The feminization of the church – a modern day fix

The feminization of the church – a modern day fix

Bride-Women-In-Ministry-blog-by-Cheryl-Schatz

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.

Podles writes:

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.

SolutionTeach 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.

45 thoughts on “The feminization of the church – a modern day fix

  1. You know, if it weren’t so ludicrous it’d almost be funny.  I remember several years back there was a fundagelical radio personality here in Southern Cal. who went on a rant about the “feminization” of the church and how it lessens the effectiveness of the good news of Jesus Christ.

    Lessens the effectiveness of the Gospel?  Not unless you have your theology mixed up with Jack Bauer and John Wayne.

    Podles argues cogently about why men shy away from church but I think that the larger reason why you don’t see as many men in the pews on Sunday morning, is because they’re too freakin’ lazy to get their butts out of bed and accompany their wives.  Weekend play time, whether it’s ski boats, football, or nursing a hangover will often take precedence.

  2. Thank you, Cheryl! As a man, I get awfully sick of people telling me that I don’t like flowers (I do!) and that I want more violence and war stories in church (I don’t!). I enjoy hearing the voices of both women and men. I don’t want to be separated from the women; I think we do that too much already.

  3. I have learned that it’s about life… if a church is dying, men will not attend.  When i first began ministry in a small rural church there were mostly women.  But the men returned as the church revived and came to life.  While I was worried about the masculinity movement’s claims, those claims did not prove to be true.  When we looked at healthy functioning and did leadership development with the leadership team (a mixed gender group) health returned.  After a couple of years, life returned, men returned, the young returned.  

    While men, like women do have some specific needs they are not all alike.  Some men prefer mixed groups, my husband included.  Others enjoy gathering around activites such as sports, canoe trips and outdoor activities.  Some women also enjoy these activities.  In our rural context, we have women hunters and outdoor activists as well as men.  BTW, my husband grows flowers for a living and likes to garden–that does not make him feminine.

    I also preach a robust gospel that invites hearers to know God deeply and live couregeously in their daily lives.  We are called to live in a new kingdom governed by Christ.  That kingdom is different than kingdoms of the world.  That kingdom runs by a different set of values, is centered in Christ and what he has done.  Following Christ calls for courage from both men and women because it is counter cultural.  

    The masculinity movement caters to a culturally derived concept of maleness imposed on the scripture.  The masculinity movement is not counter cultural but capitulates to a Hollywood version of masculinity and bears little resemblance to the Christ of the Bible.   True Biblical Christianity exposes our stereotypes and calls us to be like Christ.  And I don’t see a male way to be like Christ or a female way to be like Christ.
    Christ says follow me, count the cost, be willing to give your life in following. 
       

  4. i have just one more thing to say.  I object vehemently to the notion that men do not like to learn and study the bible.  One of the masculinity movement’s claims is that men don’t like to sit around and discuss the Bible and that learned seminary trained men like pastors are somehow effeminiate or less than men. (do we consider Martin Luther feminine, or Augustine feminine)?  That is absurd and demeaning to men and creates a climate in which stupidity reigns.  All of us need to discover the truth of the scripture and become good students of Jesus. 

    Forgive my angst… but that’s really absurd.

  5. You know, this thinking has more serious ramifications than we think. It is part of the ‘roles’ and expectations that are assigned with gender in the comp movement.

    This was really brought home to me listening to the testimonies of several Born Again Christian men who came out of the homosexual life. There were quite a few that did not fit into the stereotypical ‘male’ role. They were artistic, musical, etc. but were expected to be interested in sports, hunting and more masculine pursuits. This made them think there was already something wrong with them because they were drawn to design, art or theatre.

    Homosexuality is not always the result of this thinking but most of these men were very young and followed their talent which led them to those who ‘accepted’ them and the outcome of this can be serious.

    We need to be very careful what we declare is masculine or feminine. My daughter loves rocks, leaves, the outdoors and her favorite color is orange (sigh). She hates ruffles, bows, and fussy girly clothes and could care less if her hair is brushed or not. Not every girl wants to be a princess and saved by a Knight as John Elderidge writes.  All this focus literally makes people believe there is something inherently wrong with them when there isn’t. It gets their focus off of who they were created to be in Christ.

