What’s the best way to get men back into the church?

Here’s a conversation I had with a pastor and his wife on Tuesday night. I anonymized the names. The rest is verbatim.

I’d like one of our atheist commenters like Sandwiches for Sale or Jerry to comment on this pastor and his wife.

I was mean, but I hope not TOO mean. This sort of thing really pushes my buttons, as you might expect. I tried really hard to stay calm and focused, but I could have done a lot better. I apologize to my readers for being a bit abrasive and over the top at times. I hope my language is not to harsh or disrespectful.

I think we really need to work about encouraging Christians to see a relationship with God through Christ as being… a relationship. And in a relationship, both sides are aware of the different character of the other person, and they make adjustments. It’s not a good idea to project our emotions and intuitions onto the other person and to think that our goals are their goals. It may be that we have to perform actions to hold up our end of the relationship, and that we may need to study in advance in order to know what to do and to achieve those goals effectively.

—-

Pastor:
http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/04/opinion/bennett-men-in-trouble/index.html?hpt=hp_c1

Why men are in trouble – CNN.com

For the first time in history women today are better educated, more ambitious, and arguably more successful than men, says William Bennett.

Pastor: Wow, even the secular media is figuring this out! Come on men! Man UP!

WK: Pastor, consider that the problem is not with men, but with an increasingly feminized society that has undermined the traditional male roles and marginalized men in the education system, the church, etc.. Not to mention misandry in the media. The denigration of men is everywhere, which undermines their ability to lead on moral and spiritual issues. Even high taxes and social programs rob men of their ability to have authority from their roles as providers.

WK: Consider just one example: no-fault divorce and single mother welfare has caused many, many young men to be raised in fatherless homes, and then they go on to attend public schools where 80%+ of the teachers are female, and the curriculum is set by females. The church is very much focused on singing and avoids apologetics. Where exactly are these men supposed to get male role models? As a society, we have become uncomfortable with men exercising authority on moral and theological issues. Denigrating men in the media, dumbing them down in femininized schools, taxing their income and replacing fathers with welfareare not going to help us to produce manly men. The opposition to apologetics in the church doesn’t help either – if we can’t talk about truth and evidence, then men stop caring about God.

Look:
http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=14-01-026-f

This is a complicated issue, and you need to read a lot more about it before engaging in man blaming. If men aren’t doing well in school, ask yourself WHAT CHANGED.

Touchstone Archives: Missing Fathers of the Church
http://www.touchstonemag.com
You may have noticed that, in general, men are not as interested in religion a…
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Pastor: Winter…Men have to Man up.

Pastor’s Wife: Women have to step up because the MEN are not

Pastor’s Wife: I thank God I have a husband who prays for me and respects me as a wife, a woman, and a daughter of THE KING. I thank God my husband knows “headship”

WK: Wow, Pastor. Your avalanche of facts and evidence is astounding. Your voluminous, erudite catch-phrase really refutes all of the concerns I raised. I stand corrected. </sarc>

Pastor: Why are Men not attending church?

Pastor: or do you actually go there?

WK: Because the church is totally feminized. There is no emphasis on anything that men like, like apologetics or practical application to areas of knowledge like economics or politics. It’s dominated by frilly God-talk, prayers, emotions and pop authors like Joyce Meyer and Max Lucado. People are not being challenged to grow.

Pastor: So you dont go? Maybe if men went there and made changes and protest the situation instead of ARMCHAIRING it might make a difference?

Pastor: ??

WK: Please don’t engage in ad hominem. Stick to the public evidence.

Pastor: Well?

Pastor: Sorry your honor

Pastor: Have you thought that the feminizing the you alledge (with public record) could be alleviated if men took back the church?

Pastor: Winter you say Ad Hominem? //// Wow, Pastor. Your avalanche of facts and evidence is astounding. Your voluminous, erudite catch-phrase really refutes all of the concerns I raised. I stand corrected. </sarc>///What the heck?

WK: Pastor… you don’t know anything about this issue. It’s pointless to discuss it with you since you are not in command of any facts.

Pastor: So why are you?

Pastor: wow

Pastor’s Wife: Gee, wonder how many times a Christian man is going to infer my husband is stupid?

Pastor’s Wife: I pray for you…

WK: I listed about a half-dozen factors, and made one argument supported by evidence from the Touchstone Magazine article. I.e – I argued that the fatherlessness was a cause of declining religiosity, I cited the Touchstone article, then I argued that public policies like no-fault divorce and single mother welfare increase fatherlessness.

Pastor’s Wife: What about Jesus?

