[Caveat: I promise I’m not trying to make this blog about Mark Driscoll. Though I have also written about him here.]
A friend recently pointed me to the all-too-soon created website MarkDriscoll.org. At one time, Mark was influential in my life and fed me the truth of the Bible on a semi-regular basis through writings, podcasts, etc. After watching his downfall (resigning the church he founded, removed from Acts 29 Membership, publicly scorned for his abuses, exposed for crudeness in online interaction, plagiarism charges, and on and on), I was all at once surprised, appalled, and interested to see that he was starting up once more.
Pastor Mark, as his website describes him, is something of an enigma to me. Do men without pulpits call themselves pastor? Isn’t a time of retreat in order? Why start a new website now when the public eye has only recently been against you?
At the very least, it’s bad timing.
His website’s About page reads:
Pastor Mark Driscoll is a Jesus-following, mission-leading, church-serving, people-loving, Bible-preaching pastor. In 2010, Preaching magazine named him one of the 25 most influential pastors of the past 25 years. He’s grateful to be a nobody trying to tell everybody about Somebody.
Pastor Mark is the author of many books, has written for CNN, Fox News, and The Washington Post, and has been featured as a columnist for The Seattle Times.
With a skillful mix of bold presentation, accessible teaching, and unrelenting compassion for those who are hurting the most—particularly women who are victims of sexual and physical abuse and assault—Pastor Mark has taken biblical Christianity into cultural corners rarely explored by evangelicals. He has been grilled by Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Walters on The View, gone head-to-head with Piers Morgan on CNN, debated the existence of evil with Deepak Chopra on ABC’s Nightline, bantered with the gang on Fox and Friends, and explained biblical sexuality on Loveline with Dr. Drew.
The page goes on to describe his accomplishments at Mars Hill Church, which is dissolving this upcoming week, and Acts 29, which removed him from membership for unrepentant sin. Needless, to say, that’s troublesome.
I remember when I first listened to Mark in 2008. I remember hearing him say that line for the first time (though I’m sure he didn’t come up with it):
I’m just a nobody trying to tell everybody about Somebody.
That’s all I wanted. Someone who would put themselves to the side and show me Christ.
It was the plagiarism, the power-hungry ministry structure, and the manipulation of best-seller lists that started the downfall of Mark Driscoll at Mars Hill Church. It seems to me that what follows the “just a nobody…” line in his new website’s About page is very telling.
I don’t know when, and I don’t know why it happened. What’s obvious, however, just reading through this page is that it did happen.
At some point Mark Driscoll become a Somebody trying to tell Everybody about Somebody. The problem is that when you have two Somebodies, the two tend to get confused. When the two get confused, glory can wrongly be given to the wrong Somebody.
In the current Evangelical celebrity culture, it’s really easy to get caught up in the dream of becoming Somebody. Of becoming a Voice. Of masses of Twitter followers. Of viral articles. Of sermon jams and sermon highlight clips. It can be easy to take the attitude that the greater we are for Jesus, the greater Jesus is glorified.
John the Baptist knew better when he said, “He must increase. I must decrease.”
Paul knew better when he said, “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.”
We must learn to know better than to say we will become greater for his sake. He doesn’t need us. He doesn’t need our impressive About Me sections. God lacks nothing.
Let us take heed, lest we also fall and think that it’s better that a Somebody tell Everybody, than a Nobody. If all goes well, it will be the name of Jesus upon us, not our own name. We will be nobodies, so that nobodies like us will know that Somebody cares about Everybody.
Blessed are the nobodies.