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6/19/2006

REVIEW: MARK DRISCOLL'S CONFESSIONS OF A REFORMISSION REV.

I stopped reading Mark Driscoll's Confessions of a Reformission Rev today. I didn't finish it. I just stopped reading it. (And I'll start reading David Augsburger's Dissident Discipleship tomorrow.)

The reason? While Mark is a pastor I listen to a lot and am entertained and challenged by always, his writing comes across as just, well, mean. Way mean. The book version of Mark would probably mock me for even saying that right now, accuse me of being an effeminate loofa user (a charge made against Emergent Church leaders in the first chapter).

I still suggest listening to Mark's great teaching and hanging with him if you get the chance. But some personalities just don't work on paper and his is one of them...for me. (This book was a needed warning to me to be sure my humor isn't misinterpreted in print as mean.)

The ideas we speak and write are not all there is to our message. The method is also part of that message. And for me, at a time when I'm realizing my own tendencies to divide instead of unite the Church, Mark's writing was a repellent two-faced message. The ideas presented say, "Love God. Love people. Build a church that does the same." But the method, the words and tone, say instead, "I love God and if you don't agree with me then you don't. I'm a better person than you and if you don't think so then, well, my church kicks your church's ass. So there."

I highly recommend the teaching and ideas of Mark's. Just not this book of them. I was sent Mark's book to review on this blog. One day I'll pick it up again and give a more thorough review after finishing the last couple chapters. But right now I'd give it 5 stars for lessons worth learning and 1 star for writing style and unnecessary low blows. Here's what other folks are saying about it:

Jeff at healing malchus writes...

"...the book hits its lows when Driscoll starts swinging prescriptive ethics like a club, demeaning people caught in a cycle of sin or theological confusion. He thinks his banter is humorous; it is actually base and cruel. Ironically in the last few pages he feels compelled to put forward all his own struggles asking for sympathy. It seems to be the mark of a particular sort of bad man who fragrantly insults those wrapped in moral failure, then turns and asks for pity for their own sin. I hope I miss read him on this front. Thankfully, most of the readers of this book will be mature believers, primarily pastors who will easily slide over Driscoll's over-exaggerations, self absorption, and straight out mean-spiritedness. If you buy it, cherish the good when you find it cause there is much to be discarded."

BUT worship.com says...

"This book is highly recommended and should be read by every pastor, elder, and worship leader. Those who have a desire to reach an increasingly post-modern culture without compromising doctrine will be encouraged to know they are not alone in either their struggles or their passion to reach the world for Jesus."

Have you read Mark's book? What do you think? Not about him but about his book.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chesterton wrote that man has become uncertain of Truth, but quite certain of himself. He said it should be the other way around. (OK, Chesterton put it better than that.)

I have the same impression of Driscoll, from previous stuff he's written. And I, too, like a LOT about his thinking.

Here's to ultimate certainty, and, simultaneously, here's to writers who can express it with a winsome twist. It's not easy -- I sure know that -- but he's a big boy, and should be up to it.

Problem: Sometimes the heat we think we're getting from being a truthful, prophetic voice...? It's really because we're being jerks.

Best,
Brant

6/19/2006  
Blogger Amy said...

I need to give my own review on my blog as well. There were times when I thought...I can't believe he just said that!! For me, however, it was a book I couldn't put down, read quickly, and felt I had learned a lot from.

I remember feeling particularly uncomfortable with how he dealt with someone who struggled with pornography. But you know what? Apparently, it worked. I was so certain it was the wrong way because I have completely convinced myself there is only one way to deal with addictions like that. So that challenged me. Also, I was challenged by a lot he said about church growth (being a passionate lover of small churces). I didn't agree with everything. I'm a touchy feel good sort of person. I don't necessarily feel all men have to be super macho. :-) Etc. But he made me think. And I appreciate that he is theologically conservative in a time where that's not cool. So this isn't a review...that's still coming. But those were some of my impressions.

6/19/2006  
Anonymous sharibrown said...

I really enjoyed Mark's book. Though you probably have to know him to understand his heart, and I do not know him, I am familiar with some of the struggles pastors experience. When he spoke of devoting so much time in a certain couple and they later showed up on the Driscoll's doorstep to say they were leaving the church for no biblical reason, I understood the loss and hurt he expressed. It is obvious from his book that he is intelligent and has studied to continue to grow in the Lord. I believe pastors have an increased responsibility as do we to pray for them and support them in truth. I believe Mark was very transparant in his strengths and shortcomings and would probably be open to the contructive criticism, after he was done being *&%^$#@ off.

6/19/2006  
Blogger Kathryn said...

I don't know now if I would be inclined to pick up this book. ??? I'm not sure it would do me any good.

6/19/2006  
Anonymous Rachel said...

I liked the book and learned a lot from it. There were times when I was taken aback by some of the things he said, times when he was definitely chasing rabbit trails (or name-dropping, as in the case of his tangent regarding Donald Miller). But his style stayed consistent. I like satire and breezed past it easily enough once the meat was presented. If you can get past the, um, Tim-Taylor manly man thing, there is a lot you can learn from the book. That's why I read it.

6/19/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

I'm with brant on this. (Surprise) Prophetic has come to mean, um, mean. They're not the same thing.

6/20/2006  
Blogger Kathy said...

I had to make myself finish this book. There were things I agreed with and others that I felt he was saying my way or the highway.
Craig Gross book "The Gutter" was a book I loved. His highly publized book "The Dirty Little Secret" did not live up to my expectations. I was disappointed in that book. I guess that is whats make the world go round. Different strokes for different folks.

6/20/2006  

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