Middle-Aged Women Face a Crisis of Discipleship by M. VanLoon

Middle-Aged Women Face a Crisis of Discipleship by M. VanLoon

IMHO, this situation is ten times worse if you’re a never married, childless (or child-free) woman over the age of 30. I started noticing by around my mid-30s that most evangelical or Baptist churches cater to “married with couples kids.” They ignore anyone who is not a young married couple with kids still living at home.

The lady who wrote the following, M. VanLoon, is married with 2 or 3 kids and is either in her 40s or 50s.

I’ve read her material before. She said that she didn’t notice how horrible churches ignore all non-Nuclear Family demographics until her last kid grew up and moved out, leaving her and her spouse as “empty nesters.”

But it’s true. Most American churches don’t pay attention to anyone who is single (never married), or widowed, divorced, or childless.

I did a post similar to this one over a year ago.

(Link): Middle-Aged Women Face a Crisis of Discipleship

Excerpts:

(Link): George Barna presents sobering data reflecting the quiet exodus from the church among boomers and gen x-ers. The data indicates it isn’t just millennials leaving the church but sizeable numbers of those at midlife and beyond.

In their recent book Church Refugees, sociologists Josh Packard and Ashleigh Hope also bring hard science to explore the reasons driving this exodus among those who say they’re (Link): done with the institution but not done with Jesus.

Though the study includes people across all age groups, their work affirms and expands upon what I’d been hearing anecdotally: In local churches, there’s often a discipleship gap for older members.

Continue reading “Middle-Aged Women Face a Crisis of Discipleship by M. VanLoon”

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Church Weddings Hit Historic Low; Priest Says Some Avoid Church Due to Judging (UK-based news)

Church Weddings Hit Historic Low; Priest Says Some Avoid Church Due to Judging (UK-based news)

(Link):   Anglican church weddings reach record low

March 2017

The number of couples choosing to get married in an Anglican church in England and Wales has fallen to its lowest level ever.

(Link): Church Weddings Hit Historic Low; Priest Says Some Avoid Church Due to Judging by S. Zaimov

The number of Anglican church weddings in England and Wales has fallen to a historical low, with more people choosing to have civil weddings, statistics show.

…Overall, among all opposite sex marriages in the two countries, only 28 percent were religious ceremonies.

Continue reading “Church Weddings Hit Historic Low; Priest Says Some Avoid Church Due to Judging (UK-based news)”

Pew Report: Religion Plummeted During Obama Era

Pew Report: Religion Plummeted During Obama Era

(Link): Pew Report: Religion Plummeted During Obama Era by T D Williams

Excerpts

January 2017

In a new study of President Obama’s legacy, the Pew Research Center found that religious affiliation and practice dropped off dramatically during his two terms in the White House.

“When it comes to the nation’s religious identity, the biggest trend during Obama’s presidency is the rise of those who claim no religion at all,” Pew notes in a report released this week titled “How America Changed During Barack Obama’s Presidency.”

When Barack Obama took office, those who identified as atheists or agnostics along with those who said their religion was “nothing in particular” totaled only 16 percent of the U.S. adult population. On leaving office 8 years later, the non-religious in America now make up nearly a quarter of the population.

On the contrary, the percentage of Americans who say they believe in God, consider religion to be very important in their lives, pray daily and attend religious services at least monthly have all dropped during the Obama years, Pew found.

Continue reading “Pew Report: Religion Plummeted During Obama Era”

Evangelism Using Death, Heaven, Hell Talk Don’t Work on ‘Unchurched’ Americans, Survey Finds

Evangelism Using Death, Heaven, Hell Talk Don’t Work on ‘Unchurched’ Americans, Survey Finds

(Link): Evangelism Using Death, Heaven, Hell Talk Don’t Work on ‘Unchurched’ Americans, Survey Finds by  B. Showalter

Excerpts:

July 2016

Non-church-attending Americans are generally open to talking about faith but few wonder about life after death – which is the tactic many Christians are taught to begin conversations, a new LifeWay Research study commissioned by the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton College finds.

Nashville-based LifeWay Research published a (Link): study Thursday that examines the types of church activities that “unchurched” Americans are interested in as well as how open they are to talking about faith.

By “unchurched” the researchers mean “those who have not attended a worship service in the last six months, outside of a holiday or special occasion like a wedding.” Surprisingly, the survey found that more than half of Americans who don’t go to church self-identify as Christians.

Continue reading “Evangelism Using Death, Heaven, Hell Talk Don’t Work on ‘Unchurched’ Americans, Survey Finds”

Single Adults Among Largest Groups Leaving Mormon Church – Parallels to Evangelical Christianity

I regard Mormonism as being a cult, not a form of legitimate Christianity (Mormons don’t believe in the Jesus of the Gospels, for one thing), but I think there are some parallels between Mormons and Christians, such as the over-emphasis upon marriage.

When your church makes an idol out of marriage, as Mormons and Christians do, it drives people away. Because sometimes people stay single by choice, or due to factors beyond their control.

And if you’re single in a religion that over-values marriage, there is a tendency to be ignored, set aside. Churches care more about marriage than singlehood. Churches care more about meeting the needs of married couples than they do adult singles.

There is no incentive for a single adult to remain in a church or denomination that marginalizes them constantly, or that behaves as though singleness is a disease or a second-rate life station.

(Link):  Who is leaving the LDS Church? by Jana Riess

Excerpts

We know, or can infer, some things about them from prior research. There is a correlation between certain life situations and leaving. This does not mean that being any one of these things will cause a person to leave, only that there is a relationship.

  • Being single. There’s been some tantalizing research over the last two years about singles in the LDS Church.