  6. Greg,
    I was hoping that the part of my post that was tongue-in-cheek humor would help to shake up a few people who place the blame for men’s lack of commitment on the women.

    Tom,
    Welcome!  Thank you for your good comments.  We do need to see each other as individuals first who are not stereotypes.  My husband is a very manly man, yet he is way more emotional that I am.  And I love him just the way he is.  I also am very encouraged by men who express an appreciation of the value of women.  Thanks!

    Arlene,
    Very insightful comments!  Your comments from your own experience are very valuable!

    Don,
    Your comments are always appreciated.  I continue to be in awe of men who support women in ministry and who stick their own necks out to affirm women.  Bravo!

  7. Lin,
    I missed seeing your comment while I was writing my response.  You are absolutely right.  While there may be general male and female characteristics, these are not a “given” because we are human first.  I myself am in a field that is populated mostly by men.  There are not too many female apologists although in the last few years more are coming out of the woodwork.  I wake up in the morning thinking about Christian doctrine and if I find a group of men debating doctrine or theology, I find myself right in their midst like a dirty shirt.  I am bored by knitting and “female only” groups focused on recipes.  Being that I myself am an “oddity”, I am way more sensitive to others who also don’t appear to fit into society’s expectations.  I don’t say to the potter “why did you make me like this?”  I just enjoy being who I am and if some refuse to accept my God-given gifts because I am female, then they are the ones missing out.

  8. Cheryl, I once spent 11 days in an unairconditioned quonset hut in 100 degree weather facilitating strategic planning with 1 General, 10 Colonels, 2 Majors, 1 Captain and one Sargent Major. All men. Every afternoon, we played golf. At the end of the first week, one of them looked at me and said, you know, I forget you are a gal because you are like one of the guys.

    I never had a better compliment. :o)

  9. Lin, i worry about women returning from war and finding a stereotypical church environment on gender that discounts their experiences and assumes how they should be.    I worry about the emphasis on an cultural femininity and how returning vets will find fellowship and support.  I think vets may find only disconnect around their experience. 

  10. cheryl, seminary was such a delightful experience because i realized how i did not fit into “women” groups that focused only on home, appearance and family.  While family and home was important to me, i so wanted to learn about Jesus.  i had a logical mind and so many things i was hearing just did not add up.  In seminary, i found other women who wanted to learn and think deeply about theology and scripture.  for the first time, i felt like the women around me.  I don’t know if I was odd or if the women’s ministry of church was that shallow.  i wondered if the other women found it so too but did not speak up. 

    growing theologically was very spiritually transformative for me.  And I wake up thinking about theology too.

  11. Arlene, this is one of the reasons why I really like having a community place to meet that this blog provides.  It gives me access to people that I would not otherwise have.

    When I was first studying apologetics and theology, God brought Jehovah’s Witnesses to my door and I had such a passion to reach these people for Christ and other Christians who did not share this passion were not able to understand me.  While I loved my passion, I felt very alone.  Once a year we are able to meet with other ministries who do apologetics as we do, reaching out to the lost in the world of the cults.  It is at that conference that I feel understood and appreciated and not so alone.

    The internet has now given us an ability to interact and find each other.  Those who fight for proper understanding of the hard passages of scriptures in their context regarding the women’s issue can now type in a few key words and find an accepting and loving community of believers.  I am still awe-struck regarding how God allows us to connect with one another.  I do not feel so alone in this area any longer either.

  12. I wrote a little somethin’ about the “emasculated” church a while back (Here).

    Really, it all comes from a complete misunderstanding of how we relate to God. Even I, as a woman, cringe at the “lover” idea as being thinly-veiled sexuality, and that’s not anything near the relationship I have with Jesus. It is to be from one soul to another, a close friendship. And close friendships can and do exist between males and females without any sexual component. Those of us women who have worked along side men know this to be true.

    So it seems to me that the problem lies with those who impose that sexual component. Why are they so obsessed with it? Why can’t they imagine that relationships of friendship exist between men and women? It is that very separation which widens the gap and makes such friendships impossible. I can only conclude that the men who promote this are so weak and sexually confused that they cannot tolerate any contact with women on anything but a sexual plane.

