Go For the Guys

Over on my other blog, I talk about why men hate church, and point over to a link to the church for Men website.  The author brings out some interesting and very valid statistics.

 

However, when it comes to dealing with the problem, the author is totally all wet with institutional thinking.  In the “Go for the Guys” link/campaign, we see where he recommends having a special male-oriented service once per quarter.  During the service he recommends stuff like having the minister deliver a sermon no more than 10 minutes long, and doing it while wearing blaze orange or camouflage.  He wants the congregation to sing manly songs, bring in power tools or old cars and basically decorate the sanctuary with manly stuff while getting rid of the doilies, the flowers and the quilted banner,

 

Here’s the problem: after “Guy’s Sunday” the church will remove the wood framing, the cars, the camo, the gear and the preacher will go back to his 45 minute sermon and the music will go back in love song mode.  It’s an institution!  It may be able to tolerate a change 2-3 Sundays a year, but churchianity is firmly entrenched into the modern religious church mindset.  Church is owned by a feminized culture.

 

The solution is to break from the institutional mindset, and the bondage of obligation, guilt and work-based faith imposed on people in today’s religious arena.  That means get out of the building.  That church building is a monolithic monument to bondage.  Break the bonds, and know the freedom of Christ.  Murrow is wrong when he says men are not relationship-based.  We are very relationship-based, however we’re not going to relate exactly the same way as women.  We like being out and carousing with our buddies.  We like bouncing ideas off each other.  We like challenging each other.  We like being involved in significant things.  In a crowd of 100-1,000 people who sit relatively passively every week, this is not going to happen.  But in a group of say…12 or so, this absolutely CAN happen.  And it did as witnessed by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  A small group of guys got together, met their Lord and proceeded to change the world.

 

They did not start out to set up an institution, nor did they set up programs for certain, particular groups.  And that is the saddest thing of all: that this entire thing is a program gimmick designed to lure in the most disenfranchised group in church.  Once a person steps out of the institutional/program mindset, it is easy to spot how silly the idea of setting up “Power Tool Sunday” really looks.  Only people who are already institutionalized will see this as a nifty and dandy idea.  I give high marks for being creative (while still staying within the walls) and for popularizing a real and genuine need, which is getting men to connect with Jesus and each other.  Basically, this is still trying to put new wine into a very, very old wineskin.  It’s time to promote a shift to escape from the institution, to set captives free and to loose the potential of men to excel and accomplish great things according to the purposes set by the Holy Spirit and not some other guy or a committee made up of mostly women.

 

D.

 

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7 Responses to “Go For the Guys”

  1. Tom Allen Says:

    Trying this again to make it more readable:

    Digger, I’m gonna take a break from sex blogging for a moment to respond to this. My wife is fairly active in her church – a UCC Congregationalist suburban church. I am happy to help at some of the functions; one woman saw me cooking so many times that she asked Mrs. Edge (not knowing we were married) if I was a caterer that she had hired.

    I don’t go to services, unless it’s to get laid make my wife happy, and it’s only a few times a year, at that. Part of it is because I’m not Christian, of course; not that Christians believe me. But one of the things that drove me away form the church to my own path was that it simply did not offer anything for me.

    I’ve been perusing the Church for Men website, and while I don’t agree with the entire thing, I found myself doing a lot of head nodding. The underlying premise, that Xianity has been feminized and offers little for manly men strikes me as one of the reasons that so many men found enjoyment in the ranks of the various fraternal organizations that were popular up until the 60s. The Freemasons, the Knights of Columbus, Knights of Pythias, even the Elks all offer ways for men to interact as men while retaining appreciation for one’s own faith traditions.

    You have a very insightful statement: We are very relationship-based, however we’re not going to relate exactly the same way as women. We like being out and carousing with our buddies. We like bouncing ideas off each other. We like challenging each other. We like being involved in significant things. That is exactly the kind of thing that I don’t see in most of the churches that I’ve visited in the last ten or fifteen years.

  2. diggerjones Says:

    It’s the sort of thing you’ll NEVER see in a Sunday service, Tom. You’ll only see it in more relational settings, mostly outside and beyond the building walls, like with FTN at Starbucks. This is why I’d sooner invite you to the Waffle House than any church I’ve ever attended. Or better still, to my house where we can BBQ a pig, and we can debate and discuss eternity and God over a cold one.