Continue reading “Single Adults Among Largest Groups Leaving Mormon Church – Parallels to Evangelical Christianity”

The Eclipse of White Christian America

The Eclipse of White Christian America

(Link): The Eclipse of White Christian America

Excerpts:

  • A once powerful demographic group is losing ground in American politics.
  • For most of the country’s history, white Christian America—the cultural and political edifice built primarily by white Protestant Christians—set the tone for our national conversations and shaped American ideals. But today, many white Christian Americans feel profoundly anxious as their numbers and influence are waning.
  • ..The key question is not why one white Protestant subgroup is faring worse than another, but why white Protestantism as a whole—arguably the most powerful cultural force in the history of the United States—has faded. The answer is, in part, a matter of powerful demographic changes.

Continue reading “The Eclipse of White Christian America”

Conservative Christians Anxious Over Declining Clout (news article)

Conservative Christians Anxious Over Declining Clout

I first saw this article Tweeted out by Janet Mefferd, who happens to be a conservative Christian. I happen to like her and respect her, although I don’t always see eye to eye with her on every single topic.

She Tweeted a link to this article (hosted on a Fox news site) and didn’t care for it, because she feels that the author is trying to make conservative Christians look like nuts, loons, or alarmists.

I differ with her a little bit here. I think the main point of the article is right on the money.

I was a conservative Christian since youth, I’m in my 40s now. I’m only very barely holding on to the Christian faith anymore (I am strongly questioning it lately), and I am now more moderate than a hard-right winger as I used to be (not that I was ever a total wing nut, though).

Anyway, my point is, I grew up in this culture.

And yes, conservative Christians do in fact become scared, unsettled, or angry when they see culture shifting away from Judeo-Christian values and beliefs to a more secular stance. The article is quite correct in that.

I have seen conservative Christians on various news shows, Christian shows, and social media screaming, worrying, complaining, or crying about how the nation is going after Christians now, how they are upset that the nation is turning its back on God, how church membership is declining, yada yada yada.

Continue reading “Conservative Christians Anxious Over Declining Clout (news article)”

White Christians No Longer Majority in U.S.A. (2015 Pew Study)

White Christians No Longer Majority in U.S.A. (2015 Pew Study)

Possibly one good thing about white Christians being in the minority is that perhaps they will re-evaluate how they treat marginalized groups, such as adult singles.

(Link): Pew: White Christians No Longer in Majority

  • by Nick Glasss, November 2015
  • White Christians now make up less than half of the U.S. population, largely receding from the majorities of most demographic groups, with one notable exception: the Republican Party.
  • According to the latest results from Pew Research Center’s Religious Landscape survey published Monday by (Link): National Journal’s Next America project, just 46 percent of American adults are white Christians, down from 55 percent in 2007.

Continue reading “White Christians No Longer Majority in U.S.A. (2015 Pew Study)”

One Woman’s Experience With ‘Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome’

One Woman’s Experience With ‘Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome’

I regularly blog about topics pertaining to singleness, dating, and marriage and so on, but – as someone who has been undergoing a faith crisis the last few years, I am also interested in topics like this one:

(Link): One Woman’s Experience With ‘Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome’ by Carol Kuruvilla

Excerpts:

  • What do you do when the faith you grew up in just doesn’t make sense anymore?
  • This is the dilemma Reba Riley, a 33-year-old from Cincinnati, faced in her late 20s. She was brought up in an evangelical Christian household, but soon realized that the questions she had about her faith weren’t being answered by the theology preached by her family’s church.
  • The spiritual crisis prompted her to embark on a wild journey through 30 different religious traditions in just one year. Half of these were various strands of Christianity — from Mormonism to the practices of the Amish — and the other half included Hinduism, Paganism and others.
  • The purpose of the quest wasn’t necessarily to find a new faith, but to combat the bitterness that had grown in her heart when she thought about God.
  • Three years after her experiment concluded, Riley told The Huffington Post she now calls herself a Christian, but with many, many qualifiers. Her faith is now about practicing love and finding God in unexpected places.

Continue reading “One Woman’s Experience With ‘Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome’”

Blogger Declares That Adult Singles Who Desire Marriage Yet Are Still Single in Early Middle Age And Upset By It Are Being Petty

Blogger Declares That Adult Singles Who Desire Marriage Yet Are Still Single in Early Middle Age And Upset By It Are Being Petty

There are additional updates at the bottom of this post: I spoke with the blogger, S. Field, and she apologized, so we’re all good.

When I first wrote this post you see below, I was feeling rather cranky, I do admit (but even then, I did not hate Field, I was just upset with the “petty” remark). Since we had our chat (see bottom of this post), I’m okay with her.

———————-

Original Post:

Oh the irony. Someone at the Stuff Christian Culture Likes Facebook group, in a thread ((Link): located here) about people who have been hurt by churches, suggested the following blog page to another reader:

(Link):  “LIES WOMEN BELIEVE” REVIEW: 45-62 from Samantha Field’s blog

This is the blogger’s blurb on her blog’s main page:

  • I grew up in a Christian fundamentalist cult, but escaped as a young adult. Now, I write about being a bisexual woman and abuse survivor, exploring intersectional feminism and liberation theology.

Remember, this is a blog – by Samantha Field – that was recommended in a thread discussing how Christians and churches hurt people.

I would presume that Samantha Field would perhaps consider herself an advocate or some kind of spokesperson for (or at least sympathetic to)  those who have been hurt by God, churches, the Christian faith, or what have you.

So imagine my surprise at seeing the following statement in Field’s “Lies Women Believe” book review, where she criticizes the author of the book, Nancy:

  • [Quote by Fields] Event this book enforces those notions. She gives the following in a list of problems we run into:
  • [quote by Nancy]… a loveless marriage, rejection by an ex-mate, grown children who won’t call home, approaching forty, and not a suitor in sight … (50)
  • [Quote by Fields] I’m sorry, those things aren’t fun, but they just seem so petty. Really, Nancy? This is your standard for talking about the possible reasons why women might feel that God doesn’t love them?

