Jennifer, et. al., are wondering about the feminization factor in mainline Christianity and what churches generally need to do to attract men.
Here’s one man’s reflections.
I’ve had it up to here with “getting in touch with my feelings.” I’m not advocating being a self-unaware automaton, but Jesus didn’t say, “Look into your navel everyday, then come follow me.” He said, “Take up your cross daily.” If I understand that correctly, it sure don’t mean focusing on myself. It means dying to myself.
I’ve had it up to here with trying to find explanations for sinful behavior that have to do with everything else but our own sinful choices. Decades of focusing on systemic injustice hasn’t obliterated injustice. If anything, it’s simply allowed the proliferation of irresponsibility for our own actions.
I’ve had it up to here with the unreflective belief in progressivism; that somehow just because we come later in time than the Christians that have gone before us that we know better than they did on a whole host of issues: sexuality, the family, the ordained ministry, the sacraments, Scripture, and so on. Ours is the world that has given us the reality of more than 40 million infants killed in the womb. Ours is the world that has given us the reality of billions and billions of dollars of consumer debt. Ours is the world that has given us the reality of more than half of marriages ending in divorce. Need I go on?
In other words, I’m sick to death of churches who think they have it so together they need to tell St. Paul where he’s wrong. Really.
I want a church who knows it’s full of sinners, doesn’t excuse it, and knows with that that the only way to relate to God and each other . . . and to those who’ve gone before us . . . is with humility.
I want a church who is less sure about what is and isn’t the cause of our sins, and more sure about what is and isn’t the Christian Faith.
I want a church who knows that “being all things to all men” does not mean abandoning its own unique and distinctive identity.
I want a church who is less worried about what the world thinks of us (that is to say, less worried about being “relevant”), and has the, ahem, gonads to stand up to the world and say, “You’re wrong.” Abortion? Wrong. Sex outside of marriage? Wrong. Consumerist Christianity? Wrong.
I want a church who knows the enemy isn’t the gay man, the conservative politician, big business, big government, or that guy over there, but is the Enemy, himself, Satan. (Oh, and I want a church who believes in the reality of Satan, sin and evil.)
I want a church who is less worried about attracting anything with a body temperature of 98.6 but is serious enough about what it believes that it is willing to tell me the truth to my face and risk having me walk out never to return.
I want a church that is less worried about making me fit in and serious enough about me that it will demand things of me: things I would never demand of myself, like praying everyday, confessing my sins, serving the poor, loving my wife, that raising my daughter is more important than my career (or leisure time).
I don’t want a repackaging of current fads in music, diet and health, psychology, sexuality, relationships, and so forth. If I wanted what the world had to offer, I’d take it. The marketing is much more persuasive, and it comes without any of the guilt. I want something which will warn me of the death that comes behind the label.
I want a church that will give me life.
But then again, that’s just me.