Pastor: I have actually EXPERIENCED my position.

WK: So far, I’ve heard nothing in response. And that’s because only one side has facts. The other side has God-talk and “I’ll pray for you”. That’s not an argument. That’s not evidence.

Pastor: Neither have I

Pastor’s Wife: ?”I AM the way the truth and the life…”….those are TRUTH from Jesus a true man and our Savior

Pastor: What are you doing about this Winter?

Pastor’s Wife: Facts and figures I care to have none, when I have a Savior that over the world has won!

WK: Again, we want to have a discussion about the public policy question, we don’t want to make the issue about my character. The issue in question is… how do we get men to lead in the Christian life.

Pastor: You know I didn’t say YOU were armchairing this but I was not supplied with any evidence that you really are wanting to change the “feminization”

Pastor’s Wife: Usually the very thing we complain about is the very thing that God has called us to go and change

Pastor: Well I see the charaacter issue going both ways here

Pastor: want to start over?

Pastor: ?//// how do we get men to lead in the Christian life.//// Well we as men need to have a deep relationship with our Father. How does that sound?

WK: There are several ideologies now present in the church that discourage men from taking an active role. I know you know these. Postmodernism and moral relativism would be two of them. Those need to be refuted. But to really get men to engage, we have to think about what men are like, and what men like that is present in Christianity. For example, apologetics. Men like competition, problem solving and conflict. We need to get them exposed to different points of view, and allow them to ask questions and to debate. That means lots of learning and discussion about science, history, logic and morality. Men also like using facts and evidence when they argue. You can see it in the sermons of Mark Driscoll, and the Sunday School classes of Wayne Grudem (Essentials) and William Lane Craig (Defenders). Men like to argue about moral obligations and moral standards, and they like to use evidence. Lastly, men like politics and current events.

Church needs to be made safer for men to show their knowledge, and to debate the issues of the day in the open, without worrying about being shushed for making people feel bad. That means allowing men to discuss things like what laws strengthen and weaken marriage and the role of the father in the home, what education policies strengthen and reinforce parental authority, what fiscal policies encourage personal responsibility and liberty, what foreign policy is best for creating peace and protecting the weak from evil. Practical Christianity. Men should be good at pro-life debating and pro-marriage debating, and using public facts and arguments – not by quoting the Bible. (Although they get their view from the Bible, that’s not how you talk to non-Christians – with Christianese)

WK: Here’s a good article that features one of my favorite theologians/apologists, Mrs. Nancy Pearcey:
http://www.biola.edu/news/biolamag/articles/06spring/feminization.cfm

I really recommend her book “Total Truth”.

Pastor’s Wife: How about men who love Christ and have a close relationship with Him , for out of that relationship comes all ministry etc. We need to LOVE Christ and honor Him as well as allow Him to speak into our lives and let him lead HIS BRIDE

Pastor: Look Winter, I agree to a point. However I think that Politics / knowledge can and is taught in the church. You sound like a lawyer. Why not go to a church and do as you profess. My apologies if you are already. The church is a house of prayer, not a courtroom!

WK: Pastor’s wife, you talk about Christ. Do you think that it would be loving to Christ to study history and to be able to make a defense of his resurrection to non-Christians? A defense that doesn’t assume that the Bible is inerrant? As Peter did in Acts 2, and as Peter urged us to be ready to do in 1 Peter 3:15?

If you agree that defending the resurrection when it is called into question by non-Christians, who do not accept the Bible as the inerrant word of God, would be an effective way to love Jesus in a practical way, please explain to me how you would encourage others to go about doing that? Do you think that men would like to see a debate on that topic, or on the topic of God’s existence, in the church, and would God be honored by having church people know how to defend his existence, and the resurrection of his son, using public, testable evidence and sound logical arguments? Would that be a way to love God?

Pastor: Apologetics (which I like doing) has it’s place. You are sounding like a Pharisee!

WK: Again with the insults. Why should I be surprised?

Pastor: Well you are sounding like a Pharisee!

Pastor: Tell me how you are not sounding like one.

WK: Do you think that name-calling is an appropriate response to my specific concerns?

Pastor: in this case

Pastor: i call you on something and you call it name calling

Pastor: I offer a solution…Men go to church… do you?

Pastor’s Wife: Debate and displays of knowledge of historical events can be done in any local gym or community center.(or perhaps a Sunday school session with those topics of interest) Our Father’s house is a place of prayer and worship, to give ministry to our God in worship and in community with the saints.

