We’re tossing grenades over it in Headlines, naturally, so I thought I’d move it to the front page for general consumption. Having watched a few of his videos on YouTube, I think the Times gave him a bad rap. For one thing, he didn’t curse. For another, they overplay the machismo angle. There are indeed preachers whose mission is to re-masculinize Christianity, but that theme was conspicuously absent from the eight or so clips I saw.

Or maybe I’m just watching the wrong clips.

God called Driscoll to preach to men — particularly young men — to save them from an American Protestantism that has emasculated Christ and driven men from church pews with praise music that sounds more like boy-band ballads crooned to Jesus than “Onward Christian Soldiers.” What bothers Driscoll — and the growing number of evangelical pastors who agree with him — is not the trope of Jesus-as-lover. After all, St. Paul tells us that the Church is the bride of Christ. What really grates is the portrayal of Jesus as a wimp, or worse. Paintings depict a gentle man embracing children and cuddling lambs. Hymns celebrate his patience and tenderness. The mainstream church, Driscoll has written, has transformed Jesus into “a Richard Simmons, hippie, queer Christ,” a “neutered and limp-wristed popular Sky Fairy of pop culture that . . . would never talk about sin or send anyone to hell.”

If you want to hear him discuss masturbation or oral sex, poke around here. The Times gives the impression that he’s some sort of heretic or shock jock, but every lesson I saw was entirely conventional. More interesting are these two vids. The first deals with predestination, which seems more mundane as he explains it than I thought it would be. God chooses the Christian, he insists, the Christian doesn’t choose God, but since the evidence of who’s “chosen” appears to be how devoutly one practices the faith, the distinction seems mostly semantic. In the second clip, we get into who’s “really” a Christian and who’s not. He justifies making fun of Mormons in yet another video, so I’m guessing they’re in the “not really” column.

Update: Actually, it’s not just semantic. Belated exit question: If God’s doing the choosing, how and when did he decide whom to save and whom to let burn?

Tags: religion