Uncategorized

Mark Driscoll’s ‘Dance of Mahanaim’ XXX

After reading what Mark Driscoll said about Australia, I began thinking I should listen to his podcasts to make sure that I was not treating the guy unfairly.  This week his sermon was a continuing series on ‘the song of songs’ coming to a portion of scripture known as ‘the dance of Mahanaim.’  It was a sermon on sexuality in the highly erotic biblical book.

I have to begin with the positives of the sermon.  Ironically, the end of his sermon provided the strongest part of his sermon.  He talked about how porn is destroying the marriage relationship, how men are sometimes too negative, and how performance and fear can sometimes get in the way of a healthy marriage.  We do need to recognize that porn is destroying our nation and that the ‘performance’ being all important (as touted in most Hollywood sex scenes) sets an impossibly high standard.

But Driscoll also had an extremely high number of unnerving points in his sermon that made me squirm in my seat.  Making the same mistakes as evangelical pastors (such as those who propogate the myth that Charles Darwin recanted on his death bed), he makes a blanket statement, supported with no ‘biblical’ evidence, saying “all men are visual.”  It took me a total of five seconds to search on google to find a scientific study that disproved this pop myth social theory, but Driscoll used no scientific studies to back up his claim that “all men are visual.”  What is more unnerving is that Driscoll, who is known for using the bible to back up his claims, cited no scripture either in support of his “fact” that men are visual.  I am not a fan of proof-texting, but I would think that Driscoll would cite some scripture if he is going to make a claim on half of the human race.

He goes on to make the extremely sexist statement, informed by his “masculine” view on the world, that:

“Men are in a fight every minute of every day.  Women don’t understand this.”

Perhaps some don’t, but most do.  Most women are also in a struggle every minute of their lives.  But this is not the main point.  The main problem with saying this is it indirectly encourages sin. When Driscol uses the blanket word “men” and says “fight,” those men who may not feel the same way as Driscoll are now ostracized in his community.  What’s more?  Women feel that it is abnormal to struggle everyday with sexual issues.  Driscoll is institutionalizing the sin that he hates by doing this.  Some may think I am being extreme here, but there is a better way to deal with this topic:

Make this a human issue instead of a men’s issue.

Driscoll also keeps mentioning “lust” without defining it.  The largest problem in discussing sexuality is the lack of terminology that pastors “assume” people already understand.  Then they make analogies like Driscoll made in the sermon to explain Lust.  He suggests that looking at a women and considering her beautiful is not lust, but looking back at her a second time is lust.  He has just created the arbitrary sin of looking twice at a women. Thus we created men who are afraid to look at women………..

We have to come up with better terms for lust than this.  I have many more qualms with the article, but I would first like to open up discussion here:

What is lust and why is it a sin?  I’m hoping that people will be as specific as possible.  This is a very important topic.

Advertisements

23 thoughts on “Mark Driscoll’s ‘Dance of Mahanaim’ XXX

  1. I think that the real problem is that lust in all aspects (sexual or not), has the ability to dehumanize. Good ol’ dictionary.com mostly has sexual definitions, which include intense or uncontrolled sexual desire, but it also has a definition that I find more helpful with words like: overmastering, intense, self-indulgent desires (in any topic: lust for power, lust for food etc).

    In any cases where you are interacting with another human, these are generally not good qualities. And in sexual contexts, they tend to take the person out of good beautiful sexual desires and makes them “animal” like. But when we use words like lust to describe the way we look at women (or men!) we are using a very strong word and make people feel as though those ARE animal (when they very well might just be normal). Just a few thoughts. I can try to expand more and think through it more later.

  2. What I was referencing in the article was the way that Driscoll defined lust. He seemed to be saying that if I look at a woman twice or look back at a woman (for whatever reason) that I am lusting. I like that you bring in the wider definition of lust here. Lust is something that dehumanized another person (i.e. takes away their humanity).

    I simply don’t buy that looking back a woman or looking twice at a billboard is helpful in defining lust. These billboards and the way girls are dressed are designed inherently to attract attention. But I have found that I can look at a woman or a billboard and not be lusting at the same time.

    Perhaps a question, “How does dehumanization take place in sexual lust?”

  3. Maybe dehumanization when we look at a person and begin to desire that person sexually in a way that turns them into a commodity. We want the sex, the lips, the body parts, and the sensual feelings. We are no longer concerned about their mind, their soul, their needs, and the relationships already connected to them. Is that a good start?

  4. This is a great start, Amber. Certainly we can both agree that commodization is a negative thing similiar to the what Amanda was saying earlier.

    So how do we deal with the ideas of commodities in general? Are commodities the base problem? Do we need to get rid of commodization as a practice in our society? What do you think?

