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Source: (consider it) Thread: Christian Vision for Men - countering romanticisation and feminisation of church?
mark_in_manchester

not waving, but...
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Well - I guess talk of our 'loving heavenly Father' is pretty normative. Perhaps we don't even notice - I'm certainly very used to the language.

There seems to be a big temptation to get into a proud battle about who did what to whom. At the moment I'm favouring a degree of gender apartheid.

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(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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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Garden Hermit:
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.

Hens sheltering chicks under their wings is a common image. Cockerels doing the same thing? Not so much.
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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
quote:
Originally posted by Garden Hermit:
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.

Hens sheltering chicks under their wings is a common image. Cockerels doing the same thing? Not so much.
More to the point though, sermons, prayers, readings about God as a loving Father happen nearly every week. Yet garden hermit is annoyed that he had to endure one Sunday out of 52 hearing that God is a loving mother too. Boo

[ 27. March 2017, 18:17: 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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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by mark_in_manchester:
Well - I guess talk of our 'loving heavenly Father' is pretty normative.

Not for me - never heard that phrase.

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Leprechaun

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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.
Hmmm. Yes, so is the trinity. But we don't actually make Muslims assent to that and sing about how brilliant it is when they first ask a question about Christianity.

Christianity has always been a religion that adapts to the culture that it is trying to reach. The failure of people on this thread to acknowledge that most men operate in a culture entirely inimical to it probably goes a long way to explaining why it is mostly women in church. By all means, make it all about gender politics if you don't actually want men to come. CVM is just aiming a bit higher than that.

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

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Leprechaun:
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.
Hmmm. Yes, so is the trinity. But we don't actually make Muslims assent to that and sing about how brilliant it is when they first ask a question about Christianity.

Christianity has always been a religion that adapts to the culture that it is trying to reach. The failure of people on this thread to acknowledge that most men operate in a culture entirely inimical to it probably goes a long way to explaining why it is mostly women in church. By all means, make it all about gender politics if you don't actually want men to come. CVM is just aiming a bit higher than that.

What precisely is the point of all the sports-cheering, beer-swigging, nerf darts-playing or topless sword fights if, in the end, it doesn't lead to loving Jesus? What are we trying to get all those male butts in pews for, if not for the one theological distinctive that is what the whole thing is supposed to be about?

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

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Martin60
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Where's the Gospel? You know, the one about the Kingdom, of Universal Social Justice? You know, loving God in Christ Jesus in some meaningful way?

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Love wins

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Leprechaun

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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
What precisely is the point of all the sports-cheering, beer-swigging, nerf darts-playing or topless sword fights if, in the end, it doesn't lead to loving Jesus? What are we trying to get all those male butts in pews for, if not for the one theological distinctive that is what the whole thing is supposed to be about?

Well quite. But singing about loving Jesus is not really a very good place for many men to start. That doesn't mean they hate women or that Christian men don't want women to have a seat on the table. They just want non-Christian men to have a fighting chance of considering Jesus for themselves.

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

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ThunderBunk

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quote:
Originally posted by Leprechaun:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
What precisely is the point of all the sports-cheering, beer-swigging, nerf darts-playing or topless sword fights if, in the end, it doesn't lead to loving Jesus? What are we trying to get all those male butts in pews for, if not for the one theological distinctive that is what the whole thing is supposed to be about?

Well quite. But singing about loving Jesus is not really a very good place for many men to start. That doesn't mean they hate women or that Christian men don't want women to have a seat on the table. They just want non-Christian men to have a fighting chance of considering Jesus for themselves.
The ultimate bromance?

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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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Doc Tor
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The 'Jesus is my boyfriend' songs are mostly unsingable for two reasons: lyrics and pitch, and right now, I'd settle for a key I could actually sing in. And the worship leader is a man, just one with a really high singing voice. We've had words, but to zero effect.

New vicar is bringing in at least one actual hymn per service, and the pitch of those does seem a little lower, for which I'm grateful.

