Where are the men?
Christian Men (pt 1)
This week I read a book by David Murrow. The title of the book is “Why Men Hate going to Church”. This book deals with a major and troubling issue with Christianity as a whole, even affecting the church, and that issue is that Christianity is pretty much the only major religion where there are more women worshipers than men.
So, what seems to be the problem? Well, in today’s busy world, men seldom go to church! Furthermore, of the men who do attend church, most decline to invest themselves in the Christian life as their wives and mothers do. The majority of men attend services and nothing more. One man said, “I go mainly for my kids and my wife. Church is okay but it really doesn’t enthrall me like it does her.”
Who is the gospel touching today? Women. Women’s ministries, women’s conferences, women’s Bible studies and women’s retreats are ubiquitous in the modern church. Men’s ministry, if it even exists, might consist of an occasional pancake breakfast and an annual retreat. How did a faith founded by a man and his twelve male disciples become so popular with women but detested by men? The church of the first century was a magnet to males. Jesus’ strong leadership, blunt honesty and bold action mesmerized men. A five minute sermon by Peter resulted in the conversion of 3000 men.
Today’s church does not mesmerize men; it repels them. Just 35 percent of the men in the united States say they attend church weekly. In Europe male participation rates are much worse, in the neighborhood of 5 percent. This hardly sounds like a male-dominated, patriarchal institution to me.
Let me be blunt: today’s church has developed a culture that is driving men away. Almost every man in America has tried church, but two-thirds find it unworthy of a couple of hours once a week. When men need spiritual sustenance, they go to the wilderness, the workplace, the garage, the corner bar, the stadium, the racetrack, a novel or a movie.
Men’s disinterest in Christianity is so consistent around the world, it cannot be explained
by pride, father issues, sin, or distraction. Neither can we say that men are just less religious because this is untrue. Male and female participation are roughly equal in Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism. In the Islamic world men are publicly and unashamedly religious—more so than women. Of the world’s greatest religions, only Christianity has a consistent, nagging shortage of male practitioners.
So what is driving men away from Christianity? What do you think the problem is?
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