Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Love Without Restraint

By now the massive audio library of sermons at Mars Hill church demonstrates that Driscoll has absolutely not problem at all invoking the biblical metaphor of husband and wife when it deals with the ancient near-Eastern AUTHORITY STRUCTURE within marriage. He can accept the part where the Groom dies for the Bride. He can accept the part, certainly, where the Bride must submit to the Groom, not least in his various teachings of male headship and the authority of church leaders. He's got problems if that conjugal metaphor ever breaks the bonds of propriety, service, and obligation to take on an element of ecstatic, self-forgetting admiration for the other. Driscoll may think he's secured himself from imagining a Jesus who wants to sexually penetrate him, but he may have done so at the expense of allowing the canonical compreshensivesness of the conjugal metaphor to have it's spirit-inspired way. Christ choosing to die for the Bride on the Cross expresses a love that has no sense of discretion or restraint. The love of Christ for the Church was so strong He embraced the Cross, scorning its shame, and He conquered death by death because of His love for us.

In Song of Songs we are told that love is as strong as death. We know what love that is most obviously and immediately talking about, even if we subscribe to an allegorical second meaning. We can see cases where an old spouse dies and the widow or widower dies within a year of the death. We all get that love is as strong as death in that way! But Christ's love is stronger than death.

By rejecting a typological approach as even possible in Song of Songs what we may be seeing is that Driscoll has granted the high flown poetic hyperbole as being legitimate for erotica love but shudders as the thought that a comparably powerful, or even more powerful love animated Christ to go to the Cross for us.
WTH first three paragraphs from WTH on Driscoll's part 4b

The problem with much teaching on marriage and gender is the hyper-focus on structure and roles. All problems can be solved by men and women playing their parts perfectly, Men leading as they are supposed to (even though the Bible never instructs them to do so) and Women submitting as defined by the teachers who over-focus on such structure.

As a pastor's wife counseling married couples, I kept running into, "Well if she would just submit to me likes she's supposed to then everything would be fine," and less often "Well, if he would just love me like he's supposed to all would be well" (and her definition of love rarely reflected what the Bible said.)

With all the obsession with what the other was doing and supposed to be doing and the obsession I saw among teachers to teach the roles according to Paul, I saw that the most important element was being left out. The bedrock of the Words of Jesus Christ.

I began to wonder if we needed to focus on what Jesus said about authority and love rather than what Paul said. And I began to wonder if we were over emphasising Paul's words in Ephesians 5 at the expense of Paul's definition of love in I Corinthians 13 and at the expense of pretty much everything John said in his epistles.

The structure of the relationships, the roles, the positions have taken up more importance than what Jesus came to do. And the power of the Love of Jesus has been lost in a limited and deeply impared understanding of the function of that Love.

Driscoll is all about authority and submission in marriage and in our relationship with Jesus. He's also all about wild-and-crazy, inhibitions-thrown-off sex in the bedroom. But he cannot grasp the even more powerful, limitless love of Jesus. A love more powerful than death and that is even able to conquer death. It's not about structure, authority, or roles. It is about Jesus throwing off all restraint, stepping down from His position (or role, if you will) to give all. On the Cross Jesus demonstrates for us this love without restraint, that love that is more powerful than death. It is a love that is not structured or limited to a role. It is infinitely beyond that. It is hard to grasp. And it will never be understood when the starting and ending points are shoved down into a box, the man-made structures, imposed upon it by Driscoll and others like him.

Song of Solomon, when seen as a type of the love of God for us, opens limits and displays infinity to the finite in ways that flawed and limiting human structures cannot touch.


Kristen said...

Amen, Mara. I have begun a three-part post on my blog about what I think Paul was really doing in Ephesians 5:21-33.

Mara Reid said...

I've already been there and read it, Kristen.
In fact, if blogger would let me comment at work I would have left the comment under it,
"And this is why your blog has been added to my blog roll."

So, yeah, the forms and structures and legalism of religion has sucked the life and Spirit out of Christianity leaving and empty shell of obligation, fleshly order, and human hierarchy.