Here’s a brief recap of myself, for anyone who may be new to my blog:

I am a woman who was raised in a conservative Christian household. I accepted Christ as my savior as a kid. I have been having doubts about the faith the last two, three years, based on several reasons.

After the death of my mother a few years ago, I discovered much to my shock that most self professing Christians don’t really care. None were willing to help me through the grief or with other problems I had afterwards, some of which were not related to the death some of which were.

Those factors and others started me on a journey a little bit away from the Christian faith.

I have not totally left the faith, but am on a scale somewhere between the faith and agnosticism right now.

And one of those very reasons for my faith crisis (among several) is, yes, I am over 40 and still have never married (and with no suitors in sight), in spite of the fact I spent youth and on-wards, following Christian advice on how to get married: praying to God for a spouse and trusting in God for a spouse. I even tried some dating sites, to no avail.

But according to blogger Field, my pain and disappointment and faith crisis over this means nothing – I am just a whiny, First World Problems shallow doofus. Gee, thanks, Field!

Apparently, according to the reasoning I am seeing on Field’s blog page, I can only have doubts about the goodness of God if I am a black girl living in poverty in Africa, or something of that nature.

Continue reading “Blogger Declares That Adult Singles Who Desire Marriage Yet Are Still Single in Early Middle Age And Upset By It Are Being Petty”

Christian Gender Complementarians, Target Removing Gender Store Signs, Women and Motorcycles, Social Science Doesn’t Confirm that Men Are From Mars / Women From Venus

Christian Gender Complementarians, Target Removing Gender Store Signs, Women and Motorcycles, Social Science Doesn’t Confirm that Men Are From Mars / Women From Venus

I discussed on an older post how, since girlhood, I have really liked motorcycles and still do. I was a tom boy when I was a kid.

I was not into most girly hobbies, but my mother, who was a traditional Christian, tried to pique my interest in girly things by buying me dolls when I was a little girl.

My mother later relented a bit and bought me Evel Knievel toysI was a big fan of Evel Knievel back in the day, and I loved motorcycles.

Evel Knievel
Evel Knievel

I still maintain an interest in motorcycles but have never owned one. I was also into other people, things, or hobbies that were considered more boyish.

Should you wonder: I am a heterosexual woman who does not act or look “butch.” I can wear jeans with chucks and turn around and look damn stunning in short skirts and high heels the next. Men flirt with me and ask me out on dates.

Me being interested in motorcycles and things considered boyish since childhood did not result in me becoming terribly unfeminine or a lesbian.

I mention this because I think one reason some Christians assume if they can make little boys and girls adhere to narrow parameters of what they consider “manly” and “womanly” (which is almost always built on secular cultural stereotypes), that they can keep kids from becoming homosexual later in life.

I’ve written a little bit more about some of these subjects in an older post here:

I have discussed before how the conservative, gender Christian gender complementarian approach to gender has been a big turn-off to me, and how it’s one factor of many that makes it difficult to remain in the Christian faith.

Though I will say that Christians who teach and promote Christian gender egalitarianism are a source of encouragement, such as (Link): Christians For Biblical Equality, or (Link): these guys.

I was raised as a gender complementarian – both my parents are Christians who are into traditional gender roles, and my mother encouraged me to be a typical girly girl. (My mother has since passed away.)

For years and years, I felt and believed that the Bible does endorse the Christian gender complementarian view, as is promoted by CBMW (Christians for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood organization. They have a web site. I hesitate to link to their site from my blog. I really hate linking to their site).

As I grew older, I began suspecting that GC (gender complementarianism) is not true, based upon a closer look at the biblical text itself, which has examples in both Old and New Testaments of women, with God’s stamp of approval, leading and teaching men and killing men. I later totally abandoned the GC perspective.

I still remain a right wing, socially conservative, Republican-voting individual who is, by and large, on board with traditional values. Therefore, and contrary to what GCs fear and promote, jettisoning their position on gender is not a slippery slope; it does not always or necessarily turn a person into a liberal, a Democrat, pro-choicer, or a militant secular feminist.

Several days ago, some writer at CBMW, Grant Castleberry,  wrote a paper about how Target stores are removing signage that says “Boys” and “Girls” from their toy sections. Here is a link to that page, hosted on CBMW:

There were several rebuttals to this CBMW post (most of these written by Christians), such as:

(Link):  Target Is Not Trying to Destroy Gender by Laura Turner

(Link):  Why is the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Targeting My Kids? by Tim Fall

(I have disagreed with Tim Fall on a previous topic, but he’s a good egg, and I agree with him more often than not. I certainly agree with him on this Target story)

(Link):  I’m a woman, and God created me to do math and build robots

(Link):   Bigots Lose It Over Target’s Boy Toy Policy by S. Allen

Excerpts:

