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Source: (consider it) Thread: Christian Vision for Men - countering romanticisation and feminisation of church?
betjemaniac
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Why would a boy choose to come to church? Any late Gen Xer through Z?

Well I'm a clear case of belief following practice - age 36, forced to go to chapel at school, then didn't bother with anything at all at university. Then joined the navy and was forced to go every week again during training. That time, it "took."

Of course, it helped that by that stage I could recite great chunks of the BCP by heart and had a good working knowledge of Hymns A&M. Go through it for long enough without thinking about it and you might find by the end that you *are* thinking about it.

Basically, I was boiled like a frog. I'm the only one in my family who goes.

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And is it true? For if it is....

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by Pomona:
Christianity was originally a religion mostly for women and slaves and others with less power. As Christianity became politically powerful that changed, but I think it could be said that it is simply reversing that process. As Christianity wields less social power in the West, it holds less appeal for men. Groups like CVM who tell churches that they're too feminine because they have bad coffee and children's drawings up (because women just LOVE bad coffee, and it's good for men to not value children in church /s) miss the point.

This.

Look, if the men in church want to get together and drink good coffee/ complain about their wives/ bang drums/ play nerf guns or whatever rings their bell, fine. But I am so so tired of all this whining and moaning about the "feminization" of the church-- an institution where women still struggle to be given any voice or leadership capacity.

I wrote more but had to delete it because it was just to hellish.

The Salvation Army(my tradition)
Church of England
The Methodist Church
The Baptist Church

etc

You can moan about the Roman Catholics and some evangelical groups if you like, but here in the UK most churches have women leaders in abundance.

The Salvation Army has had them since 1860

Female Ministry - a Woman's Right to Preach

--------------------
"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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SvitlanaV2
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Moreover, I think it's a mistake to confuse 'voice' and 'leadership'. A congregation will surely have have some kind of 'voice', although how much and what kind will depend on the denomination.

To suggest otherwise gives the impression that the laity are essentially 'voiceless' and that the clergy have all the power. This is a very disturbing idea (especially in Protestantism!) with implications that go beyond the issue of women in ordained ministry.

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cliffdweller
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Look I'm an ordained clergy woman so obviously I'm aware that there is a (relatively) long and rich tradition of female ordination. And I do of course agree that laity have a voice and influence, as well they should. Yet as an insider I can say with assurance that female voices, both lay and oradained, do.not have the same hearing that male voices do in most denominations, even more progressive ones. For the most part I'm happy with my lot-- things are improving. It was only in this context that I'm comaining-- when you've got people in a place of privilege.whining about having to share seats at the table

[ 24. March 2017, 18:03: Message edited by: cliffdweller ]

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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mark_in_manchester

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I thought I might add something about the political angle of all this - which I know is important, especially perhaps to those whose context gives them a sense of being discriminated against by men - but which is, in my experience, rather orthogonal to whatever is going on at the 'men's event'.

This means the political angle of the OP 'reclaiming' this that and the other etc etc - sounds rather incongruous to this attender of men's events. IME they're not about that - instead they're about a bunch of mostly socially-awkward men finding time and space to talk to each other about their lives and Faith. This has been true in the Methodist events I attended a long time ago, and is still true in the RC ones I currently attend.

The absence of wives (there are some single men, but given the demographic it is mostly wives, and not unattached church-women, who are absent) changes the way men interact, in a good way. This is not (of course) to say that all these men wish they were perpetually single, though some may - but a day off with other men now and again, talking about God, does us good.

That's about it, as far as I can see. I don't see much difference in how men are with each other whether they're Methodist and very used to women in charge of the church, or RC and voluntarily subject to a male hierarchy.

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"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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Martin60
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Yeah, it's mainly harmless twaddle. Apart from the opportunity cost.

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Love wins

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
As an insider I can say with assurance that female voices, both lay and ordained, do not have the same hearing that male voices do in most denominations, even more progressive ones.

But the interesting question is why this is so, when women are in the majority in many congregations.

Some might argue that the minority status of men in some churches actually enhances their value, making female worshippers more acquiescent than they would otherwise be.

In other churches, though, the laywomen might be so used to dominating church culture, leading worship and doing things their own way so that the issue of men not 'hearing' them would be more or less irrelevant. I think British Methodism leans in this direction, although I have no idea how much discrimination exists higher up the ladder.

Personality and background are also factors, I should think. Churchgoing laywomen are statistically likely to be more 'traditional' than women at large (and also older, especially in mainstream denominations). Women clergy are less so, obviously so with regards to their own ordained status, so there may be a lack of sisterly pulling together in many cases.

I also wonder about the reasons why male clergy, or men in the church generally, might not be 'hearing' women in the church. As well as theology and culture I think there might, again, be personality issues at play.

For those who are interested I've come across an interesting and relevant dissertation about women and Biblical literalism in the the CofE, as well as a brand new book about the attitudes of elderly Anglican women who are the backbone of their church in Britain.

