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To return to the pews, men need an ass-kicking Jesus

This week’s “I’m not sh*tting you” post. You’ll have to be patient with me, as I am still reeling in disbelief at recent cultural rollback posts at the Blend recently — from the Dallas Claymore piece on Male Pride (“Maybe it is a woman’s world, but when they f-ck it up it will be ours again,” to Betty Miller‘s wingnuttery in “What Does The Bible Say About The Duties of a Christian Wife?” As you will read below, the Right’s march back to the days of the caveman is nearly complete.

Author David Murrow, a Presbyterian elder, has a seriously warped concept of what makes a man. In fact, he has filled a book with enough laughable insanity that when I read this article about it, Author Tells Women-Oriented Churches How to Get Their Men Back, I thought the tome belonged in the Humor section of the bookstore.

More than 20 percent of married women attend church without their husbands, and represent 60 percent of church membership, so Murrow attempts to explain the disparity. The premise of this particular work is that men aren’t going to church because today’s houses of worship are too feminized, too concerned with childcare, teaching, singing, cooking, planning for gatherings — woman’s work, in other words — so men have nothing to do that they are interested in.

Murrow says men need a brawny, muscular, brass balls church — saving souls with a blow-sh*t-up attitude. Let’s listen to the voice of the Taliban Testosteroni…

He believes a major reason is that many churches have a concept of Christianity that is based on a feminine model. For instance, he notes, “The ideal values of a Christian are often identified as nurturing, verbal expression, tenderness, gentleness. If that’s the definition of a Christian, it’s going to be a lot harder for a man to achieve that than for a woman to, in most cases.”

Still, the Christian writer cites studies indicating that men want an authentic faith experience but find churches boring and irrelevant. In Why Men Hate Going to Church, he suggests ways to address this problem.

“We have to give men opportunities to use their strengths and their gifts in the service of God instead of trying to squeeze them into roles that they feel are feminine or emasculating,” Murrow says. “We need to start valuing masculine traits such as aggression, boldness, and competitiveness and figuring out ways that we can integrate that into every area of church life.”

Also, Murrow asserts that churches need to “recover the masculinity of Jesus.” The author says Jesus as described in scripture was and is “a very bold, aggressive character, but we [in the modern Church] have turned him into a wimp — and men don’t follow wimps. They follow leaders.”

Is this not the most remarkable window into the author’s psyche? The editor of this book had to be in stitches (unless he believes this crap too). Oh, and I love this description of the book at the web bookstore christianbook.com:

“Church is . . . boring, full of hypocrites, greedy, etc.” You’ve heard the excuses, now read the reasons why institutional Christianity leaves countless men cold. Arguing that many churches create a man-hostile environment, Murrow offers detailed explanations of resulting male/female imbalances. Discover how to meet the real needs of men—and close your congregational gender gap!

In an article about this book in the Philly Inquirer, a clearer picture of his thinking emerges — men have been given too many rules in church, aimed at taming the urges of the “other brain”, chasing guys out the door. He places the blame squarely on women’s shoulders.

Murrow cited writer Leon J. Podles, who asserts that the feminization began in the 13th century with the popularity of “bridal mysticism,” which invites believers to think of the church as the bride of Christ.

Over time, the church’s voice became softer and more “passive.” The trend continued as the Industrial Revolution gave men other places to be besides church, and as the temperance movement saw women and pastors teaming up to curb what some consider male pleasures…Murrow urges churches to offer men-only activities and engage men’s propensity to be risk-takers and task-oriented.

You can’t say Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart and a Basilica-filled bunch of priests had any trouble taking risks, that’s for damn sure — and they were thinking quite clearly with the “other brain.”

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding