Friday, February 8, 2008

How The Church Has Emasculated Men

---by Tristan Emmanuel

Ever wonder why Christian men are so emasculated? Or why most normal red-blooded men find it absolutely impossible to relate to today's clergy? You're not alone.

I use to think the problem was me, that I was old fashioned – at least that's what I was told.

But then I had an epiphany.

God didn't send girly-men to preach the Gospel, build churches and reform society back in the days of the early church. And He certainly won't do that today either.

I've been writing a small miniseries on the state of our culture. I've predicated everything on one strategy: If we reform and revive the church, we'll see reformation and revival in society as well.

Last time I touched on worship. This time the focus is masculinity. As a part of a strategy to change society we need to stop emasculating maleness in men.

The solution is simple. Start encouraging men in the church to be men – not women in drag.

I'm not the only one to say this.

Author David Murrow has written a very important book on the subject: "Why Men Hate Going to Church." He confirms my theory. Men don't feel welcomed in churches anymore because Christianity has been feminized.

Murrow relates several important statistics in his book:

The typical U.S. congregation draws an adult crowd that's 61 percent female and 39 percent male. This gender gap shows up in all age categories.

On any given Sunday there are 13 million more adult women than men in America's churches.

This Sunday almost 25 percent of married, churchgoing women will worship without their husbands.

Midweek activities often draw 70 to 80 percent female participants.

As many as 90 percent of the boys who are being raised in church will abandon it by their 20th birthday. Many of them will never return.

More than 90 percent of American men believe in God, and five out of six call themselves Christians. But only two out of six attend church on any given Sunday. The average man accepts the reality of Jesus Christ, but fails to see any value in going to church.

These are absolutely frightening statistics, but they are not surprising.

J. Grant Dys argues on his blog that the spinoff effects of this reality can be seen in our families (or at least what's left of them), our schools, our clubs and in the prisons of our society. And ironically, with the death of genuine masculinity, an increasing number of young men are seeking to reclaim their manhood in homosexuality.

On a cultural level, we all know that the idea of a "real man" has almost been beaten out of our social consciousness. Men are objects of scorn and vilification. Watch any TV commercial or sitcom and you'll witness a barrage of attacks, all designed to assault the dignity of real masculinity and the historic male role model as provider and protector.

I'm not saying anything new here. Many have already made this point, some much better than I. But what concerns me isn't that broader culture has rejected masculinity, it is that the church has aided and abetted this concept of manhood as a pariah. And it's not just the liberal churches that are guilty on this score.

All too often the pastoral "role model" in evangelical circles mirrors that "Simpson's" character, the Rev. Love Joy. Our pastors are either quaint, odd, harmless pushovers, or they are slick metrosexual types who can cry at the drop of a dime – literally – but have absolutely no courage to stand up against real evil or teach the unequivocal truth with authority.

They've suppressed godly male assertiveness, opting instead to "be nice." They have abdicated their calling to "speak the truth" in the interest of political correctness. And they have decided that manipulating people with emotional self-help books and anecdotal sermonizing is better for the bottom line than training and teaching the men in their congregations to be leaders and warriors for Christ. And as a result, the evangelical church is suffering from a dearth of real men.

Is feminism to blame?

No doubt feminism is a force of evil in North American society. It is evil not because it has tried to establish equality. Rather it is precisely because it hasn't established equality that it is guilty of perpetrating a fraud. What feminism has succeeded in doing is to convince both sexes that the only masculine identity that is valuable is an effeminate male. That in fact, the only way for equality to exist is for men to be like women, or simply not to exist.

Now, we can blame the feminist movement all we want – but it won't change a thing because in the end, men have embraced their own feminization. As Dys points out, men have done this to themselves because they have become soft and lazy.

Men are far more interested in accommodating the women's movement than in asserting their masculinity. And whether that's because we want to be "popular with the girls," because we are too insecure and unsure about leading, or if it comes out of sheer exasperation – "You want to take over the leadership? Go ahead, I just don't want to argue anymore" – we've conceded our role in family, church and the state.

But let's be clear about one thing: We had no right to abdicate that responsibility.

The solution is very simple: Men need to be men again. They need to take up their responsibility the way God intended them to behave. And the church needs to re-learn how to help them do that again.

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