“Anyone who has not seen people getting their essential kicks out of offending white bread suburbanites really needs to get out more. . . . The whole point is to shock and insult those who don’t know that they are being played. Take that away and the whole game collapses.” Douglas Wilson
One question has bothered me since Pastor Douglas Wilson of Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, wrote A Tetherball in a Tornado: Of all the places to declare “HERE I STAND,” why would Doug Wilson stand for the sin of verbally abusing women as “small-breasted biddies” and “lumberjack dykes”? He could have easily ignored the Presiding Ministers’ Report on the Sitler and Wight Sex Abuse Cases (PMR) and no one would have noticed. I believe I speak for all of Christendom as well as the entire Palouse when I say that no one expected him to modify his behavior as a result of the PMR. Everyone assumed the Presiding Ministers would wink at has abominations, which they did. So why did he go ape at the mere “suggestion” that he refrain from “derogatory or calloused language about women”? Of all the hills to die on, why would Doug Wilson plant his flag here?
To refresh your memory, the CREC Review Committee offered a few “suggestions” in the PMR:
In that regard, let us point out a few specifics we believe are inconsistent with the high road:
- Engaging in online disputes with a person formerly under a pastor’s care, particularly when the person has been sexually abused in any way. It is not wise for a pastor to argue with a sex abuse victim in public over the details of her case. It would be better for the pastor to absorb any wrongful accusations rather than engage in this kind of argument (I Cor 6:7).
- Discussing sensitive pastoral cases online. Such discussion can make others who need help more reluctant to seek it, for fear of having their cases turned into blog posts or Twitter fodder. It can also give the impression that a church is not a place where victims’ voices can be heard (and all too often victims’ voices have been suppressed in the church). While many in the general public may have no qualms about such discussions of personal matters, pastors should always take the high road.
- Using unnecessarily provocative language, including derogatory or calloused language about women. Referring to certain women as “small breasted biddies” or “lumberjack dykes” is not likely to serve an edifying purpose in this context. We note that this language has caused a good deal of anguish among pastors and elders of CREC churches who would otherwise be supportive of Pastor Wilson’s ministry. Pastors should be careful not to give women reasons to avoid seeking help from the church. Instead, we should make it clear that the church is a place where all people are treated with honor and respect, and where victims can find grace.
In this particular case, Pastor Wilson’s rhetoric has, unfortunately, been found offensive and inappropriate even by many in his own denomination (including other pastors and elders). Pastor Wilson’s blog posts regarding these cases have proved to be quite divisive even amongst those who consider him a friend and ally. A more prudent and temperate use of language would be helpful. . . . (PMR page 18, emphasis original)
These “suggestions” are Christianity 101 — a simple “how to live by the Golden Rule” for the proprietor of Blog and Mablog. Nothing here is unbiblical. The Presiding Ministers of the CREC laid no heavy burden on their Presiding Minister. Frankly, it’s remarkable that anyone in leadership would need to hear such instruction. Methinks that if you don’t understand these basics of decency, then you have much larger problems than what people read on your personal website. Regardless, the CREC Review Committee pleaded with Doug Wilson to act like an observant Christian. And as we know, he did not appreciate their suggestions:
So if someone with a long enough face to be a dowager from Human Resources tells me that I am no longer permitted, as a cis-white-male, to make any observations or comparisons, metaphorical or otherwise, about any aspect of the female anatomy, guess what I am going to do? Guess what my next blog post is going to be about?
Go on, guess. (Blog & Mablog, A Tether Ball in a Tornado, September 18, 2017)
Which once again raises the vexing question, Why would Douglas Wilson pick this hill to die on?
The Answer: “The Whole Game Collapses”
Four years ago Douglas Wilson indirectly explained precisely what would happen to his so-called ministry if he surrendered his shock-jock approach to blogging:
Anyone who has not seen people getting their essential kicks out of offending white bread suburbanites really needs to get out more. Rap artists do it with what I shall call the enword, and homos do it with the effword, but they are all junior high boys wanting to startle the cute girls into a shocked round of giggling. The rap artist wants to be a bad ass, and the catamite wants an ass that is bad, but it all amounts to the same thing.
Imagine a hipster washed up on a desert island — no scope for irony at all. Imagine Lady Gaga washed up on a desert island — how long do you think those outfits would last? Imagine Miley Cyrus washed up on a desert island — think she would be dancing up and down the beach with that foam finger? No. The whole point is to shock and insult those who don’t know that they are being played. Take that away and the whole game collapses. (Blog & Mablog, On Learning to Hate Their Dog, September 2, 2013)
Doug Wilson gets his “essential kicks out of offending white bread suburbanites.” He’s the “junior high boy wanting to startle the cute girls into a shocked round of giggling.”1 That’s why he greases Mablog with “small-breasted biddies,” “lumberjack dykes” and all the other rabid insults that call attention to his arrested development. He needs to “shock and insult those who don’t know that they are being played” (kirkers, CRECers, etc.). It is exactly as he said, if you take this away, “the whole game collapses.”
You can prove his point by applying his litmus test to him:
Imagine Doug Wilson washed up on a desert island — no scope (or reason) to verbally abuse anyone. Imagine Doug Wilson washed up on a desert island — how long do you think those vicious insults would last? Imagine Doug Wilson washed up on a desert island — think he would be ridiculing women for the size of their breasts?
The Presiding Ministers of the CREC unknowingly fingered the con man and his game. Why did Douglas Wilson choose to die on this hill? Because without it, “the whole game collapses.”
1 Textbook Wilson. Notice how he instructs his readers while he simultaneously trolls them. That is, he repudiates those who “shock and insult” even as he consciously shocks & insults his readers. This line — “The rap artist wants to be a bad ass, and the catamite wants an ass that is bad” — is purely gratuitous. He wrote it to “shock and insult” “white bread suburbanites.”