Where are all the men at church?

I have a book on my shelf that I have not yet read with a very interesting title: The Church Impotent: The Feminization of Christianity. Have you ever noticed that the overwhelming majority of the people doing the ministry of the churches are women? I have. And I suspect it wasn't always so.
I also suspect that Christian spirituality and practice was more "masculine" (though not necessarily always in a good way) in past ages than it is today.

Here is a very short and clear explanation of why there are so few men in our churches that I ran across at OrthodoxyToday (by way of the splendid Catholic blog Pontifications). Essentially, it says, the current way of talking about the Christian life is perfectly suited to attract 50-year-old women: "You can have a love relationship with a man who will love you unconditionally and even give up his life for you." I think this explanation must be at least partially true.

We have also "feminized" our message by always talking about how we feel connected to or accepted by Jesus and talking not enough about God's covenant and the logical coherence of the truth of our faith. For cultural reasons we have emphasized the emotional appeal (associated with femininity) of the Gospel often to the neglect of the rational or analytical appeal (associated with masculinity), when of course we should do the one without neglecting the other. Once again, we need to strive after wholeness.

I once went to a mosque for a school project. In my comments I noted that the room was filled with men and boys all standing shoulder to shoulder, facing east together, and reciting their prayers in unison and I thought there was something very masculine about it. They were all a band of brothers in a war against idolatry.

Maybe it is time that we Christians re-capture more of a "gender-balance" in the message we are putting out there (note I am not advocating replacing a feminine emphasis with a masculine one, but simply balancing the two). Let's talk more about Christ the conquering King who is fearsome yet good and loving. We could take a page from the Early Church, who called themselves "the Church militant" as long as they lived in this world. This might even mean putting "Onward Christian soldiers" back in the hymnals (or actually singing it when it is there) or, worse still, preaching (responsibly) about spiritual warfare!



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