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The Testosteroneless Church II

3 May, 2003 11:10 AM

There have been some really interesting comments posted on my previous post on the disappearing of Males in many churches.

I've been wondering if perhaps part of the problem for the declining number of guys in church might be the types of activities that many churches ask its participants to take part in.

Not many guys that I know feel that comfortable getting together to sing some songs, listen to an expert tell them how to live their life and then to get together with a small group of others where they'll sit in a circle and share their inner most feelings. In fact I can't think of any three activities that would alienate an Aussie guy further than those three!

In my experience guys are willing to talk about faith issues and even share what's happening in their lives, but often this happens best while they are doing some other activity. Some of the best conversations I've had with guys is while playing pool, or at the football while watching the game or in the gym during a workout. Perhaps the passivity of church takes some men into an uncomfortable zone.

I wonder what would happen if churches started to experiment with church around shared active experiences. Golf, wood working, gym, jogging, football, video editing, beer drinking, pool, auto workshop....just to name a few.

I'm not sure about all this, but as I've said before, we've got to grapple with it. Thoughts anyone?



"Golf Church" - I'm there.

You're probably onto something. One thing that seems to work and at least gets the ball rolling is shared work, like doing a project together for someone in need. Most men, though we don't like opening up our inner feelings, still feel deeply about stuff. Having opportunities to work alongside another for an extended period helps break some of that down. Also, shared "crisis" - like rafting, rock climbing, etc - where the adrenaline rush can also remove some of the edge.

rick » 3 May, 2003 10:51 PM

Yes you are on to something. They try to do it with organized basketball leauges. Softball. Etc...
Great idea to do it.

Jake » 4 May, 2003 12:49 AM

I think guys want another excuse to get together besides "baring our souls" - usually. On the other hand, I know (Christian) guys who want to have "accountability" groups where everyone is supposed to bear his soul and reveal the deepest secrets at the first meeting.

Seems like both ways can be pathological... But the first is more "natural." I'd vote for a group activity where people can talk while they do whatever. How 'bout an evangelistic kegger?

Matt » 4 May, 2003 2:39 PM

It's a good idea. How about taking the metaphore of a journey and turning it into a real journey. If you want to stay strictly within a Christian paradigm you could try getting a group of men together to walk the Pilgrims trail in Spain (Camino de Santiago).

When a supernatural light appeared in a field and directed shepherds to the relics of the martyred apostle Saint James (Santiago), 9th Century Spanish King Alfonso II consecrated the spot with a chapel, and a pilgrims' legacy was born. The journey across northern Spain follows the pathways of European priests, monarchs, and peasants whose pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela spawned a Christian Renaissance. It is a chance to explore the traditions and legends that defined life in Medieval Spain, and join countless modern pilgrims en route to Santiago. It takes about two weeks to walk. Seems like a magnificent religious bonding experience to me.

chris » 5 May, 2003 9:11 AM

There are alot of reasons for the decline of maculinity in the church. A great reference to work through this is a book called "Wild at Heart" by John Eldridge (founder of sacred heart ministries and former director of focus on the family). In this book John discusses the desires of the masculine heart and how the church does not cater for this. However hope is not lost because God is battling for our heart and His desire is to see fully alive. "The glory of God is in man fully alive" - St Iraeneous.
As men we are created in God's and many times God is described as a warrior, a destroyer of nations, the Lion of Judah etc. etc. All very "wild" descriptions that doesnt sound like the meek, mild and nice men that I see as the expectation for most men within the church. While these things are characteristics of God it is not what we are called to be all the time. I know its a cliche but moderation is the balance here.
I can not recommend this book enough, any male should read "wild at heart" and discover what it means to be God's man.

Stuart Daddow » 3 May, 2004 5:40 PM

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