  • Target’s move toward gender-neutral toy aisles has us celebrating. But some unhappy people are threatening to boycott the store.
  • …And after (Link): Breitbart falsely reported that Target would be “getting rid of the words ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ on clothing” in addition to toys, many on Facebook are under the impression that the company will be removing all gender-based signs from its stores. The original post made it clear that keeping gender-based signage for apparel sections “makes sense” due to “fit and sizing differences.” Target has since (Link): reiterated to several customers: “We are not making any changes to our Men’s, Women’s, Boys’, Girls’, or Baby sections.”
  • …“I have news for [Target] and for everyone else,” he wrote. “God created two different genders.”
  • Fox & Friends found (Link): a psychotherapist who said that the decision went “overboard” and implied that children might “question what their gender is” if they were taken into a Target store without gender-based signage. The caption on the segment: “‘Sign’ of the Times.” Nothing like some light Second Coming humor to kick off your morning.
  • (Link): Blaze contributor and self-declared “professional truth sayer” Mike Walsh blamed Target’s decision on “a few hypersensitive, hyperliberal parents” in a provocative post headlined, “Yes, Target, I Do Want My Daughter to Conform to Her Gender.”
  • Wrote Walsh: “I won’t attempt to defend every gender stereotype or ‘gender norm,’ but I do subscribe to the radical theory that boys and girls are different and distinct from one another in complex, concrete, and important ways, and many of the dreaded ‘norms’ are, well, normal and biological.”
  • Walsh conveniently lays bare the fundamental internal contradiction in the anti-Target outcry: If gender is a universal, biological, and God-ordained constant, then why do children need cultural reinforcement from a retail chain to figure it out? In the bizarro world of far-right logic, gender is at once the strongest force on the planet and the most fragile.
  • The God of Genesis may have created male and female but unless Target puts these words on signs for action figures and Barbie dolls, all of His hard work will be undone.
  • The protests seem to be motivated by the paradoxical fear that children will grow up genderless without Target’s help even though their biology should supposedly guide them into pink and blue aisles without any intervention.
  • But Target is not attacking gender itself, only the outdated idea that girls and boys should play with certain shapes and colors of molded plastic and not others.

Continue reading “Christian Gender Complementarians, Target Removing Gender Store Signs, Women and Motorcycles, Social Science Doesn’t Confirm that Men Are From Mars / Women From Venus”

Marketers – and Churches – Create Mania Over Millennials

Marketers – and Churches – Create Mania Over Millennials

This is about corporations, but I feel this applies equally to churches.

Most churches today fall all over themselves to attract or keep kids, teens, and above all, The Millennials. I’ve written about this before, such as (and see the links at the bottom of this post under “Related Posts”):

I used to also maintain a list of most of the millennial mentions I came across on Christian sites:

The extremely annoying obsession businesses have marketing to millennials has not gone unnoticed. The following is about secular businesses, but just as much fixation with millennials goes on among churches, and it needs to stop.

Churches are also losing members from Gen-X and older.

(Link): Marketers create mania over millennials by Hilary Stout

Excerpts

  • The Tic Tac Mixer is another play in the millennial mania overtaking all manner of businesses that seems to be getting more obsessive by the day. But some question the necessity of such focused attention on the tech generation.
  • …It’s another play in the millennial mania overtaking all manner of businesses that seems to be getting more obsessive by the day. Not since the baby boomers came of age has a generation been the target of such fixation.
  • But this has a 21st-century style of urgency — with 24/7 micropandering, psychographic analysis, a high-priced shadow industry of consultants and study after study. (A few from recent days: how luxury brands can connect with millennials; what millennials think about restaurant-loyalty programs; and which emotions most influence the purchasing decisions of millennials. Answer: anxiety and empowerment.)
  • All cater to a generation, generally viewed as people born from about 1980 to 2000.

  • Goldman Sachs has gone as far as to research what (older) millennials are naming their babies. GameStop, a leading purveyor of video games, promotes its “insider knowledge” of the generation. Even coffee — an industry that would seem to have the generation in the bag — is frothing.
  • …. Misguided attention
  • Some analysts and consumers have begun to ask, “What about the rest of us?”

Continue reading “Marketers – and Churches – Create Mania Over Millennials”

American Churches Idolizing Fatherhood: Churches Want Your Dad, and Will Give Him Bacon, Guns, and a Grill

American Churches Idolizing Fatherhood: Churches Want Your Dad, and Will Give Him Bacon, Guns, and a Grill

Some Christians – even some Christian males – have been making the complaint for a decade or more now that “churches are too feminine.” No, they are not.

Most churches of the evangelical, Reformed, Baptist and fundamentalist banners, strictly forbid, under the teachings of “gender complementarianism,” women holding positions of leadership, teaching, or preaching in churches, or in other areas of life, including marriage.

Men hold all power and control all shots in churches and in marriage.

Therefore, if you believe the church is “too feminine,” you can blame your male elders, male lay persons, and male preachers for that.

Some churches have swung too far in the other direction, in trying to correct this perceived notion that churches are not manly enough, so they come up with these bizarre stunts meant to attract men.

Another problem with GC, gender complementarianism, you see, is that Christians who teach it, do not believe men vary or that they should not vary. All men should meet the same standards and have identical interests and personalities.

Gender complementarianists teach or assume that ALL Christian men must be tough, macho, married, have children, enjoy drinking beer, belching loudly around women, and viewing NASCAR and other stereotypical manly-man pursuits, which are defined by American culture and not by the Bible.

If you are a single man, a childfree man, a man who hates football but who prefers artistic pursuits,  if you enjoy listening to opera, you like visiting art museums or watching cooking programs on Food Network, you are not considered “man enough” by these churches.

This is another reason you men who complain about “churches being run or controlled by women” need to stop defending the very foundation (GC, which excludes women) that is maintaining your second tier status.

Guys like male, 50 something, celibacy blogger John Morgan (see this link and maybe this link for more about this guy) has written several times over on his blog that he wants or expects single, Christian woman to act as cheerleaders for celibate, single men. He seems to blame women for the plight of celibate men. It’s not the job of single women to be cheerleaders for Christian men.

A message to men who keep blaming women, or expecting women to clean up the mess in the church:

Female Christians are not your problem – it’s the men who run the churches who insist on GC who are your problem. 

Here is another article about how churches are too masculine – that’s right, churches are not “feminine,” they alienate women or else they alienate men who don’t fit a specific “biblical manhood” description that churches propagate.