I was in a ConEvo CofE for some 25 years. Plenty of men in that, but it did also champion a theology of male headship and was volubly anti-gay. Which I (belatedly, and I'm ashamed of how belatedly) left over. I'm much happier in the new (10 years now) gaff - New Wine-y CofE - even if the worship doesn't actually do anything for me.

It makes it difficult to generalise over what men want. Perhaps they do want a stricter, more 'warrior-like' theology, but that also has casualties. Driscoll found that out himself.

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Improbable Botany

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Leprechaun:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
What precisely is the point of all the sports-cheering, beer-swigging, nerf darts-playing or topless sword fights if, in the end, it doesn't lead to loving Jesus? What are we trying to get all those male butts in pews for, if not for the one theological distinctive that is what the whole thing is supposed to be about?

Well quite. But singing about loving Jesus is not really a very good place for many men to start. That doesn't mean they hate women or that Christian men don't want women to have a seat on the table. They just want non-Christian men to have a fighting chance of considering Jesus for themselves.
A nice theory, except that the churches that ARE having success at attracting men, both the horrid, obnoxious ones (yes, Mark Driscoll, I'm looking at you) and the more mainstream/ non-misogynist ones, are doing precisely that-- singing about loving Jesus, in a variety of ways (some emo, some not).

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

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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
the one theological distinctive that is what the whole thing is supposed to be about?

Is it? I've started a separate thread for loving Jesus.

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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Penny S
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quote:
Originally posted by Garden Hermit:
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.

That would be for Mothering Sunday, I imagine, and with a perfectly proper Biblical passage to back it up.
I'm sure you get sermons on the Prodigal's father, and the good shepherd, and the good Samaritan on occasions.
I got left out as well. The Peace turned into children collecting flowers for their mothers, and then their grandmothers, and then people collecting flowers for the mothers whose children had grown up and weren't there, and then turning to the men to give them the peace because they care for the children too.
I didn't get the peace at all. Or to give it to another. Not did the friend I had gone with. Who cares for people he's not even related to. And I suppose my teaching might count, too.
But it was Mothering Sunday. It was about mothers. And it was Lady Day as well, or pretty close to it. Just once a year. We women are getting too uppity.

[ 27. March 2017, 21:59: Message edited by: Penny S ]

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Leprechaun:
But we don't actually make Muslims assent to that and sing about how brilliant it is when they first ask a question about Christianity.

Christianity has always been a religion that adapts to the culture that it is trying to reach. The failure of people on this thread to acknowledge that most men operate in a culture entirely inimical to it probably goes a long way to explaining why it is mostly women in church. By all means, make it all about gender politics if you don't actually want men to come. CVM is just aiming a bit higher than that.

Definitely agree about adapting the form of our worship. That may mean singing a different style of music, or none at all, or to turn the sermon-monologue into more of a dialogue, or to change the way our gatherings look or the space we meet in.

But I think we also need to be careful about bait & switch, especially when it comes to content. Churches (especially evangelical churches like mine) are notorious for bait and switch-- come to this super-cool concert, hear this really funny speaker, come to this awesome activity-- then come back on Sunday to our church which is nothing at all like that. Didn't work with youth group 20 years ago, doesn't work now. They may come for the shiny fun "bait" but they're not going to stick around for the "switch".

There is no point in us presenting a gospel that is about something other than loving Jesus, because loving Jesus is essential to who and what we are. If that is counter-cultural-- and it is-- then so be it. We need to present, as honestly as we can, what we are about, without weighing it down unnecessarily with cultural baggage, but also without trying to present it as something it's not. Say what we're about, demonstrate it, and then let our friends, male or female, decide if it's something they want to explore.

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"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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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
The 'Jesus is my boyfriend' songs are mostly unsingable for two reasons: lyrics and pitch, and right now, I'd settle for a key I could actually sing in. And the worship leader is a man, just one with a really high singing voice. We've had words, but to zero effect.

New vicar is bringing in at least one actual hymn per service, and the pitch of those does seem a little lower, for which I'm grateful.

