Baptizing “Masculinity”: The Real Reason Men are Leaving the Church
The link to the page by Luke T. Harrington is farther down the page.
Churches sure do invest a lot of time investigating why men are supposedly fed up with church and churches then bend themselves into pretzels trying to cater to men to retain them.
If churches cared as much about women and appealing to them, perhaps more and more women would not be abandoning churches or the faith (I’ve seen studies come out the last few years saying more and more Christian women are either leaving churches, or leaving the faith itself, because they are not being welcomed due to their gender).
Churches need to be just as concerned they may be offending or excluding women as they are men, but they don’t. Most of them remain stubbornly fixated on soothing the egos of injured males, but don’t care how they are hurting or alienating women.
Hyping “masculinity” to appeal to men alienates a lot of women.
One way in which this occurs is that churches think the way to build up the masculine is to mock anything and everything feminine, so by extension, Christian women, who are taught to express so-called (stereotypical) feminine traits in the extreme (be nurturing, passive, quiet, sweet, etc) end up feeling even more like trash.
The very characteristics Christian women are told by pastors to possess (such as be passive, gentle, meek) are the very same ones that the churches denigrate week in and week out, and that they try to stamp out in churches, and at that, in order to attract men.
This is not a winning strategy for keeping women active and involved in a church.
It also turns off “normal” men, the ones who are maybe Non-Christian, secure in their manhood, who find the super “cave man,” manly man antics of some churches totally bizarre and irrelevant.
(Link): Baptizing “Masculinity”: The Real Reason Men are Leaving the Church by Luke T. Harrington
- …The dominant narrative at the moment is that, while church attendance is down across the board, men in particular are staying home on Sunday mornings ( (Link): some stats here). And while there has been much hand-wringing over this reality, there has, to my knowledge, been very little serious introspection over it.
- I remember once, during my college years, having a conversation with a fellow parishioner of the (Link): Presbyterian Church in America, an evangelical denomination that at the time was my de facto home sect. She lamented how hard it was to get men to come to church or campus events, and I asked her why she thought that was.
- …. Is it really true that Christ built a Church only capable of appealing to a certain kind of person (mainly women)? That seems unlikely.
- …Unfortunately, for most evangelicals, when we talk about attracting people — men or otherwise — to church, we talk more like marketers (Link): trying to make Big Macs cool again to the 18-to-34 crowd than people who sincerely believe in the power of the Gospel and want to genuinely disciple others.
- …Too often, when we talk about “attracting men” to church, what we mean is tricking men to walk in the door by baptizing whatever infantilized conceptions of masculinity the broader culture has invented.
Edit. One person had this to say in the comments on that blog page (I don’t know if I necessarily agree or disagree with any, all, or most of this comment, but it’s interesting food for thought):
- I suspect it has nothing whatever to do with intellect versus emotion. Women like philosophy as much as men, and men are as emotional as women.
- The whole idea that churches are havens for emotional people sounds like something my atheists friends would say, and of course some christian writers/ministers often end up saying stuff that atheists say in a “spiritual” way.
- God’s spirit works teaching, healing, discernment, prophesy in both sexes and all these gifts are above emotion and philosophy.
- Men don’t go to church because church doesn’t give men stuff to do.
- Women are good at visiting the sick, witnessing to strangers by building relationships with them, taking care of children, knitting, cooking, baking. Churches should have groups where men build houses for the poor, share and give their work expertise to fellow congregants.
comment by Kit:
(Link): Why Men Don’t Go To Church