Thursday, July 27, 2006

Thanks Natalie

Thanks to Natalie who recently read and reviewed this article from UMNS about the church being too feminine I had to go out and read the article. I then went about reading the rest of my morning blogs (camps with wireless internet are the best!) only to find that Gavin had already made note of the same blog from Natalie and was now underway with his own critique.

I have long struggled with the issue of marginalized men, and the need to rectify the wrongs of our past as overbearing and unable to compromise limiting the powers of women. The flip side of that is that when women took the reins (men wouldn't give them up) men took flight and are still searching for an identity.

I took this up in part with Gavin, and hope that the dialogue will continue. What's more I hope that the two or three readers I have that Gavin doesn't will then have an opportunity to chime in, especially since a few of them are women in ministry whom I respect greatly.

So now for my response to Gavin's post.

So how do we hold an online debate. The article was not written by David Murrow - whom you quote, but Robin Russell, a woman.
She makes some very valid points and directs the church to be challenged. Murrow does seem to have some bigger bones to pick - albeit a little unneccesary.

"If church was a place where men could be real and not religious, you'd see a lot more of them," he concludes. (Murrow)

I would hope that it is, but unfortunately many of our churches forget the real and enter fantasy land during worship. (I'm guilty too)

But he really went off the deep end, and may have been done a severe injustice by Russell with this quote.

"Every Muslim man knows that he is locked in a great battle between good and evil," he recently told Religion News Service. But most Christians today see their faith more in terms of "having an unconditional love relationship" with Jesus, he said.

It isn't about the battle or the loving relationship, it is about how we carry those out. Islam does a very good job of laying out how to "work" in that battle, while the loving relationship is less often portrayed as "work", because we cannot earn our way into heaven, which Islam promotes.

Truth is, men in the church are on the decline and we have got to develop a reasoned understanding of why (especially difficult when men are hard pressed to identify feelings - on the whole, a generalization I know) to better incorporate both men and women's styles of worship in our services, and our outreach, and our studies.

Enough of my opening diatribe. Maybe I'll post on my blog for more input.



At July 27, 2006, Blogger Todd M said...

Hey, I am glad I stumbled across your blog.

Really, I am sure that there is something to the need to make church more "male-friendly" but, just the same, here are a couple of takes on this that I have posted before. (I apologize if these don't create links.)

Keep up the good writing!

At August 01, 2006, Blogger Michael said...


My own take and experience with most of this stems from men who are fed up with being told that they've held the reins for too long and that it is time to step aside and let women do it. And if you look around, for instance, at scholarship offerings (I'm a part-time local pastor and candidate for ordained ministry), they are specifically geared toward minorities, more specifically, women. And I think this is just the tip of the iceberg.

I am a 47-year-old white man, and sometimes I feel so unwelcome as to feel nearly insignificant because I'm not feminine enough or that "my kind" needs to stand down to make room for new blood. The entire Methodist system is geared this way. Consider how this year in many Conferences, the celebration of women in ministry has put virtually everything far down on the list of things to be concerned about. Surely in the last 50 years, men have had some positive impact on the church not because they are men but because they are disciples of Christ. And to be pushed aside to celebrate diversity is to simply be told that your role is incidental.

I see far too much emphasis on "women in ministry", and many men I've spoken to feel the same way. Men "want" to fix things and do yard work? It could very well be that men have been ASSIGNED to take care of these chores.

Good stuff, brother.


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