Monday, April 25, 2005

CHURCH DECAY - Church is for sissies!

The continued interest in the subject of "only girly-men go to church" has rekindled my curiosity ... so I put on my BSI (Blog Scene Investigations) hat and went looking.

David Murrow started the recent spat of interest in the "girly men" syndrome with the publication of his book "Why Men Hate Going to Church." I simply responded to reviews of the book. Dan at Cerulean Sanctum pointed me to his excellent work from way back in June of last year.

Then SmartChristian (a top-ten Christian blog) entered the arena and offered some comments and a link to The CRIB (I couldn't find the link // link found), this generated a lot of interest in the subject and several have picked up the theme since.

Frank at Team-Swap joined the discussion, concurring with Dan at Cerulean Sanctum and adding his own two-cents. Milton at Transforming Sermons countered with his views positive review of Team Swap's post.

To cut to the chase, Dan, in another look at the issue, offers a fresh look into the problem with this snippet ...

The main reason that men are not in church is that they simply are not seeing the Holy Spirit move in power.

I'm not sure if Dan knows how close he is to the truth. Having served in several churches I've observed this sad reality ... church, for many, is their social life. Outside of church, they don't seem to have a social life, especially the women ... for a time I believed if you took away their churches and their telephones, their whole world would collapse. Now I'd have to add their computers.

I believe the centuries-old thesis that women favor their emotional and passive nature is true. I also believe men differ in this area; church is not their social-center, they generally can't stand talking on the phone for very long, and until the past ten years computers scared the heck out of them. Men, unlike women, tend to favor their physical and aggressive sides ... and this is where "another look" is right on.

I'm convinced, in this materialistic society, guys have found substitute social satisfiers which give them a sense of society that transcends their "preconceptions" about church. These substitutes are consistent with the teachings of their fathers, "Church is for girly-men"!

I wonder if today's dads are as clueless about the unintended consequences of their offhanded remarks as the dad's of yesterday ... "boys don't cry," "be a man," "stop acting like a wimp," and "I don't care what your mother says, I'm your dad, period"!

Most of what passes for church today (I'm speaking of the developed Western cultures) is not church at all, but a feeble effort at church. I don't think men stay away for reasons any more valid than I think women go for valid reasons. I believe a secular, relativistic world-view, with all of its nuances, has so infiltrated the church mindset ... that mindset is simply a manifestation of presuppositional thinking about God and His Church.

As Cerulean Sanctum says, men want to see it happen, they want to see the power of God at work, they want to experience the reality of His presence ... but a warning is necessary: the Pharisees were men and they too were seekers of signs.

That said, let me add this: Promise Keepers gave us a taste of this kind of satisfaction and men quickly discovered it was transitory BUT it was satisfying. What men do not grasp is that church is not about them ... it is about the Living Lamb of God. Men who come in humility, to worship Him, and offer themselves as a "whole living sacrifice" discover the power and presence of God in a way that transcends anything this world has to offer a man.


Other posts by The CRIB on the state of the church are here (reaching Gen Y), here (integrity), here (progressive theology), here (God-sized vision), here (wrong focus), here (relationship), here (seeker theology), and here (bigga ain't betta).

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