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
I noted in the comments of this post recently that Christians can unfairly interact with a caricature of feminism. I get annoyed when people speak about the Christian faith in unsympathetic or un-nuanced terms so I think it’s important to interact generously with others, to hear how they define themselves. In that spirit, let me point you to this article (language warning) by the very funny Lindy West. It’s a pretty neat summary of feminism and its different forms over the years.
I think there are considerable resources within Christianity for the feminist. The overwhelming dignity and value that the Genesis creation story assigns to women is unique in ancient creation accounts; likewise, there’s very little room in a passage like Eph 5 for men to assert their dominance over women; 1 Cor 7 is an outstanding example of mutuality in marriage. Here, I’d like to consider Lindy’s definition of Third Wave feminism (if it exists!) here. Read more
Last weekend, Arthur and I went down to Geelong to see a John Williamson concert. A mate of ours is a big fan of Aussie country music (and I’m a bit of a closet fan mysefl!) so we went with him. For the most part, I tried to enjoy rather than analyse the experience, but I did have one or two slip ups! In particular, I started thinking about the portrayal of women in Williamson’s songs. Read more
I came across The Scar Project over at The Hairpin. It’s a collection of photos of young breast cancer survivors shot by fashion photographer David Jay. They’re pretty confronting to look at. It’s a devastating issue. Read more
One of the great things about working in original languages is meeting things to don’t expect, like in Exodus 15 last semester. There’s always more work to do grammatically, culturally, etc but I try to take note of what surprises me because it helps me to engage with what the text says rather than what I expect it to say. Here are some initial discoveries from yesterday in 1 Peter 3:1-7. Read more
A friend gave me Bus Stops and Bicycles: A handbook for Single Ladies after we chatted about this post. Written by a 20 something Christian girl from Melbourne, it’s about to become my top recommended book on singleness. Read more