(Link): Churches Want Your Dad, and Will Give Him Bacon, Guns, and a Grill by Matthew Paul Turner

Excerpts:

  • Combating an image that going to church is too “feminine,” many houses of worship are coming up with creative ways to lure dads in on Father’s Day.
  • …Believe it or not, Church Unlimited isn’t the only evangelical congregation commemorating fatherhood today with an all-you-can-eat bacon feast. Despite God’s firm rebuke of eating pork in the Old Testament, churches all over the country—from Nashville to Chicago, from Maryland to California—are using bacon to lure fathers into their pews. The church in California even made a commercial featuring (Link): a woman dressed up as bacon.
  • But fried pig isn’t the only device churches are using to get dads through their doors. Churches are giving away grills. They’re hosting car shows. They’re filling their services with “manly stuff”. Last year, a church in Missouri gave away two AR-15 rifles on Father’s Day.  The lengths to which churches go to attract dads to their services seemingly have few boundaries.
  • Though these promotional tactics are relatively new, churches acknowledging Father’s Day is not. In fact, the holiday pretty much started in the church. Though its organizers did not arrange their function as an annual celebration, the first known commemoration of fathers happened in a West Virginia church. In 1908, eight months after nearly 400 men died in a coal-mining explosion, a nearby United Methodist church decided to (Link): honor the fathers who died in that tragedy. The pastor preached a dad-themed sermon, one “etched in sadness as well as thanksgiving.”
  • … And though it would be another 30 years before Richard Nixon would make Father’s Day a nationally recognized celebration, by the end of the war it was, by all accounts, an American institution.
  • …But today, in addition to many evangelical churches using the third Sunday in June to celebrate fatherhood, among some flocks the holiday has become an easy opportunity for churches to try and coax men to give God’s house another try.
  • Unlike in days gone by when church pews still filled up on Sunday mornings with dads of all ages, polling suggests that men in America have grown disinterested in church. In fact, among researchers who study America’s religious habits, one of the most talked about trends over the last decade has been the ever-present reality that (Link): a growing number of men hate going to church.
  • Kevin D. Hendricks, the editorial director at (Link): Church Marketing Sucks, says, “People are always going on and on about church being too feminine and about how churches need to do more work to attract men.” He adds, “It’s pretty ironic, given the patriarchy of the church.”

  • …Nate Pyle, author of Man Enough and a pastor of Christ’s Community Church located outside of Indianapolis, agrees with Hendricks. “By making [Father’s Day] all about bacon, giving away guns, or bringing in the local sports hero, churches hope to attract men by proving that churches can be masculine. But these macho activities are simply acquiescing to cultural ideals gathering than letting the gospel shape what we say and do.”

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Related Posts:

(Link):   The “Feminization” of the Church by K R Wordgazer

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

(Link):  Americans Idolize Fatherhood – Enough with the Pro Fatherhood Editorials or Claiming Anti Father Persecution, says writer

(Link): The Irrelevancy To Single or Childless or Childfree Christian Women of Biblical Gender Complementarian Roles / Biblical Womanhood Teachings

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

(Link): There Are No “Biblical Men” by B. Robertson

(Link): Why Men Don’t Go To Church

(Link): New father killed his five-week-old son by slamming his face into cot because he felt fatherhood meant ‘his life was over’

(Link): Un-Happy Father’s Day!

(Link): Why men are boycotting marriage, fatherhood and the American Dream (article by Matt K. Lewis)

(Link): Do You Rate Your Family Too High? (Christians Who Idolize the Family) (article)

(Link): The Isolating Power of Family-Centered Language (How churches exclude singles and the childless) by E A Dause

(Link): If the Family is Central Christ is Not

Baptists Still Advocating Unbiblical Bedroom Evangelism as Growth Strategy (2015)

Baptists Still Advocating Unbiblical Bedroom Evangelism as Growth Strategy (2015)

Before I get to the story about Baptists I wanted to share this link:

(Link): Blogger Guy,  John H. Morgan, Who Accused Me Of Being Untrustworthy Apparently Finds My Blog Trustworthy Enough to Use As A Resource

———————

Baptists Still Advocating Unbiblical Bedroom Evangelism as Growth Strategy (2015)

While the Bible does not speak against a married Christian couple having children and raising them to hopefully be Christians, the Bible nowhere advocates “bedroom evangelism,” yet I continue to see Christians promoting this notion, which marginalizes people who are unmarried, child free, or infertile.

The Bible’s main approach to evangelization is to tell believers to go to other towns and cities and spread the Gospel. The Bible does not tell Christians to marry and make babies and raise babies as Christians.

To put this much attention on to procreation and marriage is to exclude infertile Christians, the divorced, widows, the child free (couples who choose not to have children) and the never married.

It is to tell the divorced, never married, widows, the child free, and the infertile and anyone else who does not fit the “Married with Kids” trope that spreading the Gospel is not for them, it is a task only for married couples who are fertile and who want to have children.

(Link): Here are three reasons why Southern Baptists are on the decline

Excerpt:

  • June 16 2015
  • But evangelism is multifaceted. It includes everything from planting new churches to bringing up children in the faith.
  • Retention is especially important for generational continuity in churches.
  • Although Pew’s numbers suggest that evangelicals do tend to replace those they lose with new members, virtually all churches depend upon “children of the church” – people raised in Christian families – for the bulk of their members.
  • SBC churches need to make sure its parents are equipped to explain and model the Christian life to their children.

This authors, who are presumably Baptist, I take it – are in error to encourage Baptist growth by Baptist biological procreation.

They should instead be telling all Baptists, whether single, divorced, infertile, or childfree, to tell their Non Christian neighbors about Jesus.

They do, earlier, discuss the following:

  • Few [Christians] tell others about their faith, or invite co-workers and neighbors to church

But then the authors follow that paragraph with the one I excerpted above, advocating for bedroom evangelization. The solution is not for Christians to marry and have children, but for Christians of all martial statuses to share their faith with Non-Christians.