    I think you’re right, where the fraternal organizations you mentioned were answers to feminized religion. Most of them did and still do a great many great works; not to earn a place in Heaven but simply to do good deeds and to help other people. Now many of those organizations are opening up to women in an effort to boost their membership rolls. I’ve seen guys take refuge in 12 step groups as well.

    D.

  3. Tom Allen Says:

    Mrs. Edge is fairly church active, and we used to have arguments discussions about why I don’t attend services. Aside from the “I dont’ believe that Jesus is the Savior” thing, one of her complaints is that she feels like the only woman who’s husband doesn’t go with here. But every time I’ve gone, I can tell you that we younger, middle-aged men are assuredly in the minority. At the various functions (at which I gladly help) I am usually the only man, although there are a certain few other guys who will pitch in when asked. These are guys my age who feel like they have been dragged in, and would rather be golfing or riding their Harleys.

    I happen to belong to one of those fraternal organizations. I joined 5 or 6 years ago when I wanted something more than just work. I specifically picked an organization that did not allow women because I wanted something more spiritually oriented that didn’t involve singing or wearing hats with large plumes. I have discovered that quite a number of the men there consider themselves to be good Christians and Jews. Most of them rarely attend services or synagogue (although their wives do), but they tend to be very active in charity works, both organized and otherwise.

    And not surprisingly, quite often we’ll be hanging around after a meeting, having a scotch and a cigar and talking about religion or the nature of the universe until, oh, pretty late. I honestly believe that we all get much more out of that than sitting for those 45 minutes lectures every week. I know I certainly do.

  4. FTN Says:

    Digger, so much of the stuff you’ve been talking about lately crosses over into the exact discussions that I have with those guys at Starbucks (some of whom are actually paid *ministers* at my church, by the way)… Which makes it difficult for me to talk about it either here or there, sometimes, for fear of an Internet search by one of them leading to this persona.

    Sometimes it’s rough being anonymous.

    I love some of the thoughts on the Church for Men website, but you are right — that “Guy’s Sunday” thing sounds incredibly cheesy to me. Institution-wise, Promise Keepers still does a pretty good job, but that’s not exactly “church,” it’s just a travelling conference.

    As you said, guys ARE very relational, just in a much different way than women. Look at how much the disciples argued! Too many of our church institutions are scared of confrontation. A lot of men (and some women, actually) thrive on it.

  5. diggerjones Says:

    Yeah, I know about trying to keep a secret identity secret and trying not to cross wires with “the outside.” But I think they are good discussions to have. The institutionalization of christianity is actually hardest on the pastors. It’s good they have someone like you to just hang out and talk with, hopefully free from all the judgement and expectations that being an institutional clergy person hangs on them.

    Promise Keepers made an effort. They were good at creating an event, but lousy, lousy at truly getting men to connect and relate on a day-to-day level. Why? Because meeting-centered or event-centered or activity-centered relationship does not work. Jesus gathered his disciples, they lived, fussed, argued, debated and otherwise had close, meaningful and intimate relationships with each other. They didn’t meet just on Thursdays and 7:00 at the synogogue or schedule monthly bingo nights. They met around Jesus Christ and followed His lead, wherever it took them. Doesn’t that sound a lot better and exciting than a series of meetings or a weekend event?

    D.

  6. Tom Allen Says:

    Because meeting-centered or event-centered or activity-centered relationship does not work.

    Yet another reason that so many men can “relate” to the fraternities – it’s not about the meetings, but about the activities. Give a bunch of guys some power tools and some wood, and tell them to build a new storage building for the church, and they’ll be there all weekend. Tell them to come down for an hour and listen to a sermon on building, and they’ll stay away in droves.

    FTN, I maintain a blog for my professional side, and I sometimes have difficulty not posting the same articles in both places.

  7. diggerjones Says:

    An even better way is to just leave some tools and lumber lying around and then suggest “You know, the church needs some more storage space. And look, there just happens to be some tools and materials over there!” Basically the more freedom the guys are given, the more they can cut loose with their gifts and creativity. I think that’s part of what Jesus meant when he declared that he came to set the captives free. So much of who we are as men is chained up with regulations and obligations. Once free of all that, it’s almost like being reborn!

    D.

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