I had barely published my previous blog on the wonders of yoga when I was confronted by this video by Past. Mark Driscoll explaining how yoga is evil and demonic and all who practice it are hellbound. At times like these I am astounded by the difference between Mars Hill and Mars Hill.
There are two famous churches in the USA which go by the name “Mars Hill”. One is in Seattle, Washington and is headed by Mark Driscoll. The other is in Grand Rapids, Michigan and is headed by Rob Bell. Superficially they seem very similar at first. Both are very large and both are well known and popular far outside their respective city limits. Both are thoroughly modern with pastors who are engaging public speakers – not to mention that they both sport interesting hair and non-traditional dress sense. Yet these two couldn’t be more different from one another*.
If you sat down the leaders of both Mars Hill churches and made the statement that “everything is spiritual” then they would both agree with you but for very different reasons. For Rob Bell, the statement “everything is spiritual” means that your spirituality involves the entirety of your life. In other words, you don’t have a “spiritual life” and a “normal life” separate from one another. Therefore everything you do can be an act of worship and God is involved in everything you do. I suspect Mark Driscoll on the other hand would agree because he thinks there are demons behind everything. Yoga? Demons. Popular works of fiction? Demons. Popular movies? Demonic. Mormonism? Founded by demons. I’m sure if I looked harder I could find more examples but clearly the man lives in a demon haunted world.
Now if my tone wasn’t a clear enough indication, I’m not a fan of Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill but I am extremely fond of the Mars Hill of Rob Bell. The funny thing is that when I was half as old as I am now it would have been the other way around. Back then, I would have agreed with Rob’s detractors that to not preach on sin, hell and the demonic is simply unchristian. The sheer manliness of Mark’s church would have been far more attractive. I considered all that peace, love and charity stuff to be uncomfortably close to the antichrist agenda. Not so much anymore though. Nowadays the “lets call everything we don’t like/understand demonic” brand of aggressive Christianity that claims to always be right despite all evidence to the contrary drives me toward agnosticism. It is only Rob Bell’s brand of Christianity that makes me believe that there is something to this faith after all. I don’t think I would want to worship a God that would like to beat me up. Violence and aggression is not the same as being tough. An angry child can swing a fist. Self-sacrifice, now for that you need to be tough. Opening yourself up to constant hurt by trying to heal the messiness of humanity, that takes courage. Cage fighting doesn’t scare me, caring for the helpless does.
*To be fair, I have never attended either one of these churches. I have heard sermons from both and I have seen plenty of video from both so I’m fairly certain I can offer my opinion fairly here.
** A term that had a completely different meaning in the Coliseum in 1 AD methinks…