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Related Posts:

(Link):  If the Family Is Central, Christ Isn’t, by John B. Carpenter, CP Guest Contributor

(Link):  Conservatives and Christians Fretting About U.S. Population Decline – We Must “Out-breed” Opponents Christian Host Says

(Link):  Really, It’s Okay To Be Single – In order to protect marriage, we should be careful not to denigrate singleness – by Peter Chin

(Link):  Southern Baptist Leaders Highlight Benefits Of Youthful Matrimony – Southern Baptists downplay adult singleness, uphold trope that virginity past 25 is impossible etc

(Link):  “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” – one of the most excellent Christian rebuttals I have seen against the Christian idolatry of marriage and natalism, and in support of adult singleness and celibacy – from CBE’s site

(Link):  Southern Baptists open to reaching out to LGBT – but still don’t give a flying leap about HETERO CELIBATE UNMARRIED ADULTS

(Link):  Southern Baptists Pushing Early Marriage, Baby Making – Iranians Pushing Mandatory Motherhood – When Christians Sound Like Muslims

(Link):   Typical Erroneous Teaching About Adult Celibacy Rears Its Head Again: To Paraphrase Speaker at Ethics and Public Policy Center: Lifelong Celibacy is “heroic ethical standard that is not expected of heteros, so it should not be expected of homosexuals”

(Link): Southern Baptists (who don’t TRULY support sexual purity) Announce 2014 Sex Summit

(Link): Southern Baptist’s New Sexist “Biblical Woman” Site – Attitudes in Total Face Palm of a Site One Reason Among Many This Unmarried and Childless Woman Is Saying Toodle-Oo to Christianity

(Link): Southern Baptists – Still Majoring in the Minors and ignoring the never married (singles) – Why Church Membership is Down

(Link): Never Married Christians Over Age 35 who are childless Are More Ignored Than Divorced or Infertile People or Single Parents

(Link): Southern Baptists Perpetuate Myths About Genders, Sex, and Adult Singles at 2014 ERLC Summit – All Women Are harlots, men cannot control themselves

(Link): Divorce Rates in America Decreasing But Divorce Rates on Increase Among Southern Baptists

(Link): Are Marriage and Family A Woman’s Highest Calling? by Marcia Wolf – and other links that address the Christian fallacy that a woman’s most godly or only proper role is as wife and mother

(Link):  Are Single People the Lepers of Today’s Church? by Gina Dalfonzo

(Link):  Biblical Womanhood Does Not Hinge Upon Marital Status or Parenthood – also: Christians who portray all women as sexual temptresses – by S. Burden

A Response To J D Hall’s Vomit-tastic Post about Village Church’s Handling of Certain Members, Covenants, and Marriages

A Response To J D Hall’s Vomit-tastic Post about Village Church’s Handling of Certain Members, Covenants, and Marriages 

Before we get to the post by J D Hall:

Background:

  • The Village Church (TVC) of Texas has placed Karen, who was once a member of theirs, under church discipline because she did not, according to them, abide by the church covenant she signed.
  • Instead of conferring with the church on what to do, Karen, on her own, sought an annulment from the state of Texas, once she discovered her then-spouse, Jordan, was a pedophile.
  • Karen said she spent about 50 days conferring with other Christians (not from the TVC), and in prayer, mulling over what to do, before seeking the annulment.
  • This action of hers has ticked off TVC leadership, because Karen did not get their permission to get the annulment.
  • Matt Chandler is the lead preacher of TVC.

You can read additional reporting of this situation here (additional material is at the bottom of this post):

Here is the page I am responding to:

(Link, off site): A Rational Response to the Criticism of Village Church  by  J D Hall, Pulpit and Pen blog

The covenant that Hall is so rigorously defending – TVC’s membership covenant – here does not even mention annulments.

As Karen explains (off site Link, Source):

  • …it is worth noting here that although The Village Church claims [in their e-mail] that “We see an annulment as a subcategory of what Scripture defines as a divorce in Mark 10:9” …, this cannot be found anywhere in their Membership Covenant or Bylaws.
  • In signing their Membership Covenant shortly after my 24th birthday, I had agreed to nothing in regards to the possibility of annulment should I come to realize that my marriage had been a complete sham from the beginning.
  • There is a vast difference between a divorce and a marriage that is voided on the grounds of fraud, and I had no way of knowing that the leadership of The Village Church would respond to it in this fashion.

Continue reading “A Response To J D Hall’s Vomit-tastic Post about Village Church’s Handling of Certain Members, Covenants, and Marriages”

Why more young women than ever before are skipping church (article from Wash Post)

Why more young women than ever before are skipping church (article from Wash Post)

I wish articles would stop focusing on “young” women. Women over the age of 30, 40, 50 and older are also dropping out of church in droves, and one reason among many are the restrictive gender roles a lot of conservative churches continue to uphold as being “God’s design” or as being “biblical” (but which are not biblical).

Here are excerpts:

(Link):  Why more young women than ever before are skipping church

  • b May 27 at 10:2
  • Growing up in southeastern Indiana, Hannah Hunt questioned religion: Why did church lessons contradict what she learned in public school?
  • She attended services once each Wednesday and twice each Sunday. She saw no female leaders in the nondenominational Church of Christ, the centerpiece of her upbringing. The Bible, she said, called for her to be submissive to men.

  • Her textbooks introduced her to Gloria Steinem.

  • “At church, the woman would be the person in the background,” said Hunt, 24. “As long as I can remember, I would think: This is ridiculous. I’m not that person.”
  • Of course, many young women still embrace religion. But Hunt is far from a generational anomaly.