WK: Do you think that William Lane Craig is a Pharisee because he goes and does 2 M.As and 2 Ph.Ds, studies the issues in depth and writes a lot of books on the existence of God and the resurrection, and then debates Christopher Hitchens in front of 5000 people at Biola University? Is that being a Pharisee? Defending God’s existence and the resurrection of Jesus in front of thousands of people because you first accepted the message of 1 Pet 3:15? Is it being a Pharisee to do what the Bible says (be ready to give a defense)? Is it being a Pharisee to meet non-Christians were they are and to use effective means to refute them?

Pastor: You can “idolize” apologetics. I worry sometimes about that

Pastor’s Wife: Jesus Himself through His Holy Spirit defends the resurrection. It is God who saves not man…God through His Holy Spirit

WK: Ok, again with the name calling.

(later in another thread)

Pastor: Wintery you are a wimp

Pastor: Wintery? I see your interest is Chivalry? LOL

32 thoughts on “What’s the best way to get men back into the church?”

  1. Here are a couple of other things I said later:

    I think what I am looking for is specific policies. For example, if the problem is male engagement, then we should be able to say what specific needs and values men have, that I think can be met in the Christian religion. We need to have a plan for emphasizing those parts of Christianity that men need and enjoy and excel in. But there is a further problem of the decline of men in general as a social problem. There, people in the church need to be familiar with policies that cause men to disengage from traditional male roles and responsibilities. In the original chat where I said the parts that Justin quoted, I made a case that Christianity stands or falls based on whether there is an intelligent Christian man who is engaged in his faith and active in his church. I pointed out an article from Touchstone magazine that made a case that fatherlessness is causing Christianity to not be passed on to children. I then pointed out two public policies that increase fatherlessness – no-fault divorce and single mother welfare. I then recommended that the church study the issues, make the connections, educate their parishioners, and be effective at advocating for policies in the public square that will solve the problem. I think this is a much better plan than “man up”. I could have listed at least a half-dozen more factors that contribute to the lack of engagement in men in the church and in society, as I have studied these issues, and I actually know what I am talking about.

    Picture a man who takes his car to a garage mechanic and complains that it won’t start. The mechanic checks the car over, and finds a huge number of problems from leaky gaskets, to dead spark plugs, to underinflated tires, to holes in the exhaust, to dirty motor oil, to broken fuel pump, and so on. The mechanic asks – have you been maintaining this car since you bought it? Do you understand how it works? What is your plan to maintain this car and to upgrade this car? And the man says “I try to know as little as possible about driving and how cars work. Instead, I just sing songs about cars, talk about my relationship with my car, and about how well I know the car, and about how much the car makes me feel good”. Mechanic: What do you do when the car does work like before? Man: I tell it to “Car up”, and then I insult anyone who disagrees with that plan. Mechanic: I don’t think that’s going to work. Would you like me to explain to you why it’s not working? Man: No, because I have a deep spiritual connection with the car, and I feel that the incantation “Car up” is all that is needed to make it run. Shop manuals, physics classes, chemistry classes, experiments, measurements, etc. are too much work for me. And if you disagree with me, you’re a coward.

    I think it would be good if people approached Christianity the way that they approached buying a house, buying a car, or getting a degree, or getting ahead at work. It’s a relationship/stewardship, and when God entrusts us as his soldiers, it is on us to be intelligent and effective at achieving his goals. And you can tell pretty well who takes those obligations seriously by how much they invest in the task. Singing is easier than reading Wayne Grudem, Thomas Sowell, Jay Richards or Stephen C. Meyer, for example. And God knows the difference between people who sing and people who put in the time.

    We agree at least that fatherlessness is the problem. And I would push it back one step. What did the church do to educate women about what sort of roles a Biblical man plays in a marriage and family? And what did the church do to convince women using evidence that broken homes are disastrous, and that choosing a good man was a good way to serve God? What did the church do to supply young women with knowledge, so they would know to temper their emotions and choose a Biblical man who could fulfill the traditional male roles? Fathers play a big part in restraining the emotions of their daughters, so if there are no fathers, then daughters can be very emotional and impractical with who they marry. Feminism also plays a part by denying that men have any special roles that they should be selected for. Did the church argue against feminism? Was the church intelligent about marshalling arguments and evidence against all of these anti-marriage, anti-father forces? I think we need to take a good long look at what the church needs to do to fix the root of the problem – fatherlessness.

