Mark Driscoll can be an arrogant chauvinist. He has admitted that freely, so I don’t think I am revealing anything he has not addressed himself.
When I finally went ahead and downloaded the controversial book Real Marriage, which he wrote with his wife Grace, it was not with the best of intentions. In fact, it was because he had given an interview with Justin Brierley in which Driscoll behaved himself like the animal Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.
It takes a lot for me to pick up a book by Driscoll these days. I would like to say his behavior in the Brierley interview was unusual, but it isn’t. He can be a real jerk sometimes, and I was afraid that this book on marriage would be more of the same.
That being said, the book is #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list, and everyone in the blogosphere is buzzing about it – both good and bad. So, I laid down my $8 and bought the Kindle version of the book. (Bless you, Amazon, for saving me $14!)
Reading the first chapter, I encountered something I did not expect. First of all, Driscoll openly confesses to his chauvinism and anger issues. He calls his behavior sin, which further surprised me since in other books I have read from him, he justified his behavior.
What really caught me was that he was treading over years he covered in Confessions of a Reformissional Rev and exposing the pain that was going on in his heart during those years. A lot of his bombast and arrogance was tied to a deep, secret problem in his relationship with his wife Grace.
It is never easy to be in the public eye and have deep, emotional, sexual sin causing your spirit to twitch. Driscoll was very much in the public eye – by choice – while his private world was a disaster, despite appearances. And even his explanations that he provided in Confessions were false because he was hiding the real problems – perhaps even from himself.
I expected bombast and arrogance. What I encountered was the honest dialogue from Mark and Grace about their failings and sexual frustrations. It surprised me. It caught me off guard, and I had to put down a lot of the preconceived fears I had about the book.
I’ll let you know tomorrow if I feel the same way after reading chapter 2.