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Pomona
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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by Pomona:
Christianity was originally a religion mostly for women and slaves and others with less power. As Christianity became politically powerful that changed, but I think it could be said that it is simply reversing that process. As Christianity wields less social power in the West, it holds less appeal for men. Groups like CVM who tell churches that they're too feminine because they have bad coffee and children's drawings up (because women just LOVE bad coffee, and it's good for men to not value children in church /s) miss the point.

This.

Look, if the men in church want to get together and drink good coffee/ complain about their wives/ bang drums/ play nerf guns or whatever rings their bell, fine. But I am so so tired of all this whining and moaning about the "feminization" of the church-- an institution where women still struggle to be given any voice or leadership capacity.

I wrote more but had to delete it because it was just to hellish.

The Salvation Army(my tradition)
Church of England
The Methodist Church
The Baptist Church

etc

You can moan about the Roman Catholics and some evangelical groups if you like, but here in the UK most churches have women leaders in abundance.

The Salvation Army has had them since 1860

Female Ministry - a Woman's Right to Preach

With the exception of your place - which I would agree were real pioneers in the area of women's leadership in the Church - and the Methodists, most mainstream denominations still have a vocal minority opposed to women's leadership and the ongoing issues with it in the CoE can't have escaped your notice. I think there's also quite a big difference between having women in leadership and being 'feminised'. The RCC may have only male clergy but women dominate the laity to a huge degree. Your average Catholic in the UK will be a woman. I think that is less true of some Nonconformist churches, even ones with women in leadership or who support it. Indeed, there are plenty of trad RCs who moan about the feminisation of the church and ban altar girls etc, despite having one particular woman in a very central place in the faith....!

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Consider the work of God: Who is able to straighten what he has bent? [Ecclesiastes 7:13]

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Leprechaun

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I'm not sure that that feminisation is being used pejoratively here. I don't know what the situation is across the pond, but in the UK lots more women come to church than men. The effect of that is that activities and attitudes that women tend to prefer are more common in church life that activities and attitudes than men tend to prefer. So it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy that church is more for women than men.

Now you could say, and I would agree, that mature Christian men should learn to appreciate the gifts of their sisters and get over church being different that they might have designed it to be.

However, I think it's a bit much to expect people who aren't Christians yet or who find Christianity a huge struggle to deal with the culture gap.CVM and similar groups are trying to bridge that gap, because lots of men don't like traditionally feminine pursuits. Stereotypes don't come from nowhere.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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What are these Feminine pursuits that characterise the church? What would masculine pursuits be? Lots of generalities here but I'd be interested to know specific ways in which the church is deemed to be feminine.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Pomona
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quote:
Originally posted by Leprechaun:
I'm not sure that that feminisation is being used pejoratively here. I don't know what the situation is across the pond, but in the UK lots more women come to church than men. The effect of that is that activities and attitudes that women tend to prefer are more common in church life that activities and attitudes than men tend to prefer. So it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy that church is more for women than men.

Now you could say, and I would agree, that mature Christian men should learn to appreciate the gifts of their sisters and get over church being different that they might have designed it to be.

However, I think it's a bit much to expect people who aren't Christians yet or who find Christianity a huge struggle to deal with the culture gap.CVM and similar groups are trying to bridge that gap, because lots of men don't like traditionally feminine pursuits. Stereotypes don't come from nowhere.

It's absolutely used pejoratively by many. Lots of women don't like traditionally feminine pursuits either, but gendered hobbies/interests in churches and Christian groups don't make allowances for them. Gender stereotypes hurt everyone. There is nothing innately masculine about football and curry - neither is there anything innately feminine about book groups or flower arranging. Even from a biological essentialist perspective, there's nothing about having a penis or having a vagina that makes someone like curry or bellringing or books or sport. Maybe churches should be trying to challenge this kind of silliness rather than encouraging it?

[ 26. March 2017, 14:24: Message edited by: Pomona ]

--------------------
Consider the work of God: Who is able to straighten what he has bent? [Ecclesiastes 7:13]

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Pomona:
quote:
Originally posted by Leprechaun:
I'm not sure that that feminisation is being used pejoratively here. I don't know what the situation is across the pond, but in the UK lots more women come to church than men. The effect of that is that activities and attitudes that women tend to prefer are more common in church life that activities and attitudes than men tend to prefer. So it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy that church is more for women than men.

Now you could say, and I would agree, that mature Christian men should learn to appreciate the gifts of their sisters and get over church being different that they might have designed it to be.

However, I think it's a bit much to expect people who aren't Christians yet or who find Christianity a huge struggle to deal with the culture gap.CVM and similar groups are trying to bridge that gap, because lots of men don't like traditionally feminine pursuits. Stereotypes don't come from nowhere.