    Jesus said “If YOUR eye CAUSES YOU TO SIN…”; he did NOT say “If someone you saw causes you to sin…”. The sin is “in the eye of the beholder”; the men who always see women as sexual objects are the ones with the problem.

  13. A question to ask Podles and co.:

    Given that Jesus and Paul went out of their way to give feminine images as one of the ways to describe themselves, why do even have your concern?

  14. The bible does say that we are friends of God, but I don’t think that this gets rid of love.  The “lover” of our soul is an unconditional agape love of God that fills our very being inside.  We are to reciprocate that love by loving him back with our whole mind, body and soul.  To me that goes beyond mere friendship although I certainly do not discount friendship.  The ones who add in a sexual overtone are looking at God with their human understanding.

  15. if we cut to the core of things… there is a shame and significant anxiety around what is woman, feminine, female.  I truly believe that this reveals a hatred of woman and is part of what needs healing in this world.  So much fear is created and fear is not from God.  

       

  16. It’s just as Cheryl wrote in an earlier post about the rabbi’s view that “a woman’s voice is filthy nakedness”. These people believe that women are intrinsically evil, or at best inherently temptresses bent on usurping this alleged male authority. They hate what they fear, and their fear is from their own imagination and ego.

  17. “if we cut to the core of things… there is a shame and significant anxiety around what is woman, feminine, female.  I truly believe that this reveals a hatred of woman and is part of what needs healing in this world.  So much fear is created and fear is not from God. ”

    I tend to think it is more ‘blame’ than anything. Something has to be blamed for the results and the blaming of women for the state of the church in Christendom is cultural. It is a backlash to the change in the secular culture of the 60’s and 70’s. Secular feminism is blamed  quite a bit for the state of Christianity today

    I maintain that when women were thought to be inferior and unequal they had more freedom of serving in the church than they do today in some mainstream denominations. So, there is definitely a ‘fear’ componet to this.
       

  18. Well, one thing that we know for sure…the blame game started with Adam.  It is much easier to blame someone else for your failure than to take the blame yourself.

    The other part of the problem is also as described…those who want to have a power based authority will fear any who threaten that special authority.

    The inability to handle personal blame and fear of being “usurped” is a deadly combination.

  19. (Sorry for the formatting glitch, feel free to delete the previous comment)

    A major part of the problem is that we still view the body of Christ as a zero-sum game of a kind. It is the “either-or” mindset lurking beneath these ideas that I find particularly disturbing. Can’t we have churches that are welcoming to women and men alike?

    Also, it is a revealing fact that women are often implicitly assumed to be expendable nonentities. If a certain characteristic of the typical modern-day church is found to put men off, then the architects of the feminization brouhaha instantly conclude that it should be discarded straight away. If men are able to function normally only as long as women are silent and invisible, as in Jewish synagogues, then of course churches should be promptly restructured in this manner. Who cares about women anyway?

    I am all for making sure that men are welcomed at churches and if it is in our power to take some realistic steps to achieve this goal, then we ought to do that. However, it is important to draw the line somewhere.

  20. Yalo,

    Good comments and welcome!  (I removed the duplicate comment that had formatting problems)

    I don’t see any problem in making men welcome in the church, but I agree that we do not welcome them by forcing women to be silent or remove any sign of their feminine presence.

    I believe that the offense is not the presence and work of women.  The offense comes from an ego that harbors prejudice.  I see no need to reward ego, pride or prejudice.  I believe that if we work hard to make church all about Jesus and much less about human personalities and their egos, we will put ourselves back in line to be the affirming and loving communities that we were intended to be.  The cry should always be Jesus first, not men first.

  21. Amen Cheryl… if we lift up Jesus, he will draw all men (people) to himself. 

    Maybe we should preach more Jesus and less man stuff.

  22. Would to God that we had that luxury, Arlene. But instead, many of us are forced to keep hammering on various side issues because others use them to restrict or control large portions of the Body of Christ. We must help the oppressed among us.