I was in a ConEvo CofE for some 25 years. Plenty of men in that, but it did also champion a theology of male headship and was volubly anti-gay. Which I (belatedly, and I'm ashamed of how belatedly) left over. I'm much happier in the new (10 years now) gaff - New Wine-y CofE - even if the worship doesn't actually do anything for me.

There are still churches around that prefer hymns rather than worship songs.

However, I don't think 'feminisation' is primarily about worship songs. The traditional hymns that some churches prefer don't automatically avoid the problem. David Murrow claims that masculine Victorian hymns like 'Onward Christian Soldiers' gave way to a more feminine turn by the beginning of the 20th c. 'In the Garden' from 1913 is the example he chooses:

I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.

Refrain:
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

He speaks, and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.

I’d stay in the garden with Him,
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling.


Doesn't seem very masculine to me....

'Onward' is out of favour now, but Murrow says that 'In the Garden' is still widely sung. Not so popular in the UK but I have come across it.

Murrow proposes that rather than addressing our relationship with Jesus as something romantic, we could sing about our friendship, partnership, following or walking along with him. Of course, there are already many hymns of this type. I don't know how popular they are in charismatic churches.

Murrow accepts that 'Onward' is now unacceptable, but would like more modern hymn writers to 'fashion some songs that speak of battle, strength, and victory'. He thinks the Psalms should offer some inspiration.

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Lamb Chopped
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I have this evil desire to sic Richard Crashaw the poet on those people who think that women are feminizing the church. Richard Crashaw

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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SvitlanaV2
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I don't think it's a question of women feminizing the church so much as a process that's developed probably without much serious thought. Male clergy and theologians have surely had a lot to do with it, as a result of the concepts they've promoted, the choices they've made, having themselves been formed by those assumptions about church life, and in the end tailoring their ministry for the people in front on them.

[ 28. March 2017, 01:44: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
There are still churches around that prefer hymns rather than worship songs.

However, I don't think 'feminisation' is primarily about worship songs. The traditional hymns that some churches prefer don't automatically avoid the problem. David Murrow claims that masculine Victorian hymns like 'Onward Christian Soldiers' gave way to a more feminine turn by the beginning of the 20th c. 'In the Garden' from 1913 is the example he chooses:

...Doesn't seem very masculine to me.....

Certainly the vocal range isn't. It's too high and broad a range even for my mid-high alto range. As evidenced by a very nasty video circulating in dark corners of me officiating at a funeral where none of the petulant "mourners" (long story) were singing the hymn chosen by their dear departed, leaving me struggling to reach the high notes without busting a lung...

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

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Barnabas62
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This moving account may change your mind about just how feminine 'In the Garden' is.

Maybe I'm just an old softy, but I heard Pastor Chen sing the hymn during his account of his time in prison, and it brought me to tears.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Penny S
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I have terrible trouble singing anything - all the hymns seem to high for my alto, and I frequently drop down an octave as the tune reaches its higher reaches. But down there, it's the right pitch for the men.

When I was young, we would sometimes attend Boys Brigade services as my father had some official status and it was his duty to do so. The effect of a church full of teenaged males singing with gusto about their anchor holding was tremendous. That mass male appeal has gone. I know there's Boys Brigade at our local church, but I never see them or hear them, as one used to, going to church parade.

I suspect the choice of someone to put young boys' football practice on Sunday mornings has had an influence on the male attendance, both keeping fathers away, and not showing the young the option of being at church. Following the original pattern of football clubs as church outreach might be an idea.

I'm not terribly happy about new hymns on a battle theme, though. Aren't there other things men do?*

*wicked brain - not lumberjacking, no.

[ 28. March 2017, 07:57: Message edited by: Penny S ]

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Doc Tor
Deepest Red
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There are plenty of things that men do. Pretty much everything that women do, in fact. They're involved in politics, run companies, are leading scientists, artists and musicians, cooks and fashion designers, writers and journalists.

There's nothing that men can't do if they put their minds to it.

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Improbable Botany

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Leprechaun

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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:


There is no point in us presenting a gospel that is about something other than loving Jesus, because loving Jesus is essential to who and what we are. If that is counter-cultural-- and it is-- then so be it. We need to present, as honestly as we can, what we are about, without weighing it down unnecessarily with cultural baggage, but also without trying to present it as something it's not. Say what we're about, demonstrate it, and then let our friends, male or female, decide if it's something they want to explore.

