Sunday, January 29, 2012

Driscoll: In Context

Things come in cycles.

In the early 1990s, in the wake of the Rodney King incident, racial sensitivity (some would call it paranoia) was at an all-time high. The fruits of this sensitivity became a phenomenon known as political correctness.

Racist jokes had long since been frowned upon in polite society, but even the mere mention of any distinction between races became verboten. Tolerance was the buzzword, and if you weren't going out of your way to speak in platitudes about minorities (which, as it happened, constituted a substantial majority in this country then as now, but no one dared bring it up) you were somehow backward, per the cultural elite.

Of course, the unwashed proletariat didn't quite take to the cultural elite's admonishments. Just as the O.J. Simpson trial was (to the amusement of reasonable people) forcing the politically correct class to choose between two minority groups, they were already becoming a punchline. South Park ensued.

Contemporaneously, the evangelical movement met the mainstream as a counter to the outlandish assumptions of the political left. Jocelyn Elders' infamous proclamation that we were to instruct our children on the joys of masturbation, paired with Hillary Clinton's ill-advised assertion that home schooling is tantamount to child abuse, fortified the resistance. Political correctness on the television could be laughed off. Political correctness in our homes, not so.

Cultural conservatives famously won that particular battle.

The election of Barack Obama ushered in a variation of the political correctness movement, namely the feminization of language. In particular, those with dissenting viewpoints are accused of being not intolerant but uncivil. Incivility, you see, is a deadly thing. Just as political incorrectness beat Rodney King with batons, so too does incivility kill. Gabrielle Giffords' blood is on our hands, we are informed.

Louis C.K. is doing a good job of playing the Trey Parker and Matt Stone role on the social front, but what about the cultural implications?

In the religious sphere, we have seen a recent trend toward embracing a more feminine approach to scripture. Concrete choices about repenting before one true Son of God are dismissed as binary, lacking in nuance. Consensus is king. Embracing women and gays in ministry leadership is simply part of our necessary progression. There are no gender roles, and if you spank your children, you are abusing them.

If you disagree, you are backward. Binary. Not nuanced.

As it was with political correctness and child masturbation, adherents to this worldview are vocal, and prominent in mainstream culture (see: Bell, Rob), but yet also scarce.

Enter Mark Driscoll's recent best seller, Real Marriage (colon something, something), which emphatically delineates what some describe as a patriarchal worldview. It is binary, to the point of saying yes or no to specific sex acts. It is not nuanced. It does not embrace a feminine/homosexual paradigm. It certainly isn't civil.

It is, however, wildly popular.

I suspect its influence will endure. Just as abstinence education and homeschooling advocacy groups remain as catalysts for culturally conservative ideas, so will Driscoll's ministry.

And, just as home school and pro-life organizations so vexed their self-proclaimed cultural superiors in the 1990s, not least of which because they took them by surprise, so Driscoll and his ilk (he has lots of ilk) have commenced, among the paragons of new tolerant virtue, an epidemic of the vapors. In response, they have called Driscoll sexually disturbed, a spiritual rapist, and a misogynist; his attendees stupid and vulgar; Grace Driscoll a battered housewife.

Like the far-left in the 1990s, these folks don't understand they are outnumbered. Everyone they know agrees with them. Make no mistake, their words will be used against them. For those of us less inclined to draw lines in the sand re: Driscoll-and-all-he-stands-for, they make the choice for us.

Like him or lump him, history suggests the masses will embrace Mark Driscoll, and will reject the ministrations of the cultural elite yet again. Women and gays will continue to take leadership positions in the church, but in the usual (dying) enclaves of the mainline denominations.

Lost in the shuffle is whether Driscoll's book is any good, or if it will improve any marriages, but who cares? By picking on a popular target, the new theological progressives have hastened their own demise.

Good riddance.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Educational Evolution: Racism

How and when we learn about Martin Luther King and racism.

Kindergarten: Just don't say the n-word, okay?

Grade 1: Martin Luther King is just another word for Santa Claus. Regard him benevolently.

Grade 2: Ditto JFK.

Grades 3-4: Martin Luther King and JFK cured racism.

Grade 5: Also, Malcolm X existed... Moving on.

Grade 6: Let's watch this film strip about slavery.

Grade 7: Let's watch this short movie about slavery.

Grade 8: Screw it, we're watching Roots.

Grade 9: Regurgitate all learning from grades 3-8.

Grade 10: Abraham Lincoln did some good things, as did this one random black shoe cobbler. So everyone played an equal part.

Grade 11: America also did a number on the Asians.

Grade 12 (Honors Track): The whole MLK, Malcolm X, JFK et al... thing was pretty complicated.

Grade 12 (Regular Track): Wasn't MLK the best? Assemble a mobile to show everyone how much you love him.

College: Martin Luther King died in vain. Everything is racist.

Graduate school: Racism is systematic. You are uniquely qualified to fix the system by virtue of your lack of marketable skills.

After school: MLK? Good guy. Good guy. Wait, the banks are closed? Screw civil rights.