Sunday, June 18, 2006

When you put it that way...

There was a remarkably interesting article about men and church in the Chicago Tribune on Friday. Both Jan and I noticed it and it made a lot of sense as I scanned the pews this morning. It was titled "Why men don't like to go to church":

"Every Muslim man knows that he is locked in a great battle between good and evil, and although that was a prevalent teaching in Christianity until about 100 years ago, today it's primarily about having a relationship with a man who loves you unconditionally," Murrow said, referring to Christ.

"And if that's the punch line of the gospel, then you're going to have a lot more women than men taking you up on your offer because women are interested in a personal relationship with a man who loves you unconditionally. Men, generally, are not." [my emphasis]

Most interesting was the assertion that we have been here before.

Concern about the perceived feminization of Christianity--and the subsequent backlash--is nothing new.

In the middle of the 19th Century, two-thirds of church members in New England were women, said Bret E. Carroll, professor of history at California State University, Stanislaus. Portrayals of Jesus around that time depicted a doe-eyed savior with long, flowing hair and white robes.

Then, around the 1870s and 1880s, came a growing emphasis on making religion attractive to men. The movement known as "muscular Christianity" extolled manliness and had its heyday from 1880 to 1920, according to Clifford Putney in "Muscular Christianity."

I am clueless how to go about addressing this, but I suspect that one reason I love my work with the choir is because it involves doing something.

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