    That suggests another issue that should be of concern to Christian – the schools. Most schools have at least 80% female teachers. Co-ed schools were introduced by feminists in order to make the two sexes “equal”. I think we need to ask ourselves whether that serves boys, though, perhaps looking at books like “The War Against Boys” by Christian sociologist Christina Hoff Sommers. After all, college admissions used to be 60% men, and it’s now 40% men. Is that a problem that Christians should care about? How should we solve it? Should we solve it by saying “Man up” a lot? Or should we study the research and come up with plans to solve the problem, like bringing in scholars to warn people about the effects of female-dominated education on young men. Should we talk about male roles, and as parents, steer young men towards schools that educate boys, and jobs that pay, so they can be providers? Should we encourage boys to learn apologetics and debate with non-Christians so that they can be protectors? Should we present evidence when talking about morality (like Mark Driscoll) and present evidence when talking about politics and economics (like Wayne Grudem) so that young men can be convicted and convincing when leading on moral and spiritual issues? Or should we just ignore all that work and say “man up” and sing praise songs so we feel good?

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  2. You have much more patience than I do WK. These people you “dialogued” with remind of people I went to church with and horrible memories resurrected in my mind. Ugh.

    Basically this is how it went.

    WK: *insert evidence for why the church is feminized and what to do about it with reason from history, politics, and the bible*

    Pastor: *insert quibble and “christian” name calling*

    Pastor’s wife: *insert pop christian jargon and ALL CAPS statements. Using all caps makes you irrefutable!*

    And pop christians wonder why there are people who hate Christianity.

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  3. You clearly won that little debate. I can’t believe he completely ignored all your questions and just responded with “man up.” I have no idea how he thought you were being a Pharisee; in all likelihood he was trying to win the argument by character assassination since that was the only way he could (typical).

    Attitudes like his and his wife’s are great examples why many men aren’t interested in church. If I tried asking him hard questions like you did and got responses like his I’d get out of that church as quickly as possible.

    I got the impression that you don’t go to church. Is that true? Your extensive knowledge of Christian apologetics is very commendable, but I think it’s also important to attend church every week (provided you can find one worth your time — if your only option is one like Pastor’s then you might as well skip it). It would also give you a chance to teach your apologetics knowledge to the others at the church.

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  4. Ah, that would have made me quite angry. While there are problems with all churches, I feel blessed that mine is that sometimes stuff is too manly… not enough female input(going through redecoration in which men want apoxy flooring in entryway… women want new carpet, etc.) But we offer apologetic classes often, doing a video series by Stephen Meyer right now on the historicity and reliability of the Bible, high school group focuses about 75% of work on apologetic materials… We sing too, but the academic aspect of things are important, and often incorporated in both individual and sermon series.

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  5. My take of the conversation:

    WK: Help the Church is dying Pastor, we need help, the soul of male is not being fed.
    Pastor: What are you talking about? Everything’s fine.
    WK: You don’t understand my soul is not being fed!
    Pastor: There must be something wrong with you. I’m going to tell you what I think is wrong with you.
    WK: Please, I’m trying to have a serious conversation about a huge problem in the Church!
    Pastor: I’m sure there’s nothing wrong with the Church and that you don’t want to do anything to change anything, so why don’t you lie down on the couch and we’ll find out what’s wrong with you.
    Pastor’s Wife: Because of course you’d have to be crazy to think there was anything wrong with the Church being run by females. My husband is smart because he listens to me! You are a beastly male! Don’t pick on my husband-baby!

    Ok. Maybe that was overly snarky, but I learn from the best! You’re doing a great thing WK! Please keep changing the world.

    The Pastor is in the position of being the leader of the Church, and as a Pastor must care for the needs of the flock (literally what the word pastor means). This sort of response, the denial, and the suggesting that you might be using adhomonym attacks because you’re questioning him on the status of the Church, is laughable. Unfortunately Pastor’s and Priests are notorious for not being able to take and receive criticism. Part of the problem is that as the flock we go along like sheep without questioning and so Pastor’s don’t get called on anything and when they do, they are offended. Well, a Pastor treating a Church as if its his personal pet project is highly offensive because that’s not what the Church is for. The Church is for the body of Christ and while the Pastor may represent one part of the body the body is useless without its functioning members.
    1 Corinthians 12:18-22 states, “But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,” so there!

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  6. Wintery Knight,

    Not sure why you are interested in an atheist’s opinion…but here it goes:

    As a generalization, I would agree this is a problem in the church (as in the formalized local community). In the period immediately after my deconversion, I struggled with attending Church. I wanted to attend Church; I wanted to fit in. I wanted to maintain a place in the only community I was familiar with. And I failed both miserably and spectacularly. At the time, a good friend pointed out the reason and I think goes to the very heart of the issue. He said, “Church caters to the lowest common emotional denominator.” I found that true.

