The contention of the ‘Why men hate going to church’ movement is that church has become feminised. From David Murrow’s website:
With the dawning of the industrial revolution, large numbers of men sought work in mines, mills and factories, far from home and familiar parish. Women stayed behind, and began remaking the church in their image. The Victorian era saw the rise of church nurseries, Sunday schools, lay choirs, quilting circles, ladies’ teas, soup kitchens, girls’ societies, potluck dinners, etc.
Modern day church activities are ‘an emotional hothouse’ and focus on being ‘verbal, studious or sensitive’, none of which are ‘natural for men‘. You’d hardly call this science – even social science is a stretch – but much of it seems to resonate with men and so Murrow gives some suggestions for manly church. Laying on hands during prayer is a no-go: men need their space. And you need songs which are about ‘doing’ rather than about intimacy.
Here’s the thing though: neither physical contact nor intimacy are ‘feminine’ in all cultures. For example, Tanzanian men LOVE physical contact, including with other men. (Actually, so did western men not too long ago!) Also, they spontaneously sing, including love songs to Jesus, not just in church but even walking along the street!
Are Tanzanian men just less riddled with testosterone? Or are these propositions about men in church more cultural than innate? Read more
As I blogged here, there’s a range of church experiences in Tanzania. One exercise we did in our intercultural training was to observe without moving to evaluation or explanation. It’s a practice I’ve continued. Here’s some of what I’ve noticed about our church. Read more
Thank God he uses us in our ignorance. I’ve been thinking about worldview and I now consider my former approach to betray a cultural arrogance. Read more
It’s a bit of a dream job, really: Sophie Lister gets paid to watch movies. Heaps of them. Sophie (right) works for the Damaris Trust, creating reviews, discussion guides and podcasts which appear on Culturewatch for ‘exploring the message behind the media’.
Sophie’s articles are a fantastic model of Christian thinking, and I regularly recommend Culturewatch as an outstanding online resource. In this two-part interview, I’ve asked Sophie to reflect on her creative work, along with her perspective on watching movies and understanding culture.
Following part 1, I’ve asked Sophie to talk more about culture and how Christians relate to it.
If you’ve got further questions, Sophie and I will respond in the comments below. Read more
You’ll find occasional movie reviews on this blog as we do our best to engage with the visual storytelling of our culture. But this time, let’s talk with a pro: Sophie Lister, who writes about film on a weekly basis. Sophie (right) works for the Damaris Trust, creating reviews, discussion guides and podcasts which appear on Culturewatch for ‘exploring the message behind the media’.
Sophie’s articles are a fantastic model of Christian thinking, and I regularly recommend Culturewatch as an outstanding online resource. In this two-part interview, I’ve asked Sophie to reflect on her creative work and her perspective on watching movies and understanding culture.
To start with, let’s meet Sophie and hear what it’s like to work as a writer. Let’s continue talking in the comments, too: What grabs you about the movies? What do you do with the stories you find there? Read more
I believe in contextualisation, of putting off my own cultural baggage to take up another culture. I believe in it as an act of love, because it communicates the dignity of that culture and an act of humility, because it doesn’t assume that my culture is superior.
People like Roberto de Nobili are awesome examples of contextualisation. He became so like those he worked amongst that he forgot his native Italian and had to have an interpreter to write home! That’s pretty hardcore and it’s appealing to me.
But it’s also somewhat simplistic. In Tanzania, my white skin will always set me apart as someone ‘other’.
As I see it, today there are three factors that moderate complete contextualisation. Read more