It's absolutely used pejoratively by many. Lots of women don't like traditionally feminine pursuits either, but gendered hobbies/interests in churches and Christian groups don't make allowances for them. Gender stereotypes hurt everyone. There is nothing innately masculine about football and curry - neither is there anything innately feminine about book groups or flower arranging. Even from a biological essentialist perspective, there's nothing about having a penis or having a vagina that makes someone like curry or bellringing or books or sport. Maybe churches should be trying to challenge this kind of silliness rather than encouraging it?
When I have heard the term used it most definitely has been used pejoratively. But it hasn't been used so much to describe ecclesiastical social activities. I don't think anyone has a problem with a group of church members, male or female, who likes sports/ flower arranging/ classical music/ slam poets/ ultimate frisbee organizing an outing among like-minded persons, as long as it serves some sort of goal (e.g. increasing fellowship/ friendship) that is consistent with the overall purpose of the Church.

But where I've heard the term "feminization" used in reference to the church, it hasn't been about social activities. It's had to do with core theological principles-- things like sacrifice, submission, collaboration, forgiveness, non-violence. These are things that our society labels as both "weak" and, not coincidentally, "feminine". It's there I have a problem with protests about the "feminization" of the church. These are essential core doctrines of the church. I believe they are labeled "feminine" by society not because women are inherently more prone to these attributes, but rather because these are attributes that are counter-cultural, and therefore not affirmed by the "strong" in our culture. Thus society seeks to marginalize these attributes by associating them withe the "weaker", more marginalized gender. I believe Jesus was very much aware that he was acting counter-culturally by advocating these attributes (and, perhaps not coincidentally, elevating women). If we want to call ourselves Christ-followers, we need to take these aspects of our theology seriously and now eschew them in the interests of getting more (male) butts in pews.

--------------------
"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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SvitlanaV2
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The first thing to say is that 'feminine' and 'masculine' are societal and cultural categories, not innate, physical ones. So this isn't a discussion about what makes a man or a woman in any kind of 'authentic' or biological sense.

So at a visible level we can see that the flower arranging, the creche, the young Sunday School group, the cake baking and tea sharing in the vast majority of churches will be done or staffed by women - and this is socially or culturally expected behaviour.

However, the truly 'religious' activities that are more subtle and presumably more gender neutral are still likely to involve more women than men. Research shows that societal expectations have to some degree encouraged the 'feminisation' of Christian activities or attitudes at certain points in the past; women have been expected to attend church on behalf of the rest of the family, to conduct devotions with their children, to be particularly devoted to the Christlike stance of caring, obedience, meekness, humility, and so on. And it's been argued that as modern women have pulled away from these 'feminine' characteristics they've also been less likely to attend church themselves....

Moreover, although we complain about the maleness of the ministry, clergymen haven't always been depicted as highly masculine figures. In fact, they've often been characterised as finicky, socially inept, sexually inadequate (and 'emasculated' RC priests aren't even supposed to have sex at all), more at home in the parlours of admiring ladies than with 'manly' men....

These may all be dreadful, outdated stereotypes, but the point is that in some way or another these or similar attitudes have influenced the church from within and without the church for a long time. Even the very modern arguments about gay clergy feed into this, I think. And although female clergy may not actively contribute to outdated traditional notions of Christian 'femininity', their increasing presence may be seen as emphasising church as a 'feminine' space.

It's easy to criticise conservative Christians for focusing on this subject (and this is an interesting series that's probably from such a stable) but neutral or non-Christian academics for example here and here have also become increasingly interested.

[ 26. March 2017, 15:35: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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ThunderBunk

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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:


But where I've heard the term "feminization" used in reference to the church, it hasn't been about social activities. It's had to do with core theological principles-- things like sacrifice, submission, collaboration, forgiveness, non-violence. These are things that our society labels as both "weak" and, not coincidentally, "feminine". It's there I have a problem with protests about the "feminization" of the church. These are essential core doctrines of the church. I believe they are labeled "feminine" by society not because women are inherently more prone to these attributes, but rather because these are attributes that are counter-cultural, and therefore not affirmed by the "strong" in our culture. Thus society seeks to marginalize these attributes by associating them withe the "weaker", more marginalized gender. I believe Jesus was very much aware that he was acting counter-culturally by advocating these attributes (and, perhaps not coincidentally, elevating women). If we want to call ourselves Christ-followers, we need to take these aspects of our theology seriously and now eschew them in the interests of getting more (male) butts in pews.

Whilst I recognise the split cliffdweller is making absolutely, and am entirely convinced that this is the core of the issue rather than wittering about flower arranging, I entirely and absolutely despair at what this leaves a "masculine" god looking like: a power-crazed despot with no possible expression of his being other than the crushing of an essentially inferior, weaker creation.

If we can't attract other men without worshipping a god like that, I'll be with the women at the foot of the cross.

But then I'm a poof, so that's no more than you would expect and I'm part of the problem not the cure.

--------------------
Currently mostly furious, and occasionally foolish. Normal service may resume eventually. Or it may not. And remember children, "feiern ist wichtig".

Foolish, potentially deranged witterings

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SvitlanaV2
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It occurs to me that the 'masculine' man may well be a stereotype we're supposed to disapprove of, but the church is full of stereotypes of its own!

The idea that the mainstream churches, particularly in the West, are broadly going to start defying stereotypes, whether their own or anyone else's, strikes me as unlikely. But there may be more niche church fellowships to cater for the outliers.

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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by Leprechaun:
I'm not sure that that feminisation is being used pejoratively here.

Given that the thread title seems to regard "feminisation" as something that requires "countering", I'd say it's portrayed as something negative and undesirable.

[ 26. March 2017, 18:39: Message edited by: Crœsos ]

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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SvitlanaV2
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I suppose it's negative to the extent that a balance of feminisation and masculinisation would be better for the health of the church.

OTOH, as with anything in life, there are those who benefit from things as they are and who might be disadvantaged in some way if church culture changed.

BTW, no one has yet referred to the other tricky word in the title - 'romanticisation'. The OP doesn't make it clear what this means, and I don't think the link to the BBC report refers to it either.

Romanticisation could be a reference to romantic worship music or to a 'Jesus is my boyfriend' atmosphere. I suspect that those who hate the criticism of feminisation would nevertheless be quite willing to condemn music and attitudes of of this sort....

[ 26. March 2017, 18:59: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
I suppose it's negative to the extent that a balance of feminisation and masculinisation would be better for the health of the church.

To the extent that "feminization" and "masculinization" simply mean "social activities that appeal to the average woman in our culture" or "activities that appeal to the average man"-- sure, a balance is probably optimal. But again, that's not how the term is generally used. When it's used to refer to a particular, and I would argue, unbiblical, understanding of power, then no, I don't think there's anything healthy about subjugating the counter-cultural, revolutionary message of the gospel for the sake of peddling it to alpha males.

Yes, Mark Driscoll, I'm looking at you.

--------------------
"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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mark_in_manchester

not waving, but...
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quote:
for the sake of peddling it to alpha males
I understand that if one were out to peddle - in the sense of advertising - then conventional wisdom, presumably based on prior research, would depict 'alpha' males. Likewise makeup seems to get advertised by beautiful women. But I'd have to say that there's nothing very 'alpha' about the men who turn up to our events, and I think a speaker (a-la Driscoll?) who tried to appeal to such would meet a lot of raised eyebrows.

[ 26. March 2017, 21:51: Message edited by: mark_in_manchester ]

--------------------
"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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Martin60
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Yep.

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Love wins

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by mark_in_manchester:
quote:
for the sake of peddling it to alpha males
I understand that if one were out to peddle - in the sense of advertising - then conventional wisdom, presumably based on prior research, would depict 'alpha' males. Likewise makeup seems to get advertised by beautiful women. But I'd have to say that there's nothing very 'alpha' about the men who turn up to our events, and I think a speaker (a-la Driscoll?) who tried to appeal to such would meet a lot of raised eyebrows.
I suspect yours is a bit closer to healthy, at least from a Christ-follower pov, then Driscoll's gatherings.

--------------------
"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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stonespring
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
The first thing to say is that 'feminine' and 'masculine' are societal and cultural categories, not innate, physical ones. So this isn't a discussion about what makes a man or a woman in any kind of 'authentic' or biological sense.

So at a visible level we can see that the flower arranging, the creche, the young Sunday School group, the cake baking and tea sharing in the vast majority of churches will be done or staffed by women - and this is socially or culturally expected behaviour.

However, the truly 'religious' activities that are more subtle and presumably more gender neutral are still likely to involve more women than men. Research shows that societal expectations have to some degree encouraged the 'feminisation' of Christian activities or attitudes at certain points in the past; women have been expected to attend church on behalf of the rest of the family, to conduct devotions with their children, to be particularly devoted to the Christlike stance of caring, obedience, meekness, humility, and so on. And it's been argued that as modern women have pulled away from these 'feminine' characteristics they've also been less likely to attend church themselves....

Moreover, although we complain about the maleness of the ministry, clergymen haven't always been depicted as highly masculine figures. In fact, they've often been characterised as finicky, socially inept, sexually inadequate (and 'emasculated' RC priests aren't even supposed to have sex at all), more at home in the parlours of admiring ladies than with 'manly' men....

These may all be dreadful, outdated stereotypes, but the point is that in some way or another these or similar attitudes have influenced the church from within and without the church for a long time. Even the very modern arguments about gay clergy feed into this, I think. And although female clergy may not actively contribute to outdated traditional notions of Christian 'femininity', their increasing presence may be seen as emphasising church as a 'feminine' space.

It's easy to criticise conservative Christians for focusing on this subject (and this is an interesting series that's probably from such a stable) but neutral or non-Christian academics for example here and here have also become increasingly interested.

I am largely ignorant of the relevant Church history, but as an armchair historian I am guessing that part of what caused society to view church as feminine had to do with the development in Industrializing countries in the 19th century that men would leave the house to go to a place of work and women would stay in the house to raise children, cook, clean, etc., and if they had extra time in the day (as many middle and upper class women did), women began to become involved in volunteer organizations, which were often based around the church (previously, when most people lived in more agricultural settings rather than in cities and even those men in cities often plied a trade at home, the house and daytime non-paid-work activity was not seen as much as a feminine sphere). As wage-earning and the workplace became to be seen as more masculine and the home and volunteer work began to be seen as more feminine, the church began to be seen as a more feminine space. As women became more active in volunteering for church organizations, they began to enjoy more public roles and even more decision-making power at church, even when they could not themselves be ordained. Simultaneously, as the vast majority of men (at the time) worked at physically-demanding industrial jobs and the ideal woman (although many women did work in factories) was a domestic mother, manliness became associated with muscular labor and femininity became associated with nurturing and guarding morality even more than before. This probably led the church to be viewed even more as a feminine place, even when almost all ordained ministers remained male.
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stonespring
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I say "guardian of morality" referring to the social view of women above in reference to childrearing and teaching children right and wrong. I do not mean having he authority to make theological or legal decisions about morality, because I am referring to the 19th century when women were denied this authority. However there was a 19th century cult of motherhood and of domesticity that stressed the moral purity of women and this is what I am referring to. I know that women then were also seen as emotional and irrational - so, again, I am differentiating symbolic guardianship of morality with actual legal authority.
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SvitlanaV2
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cliffdweller

There may be a pond difference here.

In the OP and in the British context generally, I'm not convinced that the 'alpha male' is a particularly interesting group for the British churches that worry about feminisation. As I've suggested above, I think the focus here would be more on the average working class male, who isn't really 'alpha' over anything (although he might like to be).

Why? Firstly because the anxiety in British Christianity is about the absence of the working classes in general. There's no real cultural equivalent of the American 'hillbilly' in his or her con-evo small town church.

Secondly, the alpha male here isn't really understood to be a hyper-masculine character, and the Donald Trump type of aggressive personality isn't particularly idolised in the wider population. British 'hard men' are perhaps too easy to parody - and if they're serious criminals very few churches will want to deal with them anyway (prison ministry notwithstanding)!

IMO the 'successful' British male, at least in public life, is expected to display at least some 'feminine' characteristics. In British church terms therefore, the upper middle class banker, sportsman or businessman, etc., has to be attracted to a church by somewhat more sophisticated means than football and curry nights. Maybe this is the kind of group that goes for male headship theology.

Or maybe the kinds of British men who attend male headship-type churches are more like wannabe alpha males than actual alpha males. I'd be interested to hear what others think about this.

[ 26. March 2017, 23:25: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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cliffdweller
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Probably so, though I'd hoped we could talk about both. The amount of cross pond pollinization from Driscoll in particular would seem to suggest it's at least worthy of a mention. Especially since the language of the OP directly parrots his rhetoric

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Garden Hermit
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Generally speaking men are different to women. In that I mean they usually have different priorities. I don't find any Church Service these days either acknowledges this or in any way or encourages men.
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Leprechaun

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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
.

But where I've heard the term "feminization" used in reference to the church, it hasn't been about social activities. It's had to do with core theological principles-- things like sacrifice, submission, collaboration, forgiveness, non-violence. These are things that our society labels as both "weak" and, not coincidentally, "feminine". It's there I have a problem with protests about the "feminization" of the church. These are essential core doctrines of the church. I believe they are labeled "feminine" by society not because women are inherently more prone to these attributes, but rather because these are attributes that are counter-cultural, and therefore not affirmed by the "strong" in our culture. Thus society seeks to marginalize these attributes by associating them withe the "weaker", more marginalized gender. I believe Jesus was very much aware that he was acting counter-culturally by advocating these attributes (and, perhaps not coincidentally, elevating women). If we want to call ourselves Christ-followers, we need to take these aspects of our theology seriously and now eschew them in the interests of getting more (male) butts in pews.

Ok, we are talking about something very different here. I'm quite sure that CVM and organisations like them are not advocating a Christian manliness that gives people a free pass on sacrifice, forgiveness and collaboration.

What I mean is this: our church structure involves 2 main contact points. The first involves corporate singing, much of it singing about love for a man, and casual chit chat at the end. The second involves sitting in a circle and talking, often very personally. My experience is that many men do not connect with either of these things well. Yes yes Pomona, I know some women don't too, but generally speaking these are ways of relating that women prefer and tend to be standard in church at least in part because churches are largely made up of women.

In my relatively thriving church we have just a single dad who comes with his kids without mum. We have loads of mums and grans who come with their kids without dad and grandad. I think it behooves us to think about not making dad and grandad sit through something totally alien to them to help them engage with church life within the bounds of what is essential to Christianity. In that sense, it is not, on this occasion, about gender politics.