  5. I don’t know about getting rid of it in society (how could we do that? in large scales yes, like prostitution, but not the mental commodization) but I think it should be something that we discuss as Christian, and we respond to. I think on another side of the scale, with “lust” we don’t ever talk about good physical intimacy either. And so all sexual desire is then seen as a bad, or a guilt.

  6. So you are saying that there are good kinds of commodization and bad kinds of commodization? I would tend to agree with this as well. How do we separate the good from the bad? This seems to also go well with your idea that there is good and bad lust, how do we separate the two?

  7. “This study, which itself carries several limitations, and I would argue more than a few major theoretical flaws…” read the whole article next time perhaps?

    Question: Are you married? Do you have guy friends? Cause really I don’t need a study to tell me that an orange is orange. It just is. Neither do I need a study to tell me that my wife is less visual than I am… And as a pastor, anecdotally, having done lot’s of marital and premarital counseling I don’t need a study to tell me that it holds true there as well.

    Secondly: In the part you are complaining about he was quoting Shaunti Feldman…a woman.

  8. Per the comment a few blocks up, just because a woman states something does not mean that it is then absolutely true…”look this one man and this other woman agree…must be true!”. That would be over justifying sexism for lack of good debate evidence. Do you have further research beyond your own experience that agrees with your stance that men are more visual than women? I would be interested in hearing that, not because I necessarily disagree, but because I haven’t read any and would like to be educated. Many girls masturbate, look at porn, and are turned on by visual stimulus. Take the “Notebook” for example; why do women and men usually both love that movie? 1) happy ending, and 2) great, romantic and hot sex scene.
    Understanding that certain churches, schools and para-church organizations/institutions demolish the way that many women look at themselves is something that you might not understand. I believe women and men, generally, work on two different sets of emotions and mode of operations. Then there is me…and a lot of folks I know and we don’t work on those general terms. I have never, my whole life, fit into that box that someone painted for me and folks like you sustain; it is unhelpful to me as a person trying to be responsible of her sexuality and identity in Christ.

  9. HELP ME WITH MY MARRIAGE TEACH ME HOW TO LOVE MY WIFE UNCONDISHANALLY IF IT BE GODS WILL .THE LORD WILLTEACH ME AND GIVE ME AN OTHER CHANCE .LORD PLEASE FOR GIVE ME . PLEASE SHOW ME HOW TO LOVE THE WAY LOVE WAS MENT TO BE BEFORE ITS TO LATE .

  10. The comment about lust being “desire out of control,” is not just a good quote. It is based on the Greek word for “lust,” which is “epithumeo.” “Epi,” meaning “over,” or “above,” and “thumeo,” meaning desire. The universal definition for this word is indeed, “unmanageable desire.”

    Jesus states (Mt. 5:28), that “if a man looks upon a woman to lust after her , he has committed adultery. . .” The word here for “woman” is “gune,” which HALF of the time in the New Testament is translated “wife.” One may with equal exigetical composure understand this passage to read, “If a man looks upon another man’s wife to desire her to be his wife, he has committed adultery already . . .”

    This translation is consistent with the meaning of “adultery,” which is a violation of the marriage committment. It has nothing to do with the normal, pure, sexual impulse created by God and enjoyed by both genders.

    PDM

  11. Lust is _uncontrolled_ sexual desire. When sex controls our actions, it is sin. Just as with _any_ desire of the flesh. Desire for anything other than God is due to sinful nature in this sinful world, not sin unto itself. Doesn’t the Bible tell us God will grant the desires of our heart? There are a variety of situations where the Bible tells us certain desires are wrong. Likewise, _these_same_desires_ in many cases we are told are Godly in other situations. Sexual desire is GOOD between spouses.
    Many are unaware that the definition of chastity in past times did not include the idea of having no sex. And that it was more often applied to men more than women. Read the Arthurian tales (with a discerning eye, that are not purely Christian tales. they are ‘secular’ and have pagan influences. Nor should they be an example to emulate. I’m just using them to reveal out how their contemporary audience was thinking) and you’ll easily discover men who took vows of chastity, _never_broke_them_, and yet admired women for their physical appearance kissed and kissed passionately and married and, as revealed discreetly by the text, had sexual relations with their wives. None of these acceptable Godly behaviors required an end to their vows of chastity.
    “Looking twice”, no. But inability to stop one’s self from looking the second time when we known our motives are unpure _definitely_.
    Also, please consider that Driscoll is not aiming these sermons at male unics. Its obvious that his definition of ‘men’ in these sermons applies to males with strong sexual desire. This is not to exclude men with weak or no sexual desire from Christianity any more than aiming saying ‘men’ here is to exclude wives from benefiting from his, hopefully, wise words (admittedly, I have my doubts there there is much wisdom in them). Note he does not specify say, bankers, but they are hardly excluded from Christianity nor the sermon. Perhaps it would be best for him to explain his definition of ‘men’ for those to whom it is not obvious. And no, I’m not claim some superiority for knowing what he means by ‘men’. I speak as one who is weak and once entirely ruled by me sexual desire while currently Jesus & I fight daily with it.

