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Why men hate going to church | Christian News on Christian Today

Posted in From others..., Rants with tags , , , on September 9, 2011 by johnfom

Drawing men to the pews may not be as simple as cutting sermons short and throwing out the cringe-making church talk

via Why men hate going to church | Christian News on Christian Today.

Although the linked opinion piece is light on practicalities, it at least leaves you with a counter example, and re-raises a couple of ideas (re WWI, etc) which I haven’t heard for a little while.

If I were to add my own perspective, I’d be looking to point out that churches tend to be run by men for women.  As such they end up not really being satisfactory for anyone.

*Warning: Gender stereotype zone begins*

The reasons for men leaving the church, or just never really setting foot in one, has occupied my thought on and off for close to 15 years now.  I don’t know that I’m any closer to a ‘silver-bullet’ for the problem than when I started, but one thing that does keep cropping up is credibility.

Too many churches seem to have an aversion to genuine challenges to their orthodoxy.  There is an almost palpable fear of probing questions.  Surely, if Jesus is ‘the truth’ then there is nothing to fear from difficult questions.  Churches should be encouraging questions, not offering cliched answers, about suffering, evil, war, politics, euthanasia, abortion, gender, justice… just about everything.

Instead, it’s my experience that some, admittedly learned, guy gets up the front, spouts on about ‘the right way to look at’ some verse or issue, (usually saying the same thing over and over again), everyone says ‘hear, hear’ and goes home to forget the sermon and get on with their lives.  Once in a blue moon the minister/pastor/priest will accidentally say something which gets to you for a while, but that’s relatively rare (sorry to all those who labour over their weekly homilies).

Blokes tend to like to make things, and when they make things they ‘stress test’ them.  You put up a swing for your 20kg kid and you’ll probably jump on the swing with your 80+kg mass (or in my case 100+) just to make sure it’s strong enough.  Put up a shelf and you’ll find yourself hanging from it for a few seconds to check that it won’t fall down under the weight of the half dozen glass trinkets your wife wants to put on it.  When you’re looking to buy a car you’ll check out the crash test info just to make sure it’s tough enough to withstand any other family members practicing their ‘parking by braille’ (of course, we blokes are awesome drivers and never inadvertently curb wheels or bump up against carpark walls) .

Some of the best times I’ve had with other men were times when we were testing out some new boat, or car, or pool, or whatever… putting it through it’s paces to find its limits

My advice to those who want to attract men to church… make your sermon simple and solid.  Then invite all and sundry (really invite, don’t just fling out a rhetorical invitation)  to help you to hit itwith everything they’ve got, and when the smoke clears, whatever still stands is worthwhile.  Stress test your sermons, and let the rest of us into ‘the shed’ to help you do that.

*End gender stereotype zone*

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