Tuesday, August 22, 2006

An Injection of Testosterone

Recently, Floyd Landis was celebrated as the winner of the Tour de France. That was until his drug tests turned up positive for excessive amounts of testosterone in his body. The interesting thing about testosterone in a man's body is that it speeds up recovery time, it makes it more efficient, and enhances performance overall. For instance, it helps a person recover from an 8 minute deficit on a bike. If we, as church ministers and members, were honest with ourselves we would realize that we aren't just 8 minutes behind, we are about 30. This is primarily in North American churches. We are far enough behind that we can't even see the spandexed backsides of the churches from other countries out in front of us. And we just keep getting farther behind. The stark reality of the North American church is twofold - without women it would of died long ago, without men it will die in a generation. It doesn't need male domination, nor female domination. What we need is an injection of testosterone into the church.

Why have men left the church?
Over the past century, or so, there has been an increased feminization of the church. The church got sissified. I am not sure that is a word, but it works well. The early 20th century experienced a great influx of women into churches looking for men to marry. They were tired of their men spending time at the local bar, which formed the hub of most town life. They used the church as their platform to "clean up" their man's act. Hence, prohibition and the like became mainstays of church polity. Over the next 75 years or so, church became more and more geared towards women. And rightfully so, women formed the backbone of the church. Church lost its mystery and danger. It became relationally driven, and emotionally sensitive. It became about sharing and caring with one another. You know, the stuff that makes men want to throw up in the bushes. Men have ceased being challenged by the church. Not challenge in a confrontational way, but challenged in the sense of adventure way. I will be honest, if there is a risk of losing some sort of appendage off my body I am all in. Let's do it. I am not in if it involves sitting in an uncomfortable chair talking about my feelings. Think of what most of our Sunday School classes are programmed like. Because of this increased femininity of the church,men have been running away for years. So, how do we get them back? The answer is not swinging to the other side of the spectrum and creating a male dominated church. That doesn't work either. There must be a healthy balance of the two within the church. Here are some ideas:

* More construction/building orientated mission trips
* Father/son recreational trips i.e. fishing, hunting
* Stop using the words: "How does that make you feel?"; "intimate personal relationship with God"; "nurture"; and other touchy feely words from the pulpit
* Start talking about the challenge of following Christ, the adventure of following Christ, and the wild-eyed wonderment of God.
* Shorter sermons, or sermons broken up with interactive material and videos.

Now, these are only a few. What are your ideas?


Blogger OKpreacher said...

Professor X,
Great first article. I think that men are vision lead. They need to know that there is some risk that needs to be taken and what they do matters. I will enjoy seeing some of the responses to this article, because the lack of men in the church is a real problem.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shorter sermons- yes. Hunting, fishing-no. Not all men are into those things. Guys still need to hear about a "personal relationship" w/ God. Good to see you OK in Ft. Worth a few weeks ago.

Blogger Professor X said...

Anon. - Good catch. What I mean to say is that we should reword it a little bit. David Murrow suggests using the word "partnership", you could also add "friendship." Hunting and fishing are excellent to add to the mix, not as the only thing though, because it woudl give a broader appeal. Also, father/son activities, along with father/daughter activities in general are good to add. They don't have to be hunting or fishing.

Blogger Kevin Stilley said...

I think the feminization of the church starts all the way down with our children.

A couple of years ago I signed my son up for cub scouts so we could do some father-son activities together. I was stunned to find out that all the leaders were female. After about 4 or 5 "playdate" kind of meetings I went ahead and pulled him out of Cub Scouts stating that "He gets enough sissy stuff at church."

When I said that, I was surprised by my own statement. I hadn't thought about it prior to that. And, if there was anyone at fault it was me, because I pastored the church where my son attended. So, I am pointing at myself.


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