well, one could make a strong argument that it does. After all, we’ve taken any notion of pornographic unseemliness out of it, and it’s a normal human activity. Even better—- it might even illustrate a “theological truth” since Christ is called the Bridegroom of the Church. One could say that your analysis would allow for such depictions.

If this result is unacceptable to you, then you need to modify your standard for acceptance. Such a thing would still be demeaning, disrespectful, and blasphemous under my standard because even if it depicted divine-humanity, or some theological truth, it could not be said to have been reasonably intended to inspire in the viewer worship, honor, love, and reverence.

I will answer the next part of your post another time… I must prepare for class.

irreverend fox said...

Zac,

I am going to respond to each point when I get a chance tonight...but right now I'm still stuck. Despite your many words you have not explained why the DJ Jesus picture is 1. demeaning and/or 2. disrespectful.

I am CERTAINLY opposed to pictures which demeaning and disrespectful...of anyone...most of Christ! So at least know I am not defending that and we are on the same first page.

irreverend fox said...

also,

a non-sinful and not bordering on pornographic depiction of Christ as a lover/husband/father would not offend me a bit. heck...read Song of Solomon!

Zac said...

Gary,

I am eager to read your responses to each point, and I totally understand being busy. I'll briefly respond to your question about why such a depiction is demeaning.

First, we should just acknowledge a subjective aspect to this. This offends my sensibilities on an intuitive subjective level, just as you seem to be fine with it for the same subjective reasons. However, it may do well to in some sense objectively define what I mean by demeaning, disresctful, or even blasphemous.

1. Demeaning: adj., degrading or debasing.
-- To "degrade" is to "lower in dignity or estimation; bring into contempt"

So by "demeaning" I don't mean that DJing is sinful, but that in depicting the eternal God doing something which violates my above-mentioned proposed standard is to lower the dignity of the Son of God.

One might then (stupidly) argue, "Well the Cross is demeaning too, then!" That recorded biblical/salvific actions of Christ are qualitatively different-- especially the Passion, of course, because it really is the act by which He conquered sin, death, and the devil-- should be self-evident.

But with DJing, there is no such scriptural warrant. It cheapens and demeans the Son of God-- the person Driscoll is claiming to worship, honor, love, and revere. Forgive me if I believe that this removes a significant amount of credibility from his claim. I don't blame him, though-- as I've said before, it comes from this anemic, iconoclastic, ego-worshipping culture where nothing is held to truly be holy.

2. Blasphemy: n., An irreverent or impious act, attitude, or utterance in regard to something considered inviolable or sacrosanct.

God alone is judge-- but I think a shirt like that comes close to the objective definition. Look closely at the definition of this word, and you'll see that I'm not saying that such a portrayal is maliciously against the Son of God. Instead, it is irreverent (def: "showing lack of due respect or veneration") because it fails to honor the Son of God in the way that He ought to be honored when we depict Him in images.

So, I'm glad I could answer your question about demeaning/disrespecful/blasphemous.This is why I believe the rest of my analysis stands. I apologize if you are offended at my offense, although reviewing the comments I don't see where I used the word "disgusting" as you suggest I have.

irreverend fox said...

zac,

arrrrggghhhhhhhh...I am so tempted to jump into this now. soon and very soon...

my friend...you are not answering the question. I know what those words MEAN. you are not explaining how DJing falls into those definitions.

so far all I can see is your judgment...perhaps the old personal papacy re-emerging? it's not blasphemous because you say it is, my friend zac. Unless you can bust out a chapter and verse or demonstrate by plain reason how it is disrespectful and disgusting (such as Christ on the toilet, that is a reasonable example) then I’d seriously consider such sweeping judgments because neither of us are the judge. All any man is called to do is proclaim the message the Lord commissioned His people to proclaim…and then keep our big mouths shut (a significant issue for me, pray for me a sinner).

it's is a type of music (which like all other forms can be secular or sacred depending on the context) and symbolizes Christ's love of music in a tastefully humorous way (mixing a traditional pose with the turn table is kinda funny...no doubt about that…when one has a personal relationship with another such humor is a sign of love, respect, closeness and relationship…)

I believe your take, frankly and sincerely, is far too narrow, subjective and legalistic AND therefore borders itself on disrespect of Christ and His humanity and identity with us and His desire to save culture (not do away with it).

Zac said...

my friend...you are not answering the question. I know what those words MEAN. you are not explaining how DJing falls into those definitions.

Gary, I've more than answered this in my last response, so I'll just refer you back to there.

I'm going to have to bow out now, as I feel that for some reason you have chosen to deliver to me thinly veiled insults/provocations which have nothing to do with the matter and which, frankly, are unbecoming to people who set themselves up as Christian leaders.

My time right now is too precious to defend myself from personal attacks and parse sentences. I've made my case and I feel that for the most part you have failed to respond charitably, instead making personal what could have been a legitimate discussion on what is or is not acceptable.

All I can do is ask your forgiveness and bow out, because I'm not into aggrandizing my own pride by slamming you or your theology on your blog. I've decided that I will not be visiting your blog anymore-- through Lent at least. I find that you're a far more charitable and reasonable fellow in person, so let's just limit our exchanges to the real world from now on, ok?

Peace to you and all the best!

irreverend fox said...

zac,

I don't make thinly veiled attacks...my attacks are very obvious. I've not once attacked, or tried to attack, you personally. I'm simply trying to get you to defend your hard charges (attacks?) against Pastor Mark. Read your own words, especially your first comments and compare.

explaining how demeaning Christ is a very bad thing is not the same as explaining how Christ symbolically DJ'ing is a demeaning thing. That is all I've attempted to get you to do. If you can not then I simply observe narrow mindedness and legalism on your part. But I'm not trying to attack you personally, just provoke you to deeper thought on the issue (from other perspectives than just one, Eastern Orthodoxy).

No offense intended. You are welcome anytime.