    As a Christian I absolutely loved apologetics. I loved the very things pointed out—history, languages, archeology, anthropology. I loved studying them. I enjoyed interacting with Christian doctrines and how they played out in our 21st Century lives—who to vote for, what to vote for, what to do in this situation, whether to have bank accounts, insurance, etc. My friends enjoyed these discussions to the wee hours of the morning.

    However, I would have to say we were definitely the minority. Most people were not interested in such discussions. I sat under a pastor who was often accused of being “too difficult to follow” (although I had no problem.) My Sunday School teachings were considered the equivalent of college courses. I made long handouts, with footnotes, etc.

    Yet most people, I found, didn’t want to think that hard. They liked the more emotional pat-on-the-head. They wanted it fed to them, but not have to do the calculating themselves.

    After deconverting, I had numerous conversations with pastors and church leaders. I found all to be inadequately prepared, frankly. They themselves only know the bare minimum when it comes to apologetics. I can’t tell you how many times I was recommended to read Strobel or Zacharias or Lewis. I CAN tell you how many times I was recommended to read Craig (2), Habermas (0), Wallace (0), and Licona (0). I’ll let you guess how many times Mooreland, Metzger, Bruce, and anyone else. (Forget anything approaching liberal, of course, or more specialized, like Bauckham.) Oh, and I got Greenleaf a lot because apparently lawyers are supposed to be impressed by other lawyers. HA!

    Where they ready or prepared to discuss Markan priority over Matthean priority in the Synoptic Problem? Hardly. Did they understand the implication of Second Apocalypse of James or Acts of Peter in the claim “Wouldn’t die for a lie?” It is to laugh. Do they even know what Documentary Hypothesis is? They remember a quiz about it in Seminary…….they think….

    Churches are doing (in my opinion) a terrible job of studying the Bible because they are so caught up in Bible Study. They want to read the Bible as if it was some instruction manual—“Living for Dummies” that spews out easy answers when the appropriate pages are turned. And God forbid if those answers grate against their American dream!

    The churches I attended had men in leadership roles, because of their conservative make-up. There was a trend in the Willow Creek model to have “partnership” teaching where the Spouses taught together, although I never attended such a class.

    What do I think of this Pastor and his wife? *shrug* Hard to say, getting one side of the conversation, but fairly typical, I fear. Experience trumps knowledge. Emotions verify opinions. Although to be fair, running a church like a learning institution would probably generate similar percentages in attendance. Different people; same numbers.

    The reality is that churches are only reaching what 5%? Maybe (at best) 10% of the community? The answer is simple—they do not offer anything people see as needing or wanting. Movie theaters (somehow) survive in the world of VHS and DVD. By providing something apparently enough people want.

    The church fails to look for what people want, and therefore unsurprisingly fails to provide it.

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    1. “Yet most people, I found, didn’t want to think that hard.”

      I don’t know. I’m all for the virtue of prudence and making use of our power of reason—as C. S. Lewis put it,

      . . . He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first-class fighting trim. . . . It is, of course, quite true that God will not love you any the less, or have less use for you, if you happen to have been born with a very second-rate brain. He has room for people with very little sense, but He wants every one to use what sense they have. . . . God is no fonder of intellectual slackers than of any other slackers.

      —but I think you and Wintery Knight should also understand that most people are not as bright as you, and couldn’t engage with ideas at the same intellectual level no matter how hard they tried. Perhaps that pastor and his wife aren’t as bright as Wintery Knight; perhaps the pastors you mention aren’t as bright as you. And that’s OK.

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  7. Well…I’d say the Pastor needs to MAN UP and actually respond to your arguments. The Pastor’s wife frequently spoke to you as if you were a woman…like you mentioned, sometimes your words didn’t help move the discussion along, but you know me, I don’t think I’d have been any better, b.c the responses from the Pastor were highly annoying.

    I mean, c’mon, calling you a Pharisee? Geez. That’s such a knee-jerk reaction response, like a secularist calling me a racist or something because I’m for voter ID fraud. I’ve found so many times, that when folks in church don’t like what you say, Pharisee is the ad hominem of choice, almost as if its an automated response.

