There has been much talk in the last few years about the “feminization” of the church. Books have been written about this “serious” problem and many men are thoroughly disgusted with seeing men outnumbered by women in the church. These men feel that something drastic must be done to bring men back into the church. I think that it is time we give this issue a “serious” look in order to help those men who have stopped going to church because of the “feminization of the church”.
Before we look at a solution, let’s have a look at the problem as identified by men:
1. Men don’t like singing love songs to Jesus. Jesus is my savior, they say, not the “lover of my soul”.
2. Men do not like to see flowers and tissue boxes at the front of the church nor do they enjoy sitting on pink cushioned pews.
3. Men need to separate from women to assert their masculinity. Men don’t want to be around a place where there are a lot of women. In the book “The Church Impotent the Feminization of Christianity“, Leon Podles writes about men’s need to separate from women. David Wayne reviews the book by writing:
Podles thesis (from a sociological point of view) is that men are born with an attachment to women, their mothers. At first, the male is not aware that he and his mother are different beings. It is only later that he begins to realize they are different. When he realizes this, he is in the position where, in order to attain manhood, he must break with the feminine. Hence, the male’s psyche is such that he is always seeking separation. This leads to a proclivity for dangerous activities. There is some intense social pressure put on boys to make the break. If they fail to do so, they are called “momma’s boy” or “sissy” or worse.
4. Men view males that go to church as less masculine.
Western Christianity has become part of the feminine world from which men feel they must distance themselves to attain masculinity. That is why men stay away from church, especially when they see that the men involved in church tend to be less masculine…Psychological studies have detected a connection between femininity in men and interest in religion. There may even be a physical difference. Among men, football players and movie actors have the highest testosterone level, ministers, the lowest.
5. Pastors are catering to women’s needs and not men’s needs in the church. The sermons are too long and there are not enough stories of war, fighting or examples of manly heroes.
Now let’s have a look at the past and see how the early patriarchal Jews managed to keep their synagogues from being “feminized” and see what we can observe from their patriarchal past:
1. The Jewish oral law did not allow daughters to be taught the scriptures.
Modern-day solution: Stop teaching girls about the bible and better yet, keep them fully uneducated.
2. The Talmud, the book of Jewish law, stipulates that women reading aloud constitutes a public performance that would bring shame and harm the “dignity of the congregation.”
Modern-day solution: Tell women that any public speaking, praying or singing shames and harms the dignity of the congregation. This should help to keep women away from outnumbering the men.
3. The Jewish synagogue kept men and women segregated.
Modern-day solution: Establish a men’s sanctuary area free from women so men can be assured that they will not come into contact with anything feminine.
4. The Jewish oral law had a required number of men before a synagogue could be established.
Modern-day solution: Reestablish the quorum on males. Do not allow a church to be established unless it can congregate a set number of men. Then start counting females. Do not let in any more females than males. Once the number of females is equal to males, lock the door and bar any further females from entrance so that the church cannot become “feminized”.
5. The Jewish patriarcal system was extremely good at keeping only men involved in the synagogues.
Modern-day solution: Give all the public jobs in the church to men. Make sure that only men are on the decorating committee (football and hunting decorations should enhance the appearance of the sanctuary) and ban anything pink and replace soft things with leather and wood. Also make sure to replace the tissue boxes at the front of the church with spitoon bowls so that in case the men get emotional, they can properly blow their noses in a manly way.
Next let’s look to Jesus to find his solution to the “feminization” of the church to find a way forward:
1. God is seen as “male” and men don’t want to “love” another male.
Solution: Reeducate men to understand that God is God and is neither male nor female. While Jesus came as a man, his essence is God. We are to love God with all of our heart and soul and mind. Teach men to love God and then they can sing with all their hearts words of love and honor to the Almighty God.
2. Men have used feminine things to put down other men. Want to insult a man? Just tell him that he should pull up his panties or tell him that he walks like a girl. When men who have sensitive egos are put down for who they are by comparing them to women, they will protect their egos by staying away from anything feminine.
Solution: Teach men to see women as joint-heirs, and fellow “sons” of God who are to be respected and held in high regard. Stay away from dishonoring another man with feminine insults.
3. Men see “submission” as a command to females alone. The tough men “rule” and the weak women “submit”.
Solution: Teach men that submission is a godly, Christian attribute and all of us are to submit in love to one another to learn from each other and serve one another. Jesus, the greatest man who ever lived, spent time on his knees washing feet. Jesus also went out of his way to engage women and meet their needs. Teach men that women are a gift from God and not a nuisance to be avoided.
4. Men see Christianity as a sign of weakness.
Solution: Teach men to know and understand the gospel and its power. Christianity is anything but weak and the soon-coming conquering King deserves to be obeyed no matter how much peer pressure men have to stay away from Jesus and the gospel. Teach men to humble themselves before God and to admit that they are not complete in themselves and that they have needs. Teach them that the Holy Spirit is the one in charge of giving of the gifts for the benefit of the body of Christ. Teach these men to respect the Holy Spirit’s choice and honor those who have the gifts that they need even if the person who holds the gift is a female. Lastly we need to teach men that it is not about numbers. If there are women “sons” filling the pews of the church, then men need to praise God that so many women have answered the call.
Ah, the feminization of the church….just another misnomer for the bride of Christ.