(Christian Century) Thomas G. Long—What is it With Men and Attending Worship Services?

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Still, the numbers don't lie. Men are staying away from church. The reasons are undoubtedly complex, but perhaps a clue can be found in a Christian group that attracts men and women in roughly equal numbers: Eastern Orthodoxy. A cynic might say that men are attracted to Orthodoxy because it is conservative, with an all-male clergy, many of them sporting beards. The finding of religion journalist Frederica Mathewes-Green, however, is closer to the truth. She surveyed male adult converts and discovered that Orthodoxy's main appeal is that it's "challenging." One convert said, "Orthodoxy is serious. It is difficult. It is demanding. It is about mercy, but it is also about overcoming myself." Another said that he was sick of "bourgeois, feel-good American Christianity."

Yes, some churchgoers are satisfied with feel-good Christianity, but I think many Christians—women and men—yearn for a more costly, demanding, life-changing discipleship. Perhaps women are more patient when they don't find it, or more discerning of the deeper cross-bearing opportunities that lie beneath the candied surface. Men take a walk or hang around the church coffeepot talking in jargon about football: another disciplined and costly arena of life in which people sacrifice their bodies and their individual desires for a larger cause that matters to them, at least for the moment. Near transcendence is preferable to no transcendence at all.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchMenReligion & Culture

1 Comments
Posted October 23, 2011 at 3:37 pm

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1. Michael+ wrote:

We have more men than women in our church.  One reason is that we deploy men to ministry almost instantly.  We’re a church plant, three years old, so if a man shows up, we challenge him to commit to the Set-up Ministry Team.  To wit, we have two men, each with two boys, who set-up and take-down all our chairs, but their wives are not involved.

October 24, 9:02 am | [comment link]


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