Church must avoid becoming Fight Club to attract men by H. Coffey

Church must avoid becoming Fight Club to attract men by H. Coffey

(Link): Church must avoid becoming Fight Club to attract men by H. Coffey

Excerpts.

  • Jan 21, 2015
  • When I saw the latest statistics suggesting that the majority of British men don’t believe in God, I wasn’t surprised. Saddened, yes. Shocked, no.This is an issue the Church of England has been struggling with for years.
  • From a purely anecdotal perspective, wander into any Anglican church these days and you’ll likely as not be struck by the gender gap, with females accounting for the majority of the congregation. Dig a little deeper and you’ll probably also find that a core of thoroughly capable women are quietly but determinedly running the joint and keeping the whole place afloat.This is backed up by various reports over the last 10 years, which indicate that women outnumber men at UK churches by up to 15 per cent.It’s a headscratcher, and, like with all sets of data, you can read into it what you will. Around the time the people in this specific study were coming of age (they’re all now in their early 40), there was a bit of an influx of what are jokingly referred to as “Jesus is my boyfriend” worship songs – the type that go something like:
  • “Ooh, I love Jesus so much, I give my heart to him, he is sooooo dreamy.” Admittedly, having to sing this type of nonsense in church might have felt pretty emasculating for a young man, maybe even enough to put him off our Lord for good….What worries me far more about statistics like this being released is the potential response from Christians and the Church.
  • They’re always grist to the mill for dyed-in-the-wool traditionalists who like to wave them around shrieking: “See! We told you this would happen if you let women have opinions, and stand at the front of church, and be vicars. We told you the men wouldn’t like it. You’ve feminised the Church! Of course the men are leaving!”
  • This sexist hysterical crew seem to think that, in slowly but surely embracing equality, the entire Church is being transformed into one long episode of Loose Women. That by letting women lead, it naturally follows we’re creating an environment that is “toxic” to men. What a load of tosh.However, there has been a far darker reaction when we’ve seen reports like this before: a move to create a toughened-up, more masculine Church.

  • This was certainly the response of a number of American Christian pastors who’ve sprung up over the last 10 years or so. Spearheaded by the now disgraced former pastor of Mars Hill, Mark Driscoll, this group sought to preach a brand of Christianity that would appeal to the under-represented, disenfranchised young males of America.
  • It doesn’t sound such an awful proposition, initially – until you look at the message they ended up spouting.
  • Driscoll’s key theories seemed to revolve around the idea of men being men (no room for homosexuals or guys in touch with their feelings here), and the representation of Jesus as the ultimate tough guy.
  • He once said of Jesus and other leading male characters in the Bible such as Paul the apostle: “These guys were dudes. Heterosexual, win-a-fight, punch-you-in-the-nose, dudes,” – as if Christianity were some sort of giant Fight Club with a bit of praying thrown in. This perverted, frankly poisonous version of the gospel did indeed get young men through the door; but, once there, what they were being taught was so far removed from the ideals of peace and love I think of as being integral to my religion, it was barely recognisable.
  • …. Quite apart from the fact that we’d just be returning to a place where women felt marginalised and silenced, this view in no way takes into account that for every “fight club” man, there’s a sensitive man – and that both have the right to feel welcome at church.
  • Religion isn’t a brand to be marketed. It shouldn’t be manipulated to appeal to a “key demographic” that’s currently buying our competitor’s product, i.e. agnosticism or atheism. Once you start thinking in those terms, trying to alter the message to get more bums on seats – more bums of the right gender, that is – you’re lost. Faith is nothing without honesty and authenticity.
  • Instead of thinking the Church needs to become more manly, we should forget about gender altogether; what should be of concern regarding those figures is not the disparity between male and female believers but, rather, the fact that believers are in the minority across both genders. The question shouldn’t be: ‘how do we get more men?’, but ‘how do we get more people?’
  • (please click here to read the rest)

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(Link): Why Unmarried – Single Christians including MEN Should Be Concerned about the Gender Role Controversy

(Link):  The Masculinity Myth: The Real Reason Men Don’t Go to Church by the Evangelical Pulpit

(Link):  The Rise of the ‘Done With Church’ Population by T. Schultz

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(Link): Christians Blaming the Woman – again: Regarding: How Women Can Make Church a Safe Place for Men by D. Gresh

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