There are a lot of questions I have about Christianity in our modern/post-modern era (they are co-existent and conflicting). I have questions about why the marketers are more successful than the pray-ers. I have questions about why a commitment to God’s Word is often seen as incompatible with a growing church. I have questions about why I have questions.
But there is one question that really just will not let go of my mind, and it keeps coming back to me – often keeping me from sleeping. WHY aren’t there more men in the church? I don’t mean sitting in the pews; I mean actively involved. Beyond the paid staff and the elders/deacons, generally men are not too terribly involved in churches. Women decorate; women teach Sunday School classes; women coordinate activities and events; women do far more special music than men do.
I am not a sexist, but when I read the New Testament I don’t see women as the support of the church. It was men who made the decisions; men who were chosen by Christ as apostles; men who wrote the entire New Testament. And the men of the Bible are men’s men. Paul, for all his intellect, took beating after beating and kept coming. Jesus overturned tables and drove people out of the Temple with a whip. Peter and John had callouses on their hands. There are flowery Bible covers, no lace doilies, no effeminate gentlemen in the New Testament church.
So, where did they all go? This is what David Murrow thinks of the current church situation:
[In church] we’re going to sing love songs to Jesus and there’s going to be fresh flowers on the altar and quilted banners on the walls…it would look like the rapture if women didn’t come to the typical church one Sunday.
Murrow, the author of Why Men Hate Church, points out that church has become about things men just don’t care about. Think about it. Why are churches decorated in pastels and pinks? Why is Mother’s Day Sunday more popular than Veteran’s Day?
Where are all the men and their influence? Why do they allow their wives and mothers to run things? To tell them what to wear and how to act?
Where are they? As Leon Podles put it:
“Women go to church, men go to football games.” (The Church Impotent: The Feminization of Christianity)
This question just drives me nuts, because I am a man. I want to be surrounded by men. I want to be working alongside men. While I love the women in my church, I want MEN doing things in the church.
Here is the problem – church is passive. People go to church and just sit there. They don’t DO anything. Women love this kind of activity. Men hate it. Gene Edwards puts it this way:
Here it is. Man’s role in Christianity:
At 8:30 on Sunday morning you put on that horrendous costume called a suit. Then you have a fight with your wife and kids trying to get them off to Sunday School. Then you, man, still screaming, go to the car and “go to church.”
You, man, walk into a church building. (Remember, you are a man.) You are at this very moment fulfilling Christendom’s expectations of you … the converted human male. Now in the building you sit down.
You, man, then listen to an oration which is delivered in the Greco-Roman tradition laid down by Aristotle in a practice which Aristotle called rhetoric. You, man, have now done your masculine job, you have now fulfilled the male role model of a Christian. So now you can get up out of the pew and go home.
That’s it!! That is your role in the kingdom of God.
(Taken from “When the Church Was Led Only By Laymen” by Gene Edwards. Click here for that article)
Women are passive by nature. They enjoy being served. Men like to DO things. I’m not talking about the lazy bum who just wants to vegetate in front of his TV with a bag of potato chips and enough beer to drown his pathetic life. I am talking about men. Men who take charge, who engage and act. Men who hunt things; men who punch things; men who think Rocky is the height of film-making! These kinds of guys might be at church but they’re rarely in church. They don’t see church as theirs.
And why should they? The buildings are effeminate; the principles we teach are effeminate. Being a man is almost an offense to Christian sensibility. Even our most famous picture of Jesus, Warner Sallman’s Head of Christ is, “…a bearded woman with as much dignity as a movie-house billboard.” (Richard Muehlberger quoted in Material Christianity: Religion and Culture in America, Colleen McDannell)
Men look at church as a chickifying. They’ve been taught that Jesus was basically a girl in man’s clothing and that in order to be a man, you have to essentially act like a pansy. Who wants that?
Now, for certain, the Bible is clear that a Christian man is not a violent man, not an abuser or a drunk. But the men of the church are MEN. God created men to be caretakers and that means they are strong, that they work hard.
Here’s the thing though – unless men step up and lead, the church will continue to be run by the women. As long as we think of faith as something our wives are into but not for us, we will continue to hate church because we’re NOT WOMEN. We allow the lies of our culture to neuter us and then confirm it by our own inaction.
It is politically incorrect to be a man in today’s world and in today’s church, men are expected to follow and not lead. This is baloney of the lowest order. Being a Christian man means being a man. I want to lead a church of men, not chickified boys. I want to lead a church where men stand as men, lead as Christ would lead and build the kingdom together.
Let’s do this thing!
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