Doug Giles make an argument that at first seems good if you come from an anti-PC take no prisoners perspective:

More and more, we are seeing fewer and fewer mature and responsible, evil-challenging tripods who love leadership, the struggle and aren’t afraid to boldly face an increasingly godless environment with conviction, power and the love of God.

So why do most men avoid church?  Here’s the veneer stripped-away answer: going to church for the majority of men is an exercise in unwanted effeminacy.  Church, for most men, has not only become irrelevant; it has also become effeminate.  Hanging out in church for most extra-Y chromosomes seems unmanly and most men more than anything want to be masculine.

He then goes on to enumerate a list of ways that the church became more macho-friendly such as,  “Put an end to preaching by cheesy, whiny, quiche eating, preening Nancy Boys … right now!  It freaks us meat eaters out.  Get it?  Hire a pastor who throws off a good John Wayne vibe instead of that Boy George feeling.”

Good enough, but if we look at Giles’ argument closer, at its core is a simple church marketing plea: 1) Churches need to attract the male demographic and 2) To attract the demographic go Rambo in the Pulpit.

One has to wonder what the early church would be like if the Apostles sat down and said, “We need to attract men in their early 20s who like coliseum games.” Apparently, without marketing gurus they had to do something quaint…rely on the Holy Spirit.

This isn’t to say Giles doesn’t raise some points. We do need more men in the church. There are some churches that are indistinguishable from episodes of Oprah. There are also bad churches out there that are abusive, no doubt about any of that.

However, the idea that the church will be saved by the infusion of men who won’t darken its door unless they feel the church is macho enough for them is ludicrous.  It’s a flesh-driven approach to solving a deep spiritual problem. What’s keeping men from church doors are the things that have always kept us away: spiritual woundedness, guilt, pain, worldliness, selfishness, fear, and doubt.  God can do so something about these issues-if we’re man enough to admit them.

Photo Credit: Vik Nanda via Flickr (CC-by-3.0)

  1. I agree with the writer, although I don’t think his entire message is displayed here. Pastors are leaders, and God’s message is not cheesy or effiminate. But, a man might never figure that out by attending some of the churches today. Cultural examples of Christian masculinity are the shows the Rifleman, and the original Dragnet and the original Hawaii 5-0 series. It’s the fight of good against evil. Protecting the innocent and stopping the evil doer. Very manly stuff.

  2. I see this issue somewhere in the middle. We don’t need to hire pastors who give out a “John Wayne” or “Rambo” vibe. OTOH, I do agree that, in Giles’s words, “going to church for the majority of men is an exercise in unwanted effeminacy.” Author Gordon Dalbey has touched on this point in his writings.

    One reason is perhaps that most guys don’t see God as being that masculine. In truth, however, God is so masculine that both men and women are feminine in relation to him. Furthermore, it seems that even angels are more masculine than men. For instance, Leanne Payne says the following in one of her books:

    An angel once brought a message to me, and his exceedingly masculine presence so overwhelmed me that it took days and perhaps even weeks to get over it.

    Most Christians don’t see God aright in this aspect. Jesus gets kind of a wimpy image attached to Him–loving, caring, compassionate, but not so manly. Which couldn’t, of course, be further from the truth.

    Dalbey points out that the lack of a community of men in America today is a big reason that men don’t go to church. In order to get men to go to church, they have to be invited by other men, not by women.

    One other point. What exactly is masculinity anyway? According to Payne, “the power to honor the truth–to speak it and be it–is at the heart of true masculinity.”

    So, Giles indeed has a valid point, but a “fast food” approach is certainly not the solution here.

  3. Thank you for being bold enough to speak the truth. Mankind has innumerable excuses for our sins of omission and blaming others always seems to be at the top of our list. Pride is a heavy burden to carry around; if we only knew the freedom that comes with presenting ourselves to His light!

  4. The writer didn’t mention Rambo, he mentioned John Wayne. Rambo was vengeful, not anything a Christian would want to be. As providence would have it, when I opened my door this morning, there was a handout from a new church in our neighborhood, saying Chuck Norris would go to ——- Church. I don’t live in Iowa, but where I live, we have a military base, and at least three churches here ( that I am familiar with) have pastors going hard after sin. They have many young men in their congregations, including military people. If the pastors and churches are sincere in their beliefs, it is more than just a ploy to attract new members. It is what they are about.

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