Real Marriage: Part 1, Chapter 1 – New Marriage, Same Spouse

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.

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4 thoughts on “Real Marriage: Part 1, Chapter 1 – New Marriage, Same Spouse

  1. So, I finally went and listened to the entire Brierley interview… it was long, like 45 minutes. While Driscoll made me wince a couple of times, Brierley redirected an interview that the Driscolls clearly expected to be about ‘Real Marriage’ into a chance to ask Mark Driscoll about everything that had ever bugged him about Driscoll’s theology and ministry. I was not impressed.

    • There’s no doubt that Brierley comes from a very different background, and of course I know from reading some other books from Driscoll that he is not a fan of egalitarian theology. I’m not entirely egalitarian myself, although I lean more to that side than Driscoll does. He is quite caustic with Brierley about the differences in their theology, but is Driscoll who refers to the British evangelicals in less than flattering terms can constantly demands that Brierley show him one young pastor who is internationally known (obviously using himself as a reference point).

      Driscoll just annoys me. He comes off as rude and condescending in interviews like this. He believes there are two views in the world about everything: his and the wrong one. That really alienates me personally, and so I have pretty much stopped reading his stuff. It’s not that I think he is evil or bad, and I think Acts 29 is doing great things. His style just isn’t for me.

  2. My feelings about Driscoll are mixed. I don’t like the Mars Hill philosophy of franchise-church planting. (Acts 29 is an entirely different animal, although Driscoll is obviously influential.)

    While I believe in differentiated roles for men and women in the home and the church, I have become increasingly uncomfortable with the extreme complementarians. Driscoll seems more like a traditionalist than anything else a lot of the time, although my understanding is that they have lots of female leaders at MHC, just not elders.

    And yeah, Driscoll comes off as a jerk a lot of the time.I just thought that in that particular interview, the condescension flowed both ways.

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