[Byfield] Why many men shudder at the spectacle of ‘feminized’ Christianity

[Byfield] Why many men shudder at the spectacle of ‘feminized’ Christianity

Opinion
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And why Catholics and Protestants should revive the imagery of Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress

[Ted Byfield Blog] Visit almost any Christian church on any Sunday and you will quickly notice, if you’re looking for it, a preponderance of female worshipers over male. The percentage varies. It might be anywhere from sixty percent female to as much as seventy-five or even eighty. What is almost never seen is a Sunday congregation where the men outnumber the women. It happens, but it is very rare.

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This so-called “gender gap” in Christian congregations is one curiosity. There’s another. While it has been the subject of several studies, this deficiency of males is never publicly mentioned in church. In my 50 or so years as an Anglican, I can’t remember a single sermon on the absence of men. Nor did I hear one in my subsequent nearly 20 years as Orthodox. However, there’s less reason for such a sermon in Orthodoxy. One study found the Orthodox churches closer to a fifty/fifty male-female balance than any other Christian denomination.

However, the question remains: why do so many men have this anti-church attitude? Various theories are advanced, but central to them all is the conviction that the church has been feminized. What captures the mind and imagination of most males — risk, pain, fear, uncertainty, adventure, heroes, villains, transient defeat and ultimate victory. Things that Christianity once promised and often delivered to its practitioners have all but vanished. Today men find more of them on a ski hill or a golf course than anything they might experience in church. “Church “is all about emotions and study, sitting in circles and sharing your feelings,” writes David Morrow in his book, Why Men Hate Going to Church. “In the last hundred years our understanding of what the Gospel is, has changed from a dangerous mission to being all about relationships.”

Meanwhile, women generally run the church. “While the pastor is male,” says Morrow, “almost every other area is dominated by women. Whenever large numbers of Christians gather, men are never in the majority. Not at revivals. Not at crusades. Not at conferences. Not at retreats. Not at concerts. With the exception of men’s events, can you think of any large gathering of Christians with more men than women?”

So where are the men? Morrow quotes the “men’s pastor” of a Milwaukee megachurch: “Men want to be challenged. They want to get out of the pews. They want to do something. Work with the hungry. Build homes for poor people.”

All of this is no doubt true, but there is another task, with far more risk attached to it than feeding the hungry or building houses, and that is the task of defending the faith when the faith needs defending. It’s a task that arises when people meet socially and the subject turns to the alleged wrongs of religion, particularly the Christian one. These are the battlefields in the Culture War, a war the Christians have been consistently losing since it began and became serious in the 1960s. Our ongoing defeats in that war have been costly. Most of the Sixties generation was lost to the church. Most politicians, bureaucrats, judges, and social planners regard Christian opposition to their vast plans as little more than a trivial nuisance.

This article continues at [Ted Byfield Blog] Why many men shudder at the spectacle of ‘feminized’ Christianity

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  1. Curiously, we do actually have some champions in the fray in terms of apologetics. Ravi Zacharias, Joe Boot, William Lane Craig and John Lennox. All of these MEN have been staunch defenders of the faith, out there on the front lines, yet, invisible to the vast majority of people in the pews. Just ask any church-going man if he has heard of any of these defenders, and you will get a blank stare. Preachers in the pulpit know nothing of them (they might know of theologian R.C. Sproul but that’s about as far as it goes, yet these are the guys that are facing off with atheists mostly, and are winning, in my view.)

    Dr. Jordan Peterson has now become the “proxy” Christian defender, even though he is not a Christian himself. His Maps of Meaning articulates a history of biblical archetypes and in his view, mythology (and other) that is challenging to men, especially young men of the millennium generation. So why are pastors not doing the same? Political correctness invaded the church, and took out the pastors as well as their congregations. As a young boy, missionaries would come home to our church, and present challenges that seemed insurmountable, yet they persisted and along the way, they did some amazing things. Along with the challenges of presenting the Gospel to the folks they came to love, many of then shared the challenges of everyday life in their particular circumstances. Facing down a military tank in South America, continuing to drive when there was no more gas in the fuel tank or hunting down lions in Africa that were harassing the villages. These were men who inspired me as a boy, and who, though most of them have passed on, continue to inspire me today to stand for truth, no matter what the challenge. It’s time for a resurgence of that time of inspiration, and Ted is, in many ways, leading that movement, at least here in Western Canada.

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