I noticed this article in the GR Press today, and I am not entirely sure what to make of it. The author is writing mainly from a book called Why Men Hate Going to Church by David Murrow. Now, I am neither a man nor a person who hates going to church, which is why I am hoping to get some insight from my friends and readers on this article.
This article seems to resonate with some of the ideas that are coming out of the Promise Keepers movement and John Eldridge's writing. And some of it, I think, has merit. I think it is true that much of contemporary christianity is taking the edge off of Jesus and off of God. Being a Christian becomes about being nice and meek and non-controversial - family-friendly even. And I think these authors are right to say that this is misconstruing the Bible and the christian life - the calls to justice and radical dissent from culture are everywhere in the Bible, and it is by no means a clean, sweet, suburban story either. I wonder, though, if talking about this tendency in gender terms is doing us all a disservice - perhaps it's not so much "emmasculating" Jesus and scripture as it is de-humanizing. I understand that there are gender differences, inherant and socialized, but being a woman isn't as sanitized as some of this work would make one believe.
The other thing that bothers me about this article in particular and similar work is their apparant definition of what it is to be masculine. This sentence in particular got to me today: "While men who are good singers and teachers are thriving in the classroom model of church, more masculine men are left looking for something else to do." So, apparantly, the arts and communication are un-masculine? The article goes on to point to things like a car-fixing ministry which sounds wonderful (I could use that sort of help) but I think dividing gifts into male and female so clearly is dangerous.
So I'm still not sure exactly what to think. I understand that some of these gender ideas are imbedded in our culture whether I like it or not, and the church needs to respond, but I wonder if the church should be the place where we discuss what's really "masculine" or "feminine" and what's a strange caricature. I think there's a trouble the church needs to deal with in a different way - a more countercultural way - when I read things like "The fruits of the Spirit that Jesus upholds in the gospels -- gentleness and humility, for example -- are not things to brag about on a job resume. " Is this really how it is?