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He hath loved us, He hath loved us, because he would love

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fletcher christian

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Posted by Lep:
quote:

What I mean is this: our church structure involves 2 main contact points. The first involves corporate singing, much of it singing about love for a man, and casual chit chat at the end. The second involves sitting in a circle and talking, often very personally. My experience is that many men do not connect with either of these things well.

Oddly, I've seen an awful lot of men sing in choirs, choral groups choruses and at football matches, rugby or whatever. I've also seen men sit in circles at bbq's, various meals, in pubs and at 'sheds' all talking very personally,

I'm actually beginning to think that the church has the weirdest attitude to the division of the sexes that isn't really present in the real world at all, and I do have to wonder if it has to do with the church having been one of the last bastions of maledom and what we see and hear from it in this regard is little more than the last death throes of an old fashioned misogyny because the church is now one of the few rare places where this kind of thing is given any weight or seriousness anymore.

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mark_in_manchester

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I think Leprechaun makes a lot of sense, and Svitlana too:

quote:
Or maybe the kinds of British men who attend male headship-type churches are more like wannabe alpha males than actual alpha males. I'd be interested to hear what others think about this.
Well...the sin of pride is generally alive and well in all of us, and stereotypical male pride might be the 'yuck' to which some of us on this thread are reacting. But men encouraging each other in humility and mutual service can be a real thing, now and again. I've been moved by the testimony of men who can hardly put one word or foot in front of another, numerous times. Those tend to be the moments I take from our kind of meeting.

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"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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Leprechaun

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quote:
Originally posted by fletcher christian:
Posted by Lep:
quote:

What I mean is this: our church structure involves 2 main contact points. The first involves corporate singing, much of it singing about love for a man, and casual chit chat at the end. The second involves sitting in a circle and talking, often very personally. My experience is that many men do not connect with either of these things well.

Oddly, I've seen an awful lot of men sing in choirs, choral groups choruses and at football matches, rugby or whatever. I've also seen men sit in circles at bbq's, various meals, in pubs and at 'sheds' all talking very personally,

I'm actually beginning to think that the church has the weirdest attitude to the division of the sexes that isn't really present in the real world at all, and I do have to wonder if it has to do with the church having been one of the last bastions of maledom and what we see and hear from it in this regard is little more than the last death throes of an old fashioned misogyny because the church is now one of the few rare places where this kind of thing is given any weight or seriousness anymore.

You may, of course, be right. Find me the church with loads of men who just love singing and small groups I'll congratulate them. I can only say what I see in every single church that I know. Services and small groups are dominated by women and men say they don't like them.YMMV.
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Garden Hermit
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The youngest Male in our Church is the Minister and he's over 50. Women outnumber men 10 to 1. It could be that they are mostly Widows, and all of the Men are with their Wives. But Mosques are full of men, Churches aren't. What has Islam got that Christianity hasn't ?
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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by fletcher christian:

I've also seen men sit in circles at bbq's, various meals, in pubs and at 'sheds' all talking very personally,

Those groups tend to be rather self-selective and self-filtering, more so as you get up to anything personal discussed.
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Martin60
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It's got a tried and tested culturally dominating formula GH.

[ 27. March 2017, 10:46: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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Love wins

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by fletcher christian:
Oddly, I've seen an awful lot of men sing in choirs, choral groups choruses and at football matches, rugby or whatever.

How many of them were singing love songs to another man?

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Boogie

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by fletcher christian:
Oddly, I've seen an awful lot of men sing in choirs, choral groups choruses and at football matches, rugby or whatever.

How many of them were singing love songs to another man?
At football matches? All of them!

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Garden. Room. Walk

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by fletcher christian:
Oddly, I've seen an awful lot of men sing in choirs, choral groups choruses and at football matches, rugby or whatever.

How many of them were singing love songs to another man?
At football matches? All of them!
Don't confuse hero worship and love. They're two very different things.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Jemima the 9th
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quote:
Originally posted by Leprechaun:

What I mean is this: our church structure involves 2 main contact points. The first involves corporate singing, much of it singing about love for a man, and casual chit chat at the end. The second involves sitting in a circle and talking, often very personally. My experience is that many men do not connect with either of these things well. Yes yes Pomona, I know some women don't too, but generally speaking these are ways of relating that women prefer and tend to be standard in church at least in part because churches are largely made up of women....

In my relatively thriving church we have just a single dad who comes with his kids without mum. We have loads of mums and grans who come with their kids without dad and grandad. I think it behooves us to think about not making dad and grandad sit through something totally alien to them to help them engage with church life within the bounds of what is essential to Christianity. In that sense, it is not, on this occasion, about gender politics.

Oh, everything's about gender politics, really.
[Biased] No, not really, I'm only kidding.