  23. Hey Paula, I could not agree with you more.  I think lifting up Christ draws us away from the masculinity movement.  they are lifting up the flesh, specifically the male flesh.  They are re-writing the gospel to reflect a fleshly perspective defined by maleness not by the Spirit. 
    When Paul said there is neither Jew nor greek, slave or free, male and female because we have been clothed with Christ… he was referring to the judiezers who were obssessed with male-circumcized flesh as the mark of God’s people.  But Paul said that community was redefined by Christ and the clothing we have in Christ and the fleshly divisions and ways of being in community are removed through faith in Him.  We become sons… not through circumcisions of male flesh but through faith in Christ. 

    Christ’s body redefines us all and we are all part of Him.  Our human, fleshly ways of ordering community are challenged by the union we have with Christ through the Spirit.  The Spirit constitutes community and communal ordering, not fleshly structures based on ethnicity, class, or gender. 
    I think lifting up Jesus has much to do with delivering women from oppression… i did not mean to imply that it did not.
    Thanks for your challenge. 
     

  24. Oh, sorry, I wasn’t challenging you, just pointing out that sometimes, like Jude, we have to contend for the faith instead of putting all our efforts on the gospel and building each other up. You know that of course, but I think for the sake of readers it’s always good to write down what might not be obvious to others. 🙂

  25. Paula, it is always good to clarify it for others and contend for the faith we hold.  Anyway…   on another note more generally 

    It is sad to say that this whole masculinity movement is really off track theologically.  And it is like watching theology morph before my eyes when I hear them re-write it in masculinity terms–not to mention the Trinity re-write.    

    I read in John Eldrige’s book Wild At Heart that… (a pharaphrase) it was men that fought Hitler, men that won the revolution and by gosh it was a man that hung on a tree.  He implied that it was masculine men that saved the world from evil and that masculinity had something to do with redemption.   He shows his ignorance of theology… Jesus was indeed a man but it is not some how Christ’s maleness that saved us.  If that had been the case… any manly man could have done the trick.  It was God incarnate in a human that rescued humanity from the fall. 

    Further this whole masculinity thing creates a Christ and a salvation that is hard to identify with.  If being Christ like has to do with masculinity, then how do I be Christ like?  My attempts to be Christ like are at best inferior because I am a woman.  I can’t become a man and so become manly.  That’s why being Christ like has more to do with Christ’s character and acts of justice than his male flesh.  

    Anyway, this subject gets me hoppin mad for sooo many reasons, primarily the redeinition of basic theology.   

  26. Arlene, this just jumped out at me:

    My attempts to be Christ like are at best inferior because I am a woman. I can’t become a man and so become manly.

    The male supremacists don’t seem to have noticed that they are actually teaching Gnostic heresy in this. From the Gospel of Thomas, Logion 114:

    Simon Peter said to him: “Mary should leave us, for women are not worthy of the Life.” Yeshua answered: “This is how I will guide her so that she becomes Man. She, too, will become a living breath like you Men. Any women who makes herself a Man will enter into the Kingdom of God.”

    Of course some Gnostics insist this is allegory, but even then, it’s hard to miss the fact that they believed the “feminine” to be inferior and perhaps even sub-human. (They argue that it is not aner but anthropos that the woman must become, but that’s even worse, because that makes her not even a person.)

  27. Wait, Don!

    Maybe it’s really Sayers who is naughty?  We should expect Sayers to be naughty, dissident that she was!

    (Cindy with very large smile on her face.)

    I don’t think that most of these men that come up with these theories have enough work to do.   My husband thinks that they all need to get jobs.

  28. Yes, I am AMAZED that some of the non-egal leaders SPEND SO MUCH TIME to keep women in their place, as they see it.

  29. Yes, I too think that is amazing.  It appears to me that they want women’s gifts to be used outside the church instead of inside.  Let them evangelize and win the lost, they say.  That is all good and well, but aren’t the gifts of the spirit especially given to grow and mature the church?

    Their job as “keeper” of the door to the church unfortunately is restricting the Holy Spirit as they work hard to keep him out with his work through his female “sons”.  Such a shame.

  30. “It appears to me that they want women’s gifts to be used outside the church instead of inside.  Let them evangelize and win the lost, they say.”