  12. I think it’s good that we’re analyzing the issue, but to be honest, I don’t think it’s likely that we’ll ever nail down a solid definition of lust, nor should we want to. As soon as we say, “Aha! I have the definition of lust!” we draw a thin line between right and wrong. We’re able to say, “This goes on this side of the line, and this goes on the other.” If we are the kind of people that want a thin line, are we not likely the kind of people who want to get as close to that line as possible without crossing it? And if that’s our goal, where’s our heart? Personally, I think it’s better to have a gray area, and to stay away from it. That way, instead of asking ourselves, “Well, it’s not okay to fantasize about sex, but what about kissing? And if not kissing, what about holding hands?” If there’s one thing I’ve learnt about the Bible in my life, it’s that it’s not about technicalities. It’s about the heart.
    That’s why I think that when Mark says that noticing a woman’s beauty is fine, but looking back isn’t, he’s just trying to explain that when our motives turn to taking advantage of a woman’s beauty for our own pleasure, that’s when it becomes wrong. Though I do agree that it would help for him to have explained what he meant in more detail.
    I’m thankful for this discussion!

  13. I realize I forgot to finish one of my sentences…
    That way, instead of asking ourselves, “Well, it’s not okay to fantasize about sex, but what about kissing? And if not kissing, what about holding hands?” we can just avoid selfish thoughts altogether and be reassured that we’re distancing ourselves from sin.

  14. Lust? As a big-picture definition, I’d venture to say that it is a desire (of any magnitude) for anything which God has not given us.

    This then can be applied to pretty much anything, from Snickers bars to property to power to people.

    Paul D Morris brings up an interesting exegesical possibility with the Gk. gune. It is definitely used a good deal in the NT (221 times, according to http://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Lexicon.show/ID/G1135/gune.htm). And while I didn’t actually count, it looks like the word is indeed translated as “wife” about half the time. However, I also see that the other half of the time it is translated simply as “woman”. In looking at the word outside of a Biblical context, it means, “A woman of any age, whether a virgin, or married, or a widow.” So, in the context of Mt. 5:28, I think it is most accurately understood to be an expression of the concept of “any woman.”

    But even in the context of it being a wife… something God has really put on my heart is that every woman that I meet is to be treated as some man’s wife–she has been spoken for, and until such time that God reveals to me that she is for me, she’s not mine; God has not given her to me. And so anything that I DO with a girl, anything that I SAY to a girl, and anything that I THINK about a girl is toward another man’s wife.

    And I consider then what things would make me jealous, as that woman’s husband. At that point, things that appeared to be of no consequence become huge deals. Because I would not be happy if I saw my wife holding hands with another man (for instance); she is my wife, and by the nature of our relationship, that activity is something which I understand is good for us to do, but not with anyone else.

    So lust can be for something even as (relatively) benign as wishing to hold someone else’s hand because of the relational context that is assumed by it; ultimately, it’s about the heart. Why are you doing what you are doing? I know of many people who are “touch”-love language people; they hug and hold hands and put arms on shoulders because that’s just them. That’s not lust.

    But when the mind and heart switches, when the motive becomes a desire for that which is not yours–relationally, emotionally or physically–that’s when I understand it to become lust.

  15. Jinky,
    It sound like you’re (blessedly) have the visual thing handles; and I’m glad you’re one of the few that can encourage those who DO struggle with lust to say “you can do it!!” To often the message is “you can’t do it, that’s just how you’re wired,” or “why bother”
    This is an important topic no matter HOW you define lust, and I think its important that we don’t “major on the minors” and that we actually address the issue: honoring God in how we regard the opposite sex; and honoring ourselves by being honest with ourselves enough to recognize crap that poisons us, even if it tastes good in the moment. It takes a “fruit of the Spirit:” self-control, to be able to act rightly.
    I’m not going to knock Driscoll’s suggestion that we men not look “a second time” at a hot woman (live OR in ads or video) because for most guys (and sorry, I don’t have a scientific study (and I don’t NEED one)) … A second look IS most likely for the thrill of it: and (if its not your wife) that IS dishonoring to her (whether she knows it or not) and it debases your own character too.
    For most guys, it is a visual battle (in a target rich society for heat-seeking eyes), and (like Job) we had best “make a covenant with our eyes” to not do it.
    Thank God that “where sin increased, so did grace,” or we’d all be dead meat.

  16. I realize that this is very late to the discussion, but here goes:
    I think of lust as ‘desiring to possess or use something (a woman, man, Ferrari, a million dollars/pounds etc…) for one’s own pleasure or gratification’. I.e. it’s selfishness ‘squared’!
    As opposed to love, ‘serving someone, in spite of one’s own pleasure or gratification’.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s