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    1. I get the Pharisee thing a lot actually. Basically, whenever I try to argue that the Christian life involves doing something that Christians don’t want to do, regardless of how effective it might be. I get two responses. 1) doing effective things isn’t my spiritual gift, having happy feelings is, and 2) having moral and intellectual obligations is acting like a Pharisee. I get the same response when I tell Christians to be careful to vet boyfriends and girlfriends for apologetics/theology. They say “how dare you overrule my feelings by telling me that there is more to Christianity than just saying ‘I’m a Christian’!!! My boyfriend/girlfriend is HOT and he/she claims to be a Christian – and there is nothing else to being a Christian husband/wife/father/mother than just claiming to be one!”

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    2. I actually don’t understand at all how the pastor thinks WK is a pharisee. I mean, the pharisees were religious and WK is arguing against being religious (religious as in only using the bible and the christian sub-culture). Something I’m missing?

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  8. @ DagoodS
    “Church caters to the lowest common emotional denominator.”
    This is a direct result of the feminization in the Church and precisely why we need real men both at the helm and in the pews. The problem is affecting women and the next generation of men as well. Wives are unable to motivate their husband-babies to step into the Church and we are all spiritually fatherless. Not a great way to lead us towards a personal understanding of our Creator. We can keep focusing on a relationship with God, but in case nobody’s noticed it yet, um God is male! The Bible studies are useless while the Church remains in this disarray because the interpretations lead to a feminized gospel, where Jesus is meek and mild and the kingdom of heaven belongs to little children. We can’t have a proper study without proper study. Apologetics are frightfully important for the development of the body and the body is missing quite a few of its members due to lack of nourishment. Even Joyce Meyers (who WK criticized above) said herself, “I was tired of hearing all these heavenly sermons that were of no earthly good to anyone.” Pastor’s have a huge responsibility and they should be kept accountable, because a Church that cannot even shape its members cannot transform the world.
    Romans 12:2
    Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your MIND. Then you will be able to TEST and APPROVE what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

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    1. Sorry. But God is not male. He refers to Himself as having breasts and being a mother hen beside other things.
      God is not male. He never, ever, ever, ever refers to his, ahem, male parts. Search for yourself. It’s not there.

      People were made in His image, both male and female, directly. Women are not less in God’s image than men, not if you actually read Genesis.
      Yes, I know. I’ve been referring to God as He and Him, but this is traditional language. He and Him are the default pronouns of the English language, not a sermon on the maleness of God.

      The feminization of the church is not the boogy man that men want to make it into. It’s the scape goat they can beat so they don’t have to look at themselves. The church is failing. One way is the lack of apologetics. It is one way. It is not the only way. But this is not feminization. It’s the men at the helm that have caused this. Not women.

      One conversation Wintery has had with a clueless pastor and his equally clueless wife doesn’t prove the over all problem.

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  9. I’ve been thinking, and, despite the pastor not being able to respond to your point, I think there were gems here and there in the sand. I’ve found through experience with teaching/coaching young men, through examining my own soul, listening to other men talk, and reading up on men’s issues, one thing that men gravitate towards is challenge. I think one thing the pastor is onto is he seems to be challenging men and not letting them off the hook with excuses. That’s another thing–we need to be careful to avoid the following: when we diagnose the problem, sometimes we unintentionally lend excuses to men who don’t want to go to church, etc. Someone can hear us talk about the feminized church and say, “see, I don’t want that! Lemme keep watching football on Sundays.” All the diagnosese (feminized church, no apologetics, debating shunned, etc etc) are right on the money, but I think sometimes we talk about the problem too much to the extent that it gives men who aren’t motivated in the first place more fodder to keep doing what they are doing.

    I hate to say it, but though we men gravitate towards challenge, we are excuse machines–yes, a generalization. Not every man is like that, but many are, and we need to be careful to not unintentionally feed that. I almost want to say, “yes, all these things are problems, and I hate ’em. But you, man, and me, what are you (we) gonna do to change that?” or “yes, these are problems, but so what? What follows? That your (my) duty to love the church, feminized warts and all, is no longer a duty? No. Worship the living God, young man (Rich), by rolling up your sleeves and doing the hard thing.”–here and there the pastor hinted at that notion.

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    1. I think that makes a lot of sense. I’m inclined to agree with Wintery Knight’s recommendations for changing the culture, changing the law, and changing the church—I’m inclined to agree that the factors he mentions contribute significantly to current failures of manhood—but that doesn’t mean men aren’t also still responsible for their own actions, and their own manhood.

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  10. Everything he and his co-pastor said was predictable. I had a very similar experience with a pastor and his wife a couple of years ago. It was about the silly material being used in the Sunday School classes. And also about the fact that the Youth seemed to be taking over the church. The young women were wearing revealing clothing. His wife fought the battle while the pastor sat there in silence.

