Three facts about me..
- Since Jim wrote about me in ROE (chapter 17) I finished seminary, got ordained and am planting my first church.
- Mark Driscoll used to be my pastor.
- You’re going to have to read the book to figure out how those two things are related.
I tried hard to ignore all the articles and blog posts in the last week or so talking about the interview Justin Brierly did with Driscoll. (One example… http://cognitivediscopants.wordpress.com/) But since Seattle has been snowed under for four days, I’ve had more than an average amount of time on the internet, and I ended up reading some of it – kind of like a car crash you can’t look away from.
Mark has a plethora of reasons why women can’t be pastors – some of them are shared by others with the same view, and some are uniquely his. One that he circles back around to fairly frequently is that a woman can’t be a pastor because she can’t talk to men about porn.
That thought makes me chuckle for a couple of reasons.
1. I know that the destructive power of pornography is crushing, and it has ruined many lives of both men and women. It is a serious issue. But, having said that, I don’t think it’s the worst pastoral care issue someone could bring to you. I don’t even think it’s in the top 5. I’ve had pastoral care conversations with men about porn – and I’ve had more difficult conversations too.
2. The assumption seems to be that men need a firm and threatening presence in their lives in order for accountability to work. A man needs another man to look him in the eyes and ask him what he’s been looking at. This is a tried and true method that can work. But is it the only way? No. One of the reasons men get drawn into a pornography addiction is that they want to know the goodness of woman without relating to her. They want intimacy with an anonymous woman that they don’t have to work out a real relationship with. And why don’t they want to work out a real relationship? There could be lots of reasons…past hurts, despair, selfishness, fear. All of which are things that can be healed in relationship and community.
When I have talked with men about their porn usage I’m not doing it as a tough authority figure who is going to hurt them if they mess up – I’m doing it as a woman who is offering them an opportunity for a new experience. A chance to confess something shameful about themselves to a woman who will not use it against him and will offer Christ’s forgiveness – and who will then live in community with him as a brother.
The bottom line for me is that God has called men and women into community together, and he has also called us to bear each other burdens. A man might bear a fellow man’s burdens in one way, while a woman might bear a man’s burdens another way. There are enough pastoral care opportunities for both.