Sep 7, 2010

 
 
 
By: David Murrow
 
Ask him why he doesn't go to church, and he'll offer up words like boring, irrelevant, and hypocrite. But the real reason Cliff doesn't go to church is that he's already practicing another religion. That religion is masculinity.

The ideology of masculinity has replaced Christianity as the true religion of men. We live in a society with a female religion and a male religion: Christianity, of various sorts, for women and non-masculine men; and masculinity . . . for men.

Cliff practices his religion with a single-mindedness the Pharisees would envy. His work, his hobbies, his entertainment, his follies, his addictions, everything he does is designed to prove to the world he is a man. His religion also demands that he avoid anything that might call his manhood into question. This includes church, because Cliff believes deep in his heart that church is something for women and children, not men.

Cliff is not alone. Men have believed this for centuries. In the 1800s, Charles Spurgeon said, "There has got abroad a notion, somehow, that if you become a Christian you must sink your manliness and turn milksop." Cliff sees Christianity as incongruous with his manhood. It's a women's thing.

CHURCH ...A WOMEN'S THING?

We're only in chapter 1, and I know I'm already in trouble with a lot of you. I can just imagine what you're thinking: Church is not a women's thing—it's a men's thing! It certainly looks that way, doesn't it? After all, a man and His male disciples founded Christianity, most of its major saints and heroes were men, men penned all of the New Testament books, all of the popes were men, all of the Catholic priests are men, and 95 percent of the senior pastors in America are men. Feminists have been telling us for years that the church is male dominated and patriarchal. Are they right?

The answer is yes and no. The pastorate is a men's club. But almost every other area of church life 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 and pastoral conferences, can you think of any large gathering of Christians that attracts more men than women?

Visit the church during the week, and you'll find most of the people working there are female. Drop in on a committee meeting, and you'll find a majority of the volunteers are women—unless it's that small bastion of male presence, the building committee. Look over the leadership roster: the pastor is likely to be a man, but at least two-thirds of the ministry leaders will be women. Examine the sign-up sheets for volunteer work, prayer, Sunday school, and nursery duty. You'll be lucky to see more than a couple of men's names on these lists. One pastor recently told me, "If it weren't for the postman, every visitor to the church during the week would be a woman."

Male pastors come and go, but faithful women provide a matriarchal continuity in our congregations. Women are the devoted ones who build their lives around their commitments to Christ and His church. Women are more likely to teach and volunteer in church and are the greatest participants in Christian culture. The sad reality in many churches today is this: the only man who actually practices his faith is the pastor.

With so much female presence and participation, the church has gained a reputation as a ladies' club in the minds of men. Cliff does not attend church for the same reason he does not wear pink: neither is proper to his gender. Does Cliff know why he hates going to church? No. Can he offer a detailed explanation of his feelings? Of course not. He's a guy, remember? Cliff knows one thing: he hates going to church.

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