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  11. “Facts and figures I care to have none, when I have a Savior that over the world has won!”

    Ugh. It’s precisely *because* we have a real, historical Saviour who was actually raised from the dead that we should care about facts and figures. Truth matters.

    That kind of comment gives me an allergic reaction. And I’m a woman.

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  12. @Mara What are you talking about?! God is not male… Um, I’m sorry I am talking about the Christian God, I’m not talking about some random God. I am talking about a triune God. A God of which the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are members. These persons in God are not invisible, they are not shapeless, they are not figments of our imaginations or forces of nature. God is 3 persons in one God. Jesus is male, He came down to earth male and yes He had an, ahem, as you so gently put it. When we asked Jesus how to address God He told us to address Him as Father and He continuously addressed Him as Father up until the moment of His death when He said, “Father into your hands I commit my spirit.” Of course Jesus in your opinion was trying to misrepresent a spirit to us I guess? He was what, trying to put God on a level that people could understand, because Luke wasn’t a doctor and Paul wasn’t an educated pharisee and no one had ever heard of spirits?

    And speaking of spirits, the Holy Spirit impregnated the Virgin Mother of God. Oh but you don’t need a male to have a baby with a female I guess? Jesus is male because Mary was born with a y chromosome floating around inside of her. There that makes way more sense. It’s all perfectly magical! We have magical chromosomes and magical spirits and magical creatures poofing out of the sky to take a male form because it was a 50/50 toss up when it came to the human form. Females were made in the image of God of course. Because a man wants to be married to himself and stare at his own image all day. Since we’re no better than the animals we shouldn’t really have any obvious differences. Men and women look about as different from each other as male and female whales or birds.

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    1. That’s not what “the Shack” told me! :)

      I agree with you Mariangela. Also, I don’t know of any serious student of the Bible who would say being made in the image of God is talking about gender, but we can understand God is male through the points you made.

      That image provides human beings with a unique ability to mirror and reflect the very character of God (I think of this as God making man moral beings and dualistic). Of course, since the tragic fall of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, that image has been subject to serious change and corruption, nevertheless, we know that being made in God’s image is not a reflection of gender rather it’s that we have an immaterial soul and have moral capacities setting us apart from the rest of creation.

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  13. (Re original post)

    I was just reading that same William Bennett piece that you linked to, when another blog I read discussed it. (For whatever it’s worth, there are women who agree that our culture no longer does a good job of encouraging men to be men, or even letting them know what manhood is.)

    You’ve already read plenty of books about this stuff, but I’ll mention another anyway (and I recommend it, with qualifications): Wild at Heart, by John Eldredge. From chapter 1:

    And then, alas, there is the church. Christianity, as it currently exists, has done some terrible things to men. When all is said and done, I think most men in the church believe that God put them on the earth to be a good boy. The problem with men, we are told, is that they don’t know how to keep their promises, be spiritual leaders, talk to their wives, or raise their children. But, if they will try real hard they can reach the lofty summit of becoming . . . a nice guy. That’s what we hold up as models of Christian maturity: Really Nice Guys. We don’t smoke, drink or swear; that’s what makes us men. Now let me ask my male readers: In all your boyhood dreams growing up, did you ever dream of becoming a Nice Guy? (Ladies, was the Prince of your dreams dashing . . . or merely nice?)

    Really now—do I overstate my case? Walk into most churches in America, have a look around, and ask yourself this question: What is a Christian man? Don’t listen to what is said, look at what you find there. There is no doubt about it. You’d have to admit a Christian man is . . . bored.

    (Although, if that other article you linked to says this problem sort of dates back to the Middle Ages, I guess it will take a lot of work to fix.)

    As to the content of your conversation with the pastor, I agree with most to all of what you’re saying: Government should be smaller partly because big government keeps men from being men. Feminism has been a disaster for both men and women. Reason is important.

    As to the form of the conversation, since you ask, yes, I think it’s unhelpful to get defensive and sarcastic in any conversation or debate, even when we think we’re being insulted. (For whatever it’s worth, I think you started insulting him before he insulted you, at least based on the excerpts you gave us.) Just my opinion.

    But don’t take that the wrong way. Again, I largely agree with you on the content. It looks like a great blog you have here. Thomas Sowell is great, John Lott is great, etc., and you’re the first other blogger I’ve seen recommend The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex, and Feminism. May God use your blog to reach many people and change the world for the better.

