The “Feminization” of the Church by K R Wordgazer
Followers of Christ are called to model all of his behaviors: if you are a man, that means emulating Jesus not only when he displayed what we consider manly traits such as assertiveness and daring, but also the feminine ones: gentleness and humbleness. If you are a woman, you are called not only to emulate the sweet and tender side of Jesus, but his tough side, as well.
Why more Christians do not understand this and embrace it, I do not understand. But your gender complementarian Christians promote the very opposite: they instruct men to follow only the rough, tough side of Jesus and instruct women to follow the meek- and- mild side of the Savior.
Here is the blog link under consideration in this post:
(Link): The “Feminization” of the Church
I abhor it when Christians complain about church being too girly. The link you see above? Its author is also tired and upset about this as well.
My view on this has changed a little bit. I used to be a little more understanding about men who feel out of place at church, but considering the staggering amount of sexism against women in churches, especially against never married and childless women, I’m no longer quite as sympathetic.
And I abhor even more than that that they go and mess things up by trying to make Christianity or church more “manly,” or, they try to recast Jesus Christ as being a beer-drinking, belching, farting, quasi stoner – tough guy who sits around in a recliner in his boxers all day watching NFL games. A sort of Seth Rogen or Andrew Dice Clay, if you will.
I don’t think Jesus Christ was girly girl, but nor do I think he was a cage-fight watching, beer- can- crushing neanderthal who made sexist jokes about what poor drivers women are, and how ‘chicks’ are ‘too emotional.’
You would think as a person who was single, a female, who was Christian for many years, who desired marriage, who has noticed in frustration that churches suffer a great lack of single adult males for me to choose from, that I would be thrilled, just totally THRILLED, with churches trying to butch things up to attract more males, but no, I’m not.
I don’t think the solution to getting more dudes to attend church is to make church more of a pub, bar brawling, NASCAR, NFL, frat boy experience.
I resent churches pinning the blame on low male church attendance on the female gender for several reasons.
One of which is that by saying stereotypical female qualities are horrible for a church to have is to somehow say women themselves are terrible. It’s a round-about way of being sexist and slamming women themselves, though I’m not sure how to articulate this thought.
Next up is the fact that it further marginalizes someone like myself even more than I already am by most churches.
I have never fully been the picture of “biblical womanhood” that gender complementarians preach and harp about, and these are usually the ones pushing for Christians to make Jesus or the church “more masculine.”
Not only am I still not married in my 40s and without children – and gender complementarians put wifehood and motherhood on pedestals and say that a woman’s only calling in life by God is to be both – but I’ve always been a tom boy, to a degree.
Yes, I have some traits that gender complementarians would consider feminine and girly, but I am not, nor have I ever been, a 100% girly girl, pink-wearing, Barbie-doll-playing, type of female.
Yes, I wear eye liner, lip stick, mascara, and sometimes dresses and high heels and look feminine.
However, I have some hobbies, interests, and attitudes gender complementarians would consider masculine.
So, I do not appreciate femininity being boiled down to a very narrow set of roles or ideas, such as, one who is always passive, wears pink, is quiet, sweet, loving, and obsessed about baking, fashion, and nail polish.
I would encourage you to read this following blog page by KR WordGazer. The whole post is so good, I can’t pick just a bit to excerpt here. It’s hard to choose just two or three paragraphs.
(Link): The “Feminization” of the Church
Even though it’s very hard to excerpt this because all of it is excellent, here are a few of my favorite parts:
- The article also quotes David Murrow, author of Why Men Hate Going to Church (Thomas Nelson, 2004):
- “[W]omen believe the purpose of Christianity is to find “a happy relationship with a wonderful man”—Jesus—whereas men recognize God’s call to “save the world against impossible odds.” . . . While the church was masculine, it fulfilled its purpose. But in the 19th century, women “began remaking the church in their image” (and they continue to do so), which moved the church off course.