We do agree! I think what CVM is about is trying not to present people with the most difficult aspects of the Gospel to them first, examining our culture to see if we are creating needless barriers. Where I am, and i can only speak for that, one of the issues with the church being mostly female is that culturally a lot of what is natural to us seems to be offputting for many men.

When women who have been abused by their partners come to church, for example, they tend to have an extremely visceral reaction to "the Gospel as a wonderful love story" paradigm, so beloved in evo circles I move in, which are largely people who have very stable families. It's a similar principle.

The irony of all of this is that I HATE men's events. I hate sports and mountain biking and drinking whiskey and all of the other things the men's group in our church do. But lots of their friends like those things. I'm happy to see them drawn into our community and meet Jesus that way. They wouldn't have done that if their introduction to Christianity was hymn singing or small group discussions.

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

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Martin60
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CVM is an old man's outing. It never approaches the difficult aspects of the gospel just like the rest of church activity: radical, vulnerable inclusion. That's best left to women any way, through Messy Church on Saturday. Networking in to the community. Sunday is to recharge the core of that.

CVM makes miraculous claims about ministry, money and walking around Britain, Poland, the Caribbean carrying a cross. It proclaims piety. Engages in apologetics to the converted. It did when I went to events. On its website it champions using DIY motor racing, football to get alongside other working class men. A very poor man's Messy Church mainly spent driving about. I went to be with me mates from church. We talked as we drove. About a third of the presentations were better than expected. The hogroasts were good.

America is this on steroids in every way it seems.

I.e. nothing much to do with the Kingdom except at the invisible margins.

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Love wins

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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What I think is that the church is not so much feminine oriented as oriented to a particular type of person who perhaps, for reasons of cultural expectation, is more likely than not to be female.

It's a bit like that bit where Archbishop Edmund the Unwilling is advising Lord Graveney as he lies dying, trying to avoid him leaving his lands to the Church as that would result in the King killing him. He says "Heaven is for the sort of people who like the sort of things that go on in heaven. Singing. Talking to God. Watering pot plants..."

I think we've made Church a bit like Edmund the Unwilling's version of Heaven. Designed to put off people like Lord Graveney, regardless of their plumbing or gender identification.

Sports, Mountain Biking and drinking Whisky? Why are those activities for a Men's Group? Shouldn't they be for people who like Sports, Mountain Biking and drinking Whisky? You can sign me up for the last two, and I can't see why I'd object to the presence of more X chromosomes than people.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by Penny S:
I have terrible trouble singing anything - all the hymns seem to high for my alto, and I frequently drop down an octave as the tune reaches its higher reaches. But down there, it's the right pitch for the men.

Actually, no. Most blokes have exactly the same problem, just an octave down. The untrained male voice tends towards the bass, and since most people - especially newcomers and occasional attenders I'd imagine - tend to sing quite quietly those notes above middle C are quite a challenge.

Listen carefully during any hymn where more than two men are present and you'll probably hear someone very quietly singing the whole thing two octaves down.

Hymn pitches are set to be not too high for trained altos and basses (they seldom go above E which is in the alto/bass range), but not too low for trained tenors and sopranos. But the key word here is "trained". I mentioned the E just then - the one just above middle C for Bass and an octave above for Alto. That's a high note to reach if you're naturally a bass or alto but have no training or formal singing experience.

Really, for most congregations these days, hymns need dropping around a 2nd or 3rd, but I have a vested interest in that not happening because of my now fairly rare tenor range. Still, it'd quieten me down a bit...