    It has always been the case. Even in the 19th century, when the movement for greater equality in the church was still in its infancy, women were allowed to use their gifts outside the church.

    William Baxter Godbey, the author of “Shall the Women Preach?” wrote, “Amid this universal cry [referring to the number of the unsaved], I am glad not a church in Christendom is found mean enough to say no to the women. All the churches on the globe endorse women preaching by sending them to preach to the heathens. Where is the church that has not her women this day in the heathenfield? “Brother Godbey, my church doesn’t allow the women to preach.” You are mistaken; your church has already sent out women to preach to the heathens over the sea, and you ought to be preaching to the heathens at home.”

  31. Trying to make the church masculine can have medical implications. A mega church here in town wanted to replace their atrium carpet with something more masculine. (The color scheme was a mauve) so a few staffers, with the approval of the elders, chose a geometric design. Since the area to be covered is the size of several football fields, it was not only a great expense but a great expanse of geometric design. The first Sunday after it was installed quite a few people became dizzy and nauseated and ambulances had to be called for a few serious cases.

    So, it had to ripped up at great expense to start over.

  32. Their job as “keeper” of the door to the church unfortunately is restricting the Holy Spirit as they work hard to keep him out with his work through his female “sons”.  Such a shame.

    Like Diotrephes.

  33. Lin #’s 37 & 38,

    Words like incredible (which is quite worn-out these days anyway), incredulous, and a host of other adjectives, can’t even begin to describe the debacle that must have been for that mega-church!

    If they follow the autocratic “Moses” model for church governance, good luck trying to replace those responsible.  But if they’re representative with respect to governance style, vote them out!

  34. Yalo,
    That is a thought-provoking quote.

    Lin,
    Oh boy, that is a good example of why we need each other.  Some say that “men only” are designed for church “office” (whatever that is), but the fact that God made us different and put us together shows that it is God’s design to provide balance in all things.  No matter how good men are, they cannot provide the balance that women provide.  It is when we work together that we are the most powerful.

    That was a good example that you gave of Diotrephes.  Those who want first place, like Diotrephes, are harming the church.

  35. First of all, let me say that I am so grateful to have a place to be. I struggle with finding restrictions within the body of Christ, even from those who say they do support women – when you get right down to it, the “supporters” of women onl y give encouragement to traditional women’s roles. I am a Pastor’s Kid (P.K.) and now a Pastor’s Wife. Though I can testify that there are differences (at least within the roles from 20 years ago) emerging, the general mentality stays the same at the heart.
    My husband is pretty supportive of me as a woman who is being called by God to speak on these very issues. At present, we have 3 young boys & I am trying to go back to school to get my undergrad, and then it’s on to my graduate degree. I know this will be a long road, and I have fought for it, and I want my sons to know who they are in Christ. I want to know who I am in Christ too.

    I am so encouraged to see other learned women here searching & defending the scriptures – as it states in Revelation , let no man add or take away from what is written. I also believe heavily in the pride of man will bring him low, but he who takes a lowly stance will obtain honor (Proverbs 29:23).

    If (certain) men want to masculinze the church, why don’t they take a simple, logical look at Christ, who HUMBLED HIMSELF, came in the FORM OF A MAN, carried His cross (ultimate humilitation and pain), suffered & died for our sins. The scripture says , He came TO SERVE, NOT to be served. Hm…. came as a man, to serve….

    Fear. Fear is the path to anger, anger is the path to hatred & hatred the path to suffering & death (okay, so that was Yoda… but really!)
    I like this post:
    “if we cut to the core of things… there is a shame and significant anxiety around what is woman, feminine, female. I truly believe that this reveals a hatred of woman and is part of what needs healing in this world. So much fear is created and fear is not from God. “

  36. Quote from blog: “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.”

    I see it differently. Men are already catered to more in churches than women, even though there are more women then men.

    Since most pastors are men who believe in male headship, I seriously doubt many of them are “catering to women’s needs.”

    There may be more lacy doilies on church tables, but as women are not allowed to lead or make decisions or do anything (other than teach Sunday School to four year olds and make coffee in the church kitchen), men are in control of churches.