Needless to say, this line of thinking isn’t exactly complimentary to women! It implies that whatever is “feminine” encapsulates everything that’s gone wrong with the church.
A popular book on the subject even goes so far as to take the title The Church Impotent – because apparently a majority of women in the church means the church is emasculated, and therefore powerless and ineffectual.
Even though men still hold the vast majority of the leadership positions.
She has a subheading called “Why are there more women than men in most churches?,” and farther under that heading are these thoughts:
- This Forbes article defines”gender contamination” as the idea that when something is perceived as being a women’s thing, men want nothing to do with it. It’s the reason why men won’t drink “diet” soda and have had to have differently-named low-calorie versions marketed specially to them.
It’s the reason why men resist using lotions and moisturizers even if they have neutral, non-flowery scents, and why some companies advertise their products by denigrating competitors with such words as “precious” and “princess.”
In short, in our “male mystique” focused society, boys who believe girls have cooties still believe deep-down, when they grow into men, that women have cooties too.
There are still some very deep-rooted misogynistic elements in modern Western culture– and this, I think, has a lot to do with why evangelicals like Mark Driscoll and the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood are so distressed at the idea that churches are “feminized.”
If churches have more women in them, then churches themselves have cooties, and it’s up to the biblical manhood movement to remove the stigma by masculinizing the church.
She goes on to quote an editorial from Christianity Today which I found interesting:
- Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI) lists the 100 most frequently used songs in its database.
If contemporary praise music is problematically feminine in both lyrics and tone, as the Driscoll-Murrow crowd avers, we should expect the top 100 list to be dominated—or at least infiltrated—by women.
In fact, however, the list includes 145 male and 16 female composers. Thus more than 90 percent of the composers writing today’s most popular praise songs are male!
Moreover, some of the most “masculine” songs are written by women (and some of the most “feminine” songs are written by men). Consider Twila Paris’s “He is Exalted,” Jennie Lee Riddle’s “Revelation Song,” and Brooke Fraser’s “Desert Song,” all of which employ metaphors of power. In contrast, Lenny LeBlanc and Paul Baloche’s “Above All” and Martin Nystrom’s “As the Deer” both feature elegant melodies and calming images from nature.
… I conclude, therefore, that a central problem with the manly music argument is that men both write and perform the overwhelming number of songs that Driscoll, Murrow, and others consider too feminine. If anyone is guilty of feminizing the church’s music, it’s not women!
She also quotes from (Link): Why Do Men Stay Away (by Thomas G. Long) which contains some very good observations.
I also agree with Wordgazer that gender complementarians – who seem most often to be the ones who harp on church being supposedly “too feminine” – are being hypocrites, in that they themselves hold up certain qualities and traits (such as being passive, quiet, and sweet) as being examples of biblical womanhood, and they encourage women to adhere to those qualities, but then they turn around and insult churches who they feel have those very qualities.
So, do gender complementarians, or do they not, consider so-called biblical femininity good? Do they, or do they not, support meekness, sweetness, passivity, and quietness, good or not?
On the one hand, gender complementarians endorse such qualities in women, but then turn around and condemn those very qualities in churches as a whole; it doesn’t make a lot of sense to support and yet also condemn the same set of characteristics.
Don’t forget that gender complementarians – at least in some of their material I have seen over the years – advise Christian men to look for a Christian woman who has the characteristics of passivity, meekness, and so forth.
How can gender complementarians, in advising in matters pertaining to dating and marriage, tell single Christian men to seek out a woman with the very traits they deem terrible and detrimental to churches? They are in effect telling Christian men to seek a mate who has terrible qualities.
Wordgazer also linked to (there’s a lot of woman blaming in some of these pages)…
Please visit K R Wordgazer’s blog and read this page:
(Link): The “Feminization” of the Church
Related posts this blog:
(Link): Why Men Don’t Go To Church
I happen to be a right winger myself, but I notice that some of my fellow right wingers can be sexist:
(Link): Biblical Gender Complementarianism, Unacknolwedged Sexism on Right Wing