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
The untrained male voice tends towards the bass

I'd have said that most male voices tend towards the baritone, though agree that much of the 'problem' is that most modern songs (and modern worship leaders) roll towards tenor.
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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
The untrained male voice tends towards the bass

I'd have said that most male voices tend towards the baritone, though agree that much of the 'problem' is that most modern songs (and modern worship leaders) roll towards tenor.
The problem isn't that the untrained voice tends to any register but that without some practice most voices just don't have the range to handle many tunes. You have to use it or you lose it.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
The untrained male voice tends towards the bass

I'd have said that most male voices tend towards the baritone, though agree that much of the 'problem' is that most modern songs (and modern worship leaders) roll towards tenor.
I wouldn't know about them. But I do hear a lot of octave switching and dropping out as the tune approaches the higher side of middle C.

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
This moving account may change your mind about just how feminine 'In the Garden' is.

Maybe I'm just an old softy, but I heard Pastor Chen sing the hymn during his account of his time in prison, and it brought me to tears.

Maybe it would be a good idea if preachers told this story before announcing the hymn during services. It would certainly introduce a different atmosphere.

Regarding the problems of male hymn singing generally, I think it might help if male churchgoers were routinely taught how to harmonise.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
This moving account may change your mind about just how feminine 'In the Garden' is.

Maybe I'm just an old softy, but I heard Pastor Chen sing the hymn during his account of his time in prison, and it brought me to tears.

Maybe it would be a good idea if preachers told this story before announcing the hymn during services. It would certainly introduce a different atmosphere.

Regarding the problems of male hymn singing generally, I think it might help if male churchgoers were routinely taught how to harmonise.

Don't want much in the way of complete cultural change, do you [Biased]

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
This moving account may change your mind about just how feminine 'In the Garden' is.

Maybe I'm just an old softy, but I heard Pastor Chen sing the hymn during his account of his time in prison, and it brought me to tears.

In one of his lectures Mark Noll commented on how 'In the Garden' is often used as an example of the kind of personalised spirituality that runs counter to the trust of much of what is Christian. He then related this story as a counterpoint (and on the occasion when I heard him speak he himself was obviously moved by the story).

Having said that, this story doesn't necessarily make the song more suited for congregational singing. Doing so would run the danger of making an experience 'non other had ever known' into a generalized principle for congregational worship.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:

The problem isn't that the untrained voice tends to any register but that without some practice most voices just don't have the range to handle many tunes. You have to use it or you lose it.

Okay, so I should have said 'centred on the baritone range' and obviously practice will increase this marginally in both directions. The basic point remains the same, there's a large body of material on common vocal ranges, song-writers persist in writing songs outside this(ese) range(s) (especially so when they are writing for themselves).

Other things that don't usually work in congregational settings; time signatures other than common meter, excessive syncopation, melisma.

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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by Leprechaun:
Hmmm. Yes, so is the trinity. But we don't actually make Muslims assent to that and sing about how brilliant it is when they first ask a question about Christianity.

quote:
Originally posted by Leprechaun:
But singing about loving Jesus is not really a very good place for many men to start.

I'm not sure that deception and misdirection are a good long-term strategy. It may work for unloading a problematic bit of real estate since you don't really care about the buyer two minutes after he's signed the papers, but it seems precarious for an ostensibly lifelong religious commitment. Eventually Muslims are going to figure out about the Trinity (and it seems likely that most Muslims living in predominantly Christian countries already have some idea of the concept) and being needlessly cagey about it just creates an impression of fraud. Likewise pretending that Christianity doesn't involve loving Jesus seems more likely to raise suspicions than to lull men into a false sense of acceptance. Most of them already know that Christianity is a big Jesus fan club. If that's "inimical" to men then Christianity would have to adapt a lot further than just having beer at services. Seems like the basic idea is to promote "Christianity" without all those boring, girly bits about that Jesus bloke.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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betjemaniac
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:


Really, for most congregations these days, hymns need dropping around a 2nd or 3rd, but I have a vested interest in that not happening because of my now fairly rare tenor range. Still, it'd quieten me down a bit...

Another vote against from a tenor who can also sing unforced alto if required. Mind you, I don't half stand out in my small congregation. The other week on the way out I was complimented on my singing by a lady who had been sitting in the front pew. I habitually sit in the back one (still new to the village....).

