Angry, divisive, and most likely closeted Mark Driscoll, the pastor of Mars Hill Mega-Church in Seattle, seems to be coming undone. It’s a sad story of ego unchecked and the cult of personality – though Driscoll has attacked just about anything that moves and so it’s hard to see a personality under all of his overly macho aggressiveness – in Christian ministry. Having said things like “smiling is for women,” as if either smiling or being a woman were a problem, he finally ran afoul of his colleagues in Evangelicalism when it was discovered that he paid a company to turn his latest book into a best seller by warehousing thousands of it as if they had sold. Suddenly he was a NY Times best-selling author – only not really. This offense, not the number of frankly untrue and hurtful assertions he has made over the years, led to his colleagues calling him out and stepping away from him. That suggests that what really upset those colleagues wasn’t misconduct, but that he thought of a way to cheat the system before they did. He was fine with them when he was slandering the President of the United States, but he challenged their out of control egos when his out of control ego seemed to get him a standing (best-selling author) they couldn’t get. Call me crazy, but I’m not sure there is a victory here for anybody.
Unless and until we evolve enough spiritually to move beyond a “letter of the law” obedience to rules and regulations into a spirit of the law practice of love and compassion, egos in expensive suits will continue to rule the day in many of the biggest churches in America. Why should we care? We should care because pastors who operate at a primitive level of spirituality cannot lead their congregations to a level any higher than that which they have achieved. I’m not suggesting clergy need to be fully enlightened, but I am clearly stating they need to be working on their own spiritual walk rather than touring the country – or the world – like some kind of rock star. Once a pastor crosses the threshold from clergy to rock star, their ability to truly transform lives disappears in service to the ego. Congregations need to avoid the temptation of their own ego, which tries to convince them they need a world famous pastor, and instead focus on their own spiritual path. Spirit always dismantles ego, which is why ego will to anything to redirect our attention away from Spirit. Don’t let it happen!