A few observations, though. I'm female, and I cannot abide love songs to Jesus type worship. Especially as the music is so weedy. Give me Guide me oh thou Great Redeemer, or And Can it Be? any day.

I like a bit of chitchat, with people I know, where I have those strong friendships - and the chitchat post church round our way is 50/50 male/female, ime. I couldn't stand the sitting in a circle and sharing (shudder) with people I don't know, just because they happen to go to the same church as me. I do do sharing at homegroup (50/50 male female), with some friends over coffee (female) and with different friends in the pub (male).

My point is that looking for activities specifically for men or for women limits opportunities quite a few people to enjoy themselves, and to form strong relationships. Stereotyping helps no one.

And as for why there aren't dads in church - well, here there are quite a few, but those that aren't there are usually coaching football, ferrying children to clubs or pursuing their own hobbies (MrJt9 is usually doing one of the latter 2, but then he's an atheist so he doesn't really count....)

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by mark_in_manchester:
I think Leprechaun makes a lot of sense, and Svitlana too:

quote:
Or maybe the kinds of British men who attend male headship-type churches are more like wannabe alpha males than actual alpha males. I'd be interested to hear what others think about this.
Well...the sin of pride is generally alive and well in all of us, and stereotypical male pride might be the 'yuck' to which some of us on this thread are reacting. But men encouraging each other in humility and mutual service can be a real thing, now and again. I've been moved by the testimony of men who can hardly put one word or foot in front of another, numerous times. Those tend to be the moments I take from our kind of meeting.
Yes! This is so much better said than what I was fumbling toward, and a beautiful example of the way forward. Especially notable is the way it manages to affirm male spirituality without using "feminine" as a pejorative.

Yes, let's certainly care about why so few men are drawn to our churches. But let's do so in a way that resonates with the radical, counter cultural truth of the gospel rather than simply mirroring the culture.

[ 27. March 2017, 13:30: Message edited by: cliffdweller ]

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by fletcher christian:
Oddly, I've seen an awful lot of men sing in choirs, choral groups choruses and at football matches, rugby or whatever.

How many of them were singing love songs to another man?
Yeah, see, Leprechaun started out by disputing my contention that "feminization" complaints are really fighting core theological principles, but here you're both kicking against THE core defining belief of Christiainity.

[ 27. March 2017, 13:39: Message edited by: cliffdweller ]

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by Leprechaun:
What I mean is this: our church structure involves 2 main contact points. The first involves corporate singing, much of it singing about love for a man, and casual chit chat at the end.

<snip>

I think it behooves us to think about not making dad and grandad sit through something totally alien to them to help them engage with church life within the bounds of what is essential to Christianity. In that sense, it is not, on this occasion, about gender politics.

Admittedly I'm an outsider on this, but I always thought that loving Jesus was one of the Christian essentials. I'm not sure how a Jesus-ambivalent (or even Jesus-hostile) Christianity would work.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
It's got a tried and tested culturally dominating formula GH.

This, from a Muslim:

Part 2: Why is Islam still popular

One of the obvious reasons here is that it is a religion. And once it has taken hold, it is always hard to remove, even from a seemingly rational person. But there are other reasons as well:

Go back to the inceptions of Islam. The central message that it carries is brotherhood and community. And a community is always formed among equals. At the risk of sounding like a communist, living in a community often means taking care of the weak. and No religion endorses this on a level greater than Islam. Muslims save a portion of their salary to be donated every time without fail. The only festival they celebrate is predated by a month of fasting, the food saved henceforth is also donated to the hungry. The same goes for Bakra-Eid, the meat is distributed among the needy.

This notion also leads to the creation of a closely knit community, what social psychologists often call a dominant ingroup. So it also survives in small packets.

Islam does not discriminate on the basis of birth in a particular race or community or caste. It generates a sense of equality among people to the same effect as described above.

Despite wide-spread belief, Islam does not survive due to Al-Qaeda or Ayatullah Khomeini, nor does it survive because it is hard to get out of [even although it is for multiple reasons]. Islam, like any other religion survives because people believe in it, it's ideals and morals. It survives, because, like all other religions, it gives people and assurance of a bigger meaning of life (true or false, none of us are fit to comment). It survives because in connecting within ourselves, it gives us a chance to be part of something bigger than ourselves.

[ 27. March 2017, 14:06: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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Love wins

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
quote:
Originally posted by Leprechaun:
What I mean is this: our church structure involves 2 main contact points. The first involves corporate singing, much of it singing about love for a man, and casual chit chat at the end.

<snip>

I think it behooves us to think about not making dad and grandad sit through something totally alien to them to help them engage with church life within the bounds of what is essential to Christianity. In that sense, it is not, on this occasion, about gender politics.

Admittedly I'm an outsider on this, but I always thought that loving Jesus was one of the Christian essentials. I'm not sure how a Jesus-ambivalent (or even Jesus-hostile) Christianity would work.
bingo.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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fletcher christian

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Posted by Garden hermit:
quote:

What has Islam got that Christianity hasn't ?