[ 28. March 2017, 14:07: Message edited by: betjemaniac ]

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

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
]I'm not sure that deception and misdirection are a good long-term strategy. [...] Eventually Muslims are going to figure out about the Trinity (and it seems likely that most Muslims living in predominantly Christian countries already have some idea of the concept) and being needlessly cagey about it just creates an impression of fraud. Likewise pretending that Christianity doesn't involve loving Jesus seems more likely to raise suspicions than to lull men into a false sense of acceptance. Most of them already know that Christianity is a big Jesus fan club.

I don't think it's a question of 'deception' (or 'bait and switch', as someone said earlier).

The NT shows many ways in which people address and relate to Jesus. Many of them don't involve trying to make Jesus your 'boyfriend'.

The NT shows Jesus as friend, commander, king, leader, wise man, role-model, etc., and people are shown or asked to be ready to carry his burden, spread his message, labour in his field, follow in his dangerous path, die in his battle, speak out in his cause, and so on.

ISTM, then, that the songs we sing and the culture we create in church needs to reflect those images more, and Jesus as tender lover in whose protective arms we long to lie a little less.

But it's all the same Jesus, so there shouldn't be a problem.

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Pomona
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quote:
Originally posted by Leprechaun:
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.
Hmmm. Yes, so is the trinity. But we don't actually make Muslims assent to that and sing about how brilliant it is when they first ask a question about Christianity.

Christianity has always been a religion that adapts to the culture that it is trying to reach. The failure of people on this thread to acknowledge that most men operate in a culture entirely inimical to it probably goes a long way to explaining why it is mostly women in church. By all means, make it all about gender politics if you don't actually want men to come. CVM is just aiming a bit higher than that.

CVM is making it about gender politics too, just a more reactionary form of it.

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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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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:


Regarding the problems of male hymn singing generally, I think it might help if male churchgoers were routinely taught how to harmonise.

Don't want much in the way of complete cultural change, do you [Biased]
But I'm a Methodist, and Methodists do like a good sing, so it might work for them at least....

In another sense, this whole thread is about 'complete cultural change', isn't it? There are those who want churches to make themselves more attractive to 'curry and football' men; and there are those who think we should avoid sexism and stereotyping and focus on 'curry and football' men and women.

If we're honest, though, in very many Western churches both routes are somewhat unlikely.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:

Regarding the problems of male hymn singing generally, I think it might help if male churchgoers were routinely taught how to harmonise.

Our hymnals are all SATB. Anyone who can sing can choose to sing whichever line they prefer. I can't sing.

I do sing, in church, but although I understand in theory how harmonies work, given that the pitch that comes out of my mouth is usually a third or so away from the pitch I was hoping for, about the best you can hope for is something that goes vaguely up and down in about the right places.

(Lots of men at church just don't sing. Almost all the congregation's women will have a go, but the men are mostly divided into those that can sing (and are in the choir), and those that don't sing. There's an occasional man with a good singing voice who doesn't sing with the choir because he can't commit to practices, and the occasional man like me who can't sing in tune but sings anyway.)

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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:

The problem isn't that the untrained voice tends to any register but that without some practice most voices just don't have the range to handle many tunes. You have to use it or you lose it.

Okay, so I should have said 'centred on the baritone range' and obviously practice will increase this marginally in both directions. The basic point remains the same, there's a large body of material on common vocal ranges, song-writers persist in writing songs outside this(ese) range(s) (especially so when they are writing for themselves).

Other things that don't usually work in congregational settings; time signatures other than common meter, excessive syncopation, melisma.

With that I agree unreservedly. Leading worship is one thing, performance praise another.

--------------------
"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

(Paul Sinha, BBC)

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Doc Tor
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If you want an example of how it's done, Greenbelt's Beer & Hymns is probably the best I've seen. Men, women, children, voices raised in gloriously imperfect harmony. (youtube link)

We did get better as the evening progressed... [Big Grin]

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Improbable Botany

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
Eventually Muslims are going to figure out about the Trinity

Eventually, Christians are going to figure out Muhammad, pbuh.