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  14. This is a fantastic post. The American church has left out all critical thought and has placed the emphasis of building churches and programs instead of making disciples of Christ.
    I sincerely think, a lot of churches will be closing their doors for $$$ reasons or tell some really really incredulous anti-scriptural lies to people to make them feel good. In doing so, they will fall into some serious sin ( check out the book of Jude)

    Not to have sound doctrine and reasoning is to leave one open to faulty doctrine and beliefs. It is mentioned that Gods people perish for the lack of wisdom. Remember, Eve got into a debate with Satan in the garden and was deceived and so did Adam.

    Obedience of wisdom / knowledge lead to righteousness which lead to life and even more life. God has a reason for everything and in Christ contains all knowledge – ALL. Not to have sound reasoning and solid scripture is a dangerous place to be in as a Christian ( I like saint or holy one better – that is how Paul addressed the churches).

    It is time for men to press into Jesus (deny oneself, pick up the cross, and follow Christ) and find out what He is saying.

    I strongly suspect this is where it going to get very very interesting.

    There were thousands who followed Christ when He gave them bread. As soon, as made demands on them, the crowds no longer followed Him except 12 disciples. I would like to suggest He is proceeding to do the same thing – calling out a holy remnant / first fruits to show a true witness of Him.

    This holy remnant / first fruits will have the wisdom/knowledge as well as double portion of the Spirit – As usual God saves the best for last !!!

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  15. I was thinking about this post more and I remembered hearing *somewhere* I can’t remember where, that women were at the root of the pentecostal movement. I researched a little bit about it and to my surprise – it’s true. The following is from wikipedia (I know, I know, how can one trust wikipedia):

    “Women were the catalyst of the early Pentecostal movement.[152] Agnes Ozman was the first person at Parham’s Bible college to speak in tongues.[150][153][154] Florence Crawford was active in the Azusa Street Mission’s The Apostolic Faith newspaper and later founded the Apostolic Faith Church. Women wrote religious songs, edited Pentecostal papers, and taught and ran Bible schools.[155] In addition, evidence from three of the oldest Pentecostal groups—Assemblies of God, the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) and the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel—shows a number of women serving as clergy and missionaries.[156] The unconventionally intense and emotional environment generated in Pentecostal meetings dually promoted, and was itself created by, other forms of participation such as personal testimony and spontaneous prayer and singing. Women did not shy away from engaging in this forum, and in the early movement the majority of converts and church-goers were female.[157]”

    Read on: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentecostalism#Attitudes_toward_women

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    1. Reason for my posting here is to show why men dislike church. The mainstream church is heavily based on emotional experiences (pentecostal and charismatic) and how you feel as opposed to studying the scripture and evidence for Christianity and being “trained” in church. So, we can get a glimpse of the church’s feminization by understanding the history of the movement. Oh boy, I will get assaulted for this one! :)

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  16. i think it’s too easy and a cop out to come with facts and figures against a pair that have none/little and consider oneself the victor – errrrm, and how does that solve the problem?? i could just as easily come with facts and figures against someone who shares the same viewpoint as Winter but is unable to articulate that viewpoint as well, and consider that a victory – it isn’t. I believe the pastor’s badly articulated and non-evidenced point was in principle more valid than anything Winter had to say, I agree more with what Rich Bordner had to say in a reply above. Yes, the pastor didn’t do a very good job of getting a valid point across, but I’m surprised Winter who is claiming to be more (please fill in the blank as i don’t want to be accused of name calling, actually I don’t care…) by putting this piece up couldn’t see a valid point right under his nose.

    Apologetics has a role to play in the church, as does many of the other things people have claimed men are into, but i think the right balance must be found. Winter references a couple of scriptures to support his argument for wider use of apologetics (and even there those scriptures have been taken out of context), while ignoring a larger pool of scriptures found all over the bible that refutes reason as the basis for belief. How much apologetics went on in the synagogues? If anything, aplogetics should make up part of our defence, but certainly not most of our defence. If we look at what the bible has to say about reason, logic, all of that kind of thing as a whole, it does not indicate that that should be our main defence. I appreciate that men like that kind of thing, but that’s why there is a need to find a balance.

    Nearlly all of Winters points were valid, I think that just as the pastor said, men need to “man up” and do something about it. Talking about it is fine, as long as that is followed by action. There are a growing number of men who are starting to do this – join them! Pointing the finger at those who aren’t doing this doesn’t really achieve anything.

    p.s. i can easily justify a lot of the points the pastor and even the wife made as clearly they’re not very good at this LOL. You can holla at me if you’re really that interested…

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