Mark Driscoll is one of America's best-known pastors. Author of several best-selling books, he is co-founder of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington and led a global church-planting movement called the Acts 29 Network. Driscoll has also been in the news for less positive reasons. He has long been known for his blunt preaching and forceful personality. In addition, a marketing firm engaged by his church generated sales for one of his books in a way that critics view as manipulative.
In response, Driscoll has written "an open letter of apology" to his congregation. He states: "I have been deeply convicted by God that my angry-young-prophet days are over, to be replaced by a helpful, Bible-teaching spiritual father." He has changed his priorities to be more present with his family and congregation. Driscoll describes his commitment as a decision to "reset" his life.
Do you need such a reset today?
A team of researchers has announced a prototype in-car camera that analyzes drivers' facial expressions to detect road rage or fatigue. A camera positioned on the dashboard just above the steering wheel tracks the driver's facial features. Expressions are compared to a database of facial features the system has been taught to recognize, looking for signs of anger or exhaustion. If road rage is detected, the vehicle could then play quiet music; if fatigue is detected, energetic music could be launched.
What would such a machine say about you?
I have been writing recently about the shift in our culture from church as central to society (America 50 years ago), to church as irrelevant (America since the 1960s), to church as hazardous. Today if you believe in biblical marriage, you're branded as "homophobic"; if you believe life begins at conception, you're part of a "war on women." Earlier this week I spoke to a pastors' group on this subject. Afterwards, one told me about the atheist group in his community that is working actively to oppose everything his church is doing. Another pastor told me that a local store recently refused to recognize his congregation's tax-exempt status simply because they are a church.
In the face of rising opposition, our witness depends on the "fruit of the Spirit" more than ever before. When our culture sees "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23) in our lives, aren't they more likely to want what we have? When we are as stressed, angry, and driven as the lost people around us, why would they want our faith?
I predict that Mark Driscoll's most effective days of ministry are ahead of him. Do you need a "reset" to manifest the "fruit of the Spirit" today?