Mark Driscoll on Preaching Scatology

Driscoll sure knows how to turn eschatology into its abbreviated and certainly messier form – scatology. Out of Ur posted this video of Mark Driscoll preaching on scatological humor in the Bible.

There are a few things I think are a little strange about this video. The first is his reference to the Dictionary of Biblical Imagery (great book, by the way). I can’t find anywhere in that reference book where scatological humor is mentioned. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It just means that, unless I am missing something, this dictionary doesn’t even reference it.  Second, the two stories he mentioned don’t really seem to have humor as the intention when it comes to the “potty” element of the story. There is some humor in Judges 3 but it isn’t potty humor. In fact, the whole bit about slicing his intestines and the smell is totally an assumption and is not in the story at all. What is humorous or at least clever is that in Hebrew Ehud tells Eglon he was a “word” for him but that also mean he has  a “thing” for him, meaning “I have something for you…” Stab! So there is a play on words, Eglon thought Ehud had a secret word for him, Ehud really had a secret sword he would use to kill him. I don’t really see this guy getting stabbed in his big fat belly as “Monty Python funny” but maybe I am just missing something here. I also don’t see the humor in his attendants finding him dead in his chambers, “they see the king dead and his intestines just emptied themselves all over the floor and it’s kind of funny unless, of course, you’re the king.” Driscoll finds this funny. I doubt they did.

In Ezekiel 4 there really isn’t any humor there either. Ezekiel bargains with God, not because he thinks lighting poop on fire is funny but because what God asks him to do is detestable and unclean. Jews found no humor in joking over detestable things. But Mark seems to find that funny. There is scatological humor in the Bible. I am just not sure why he choose these two passages.Why not cite Mark 7:14-23 where this really is something being used in a humorous way?

Last, if everything I said ended up on youtube, I am sure I would get critiqued worse than this so I am not throwing stones here, just pointing out a few things.

Correction: After looking at the Hebrew and not just the NIV, 3:22 does have something to the effect of his excrement coming out of his belly. I have no idea why the NIV left this out. So I stand corrected on that point. So maybe his assumption there is accurate but it is still an assumption that the guards smelled it.

About mattdabbs
I am a minister, husband, and father. My wife and I live and minister in Saint Petersburg, Florida. My primary ministry responsibilities include: small groups, 20s and 30s, involvement, and adult education.

6 Responses to Mark Driscoll on Preaching Scatology

  1. rick says:

    yeah … I thought Mark’s comments a bit odd

  2. WesWoodell says:

    He’s responding to criticism and justifying his behavior – kind of grasping at straws a bit, huh?

  3. I don’t know Matt, besides th Hebrew word play with dabar,, I think there really is some implicit humor in the Ehud story. I think it has more to do with ineptitude of the guards in the story, who are waiting outside, thinking the kind os doing his business, and wait until they are embarrassed at how long they think the king is taking relieving himself. Don’t you think that’s intended to be sort of funny, in a three stooges ineptitude kind of way?

    • mattdabbs says:

      I added a correction above, 3:22 in Hebrew does mention his excrement coming out. I am not certain why the NIV left this out. I bet he got this bit from Lawson, not the Dictionary of Biblical imagery. Here is a quote from Lawson’s NIV Application commentary,

      “The scatological satire continues with the comic scene of 3:24-25, in which Eglon’s servants belatedly discover their master’s corpse…The courtiers erroneously assume that their corpulent monarch is taking his leisurely time in relieving himself in the chamber toilet. And the odor from the accidental discharge from the anal sphincter further decoys the guards to tarry while Ehud escapes.” (p.119)

      Sounds like he is pulling directly from this commentary.

      Lawson does believe there is scatological humor/satire here. I guess I can see it as a possibility from a Hebrew point of view. I guess I just have a hard time seeing this serious event cast in such a comical light. To me this whole thing is a case of right point, wrong text. But this is obviously up for debate as much smarter people than myself find this scene quite humorous.

      • WesWoodell says:

        Well, it is funny, but Mark is still trying to justify his telling dirty jokes from the pulpit, and I still think he’s grasping as straws.

  4. ozziepete says:

    Wes’ insight may provide some context, but otherwise this is just a weird topic. I was trying to think what his application would be… Is there a world record for saying “faeces” in a sermon?

    If this is how you get out of trouble, … you’re in trouble!!!!

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