Faith. Unlike us, they don't chase after the wind.

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'God is love insaturable, love impossible to describe'
Staretz Silouan

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
Admittedly I'm an outsider on this, but I always thought that loving Jesus was one of the Christian essentials.

Loving God isn't the problem. The way that love is expressed is the problem. All that soppy "Jesus is my Boyfriend" crap that both feel and sound like we're supposed to be feeling romantic love for Jesus. I don't want Jesus to wrap me up in His loving arms and keep me safe from the storm, I want Him to redeem my sins, crack open a tinny and invite me to sit and eat with Him for a while.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
Admittedly I'm an outsider on this, but I always thought that loving Jesus was one of the Christian essentials.

Loving God isn't the problem. The way that love is expressed is the problem. All that soppy "Jesus is my Boyfriend" crap that both feel and sound like we're supposed to be feeling romantic love for Jesus. I don't want Jesus to wrap me up in His loving arms and keep me safe from the storm, I want Him to redeem my sins, crack open a tinny and invite me to sit and eat with Him for a while.
So you're looking for a God whose behavior is more closely calibrated to your demands? Sounds reasonable.

Just out of market research curiosity, given how much complaining has been done so far about flower arranging, could a compromise be reached if flower arranging also included the occasional topless* female swordfight?


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*Despite what the later lithographs would have you believe, the participants in the von Metternich/Kielmannsegg duel only removed their upper body outer garments. They retained enough undergarments to be considered full clothed by modern standards.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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Anselmina
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quote:
Originally posted by Garden Hermit:
The youngest Male in our Church is the Minister and he's over 50. Women outnumber men 10 to 1. It could be that they are mostly Widows, and all of the Men are with their Wives. But Mosques are full of men, Churches aren't. What has Islam got that Christianity hasn't ?

A 1500 year history of building Mosques where only men are permitted to worship, preside and participate authoritatively? Respectfully speaking, Islam can keep what it's got. Even at its most repressive and bigoted I'd still rather have Christianity with its 'in Christ there is neither male nor female' possibilities.

I don't understand what you mean about going to a church where the differences between men and women aren't taken account of, or where men's priorities aren't encouraged or acknowledged. What does that mean? What priorities does a woman have that are being affirmed and encouraged; over and against the priorities that a man has that aren't?

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
... Just out of market research curiosity, given how much complaining has been done so far about flower arranging, could a compromise be reached if flower arranging also included the occasional topless* female swordfight? ...

Wow, a duel about flower arranging, and not just parasols at dawn.

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Garden Hermit
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Judging by the Newspapers (dangerous I know) they do seem to have numerous stories of 'British' men who convert to Islam especially whilst in prison. Are they ignoring Christian converts ? Perhaps these converts are attracted by the Discipline of Islam. I think many Men like 'rules' to know where they are. They don't like uncertainty, and go for groups with Uniforms such as Scouts and Military. Islam seems to fit that Bill.
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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
Admittedly I'm an outsider on this, but I always thought that loving Jesus was one of the Christian essentials.

Loving God isn't the problem. The way that love is expressed is the problem. All that soppy "Jesus is my Boyfriend" crap that both feel and sound like we're supposed to be feeling romantic love for Jesus. I don't want Jesus to wrap me up in His loving arms and keep me safe from the storm, I want Him to redeem my sins, crack open a tinny and invite me to sit and eat with Him for a while.
So iow this is nothing at all to do about the so-called feminization of the church and just yet another rant about contemporary worship? A subject in which there are plenty of strong opinions on both sides from both genders, enough to fill a dead horses thread no doubt. But nothing whatsoever to do with what we're talking about here, since there Re plenty of staid hymn-singing love-song eschewing churches filled with nothing but blue haired old ladies. And fwiw the churches with more contemporary "emo" music tend to hVe more men, at least in these parts, for whatever reason.

[ 27. March 2017, 17:53: Message edited by: cliffdweller ]

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

Posts: 10910 | From: a small canyon overlooking the city | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged
Garden Hermit
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# 109

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I feel bombarded with 'Feminism' in Society in general. Women aren't paid as much as Men apparently. Yet every job I have had, Civil Service, BT, Buses, Care Work since 1965 both men and women had the same pay rates. As I had an equal number of good and poor Male and Female bosses, I can't see they weren't getting promotion either. At our local Schools where I help Voluntarily the (female)Teachers are keen to 'promote' Girls into Science and Engineering but don't say the same things to Boys regarding Nursing or Teaching, both of which have shortages and less and less males. Last week in Church I had a very annoying Sermon on God being like a 'Mother Hen' caring for his Children. I wanted to shout out that Men cared for their Children as well. Caring wasn't just a 'female' thing to do.
Posts: 1410 | From: Reading UK | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged



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