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My Jewish-positive lectionary blog is at http://recognisingjewishrootsinthelectionary.wordpress.com/
My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
Eventually Muslims are going to figure out about the Trinity

Eventually, Christians are going to figure out Muhammad, pbuh.
Most Christians have figured out that someone named Muhammad is a pretty big deal in Islam. Any attempts to win over Christians to Islam by downplaying or pretending Muhammad didn't exist is likely to falter for much the same reason a Christian outreach to Muslims based on denying the Trinity would.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
The NT shows many ways in which people address and relate to Jesus. Many of them don't involve trying to make Jesus your 'boyfriend'.

The NT shows Jesus as friend, commander, king, leader, wise man, role-model, etc., and people are shown or asked to be ready to carry his burden, spread his message, labour in his field, follow in his dangerous path, die in his battle, speak out in his cause, and so on.

ISTM, then, that the songs we sing and the culture we create in church needs to reflect those images more, and Jesus as tender lover in whose protective arms we long to lie a little less.

But it's all the same Jesus, so there shouldn't be a problem.

This is exactly the point I was making earlier.

There are types of love other than the romantic "wrap me up in your loving arms, oh how I long for your presence, you are my everything and I adore you" type. There's the love between brothers, the love between comrades in arms, the love between friends, the love between a child and parent, and so on. What's wrong with using those forms of love when referring to Jesus in our services?

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Leprechaun

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quote:
Originally posted by Pomona:
CVM is making it about gender politics too, just a more reactionary form of it.

[Roll Eyes]

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

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Leprechaun

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quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
Eventually Muslims are going to figure out about the Trinity

Eventually, Christians are going to figure out Muhammad, pbuh.
Most Christians have figured out that someone named Muhammad is a pretty big deal in Islam. Any attempts to win over Christians to Islam by downplaying or pretending Muhammad didn't exist is likely to falter for much the same reason a Christian outreach to Muslims based on denying the Trinity would.
Are you being deliberately obtuse? There is actually a difference between saying "The Trinity isn't true" and "unless you sing our beautiful song of praise to the Trinity, asking questions about this Christian thing isn't for you."

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

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Anselmina
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quote:
Originally posted by Garden Hermit:
I feel bombarded with 'Feminism' in Society in general......<snip>.. 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.

Seriously? In a world where millions of women can't vote, refuse sex, choose her own husband, get divorced, get a job, have her own money, own property, drive a car, shop unchaparoned, have reproductive choices, have a lawyer to DEFEND her in court when she's the one who's been raped; YOU feel bombarded with 'feminism'? YOU'RE annoyed because Jesus used the picture of a chicken for God's nurturing care?

Oh yeah, I nearly forgot, it was a FEMALE chicken. Well, that changes everything!

I don't share sexual organs with any of the principle characters in The Good Samaritan, The Prodigal Son, The Tenants and the Vineyard, The Shrewd Manager, The Sower etc, etc etc. If I can still just about deduce what were the points of Jesus's parables, despite this profound 'disability', don't you think it's reasonable that you might've got the point about God's mothering qualities without the necessity of your being covered in feathers and possessing the ability to lay eggs?

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Martin60
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Bliss.

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Love wins

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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Incidentally - and the finger points at me too - can I just say how illustrative of the gulf between Church and societal culture is the fact that we ended up diverging into discussion of voice type, pitch and harmony singing for quite a few posts. You know how much people talk about that sort of thing in the real world?

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Incidentally - and the finger points at me too - can I just say how illustrative of the gulf between Church and societal culture is the fact that we ended up diverging into discussion of voice type, pitch and harmony singing for quite a few posts. You know how much people talk about that sort of thing in the real world?

You need a better group of people to eat lunch with. That topic came up at lunch last week. (The group of people I tend to eat lunch with are mostly not Christians, but I will admit are probably even less like the "real world" than the average Church.)
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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
Our hymnals are all SATB. Anyone who can sing can choose to sing whichever line they prefer. I can't sing.

Being able to sing and being able to read music are two different things.

There are many churchgoers who can't read music, but they could be taught to sing harmonies if this was considered to be important.

I should think it';s

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