  • … Teenage girls appear to be disproportionately driving the attitude shift.
  • …Today’s young adults, they found, aren’t as pious as their generational precursors. They’re less likely, on average, to pray or attend religious services. They’re more likely to value individualism and ditch societal expectations.
  • Twice as many high school seniors in 2010, for example, reported “never” attending religious services than those in 1976 — 21 percent, up from about 10 percent…
  • A recent Pew survey found that millennials, born between roughly 1980 and 1996, are more likely than any previous generation to say they’re unaffiliated with religion:…
  • …The majority, however, still practice some form of religion. They’re just “significantly less religiously oriented” than their parents and grandparents, the study said.

    The trend is especially pronounced among girls and young women. They are still more likely to say they go to church or pray than boys and young men. But the gender gap in religious participation has in recent years significantly shrunk.

  • …“Given shifts away from traditional female roles, females may have been affected more than males,” the study team wrote.
  • …“Many religions have a very patriarchal tradition,” Twenge said. “Even for those with female clergy it’s often a recent development. That’s still very much in the minority.”

    Beyond anecdotal evidence, it’s tough to explain the trends. Religion can provide social support and a sense of community. Followers may find purpose and peace in the world’s exalted texts. However, the authors theorize, “if religion is perceived as a dominating force that restricts freedom and enforces social rules, this will be linked with a decline in religious involvement.”

  • Before she could articulate why, Hunt sensed she did not fit into the gender roles prescribed by her religion. She thought women should be able to use birth control without judgment. She wasn’t in any rush to get married. She wanted to decide the terms of her life.

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Related Posts:

(Link):  Southern Baptist’s New Sexist “Biblical Woman” Site – Attitudes in Total Face Palm of a Site One Reason Among Many This Unmarried and Childless Woman Is Saying Toodle-Oo to Christianity

(Link):  Why are Working Women Starting to Unplug from Their Churches? by Sandra Crawford Williamson (Also discusses never married adult women)

(Link):  Are Marriage and Family A Woman’s Highest Calling? by Marcia Wolf – and other links that address the Christian fallacy that a woman’s most godly or only proper role is as wife and mother

(Link): The Irrelevancy To Single or Childless or Childfree Christian Women of Biblical Gender Complementarian Roles / Biblical Womanhood Teachings

(Link): If the Family Is Central, Christ Isn’t

(Link):  The Rise of the Lone She-Wolf by Charlotte Alter

(Link): Is The Church Failing Childless Women? by Diane Paddison

(Link): Lies The Church Tells Single Women (by Sue Bohlin)

One Reason You May Want to Visit My Twitter Account Sometimes

One Reason You May Want to Visit My Twitter Account

(Link): My Twitter Page

I don’t care how many followers I have on Twitter.

This post is not about driving up my Twitter followers.

You can book mark my Twitter page and visit it every so often (that is, you don’t have to follow me, if you bookmark the page and visit it, it will not drive up my follower numbers).

Why would you want to visit my Twitter page?

Because I sometimes come across a lot of news stories there that I do not have the time or interest in blogging about here.

I come across many stories about child abuse by parents, married people who commit crimes, new trends in dating and marriage, why people quit church, articles about sexism (I basically tweet about the same stuff I blog about here), etc, and I simply cannot keep up with it all.

It’s much easier for me to re-tweet news stories I see on twitter than to fire up this blog, and make a post about everything.

One of the annoying things about this blog is I have to not just write up the material, but I have to add categories or tags to each post, which I tire of doing. It’s ten times faster and easier to send a tweet to an article than to write it up here.

So, you may want to consider visiting my Twitter page. The right side of this blog, towards the bottom, shows my latest tweets, but it only goes up to the last 15 or 20 and does not show them all.

You don’t have to join Twitter and “follow” me on there – you can just bookmark the page and visit once in a while. There may be links to articles on there that I do not blog about here.

(Link): My Twitter Page

At some point in the future, I may not be able to Tweet or blog as much as before.

The Rise of the ‘Done With Church’ Population by T. Schultz

The Rise of the ‘Done With Church’ Population 

Julia Duin already called this out in her book, Quitting Church, which came out around what, 2005? 2006?

(Link): The Rise of the ‘Done With Church’ Population

Also visit that page, scroll to the bottom, and read the visitor comments – not that I agree with all comments; I disagree with the one person in the comments who is dragging up the moldy oldy chest nut, “you should go to church to serve not be served.” Sorry no… the Bible teaches that one function of the body is that they are to meet the needs of each other.

(As I type this, their web site is currently down though).

Excerpts

  • by Thom Schultz
  • John is one in a growing multitude of ex-members. They’re sometimes called the de-churched. They have not abandoned their faith. They have not joined the also-growing legion of those with no religious affiliation—often called the Nones. Rather, John has joined the Dones.
  • At Group’s recent Future of the Church conference, sociologist Josh Packard shared some of his groundbreaking research on the Dones. He explained these de-churched were among the most dedicated and active people in their congregations. To an increasing degree, the church is losing its best.
  • For the church, this phenomenon sets up a growing danger. The very people on whom a church relies for lay leadership, service and financial support are going away. And the problem is compounded by the fact that younger people in the next generation, the Millennials, are not lining up to refill the emptying pews.
  • Why are the Dones done? Packard describes several factors in his upcoming bookChurch Refugees (Group). Among the reasons: After sitting through countless sermons and Bible studies, they feel they’ve heard it all. One of Packard’s interviewees said, “I’m tired of being lectured to. I’m just done with having some guy tell me what to do.”
  • The Dones are fatigued with the Sunday routine of plop, pray and pay. They want to play. They want to participate. But they feel spurned at every turn.
  • Will the Dones return? Not likely, according to the research. They’re done. Packard says it would be more fruitful if churches would focus on not losing these people in the first place. Preventing an exodus is far easier than attempting to convince refugees to return.
  • Pastors and other ministry leaders would benefit from asking and listening to these long-time members before they flee. This will require a change of habit. When it comes to listening, church leaders are too often in the habit of fawning over celebrity pastors for answers. It would be far more fruitful to take that time and spend it with real people nearby—existing members.