    Churches I have attended in person, and programming I watch on Christian networks, routinely have male preachers using sports talk as analogies to make points about God or Bible lessons, or male pastors sometimes discuss football at the start or at some point of the sermon to bond with the males in the audience.

    While I’m sure some women like football, I’m one woman who finds it boring, and I find the repeated references to football (or baseball, boxing, basketball) boring and distracting during a sermon.

    Also, I never hear male pastors toss out analogies that are meant to make ladies feel included.

    Knitting is an activity that most of us would probably agree is feminine, or something that women do more than men…. so why don’t these male pastors that use NFL talk during sermons to bond with the guys ever play fair and drop the occasional knitting reference into a sermon?

    As a female, I don’t mind hearing about war and violence in the Bible or in the news, and actually find it interesting. Growing up, I did not like “chick flicks” and preferred violent war films, and things like sci fi movies with Arnold Schwarzenegger ripping alien’s heads off.

    Sorry to go off on a bit of a tangent here, but my other huge pet peeve as a never married older woman is how often pastors use marriage as an analogy to God.

    Yes, I get that the church is called the “Bride of Christ” in the Bible, yada yada, but as a single woman, it gets annoying and painful to hear such marriage analogies all the time. They make me feel excluded when husbands/wives are constantly used as examples by pastors to make a point that they could make equally well without using marriage as an example. (I’ve also heard older single Christian males say they feel put out and ostracized by marriage analogies in church sermons too.)

  37. @Lin who said, “There were quite a few that did not fit into the stereotypical ‘male’ role. They were artistic, musical, etc. but were expected to be interested in sports, hunting and more masculine pursuits. This made them think there was already something wrong with them because they were drawn to design, art or theatre.”

    I was a tom boy when I was a girl. I preferred climbing trees and wearing jeans. But every Sunday my mom would dress me up in itchy, frilly pink dresses so I’d be acceptable to the adults at church.

    I don’t have kids and don’t like them (nor do I like babies). I feel uncomfortable around babies/kids, but every women I meet, including church women, always assume I have kids, or that I like them and want to spend time around them. Every time I walk into a new church, the greeters assume I’m divorced with kids (wrong, never been married, never had a kid).

    I think there are still some expectations in many churches that boys act and dress one way, and girls dress and act another. It can be very uncomfortable for you when you don’t fit everyone’s ideas of what a female is “supposed” to be.

    This creates other problems for females, too, these narrow, cultural ideals – we’re conditioned by society and the church to be codependent.

    Raising females with the belief they have to always be submissive, sweet, forever compliant doormats who never express anger or are never to express what they really think and feel (and also teaching Christians that these beliefs are BIBLICAL behavior and that God expects it of females) – attracts abusive or controlling men. This is one reason why so many sweet, naive Christian girls wind up marrying emotionally or physically abusive jerks.

    Once a Christian woman gets hitched to an abusive man, some men in the church (who say divorce is never, ever right or permissble) do yet more damage and tell her to stay in the cruddy marriage.

    Teaching females to stick with rigid gender roles and to be codependent (and that it’s also biblical – even though it’s not-) also has other negative outcomes, such as hindering a woman’s performance on the job and other areas of life.

  38. “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.”

    This is a restating of Jung’s Individuation theory. Any time I see psychology being used to uphold some false teaching I get very agitated. Jung and Freud both forumulated the early ideas around which modern psychology/psychiatry has developed. Although many practitioners now debunk some of these ideas many of them continue to lurk and evolve. Human beings may well need to grow up and ‘put away childish things’. They are certainly charged to leave their parents and cleave to their marriage partner. If this is the case in biblical terms, how do these authors support the idea that men must separate from women. These men are supposed to be one flesh with their wives, yet women are not to be countenanced in the church.

    If we are all one in the body of Christ, and if there is one Spirit who dwells within us, where is the submission to the Spirit of God who asks us to serve one another regardless of sex, or financial or ethnic background.

    This is a very serious false gospel which is being preached here all on the basis of worldly divisions and conflicts. These men would like their churches to be their castles, their own piece of paradise where like the Mormons they will be served by women for eternity.

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