Emily Timbol

Fiction Author. Good at making stuff up.

How Mark Driscoll Restored My Faith in Myself


Last week, I received a less-than-pleasant message in my Facebook inbox. This was different than the less-than-pleasant comments left on my Huffington Post articles, or that sometimes arrive in my public Gmail. Those I have no problem ignoring completely. The people who leave these comments are strangers, who know nothing about me. Why should their words affect me? But this one was different. Because this was from a friend. This friend said, among other things, that I was someone who does more to find problems than to offer solutions, and because of that, I was easy to tune out completely.

Obviously, their words hurt me. I didn’t even know how to respond to them, so I didn’t. I had no idea how to defend three years of writing, nor did I know if that would be helpful. For the three years that I’ve been writing on this blog, and for publications online, I was under the impression that my intentions were clear; that the only reason I was identifying the problems I saw among modern Christianity was in an attempt to help solve them. That in exposing these issues, we could hope to eradicate them.

To be completely honest, since I received that message, I’ve been having a lot of self-doubt about myself, my writing, and my direction.

Until this morning.

Shortly after I arrived at work, my Twitter feed blew up with people commenting on the below tweet, from (surprise, surprise) Pastor Mark Driscoll:

Driscoll is no stranger to controversy. This is not the first time he’s said something that’s riled up the many Christians who find his theology lacking. He was probably not surprised when replies to his remarks started pouring onto his page. I’m sure He knew what he was doing.
Here’s something I’m sure he didn’t know he did. He inspired me.  Thanks to this tweet, my faith in myself, and my writing is restored. Why? Because his tweet reminded me how important it is for Christians to speak up against things they know are wrong. To not stay silent in the face of evil, or in Driscoll’s case, terribly misguided theology. 
Driscoll reminded me that, just as he has a right to share what he believes, so do I. That in doing so, I’m not trying to find problems to complain about, I’m expressing my feelings on problems that already exist. I’m exposing falsity for the sake of seeking truth. That doesn’t make me a person that should be tuned out. It makes me a person who should be careful about what I say, and who I say it about.
With that said, I have no problem calling out Driscoll for these callous, baseless remarks. As a pastor, he should know the verses on judging others, and not knowing what lies within a man’s heart. He should know that to publicly accuse a man he does not know, is a foolish, unloving thing. And he should be called out for it, as he has been most of the day.
What I’m learning though, from that friend’s message, and from my own time with God, is that Driscoll should not be shunned, exiled, or written off completely. Not forever. Maybe we should cease giving him the publicity he seems to crave, until he stops sending this accusatory tweets and Facebook posts. But we should still consider him a brother in Christ. Which means that when he messes up, we get to comment on it, and when he apologizes, (if he apologizes) we forgive him. Being a fellow believer doesn’t mean staying silent when we see something wrong. It means doing whatever is right in the face of that sin. Driscoll probably thought that’s what he was doing, but publicly attacking the faith of a man he does not know is not Biblical, or right. But publicly attacking a shameful statement by a person of faith, is. There’s a big difference between attacking someone’s words, and attacking their faith. I’m doing the former.
So I’m thankful to Mark, for helping to restore my faith in myself, my writing, and my ability to comment on what I disagree with in evangelical Christianity. I won’t say that I’ll be praying for him though, because that could come across like a veiled criticism, which is something we both know, isn’t right.

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