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Related

(Link): Hypocrisy Among Christians and how it leads some to question or leave the Christian faith

(Link): It’s Okay To Get Your Needs Met At Church ~ The Expression You Go To Church To Serve Not Be Served is False and Unbiblical

(Link): Guilt Tripping or Shaming the Hurt Sheep to Return to Church

(Link): The Unchurched

(Link):  Why Even Middle Aged Married with Children Christians Are Leaving Church Not Just Unmarried Singles | 40 Somethings

(Link): Single Adults – Why They Stay and Why They Stray From Church – Book Excerpts

(Link): Southern Baptists – Still Majoring in the Minors and ignoring the never married (singles) – Why Church Membership is Down

(Link): U.S. Churches Cancel Services for Football – Superbowl – People who are unchurched, dechurched, and preachers who say not attending church is a sin

Hypocrisy Among Christians and how it leads some to question or leave the Christian faith

Hypocrisy Among Christians and how it leads some to question or leave the Christian faith

I have a few other topics or news stories I wanted to blog about today and the other day, but I find myself getting sidetracked to discuss these other issues. Maybe I’ll blog about the rest tomorrow or next weekend.

This topic is (for me anyhow) rather complex. I don’t want to spend a lot of time explaining it, but it’s one I’ve seen crop up recently on other sites or in my personal life, and this will probably be another one of my long posts. Even though I have other things I wanted to do today, like bake a batch of cookies.

Whether Christians like it or not, some Christians, including lifelong Christians such as myself, are either considering leaving the faith, or have done so already, and all because the hypocrisy they see in self professing Christians.

Continue reading “Hypocrisy Among Christians and how it leads some to question or leave the Christian faith”

The Masculinity Myth: The Real Reason Men Don’t Go to Church by the Evangelical Pulpit and by Douglas Bursch

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

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

Excerpts

  • by Douglas Bursch
  • Today during worship, we were singing a song about God being our loving Father. As we sang, I realized it was the kind of song manly-men Christian pastors hate. It’s the sort of song they rail against while crusading for the resurgence of “real men” Christian masculinity.
  • As we sang tender words about a tender, loving, heavenly Father, I immediately realized why some men are so angry at spiritually wimpy men and bold Christian women. The thought just popped into my head: It’s Cain and Abel all over again.
    Although it’s probably one of the most profitable growth areas in Christian publishing, I’m not a big fan of the “what’s wrong with the church” book genre. In the past four plus years as a Christian talk radio host, I’ve received a large steady flow of books attempting to address the “what’s wrong with the church” writing prompt.
  • Invariably, these books blame the lack of church growth on fatal flaws within church leadership, structure and theology.
  • They assume that healthy churches grow and unhealthy churches decline. Consequently, if the church is to be healthy again, it needs to find a way to reach the people who no longer call the church their home.
  • “Why don’t men go to church” is a subset of the blame the church publishing niche. These books seem particularly popular as they make great reads for frustrated wives tired of attending church without their husbands. They’re also great reads for bitter men determined to justify and fortify their reasons for abandoning the body of Christ. Let’s face it, as the church declines in size and membership, the demand for church criticizing material will continue to increase.
    The church isn’t masculine enough?
    Almost every book, post or tweet concerning the plight of Christian men eventually blames the church for not being masculine enough. The theory is men don’t go to church because church is geared to the needs of women.
  • There’s too much sharing of emotions, too much hugging, too much singing, with too many effeminate leaders giving the ladies what they want: a church with no testosterone. This theory suggests that men don’t go to church because churches don’t meet the masculine needs of men. Many widely respected preachers seem to adhere to this concept that the church has been weakened by an overabundance of femininity.
  • …. Calling the church too feminine is sexist
    Most arguments that blame the church for the absence of men are rooted in sexist assumptions. If you believe men don’t go to church because the church doesn’t meet their needs, then you are implying that women go because more of their needs are being met. What if more women go to church because their faith has a greater integrity?
  • What if more women go to church because they have chosen to persevere and demonstrate a moral fortitude that contrasts the weaknesses of men?
  • What if women are more willing to work in community, more willing to repent, apologize and forgive?
  • Maybe men are so emotional they are unwilling to learn how to abide in complex community. Maybe instead of following the moral lead of women, men have isolated themselves from the church to keep from having to mature and grow up.
  • There is another twisted, sexist logic to blaming the church for the refusal of men to participate. Instead of correcting those in rebellion, we attack those who are sincerely trying to be faithful.
  • We tell the regular church attender that they are the problem, not the ones who abandoned the body of Christ. We tell the male leader who has remained, even in the face of tremendous cultural rejection, that He is the problem for the church’s inability to reach more men.
  • Blaming the actions of the most dishonorable on those who are most faithful is an affront to the integrity of those who are actively supporting the church. To blame faithful women for the unfaithfulness of men is once again blaming the victim for being abandoned.

Read more here: 

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

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RELATED POSTS

(Link):  Male Entitlement and Adult Virginity: Who has it worse, Male Vs. Female? (critique of post at other blog)

(Link): There Are No “Biblical Men” by B. Robertson

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

(Link): The “Feminization” of the Church by K R Wordgazer

(Link):  Southern Baptist’s New Sexist “Biblical Woman” Site – Attitudes in Total Face Palm of a Site One Reason Among Many This Unmarried and Childless Woman Is Saying Toodle-Oo to Christianity

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

(Link): The Irrelevancy To Single or Childless or Childfree Christian Women of Biblical Gender Complementarian Roles / Biblical Womanhood Teachings

(Link):  Are Marriage and Family A Woman’s Highest Calling? by Marcia Wolf – and other links that address the Christian fallacy that a woman’s most godly or only proper role is as wife and mother