Why, hello there!
Book for this past week was WHY MEN HATE GOING TO CHURCH by David Murrow. This book was recommended to me about 18 months ago by another friend and youth minister and I immediately bought it because I was intrigued by its premise despite not knowing David Murrow at all. Turns out he’s written a couple other books like, HOW WOMAN HELP MEN FIND GOD, WHAT YOUR HUSBAND ISN’T TELLING YOU, and THE MAP: THE WAY OF ALL GREAT MEN. I’m sensing a theme. But I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by this book.
Murrow spent little time focusing on the general feminizing of our Western culture or the demonizing of masculinity. He focuses on the church and her history of being largely a place that celebrates people with more feminine qualities. As an example of this, he points to many things but one of which that stood out to me was how we tend to characterize Jesus himself. He presented two lists of attributes… I’ll just go ahead and put them below.
He then asks which of these columns we’d be more likely to attribute to Jesus. Almost everyone affirms that Set B carries the more accurate picture of what we think of when we think of Jesus. Then Murrow reveals that he pulled these two sets of attributes straight from the book MEN ARE FROM MARS, WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS obviously indicating that Set A is meant to describe men’s characteristics and Set B, women’s. Well, no wonder men don’t always relate to this feminine Jesus. He goes to indicate that Jesus did often exhibit masculine characteristics but they are rarely highlighted in church.
Another point Murrow makes that stood out was about current worship services. Take out the fact that singing for 20 minutes at a time is not necessarily every man’s forte, megachurches and community churches have started utilizing praise and worship songs that use romantic, even borderline lustful, lyrics towards Jesus. It’s not hard to imagine why some men wouldn’t be very comfortable with that.
Murrow goes from church decor to Bible class expectations for students, to the bulk of most church’s ministries that always seem to prefer those with more feminine characteristics. This is why we often seem our women thrive in the church and the few men who more often than not have more feminine qualities become clergy. A church exhibiting a gender gap with women outnumbering men is often the sign of a shrinking church. Conversely, the church with a healthy male membership is almost always the sign of a thriving church. So why then do churches do so little to intentionally engage their men?
Father’s Day sermons do more to scathe and rebuke men, men’s bible studies are often avoided for the fear of sitting in circles and talking about emotions, men’s breakfasts at least have manly man food but are often scheduled to what suits the more elderly men of the congregation. Try sitting down right now and write out a list of all ministries your church has and decide how many are suited for your women and how many for your men? Chances are that the women’s ministry blows away whatever 2-3 men’s ministries your church has.
So Murrow does much to show how this imbalance is a detriment to the church’s health and how intentionality towards our men in every ministry, especially the Sunday morning service, is imperative. I love how he offers up the idea of a “Sports Sunday” (and I’m not a sports guy in the least) where everyone sports their favorite team’s jersey or colors and instead of a traditional potluck there’s a church-wide tailgate party. What’s great about ideas like this is that women can jump on board while it’s much tougher for men to cooperate with anything that makes them look too “girly”.
Highly recommend this book for church and ministry leaders, male and female!
Next book I’ll be reviewing is THE ROAD BACK TO YOU: AN ENNEAGRAM JOURNEY TO SELF-DISCOVERY by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile.