The Church’s Male Dilemma

The Church’s Male Dilemma September 29, 2015

shadow-of-man-infront-of-stain-1539233For the last several years, authors like my friend, David Murrow, have passionately argued for re-engaging men with the Gospel, through the Church–creating a two-fold dilemma for the Christian Church in the 21st Century:

The first dilemma: Does the Church even want men? Some will find that question preposterous. Of course the Church wants men. The call of the Church is to reach all people, male and female.

I would argue, however, that at least in my denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, it’s a fair question. While no one would ever come out publicly and say that the ELCA doesn’t want men, subtle messages from time to time suggest some aren’t sure if we really do.

The lack of any compelling call in our denomination to find new ways to re-engage men speaks volumes through its silence, given that, according to some, almost 70% of ELCA worshippers on a given weekend are female.

Some in our denomination hold up Paul’s passage from Galatians 3:28, where he says that there is neither male nor female, as a biological imperative rather than a theological one, neutering Image of God Male and Female (and especially male). The passage is clearly articulating a theological point that in spite of all of our differences—and there are significant biological and brain differences between men and women—we are one in Christ.

Men, generally speaking, are motivated by challenge, competition, risk-taking, and hierarchy. Mainline denominations like mine aren’t comfortable with that kind of language, preferring stability, consensus and status quo.

The second dilemma: We may want to re-engage men, but if we do, what do we do with them? What kind of men do we want men to be? What language will we use in engaging them? What does it look like for men in the 21st Century to follow Jesus as men?

Should we use war and warrior language? Language that seems so violent in today’s world of religious terrorism?

Do we go in the opposite direction and talk about being “gentle-men,” language that often robs men of their masculine, action-oriented, get-something-done energy? Language that often makes men passive?

Do we call them to be the “head of the household,” language that has so often been misused, devaluing women in the process?

If we want men in the church, what kind of men?

There are over 100 differences between a male and a female brain. The primary hormone in men, 20 times higher than in women, is testosterone. Testosterone is an action hormone.

What does it look like for these testosterone-charged, act first think second, fix-it-focused-brained men, to follow Jesus through our local congregations?

Each congregation and denomination will have to wrestle with that question. But a great place to start: How Jesus called men to follow him.

"This is a fascinating idea. Having raised boys and a girl, I can promise you ..."

It’s Been 50 Years Since a ..."
"Um, Jesus is already famous. This reminds me of the whole "Good News" Christian trope. ..."

The Purpose of Boys: A Podcast ..."
"So Jesus needs our help in the Name Recognition area? Really???? If he did, he ..."

The Purpose of Boys: A Podcast ..."
"Apparently men also make unevidenced generalizations based on outdated stereotypes."

Bathrooms, Male Stereotypes, and Granddaughters

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Evangelical
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Russ Franklin

    For the most part of the last 60 years, the church has been led by one of three types of male pastors: the weak pastor, the insecure controlling pastor, and the strong secure pastor.

    The first type of pastor (and what seems to be the majority) is a weak man who attracts mostly other weak men, women, and children to his services. This pastor will carry more feminine attributes and seems more concerned with kindness and gentleness, than strength and conviction. He is the depiction of the feminine looking Jesus paintings who is always hanging out with children instead of the table turning, sin rebuking Jesus.

    The second type (and in my opinion the most damaging type) is the insecure and controlling pastor who is threatened by any other strong men in the church. The danger of the insecure controlling pastor is he appears to be a very strong leader, which will attract men who look for those attributes in a pastor. Once inside they can quickly tell they are wanted for their muscle and ability to volunteer, but not much else. They are then relegated to the role of work horse which will eventually burn out the man who then fades out of the church.

    The third type is the strong and secure pastor. This pastor will attract men of all kinds, women, and children. This type carries a variety of the attributes of Christ and is not threatened by other strong men. This pastor will embrace those strengths and place those men in roles of leadership. He will celebrate men’s talents and abilities and will encourage them to use those gifts for Christ within the church. This pastor is not afraid to confront sin in the church. He will challenge men to be leaders in the home and honor Christ in all they do. This pastor is the the most effective but sadly is least seen within the church.

    The most unfortunate truth of all is the church has turned into a corporate business more concerned with money and numbers instead of Christ and the making of disciples. The pastor is a CEO or COO instead of a humble servant of God. The church is broken and sadly looks nothing like what Christ intended.

    The church model is not the size of the building, the number of members, or the quality of the programs. It is about reaching people for Christ and making disciples….PERIOD! Everything else is secondary.

    • RevTim

      Good stuff! Thanks, Russ, for chiming in.

    • Fascinatin’ Womanhood

      It sure sounds like you are implying that men should take leadership roles in the church, at the expense of women having leadership roles.
      After all, not everyone can be a leader—“too many chiefs/not enough Indians”…

      Don’t expect women to bat their eyes, roll over and play dead for the sake of men’s egos anymore.
      Not even for the sake of your sacred testosterone.

      • sg

        Don’t expect men to follow women. When men see that the women are doing a good enough job, they will just let them keep doing it. If she is keeping the bathroom clean enough, let her keep on. Training the children well enough, great, that’s covered. She is earning a good salary? good job! There is nothing for the guys to do. They will move on to where they are needed and can make a difference.

        Anyway, Christian leadership isn’t a prize or some glory to lord over others. It is a burden. Okay, now in the ELCA the women have decided they want to bear this cross. Okay, one less burden on men who can now work on something else.

        • Fascinatin’ Womanhood

          Then,

          What are they good for, other than moving pianos?

          There are plenty of problems that men cause in our society, from rape to mass murders.
          If they are incapable of dealing with women fairly and equally, then why not just phase them out?

          What makes them worth the trouble?

          • Karena727

            Dear Fascinatin’,

            This response is directly intended for you, as your reply and comments to my husband Pastor Russ caught my attention.

            It seems as though you have strong opinions indeed and it is wonderful for women, and all people, to have the freedom to speak their minds. First let me tell you a bit of myself… I am a wife of 16 years, mother of two beautiful children and three dogs, Pastor’s wife, Christian Therapist and Teacher. So as you can imagine, I have seen a wide spectrum of interpersonal and church dynamics, worked side by side with my husband in Ministry, and also supported his efforts specifically in Men’s ministry, and offered Christian counseling for many, many years.

            After review of your statement it seems the interpretation I can take away from your posts are perhaps you are feeling overwhelmed or you feel women are often not treated fairly or you have been hurt by men before. In history women have been the most oppressed group beyond any race, colour or creed. The Ministry of Jesus Christ was the crux for revolutionary thinking toward women and began to change the cultural view of our gender as He was our most glorious Champion. Our men who are Believers have such an amazing example to follow in His combination of leadership, strength and gentleness.

            However…
            I could not help but notice the bitter darts in your words directed not at the article, but specifically at men as a whole when you responded to my husband. After further curious review of your other numerous comments to other posts, one cannot help but also notice many of the statements appear to all have a negative tone and come from a deep source of pain and persistent defensive posturing.

            While I’m certain that you may not appreciate your perception of reality called into doubt, I admonish you to take a second look at the intent of the article that is posted in regard to men, and ask yourself what sort of positive input you could offer instead.

            Judgementalism is a problematic psychological disposition, in a sense it is “getting a kick out of” making negative moral assessments of other people. It’s enhancing your own sense of moral worth by comparisons with the (supposed) lesser moral status of others. It’s finding satisfaction in seeing others fail because it shows you are better than they are. People who tend to feel morally inferior feel relief when they see others fail; by comparison that they are not so bad after all.

            People who lack appreciation of their own potential for moral failure enjoy having their false sense of moral superiority reinforced. Those who are judgmental are invested in one-up-manship, and often the judgmental person is the type who genuinely believes they are superior to others in every way. They tend to be arrogant, contemptuous and dismissive.

            Simply put, excessive judgementalism is often due to high trait Neurotic emotional patterns of internal conflict, whereas the lens with which the person is constantly looking through is jaded and projecting that perspective onto situations they encounter. This dysregulation is often due to under-regulated (meaning hyper-sensitized and over-expressed) emotions.

            A classic example of this is the religious person who rigidly condemns other people’s behaviour because they are full of guilt and self-loathing and attacks others instead of feeling shame or disguising the unemotional distancing person who can’t feel anything at all. These individuals usually have a form of “affect phobia,” which is maladaptive because it blocks them from key aspects of their human experience.

            It is worthy to note, everyone can be judgmental to a certain degree – life isn’t perfect and many of us see a wide chasm between how would ideally like life to be, (socially, politically, personally) and how it really is. However, most people do not remain in a reactive and judgmental state, but regulate their emotions by seeking solutions or contributions to do what they can to effect change.

            My concern for you is that there seems to be unhealthy insecurities and imbalance in your perspective and many Cognitive Biases are being exhibited through your repressed pain. These biases are tendencies to think in certain ways that can lead to systematic deviations from a standard of rational and good judgment forthwith certainly causing interpersonal strain in relations with others. Those who struggle with these behaviours will also sometimes turn a cold shoulder when in need of connection or intimacy, or rationalize failures to protect their pride.

            Legitimately, you may not be aware of the severity of your statements or attitudes; but one cannot help but be concerned for your flagrant disregard for the positive aspects of the article or what we can do as women to further support not only our own gender but also men and people as a whole. Reducing men to “piano movers” is not the answer and is boorish and deeply offensive in many regards, even to other women.

            Furthermore, your statements about phasing men out or why they are ‘worth the trouble’ are highly alarming and borderline on blasphemous against the work of the Cross in which our Lord died for ALL…for we have ALL fallen short of glory and are in constant need of grace. We are called by God himself to Love one another…not harshly judge. Ask yourself what helpful positive encouraging things you can say in every situation instead…and even in your intrapersonal dialog with yourself.

            In gentle admonishment I encourage you to do word studies in your Bible about judgement and the tongue. According to Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” In James 3:6, the Bible says that the tongue is “a fire, a world of iniquity”, and James 3:8 calls the tongue a “deadly poison.” When you are feeling open, humble and secure enough, you may also benefit from Cognitive therapy. It is effective because it teaches how to catch, check, and change maladaptive beliefs into more adaptive, realistic and positive narratives for a person’s life.

            Consider what situations make you feel insecure and then look across your patterns of habits, feelings, relationship processes, defenses, and justifications and reflect on where neurotic patterns might reside in you before reacting in negative or hurtful ways.

            In final thought, before you react to a situation…remember to stop, take a deep breath and ask yourself before you speak…”is this good? Is this kind? Is this helpful?”

            Always pause a moment and think about how (or if) you should appropriately “respond”. If you are ever unsure, with humble heart pray for wisdom and always ask yourself this simple but powerful question… ”What would Jesus do?”.

            Warmest Regards,

            Karen

          • Fascinatin’ Womanhood

            My goodness,

            That was a whole bunch of psychobabble you took time to write, telling me how BROKEN I am.

            Yawn.

            History as a whole has supported men to the point that they have become entitled monsters or peter pans. I remember well, my mother trying to teach me how to “manage” men’s fragile egos, and manipulate them:

            “THE MAN IS THE HEAD OF THE FAMILY, BUT THE NECK CAN TURN THE HEAD ANYWAY SHE WANTS…”

            I have no interest in continuing to treat men like they are dangerous toddlers—it is insulting to all.

            And I have no interest in reinforcing men continuing to act like they must always have the upper hand, or stomp away, pouting.

            If that is the kind of “support” you are talking about, count me out.

            I am old enough to have lived when women were still considered weak playthings, too weak and bubble-headed to trust them as your surgeon, your boss or even your gardener.

            And yes, I was part of the wave of 60’s feminism that broke the old mold, and allowed women to become the fully functioning citizens they are today.

            I really don’t CARE what the bible says about it—the bible was written by men who loved their patriarchy, as it served them well, at the expense of women.

            You don’t like my style.
            But it got your attention, didn’t it?

            And now, like it or not, it will make you think, once you get past your defense mechanism of claiming I am neurotic.

            Perhaps you should take a stab at analyzing you husbands declaration that outdated gender roles are something to embrace:

            “MEN, GENERALLY SPEAKING, ARE MOTIVATED BY CHALLENGE, COMPETITION, RISK TAKING AND HIERARCHY.”

            Soooooooooo last millennium and so emotionally unhealthy for either gender to be locked into those rigid definitions!

            Until each person can master both the active and receptive principles in themselves, they cannot be spiritually whole. Instead, they will be emotional vampires, draining their partner of energy, as they seek to feed off the qualities they lack in their own underdeveloped psyches.

          • lizzysimplymagic

            You responded WAY better to that condescending garbage than I would have.

          • Karena727

            So, let me see… you are allowed to say what you think, criticize or comment as you please and point out any wrong doings of men as a whole and even agree with a bully who is trolling men in comments to insult…BUT… my comment to stand up against it turns into a personal attack where my words are considered ‘condescending garbage.’

            Charming and enlightened of you indeed. Thanks Lizzy! I feel so encouraged as a woman! 😉

            So here I shall directly without any psychology involved address you simply woman to woman as well. I’m so weary of women who make male bashing a sport. The dynamics of the church as a whole have turned into a circus and the focus is taken off of God and loving one another. I have seen toddlers get along better with each other than this.

            So I must commend you too for a brilliant job of being a glorious example of the grace and strength of womanhood. Its so helpful also, instead of working together and helping to bring right attitudes along the way, to continue instead with the victim mentality and negativity…Oh!… and be sure to bash even other women too who simply are stepping up where they see injustice on either side, regardless of gender. Fascinatin’ was rude, very rude and has been in numerous threads…and it should finally be brought to her attention, again… regardless of gender.

            Rudeness is rudeness, period, and some of it happened to be directed to my husband. So, I’m finally the one who confronted her.

            It seems you must have a deep passion for the well being of not only women but also the church going Christian women judging from your strong criticisms against not only this article but also the other people who have commented in posts as well.

            Also, given your deep concern for the dynamics within pastoral and church leadership it seems you must be heavily involved in the Christian faith so I can see why the topic of the original article must have caused you great concern for all the injustices.

            You are right Martha…I mean Lizzy… it does seem prudent to loudly pout and point at the wrongdoings and stereotype all men, especially Christian men. I can’t wait to hear more about the ways you are intending to surely take up your part in this mission to mend the differences between the genders and even religion. I’ll anxiously be waiting to learn more!

            It is so appreciated that you took the time out of your grueling schedule to add your your input before you must return to go back to washing dishes and doing all the apparent ‘real’ work. Be sure to just continue to complain bitterly about the injustice of our plight as women instead of being a positive proactive part of the change. Grumbling, faultfinding and finger pointing are always the best route.

            Also, be sure to volunteer for everything, belong to every class, nod and smile at the pastor too when you talk to him and raise your hands and say amen a lot during service – maybe he won’t notice your seething resentment.

            Again… ‘Martha’… I simply ask… “what would Jesus do?”

            Take care.

          • lizzysimplymagic

            Let’s see…

            You questioned her grasp of reality, called her insecure, claimed she was judgemental and suggested she had an inferiority complex, all because she dared to contradict your husband. To do this from your position as a self-identified therapist isn’t just aggressively rude, it’s also unprofessional. So, yeah… Condescending + garbage = your comment.

            Notice, I’m not attacking YOU or making value judgements about YOU. Can you say the same of your treatment of the people on this thread? I don’t know what your history is with Fascinatin’ or where this intense level of hostility is coming from. Snark and sarcasm certainly have their place, but to make that your opening move and then call me rude? I mean, are you kidding?

            If you feel I stereotyped men in the comments, point it out, quote it, and we can talk about it. That is, assuming you want to dialogue at all – paragraphs and paragraphs of petulant name calling and ad hominems that you’ve generously shared with us seems to indicate otherwise.

            I am sorry YOU felt attacked after your incredibly rude display, but you really need to take a few deep breaths before you jump back into these comments, because the one slinging personal attacks around is you.

            And for the record, I’m not full of seething resentment for half the human species. I love men. The men at my church do the dishes, cook the food, tend the gardens, teach the children and more right alongside the women and somehow keep their masculinity intact. So I know it’s possible!

            Also, my pastor is a woman, those strange things your husband forgot to mention in his post about pastors. 🙂

          • Fascinatin’ Womanhood

            Hey Magic Lizzy!

            I don’t know Karena at all and have had no prior experience with her or her congregation or her husband, for that matter.
            So there is no history between us.
            Think it is too bad she doesn’t argue the subject, instead of trashing me. And doesn’t she go on and on and on and on and on and on…

            I also have belonged to spiritual groups where men tried hard to be non-sexist—though it obviously wasn’t their first inclination. I am sure Pastor Russ didn’t realize the can of worms he was opening with his article!

            But it all needs to be said, and I sure appreciate your input and support. It is so weird when people assign emotional states to me that I am not feeling at all when I am writing, or generally in my life.

          • lizzysimplymagic

            She’s hardly the first to pathologize dissent, especially if the dissenter is a woman.

            “Feminists have pointed out that it is by no accident that Freudian theory emerged as the first wave of feminism was cresting. This was part of the counterrevolution, the male backlash. Psychiatry and psychology have their own creeds, priesthood, spiritual counseling, rules, anathemas, and jargon. Their power of psychological intimidation is enormous. Millions who might smile at being labeled “heretic” or “sinful” for refusing to conform to the norms of sexist society can be cowed and kept in line by the labels “sick,” “neurotic,” or “unfeminine.””

            Beyond God The Father, by Mary Daly (1974)

            I wonder if she is aware of the cultural and historical background behind her attempt to use “therapy” against you.

            And if she’s continuing to read this thread, I hope she hesitates next time before launching into paragraphs of concern-trolling and hostility, and actually engages with the people she disagrees with instead of trying to attack their character.

            It has been a pleasure talking with you. I always love meeting another unruly woman. 🙂

          • Fascinatin’ Womanhood

            Thanks, Magic Lizzy,

            Haven’t read the Mary Daly book, but I will now.
            I think the worst label is “paranoid”.
            From that point on, no one will believe you…
            Even if you are proven correct, the label will stick.
            Much like the old label “hysterical” that psych types used to affix to troublesome women.

            Wait till she hears that one of my gigs was pre and post abortion counseling at a private clinic!
            How many paragraphs do you thing she could spin out on that one? Guess we are going to find out…

            Butter the popcorn and get ready for the next thesis!

          • Fascinatin’ Womanhood

            Another 20 paragraphs!
            Simply too tedious to bother with.
            Is this what you do— just keep endlessly pontificating until people are worn out and go away?

          • Fascinatin’ Womanhood

            Thank You!

            Anyone with a little training can play the psycho-babble game—but that is for the insecure. I am degreed in psychology and have a DR. in front of my name. And I have spent some years counseling women in crisis, supervising addiction counselors doing outreach etc…

            Isn’t it funny that so often, when a woman has the nerve to criticize a man, she is called neurotic, bitter, hysterical, strident, BLASPHEMOUS (that’s a new one!) and a man-hater!

            What is really sad in fundamentalism, is that you end up having other women doing the name calling for the man—talk about brainwashed…

          • Karena727

            Your words still appear to be meant for attack and ridicule, to even the most abecedarian observer, and are rude and harmful in many of your threads. There is no other way to say it. I’m truly surprised to hear you are in any type of counseling at all and am disappointed one professional to another, our gender aside, that you would dare to treat others as you have in so many of your threads from the stereotyping to the blatant name-calling. Its extremely rude, borderline adolescent and deeply disrespectful to other people…again, regardless of gender.

            Generalizations and stereotyping, as you surely know since you are apparently such another well schooled colleague, are biases that maintain social inequalities across the board and cause much harm… but let us not begin to wander down the clinical path in any way… shall we just say in layman’s terms… it is very frowned upon.

            Since we are both toe to toe and have an understanding now of each others ‘expertise’ let me be frank then from this point forward.

            Try as you may to veil your inappropriate posts, attacks and rants under any guise you like, it seems you are angry that another woman paused and saw through your defenses, rudeness and insulting generalizations and is calling you out on your pain and inappropriateness. NO, not even YOU who are one of the apparent great original champions of the height of the women’s movement have a right to be rude to others.

            But, now you dare to try to launch your defense mechanisms by attempting to bait me with a condescending passive-aggressive slight about my professional ‘training’,referring dismissively to another colleague’s poignant intervention as psycho babble. They taught us better than that in school don’t you remember and is quite a professional faux pas. Also it was noted and unappreciated of your attempt to assume to label my faith as a fundamentalist or in any way. It was rude and baiting but impressively distracting from the real issue here…which is your behaviour and your pain. But its interesting… you do love your labels it seems! 😉

            Again…all I see is yet another attempt at diversion away from your behaviours with a twisting of topics and distraction against anyone remotely poking at your sore spots and unhealed wounds. Its all quite classic textbook avoidance wouldn’t you say? *Yawn*

            But I do see plainly through it… and I am sorry for whatever pain you have had and that you have witnessed, but you have NO right to generalize and be downright rude. Its hurtful to others and yourself. I also noticed you avoided most of my questions and continue to just criticize and judge.

            Maybe you have gotten to a stage in your life where you feel you ‘must’ be strong for everyone, and showing pain or weakness doesn’t feel like its an option. One cannot help but notice however, you are using your spare time (most counselors know we do not have a lot of spare time as it is) to pick at and taunt people in a safe online forum without offering much positive input in return. This tells me its more about your personal pain than it really is about the issue in the article at all. Healthy, balanced and restored people do not pick random fights, name call or condemn for no reason. Do they?

            Its hard to say more without fully knowing your situation, but your behaviours here are extremely unhealthy and harmful in what you have been doing in so many of these posts. Real people are behind these insights and comments…they are not here to be your personal bully board. At the end of the day I think you must know that taking the road of bitterness is very lonely, and you will always feel the need to overcompensate and be critical as long as you do not deal directly with your insecurities or hurts from the past. Finger pointing, stereotyping, generalizations, rudeness and baiting are not going to heal you or bring you joy or any source of peace.

            And yes… woman to woman… I have stepped out and am calling you on it. All of it. Not just your rudeness or sweeping negative generalizations… but your apparent repression of much pain as well.

            Let me note also…. I’ve worked with women’s shelters, counseled many abused women and just so you know… personally when I was younger I ‘was’ actually beaten by a man whom after much damage to my face, arm and knee (which I still bear scars of) was able to find safety away from and filed a restraining order and pressed charges and went to court. I know the terror a woman feels in this situation, but I was one of the fortunate ones and finally got away from him.

            As you can imagine that furthered my resolve to be ‘Pro Women’ and make sure my future daughter never would even remotely be in that situation. So as long as I have breath as her mother she will always feel valued and empowered while remaining a civilized, productive, respectful member of society who seeks for peace and equality first. But also… I’m teaching my son (as is my husband) how to be a REAL man. Offering respect, accountability and loving attitudes toward women and all people and using his own strengths and uniqueness for good. My husband and I both strive to be positive role models and examples to them daily.

            Teaching them how to hate, fingerpoint or condemn is NOT the answer.If anyone understands the ‘unfairness’ or harm a man can cause by using his strengths inappropriately I surely can also. As a woman in today’s society where equal rights and even pay aren’t quite yet what they should be as well, I still do not make attacks on men as a group for they are individuals, not all men are evil. Flawed yes… but so are all women…flawed. Its the plight of the human condition.

            Abuse and oppression are not acceptable for any persons, I have even worked with men who have been physically, verbally and sexually abused by women… from their mothers to their wives and so has my husband. I’m sure with your vast experience you have too. Personally, as a woman who ‘has’ been abused by a man (and I should also mention I am also a survivor of sexual assault by another man), I STILL offer grace and forgiveness and have worked out my own issues quietly and within healthful context. I’ve found constructive ways to contribute to the solution and do not attack men randomly or condemn them as a whole.

            But, this is not about whether or not men have oppressed and abused women. Its still about your constant need to attack and be rude. You chose to do it to my husband and that was not ok. So here I am addressing it.

            My husband is a ‘very’ good man and has personal insights and frustrations at times with first hand experience of the dynamics of the church, men’s ministry, and leadership as a pastor and was merely trying to bring his insight to the table, since the article was about…men.

            I see no empowering or healing in your words in most of your posts, just pain and viciousness. Your pain and resentment against men is obvious and you try to force it on others under the label of feminism and equal rights.

            No… its not feminism, its simply rudeness. As a colleague and more so as a woman, I am deeply disappointed in your behaviour and clinging to such victim mentality and patterns is destructive and hurting you the most, more than your words will ever hurt another.

            Shall I remind you of the old simple cliche …

            “Hurt people…hurt people.”

            Let me know if you need an ear to talk sometime, it may make you feel better and to know your words would be in confidence. In the mean time Fascinatin’… try to keep mindful of how you treat others… be a positive example for men and women together alike. There is always hope for the future in all things… BE the change.

            After all, wouldn’t you agree that given all of our inherently unique exquisite traits and strengths as women… rude and unkind behaviours are simply uncivilized, impolite and quite beneath us?

            Take care.

          • sg

            You forgot jerk.

            To me, it just seems you don’t appreciate men and all the good they have done. Men and women are both sinners, but women are not any less of sinners than men. All fall short.

          • Fascinatin’ Womanhood

            There you go with that SIN obsession again…

            OOGA BOOGA—the SIN is gonna get ya!!!
            Please.
            Next you will be doing the “Jesus will toss you into an eternal volcano” dance…

            I don’t scare that easy.
            I have felt the grace of God inside the deepest part of my being. That spark that brings everything forth is inside us all.
            What do I have to fear?
            I could walk thru hell, and it wouldn’t matter—wherever I am, God is.
            The only thing separating you from experiencing God right now is your stubborn mind, that likes to compartmentalize and run the show.
            That may work in the outer world, but it certainly doesn’t work in the inner kingdom.

          • sg

            “I have felt the grace of God inside the deepest part of my being. That spark that brings everything forth is inside us all.”

            That is called your imagination.

            If I am going to just go with my imagination, then I sure am not getting up on Sunday morning to go to some service and contribute my dollars to that project. I am in need of the forgiveness of my sins. If I can’t get that, then the church has nothing to offer me. I can just buy a boat and sleep in on Sundays, and like you I can just say that all I need is within me, etc.

            However, instead of believing you, I believe Jesus, who says He does forgive sin. I follow Him, I know His voice. What you are saying is something very different. I don’t follow what you are saying.

            “The only thing separating you from experiencing God right now is your stubborn mind, that likes to compartmentalize and run the show.”

            LOL, ever more psychobabble telling me how broken I am for not trusting myself. Hilarious.

          • Karena727

            Dear Fascinatin’,

            It is initially curious that you took the time to be so involved over an article about men in church and I have to say… while I am ‘pro woman’ I am certainly not about the brand of male bashing feminism as a way to regain our power or equality.

            Perhaps once your call was ‘Pro Woman/ Pro Equality’ but now it seems from a younger woman’s perspective, who is looking up to your generation who were a part of the height of the equality movement, it has simply been reduced to a shrill chant of ‘!!! Anti-MEN !!!’.

            Since you (and I notice your supporter lizzy) find my initial helpful stance of examining your drastic anger and apparent bitterness as ‘condescending’ or ‘psychobabble’ (even though you stated you were familiar with the psychology field) it comes to my attention perhaps I failed to include ‘narcissism’ and ‘histrionic’ in my previous post and definitions. My apologies. However, let me address you now in common vernacular and full layman’s terms and more importantly and simply… woman to woman.

            Usually people who are embittered and hateful I simply ignore; attitudes that are similar to the ones you exhibit are not particularly interesting, compelling, noteworthy or ‘fascinating’ in any way. The only reason I offer you an ounce of my energy or time is because I feel sad to see such a venomous bitterness about anyone, male or female and it caused me concern when you lashed out against my husband’s comments directly.

            Mostly however, I responded to you and stand against your disrespectful, hurtful and prejudiced views because yes, you chose to spew at my husband directly, but it is also wrong for you to attack men the way that you are. You are only trading places with the men who have wronged women, becoming what you claim you hate. Shouldn’t you show the true phoenix-like undying strength of women and rise up and show a better way? By behaving in the exact way you are accusing ALL men of…is taking an eye for an eye approach and that mindset is “soooooooooo last millennium and so emotionally unhealthy.”

            My initial thought I can’t seem to get past however is – why on earth if you are so pro women, why are you not doing more to encourage them and to encourage and teach men ‘how’ to be better at equality? Why are you obsessed with calling people names or trolling articles and comments about men to start with?

            While I acknowledged the atrocities that women have suffered and blatant oppression in my original reply to you, (and as a woman have experienced myself)… of course you and all women who stand up for their person-hood and human rights are to be commended, especially women in countries right now who exhibit bravery and cannot voice their rights as we even doing now in this forum without being viciously attacked or killed.

            However…it seems as though your focus and initial pure intent on equality for women as equal persons and a healing of generations of mistreatment and gaping rift between genders….has shifted or waned. It seems you want no parts of healing and your mission appears to have become nothing more than vapid, tiresome, gender baiting rhetoric that feeds your clearly damaged ego.

            Your critical, harsh and vacillating example of ‘womanhood’ now in this present day (that I have personally witnessed here through your words in this forum) is an embarrassment and is further perpetrating the exact attitudes you claim to so resent and disdain in men. It seems you are simply wanting to trade the behaviours from men and give all of the demeaning, abusive words and right to women, as if that makes it right. It sounds more like control, pride and vindictiveness to me. These behaviours, attitudes and attacks are just wrong period. You are old enough, you have experienced (as all women have) the injustices and so you should certainly know better.

            While you claim ‘equality’ you seem to spend much of your emotional energy trying to usurp men now and ‘prove’ their inferiority by rudeness, slandering and down right verbal bullying. Your brand of ‘feminism’ is nothing I would ever admire or follow as a younger generation woman coming behind you and is certainly nothing I would ever teach my daughter.

            Perhaps if you don’t want to reference the ‘Bible’ then perhaps just read up on all of the old ways of etiquette and common courtesy and decency…there are some great articles out there even on ‘Miss Manners’ on how to treat others in more common day publications if you do not want to look too far into the past.

            Its just good manners and human decency to ask yourself…if something is true, kind or helpful before you just harshly judge and criticize another or slander them for their gender as a whole.

            YOU chose to first engage on a men’s article and YOU chose to respond more than once in a disrespectful and hateful manner to my husband. Your actions are embarrassing for a supposed ‘enlightened and equal’ modern woman.

            You appear to speak out of pain… based on much of what I have seen, you appear to slam and bully others verbally and you do not care how much pain you inflict…just like the atrocities and arrogance that has been forced upon women for centuries by men. When you attack people or men as a whole, somehow you believe YOUR poisoned tongue is more valid and justified than theirs, simply because of YOUR gender.

            Again, legitimately one can only assume you were never taught how to converse in a civilized manner while still showing value to the other person. Your other comments degrading men, name calling and general nastiness are glaring examples of your flagrant disregard for others.

            Its sad you choose to see the world through such shadowed and jaded lenses and ironically model the same exact behaviours you seem to so despise. Your rude, small minded, oppressive, angry pedantic rants do nothing to contribute to humanity in a positive way or further the cause of women.

            Perhaps some quiet reflection and re-evaluation will do you some good to deal with your anger issues and bitterness. Maybe then you will find it makes much more enlightened sense to be a positive example of femininity, and display the true balanced power of womanhood… instead of acting like a loud uncivilized boorish bully fault finding and name calling from the sidelines.

            Maybe no one has felt the proper way to clarify the impact or glaring reality of your judgmental actions and call you out on it before, but I am not afraid to call a spade a spade. Rudeness and disrespect, no matter who it is from, is extremely wrong.

            You are showing the weak side of human behaviours primarily so far here in this discussion forum that I have seen. Show more of us your POSITIVE and IMPACTING LEADERSHIP skills, since you claim the mantle of being one of the original feminist leaders who “broke the mold.”

            Its also a quandary to me while you were certain to state how you could care less about the Bible why on earth are you even getting into harsh slandering sessions and trolling comments on an article discussing church leadership?

            While I could talk of grace, compassion and humility that women naturally have an abundance of along with all of our other strengths and fruits of the Spirit or general human decency…perhaps you respond more to only the sharper characteristics we have, so instead I will simply appeal to your mantle as an original ‘mold breaker’ and ask this: Why are you behaving in ways that simply perpetrate the cycle? Aren’t you willing to heal and grow?

            IF so….then instead of showing us insecure and weak behaviours that seemed trapped in victimized thinking…show us the balanced strong positive feminine leadership women of our generation are looking for when we seek mentors of the older generations. Teach and model for the younger women and even the new generation of younger men HOW to have equality between the genders by being a shining example of the best qualities of womanhood.

            Women of today seek a better world with better leadership and mentors, regardless of gender. We assume each gender has strengths and weaknesses and look not to old antiquated or divisive thinking or arguments. We are more proactive and productive and seek long term solutions for problems and seek self actualized, strong, balanced, mentors who are willing to lead the way.

            Women of today’s younger generation like to get things done and work as a team TOGETHER with men and do not have time to fault find and pass by persons of weak character such as angry, resentful, self serving, whiners who bitterly reminisce of the wrongs of the past from their armchairs and do not want to move forward…we see small minded thinking such as this from women who supposedly are ‘leaders’ and are confused and disappointed.

            Personally, I just see a hurt, insecure woman who has not healed of all of her wounds inflicted by men yet that just is grasping at some form of self justice. Your shield is your ability to ‘attack’ first and instigate fights, feeling the need to be ‘right’ regardless of the destruction your tongue and actions have inflicted along the way.

            It is worthy to note, a woman of strong character would also recognize her mistakes and would apologize to those she has insulted or wronged…all the men, especially and including my husband, as those behaviours were totally uncalled for as he said NOTHING offensive about women, was merely making a comment on an article (that was about men).

            But… perhaps your convictions of your younger years have faded as you appear to be someone who has no interest in being a mentor or positive example for women anymore or has a desire to make the world a better place at all for the future.

            Since you reject all of what I spoke of before when it comes to counseling or the Bible… in concern for your apparent distressed and angry psyche may I suggest then something simple instead such as aromatherapy… it might be a good start.

            Have a lovely day.

            Regards,

            Karen.

          • Fascinatin’ Womanhood

            It was my generation of women that made it possible for your daughter to be a lawyer, electrician, movie director or minister. We always sought to include men in the equality movement, and NOW even went to court with Men’s Rights organizations over draft conscription for males only.

            Men who cannot get with the program need to be spoken to directly and clearly—they aren’t getting the message when it is soft-peddled for their precious male ego. And after 50 years of modern women’s rights movement, they shouldn’t still be stuck back in 1950’s gender roles. Telling women that “that’s just the way men are–deal with it”, doesn’t cut the mustard anymore.

            You are projecting ALL SORTS of emotional baggage onto me. I wasn’t feeling any of those emotions you were slathering on me; neither do I have the issues you were accusing me of.

            But you sure seem to!
            I don’t know Lizzie at all, but she sure picked it up.

            A 28 paragraph answer is obsessive, regardless of the criticism you are leveling at someone on a comment board.
            Either you can’t handle your caffeine, or you are a raving lunatic all the time.

          • sg

            “It was my generation of women that made it possible for your daughter to be a lawyer, electrician, movie director or minister.”

            Not true.

            The pages of the college yearbooks from the 1940’s are full of women doing that stuff. The local Ragin’ Cajun restaurant has stacks of yearbooks from the colleges and universities around Louisiana and there are lots of women doing lots of things including studying to be doctors and lawyers. So, unless you are 100 years old, you weren’t paving the way for them, the legislature and men of Louisiana had already done it. And when I say paving the way, I do mean paving the way, because the colleges and universities and the economy that supported them were built by men.

          • Fascinatin’ Womanhood

            During the forties women did everything men did on the domestic front, because men were overseas fighting.

            When men can home, women were banished back to the kitchen. There were whole advertising campaigns designed specifically to convince women that giving up wages for homemaking was a worthy endeavor.

            This whole notion of “fighting germs” was developed to sell products to women by convincing them that domestic janitorial work took a high IQ, education and business sense.
            That way they would become good little consumers while staying “in their place”.

            Those days are gone.
            Get over it.

          • sg

            You sure are eat up with it. I know lots of women who are mighty happy to get back to their homes and families after getting tired of working outside the home at all the kinds of jobs society said they should be doing like doctoring and lawyering and engineering, etc. Yeah, some like it out there with the guys, but many don’t. And those are the women who have a choice because they have good husbands. The less educated/educable have crappier jobs that they would really love to quit so they could be home with their children, but the new economy requires two incomes in more and more homes.

          • sg

            I said they were in college. That is not a job that contributes to the war. That is the process of acquiring a capital asset at the expense of one’s parents that wish the daughter to get to be whatever it is she is studying for.

          • sg

            I guess you don’t have a piano, or drive on roads, or have cable, or a toilet that needs fixed, etc.?

        • lizzysimplymagic

          “Don’t expect men to follow women.”

          Don’t expect women to stop excelling to make men feel less insecure. Women have had to follow men for generations and have done it because the work needed doing. Love how you’re happy to let women clean bathrooms and wrangle toddlers, but oh , the heavy burden of leadership! How silly for women to heed the Spirit’s call when there are all these men who would gladly bear that cross… If women hadn’t gotten their yucky cooties all over it first. Why is it that your approach to working in community isn’t to offer assistance, but to pine for something women haven’t gotten their lady-paws all over?

          The church’s male dilemma isn’t the presence of capable women or the lack of masculine language (I mean, seriously?) – it’s the sense of entitlement that still permeates our patriarchal society. Loss of privilege is not lack of respect, lack of undeserved deference isn’t loss of opportunities. Unbunch your boxer-briefs and help the ladies wash some dishes after the potluck for the sake of the Kingdom, and quit whining about how “there’s nothing to do”, cuz fella, there’s PLENTY.

          • Fascinatin’ Womanhood

            AMEN!

            It is way past time men stop thinking they are just too good to do any grunt work. Have you even noticed that whoever has the power in a relationship never cleans the toilet or changes the poopy diaper?

            And talk about lack of “masculine language”!
            Ever try referring to God in the feminine in a Christian congregation? The nervous jittering, snorts, rolling eyes and strained chuckles say it all—Christian churches are all about GOD IN THE MASCULINE, at the expense of women.

            This petty attitude of “If we men cannot lead, we am gonna take our toys and go home” is what needs to be addressed.

          • sg

            “It is way past time men stop thinking they are just too good to do any grunt work.”

            Who do you think collects the garbage, pours concrete, works in coal mines, on offshore oil rigs, builds buildings?

            All the real hard grunt work is done by guys.

            Changing poopy diapers is easy compared to working all day as a laborer.

          • sg

            “Don’t expect women to stop excelling.”

            Delusional much? Women are not excelling. Oh, a few are, very very few. But for most excelling is just doing as well as an above average guy.

            “How silly for women to heed the Spirit’s call when there are all these men who would gladly bear that cross…”

            The Spirit is not calling women. It is the coinage of their own minds.

            “Unbunch your boxer-briefs”

            No boxers here.

            “and help the ladies wash some dishes after the potluck for the sake of the Kingdom”

            I am the lady washing the dishes after the potluck.

          • lizzysimplymagic

            I apologize for mis-gendering you.

            I’m sorry you feel that the women you know aren’t excelling (although, isn’t as well as an above-average guy still excelling? Isn’t “above average” basically the definition of excellent?). The women in my congregation include PhDs, entrepreneurs, engineers, teachers, honor students, musicians, councelors, seminarians, authors, stay-at-home moms, graduate students, activists, and active volunteers… and a few can be counted in multiple categories! They most certainly are excelling. And so are the men. Here’s the best part – we excel as a community because we support each other and work together. We celebrate each other. The menfolk don’t pout or vanish because the women are too talented, they are proud, grateful, and challenged to be better themselves – this is a good thing. Just because a woman is fantastic at something doesn’t render a nearby man useless. Everyone has gifts to bring to their community. Men who only want to succeed in a vacuum are going to be insecure inside a church OR outside.

            “The Spirit is not calling women. It is the coinage of their own minds.”

            I’m surprised you feel the Spirit needs your approval considering your belief that few women excel – I guess you’re one of the special few, and you’re so excellent the Spirit stepped down and put you in charge of HR? Either that, or… the Spirit doesn’t answer to you. Sorry you find that uncomfortable. Maybe pray on it and see if you feel better.

          • sg

            I have an advanced degree, too. I know it is hard to be self critical, especially hard for some. But the fact is some women are not too objective on this issue.

          • lizzysimplymagic

            It is hard to be self-critical at times. That said, I feel I ought to point out that I was talking about the community to which I belong, not about myself. I’m actually one of the least accomplished women I know, for the record.

          • sg

            I think that some kinds of accomplishments are overrated. One of the smartest people I know is a war refugee from Bosnia with a just a high school diploma. She is a real inspiration to me.

    • sg

      What types of female pastors have you noticed? Do they fall in the same kind of categories you have described?

    • lizzysimplymagic

      I notice that male pastors are the only kind you discuss in this comment. This is ironic given the topic, don’t you think? Why is it that women pastors don’t warrant comment too? Do they not influence their congregations to the same degree as their male counterparts? Are they “reaching people for Christ and making disciples”, or not?

  • Scott Daves

    I agree with Russ but put it another way … society and church used to be very paternalistic, society moved to maternalistic while most churches remained paternalistic. It is only once the churches moved to maternalistic that there has been a men issue. There’s your real problem. The two groups most attracting men today are Mormons and ISIS, both strongly paternalistic organizations.

    • RevTim

      Scott, no doubt there is some truth to that. However, congregations today who are reaching men aren’t necessarily going back to paternalism. But they are finding ways to present the Gospel with masculine images, use spiritual words with masculine energy, and provide opportunities for risk taking for the sake of the Gospel.

  • valleystina

    Questions like these suggests that you are not operating in the Holy Spirit.

  • Guthrum

    “preferring stability, consensus, and status quo”: I would add to that a warm fuzzy, feel good approach, leadership at the top that wants to please everyone and a lukewarm message.
    Years ago the leadership of the ELCA abandoned Biblical authority and got into the cultural theology, psuedo psychology. This started when the LCA merged with some other Lutheran groups. As a result,over the years millions have left for independent churches that are energetic and passionate about preaching the Bible. Same thing in the other mainline denominations.
    Men view the leaders, and a lot of the pastors as weak; they are where they are because it is indoor work and no heavy lifting. Gone are dynamic, bold leaders and pastors. Gone is the edge that the LCA had when it came to preaching.
    “Don’t weaken the message. Make it clearer”.

  • raylampert

    I find it ironic that the groups who have historically been the most mistreated by Christianity seem to make up its strongest adherents. Specifically women, racial minorities and the poor. While, if what you say is true, the group that has benefited the most from Christianity, white men, is losing interest in it. At least insofar as ordinary members. The people at the top of the Christian heap in this country are still overwhelmingly rich white men. Franklin Graham, Mike Huckabee, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, William Donohue, Joel Osteen, etc. etc. Fascinating, isn’t it?

    • sg

      Women and minorties were not mistreated by the church. The church treated them better than anyone else did. Most especially bringing them the Gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ.
      http://www.fisk.edu/about/history
      http://www.ccal.edu/?q=about-us

      Christians were working for equality before it was a hipster cool thing to say you think is cool. They were doing the work when it was actually hard to do and they gave not just out of their prosperity but also out of their poverty.

      The people at the top of pretty much every heap are overwhelmingly rich white men, but so what?

      My kingdom is not of this world
      – Jesus Christ

      We are all beggars
      – Martin Luther

      • raylampert

        If the church treated women so well, then why did we need a women’s suffrage movement? Or feminism in general? If the church treated minorities so well, why did we have slavery, segregation and Jim Crow? Why did we need a Civil Rights Movement, a Voting Rights Movement? A Gay Rights movement?

        You know perfectly well that institutional religion has stood hard and fast against every social, cultural and political improvement in history, until it was forced by mass pressure to relent.

        • tophergraceless

          Well I would argue that white churches treated blacks badly whereas black churches were a key part to the Civil Rights movement. So it just kind of depends on the church one is attending. As for women, I think it is important to look at the role churches play in the community. This role can be helpful to women. For example, when my wife and I were first pregnant and had just moved far away from family, the church we attended was a very important aid in helping us to integrate into the community, find friends, and help after we had a baby. Sure, you can do all these things without a church, but a church does make it easier.

          Basically, if you want to know why women and minorities are such a big part of the church you should ask them what the church means to them and why they go to church. I feel it has a lot less to do with theology and more to do with community.

          • raylampert

            Of course the black churches were at the front of the civil rights movement. They were struggling for their own rights! But the white churches were either against them or indifferent.

            If what you say is true, that community trumps theology, then it’s pretty sad that women and minorities would choose to be part of a community that kicks them around like Christianity does.

          • Fascinatin’ Womanhood

            Interestingly,

            The history of the civil rights movement and the Church, is one where women did countless years of organizing and work, to have men swoop in and make speeches and take credit.

            It was mostly women who worked the phone banks, made the posters, organized in the churches, fund-raised, collated and typed and attended meetings and developed agendas and strategies…

            One book that has several chapters on the way men took credit for women’s work in the fight for racial equality, is:

            WHEN EVERYTHING CHANGED
            By Gail Collins.

            But women have slowly learned.
            We now have the confidence and assertiveness to stand front and center.

          • sg

            “We now have the confidence and assertiveness to stand front and center.”

            You mean arrogance.

          • Fascinatin’ Womanhood

            Men are the only ones allowed to have confidence and assertiveness?
            Please.
            Your Return of Kings mantra is SOOOOOOOOO last millennium.

          • sg

            Nope. Women have always had confidence and assertiveness. Please.

            It is arrogance to stand in front of the congregation and pretend to an office to which one is not and cannot be called by the One who says He does not call women to the office.

          • Fascinatin’ Womanhood

            Perhaps SHE does, and you have just been brainwashed.
            You sound like you are terribly afraid of your own power.

          • sg

            Right. Anyone with an opinion different from yours is brainwashed. And no, I am not a power enthusiast, but neither are men in ministry generally. That collar they wear is the collar of the slave. They serve sacrificially.

          • Fascinatin’ Womanhood

            Just keep telling yourself that…

          • sg

            Oh good grief, now you are going to play the part of self appointed psychoanalyst to tell others they are “afraid of their own power” and other non-sense. You don’t like it when others do it to you, but you happily pick it up when you wish to be miss condescending. Sheesh.

            Can argue facts and reality? Then just tell the other person she is broken.

          • lizzysimplymagic

            Wow, God told you, “no girls allowed”? Weren’t you just railing against modern prophets a little while back?

          • sg

            White churches treated them badly? How? You mean white churches in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, etc.? Or New York, or Boston, or Ohio, or where exactly? Because most of the white folks were really far away in Europe or pretty far away in the Northern USA or Canada.

        • sg

          Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement etc are all left had kingdom stuff. Those did not come from the church. The Roman church has opposed slavery, abortion, etc.

          Institutional religion and religionists stood hard and fast for human rights. You need to go back and read history.

          • raylampert

            Read about the history of the Southern Baptist Convention or what Martin Luther wrote about the Jews.

          • sg

            Martin Luther is one man, not the church.

            The SBC is a tiny fraction of the billions in the Church. It is not “the Church” just a very small part.

          • raylampert

            Martin Luther founded Protestantism, and nobody apologized for his anti-Semitic remarks until well after WW2. The SBC is the largest Protestant denomination in the United States. The Catholic Church opposed women’s suffrage, the African-American civil rights movement, and it opposes the LGBT rights movement today. Every single positive social, cultural, scientific and political improvement throughout Western history has been rigorously opposed by institutional Christianity.

          • sg

            The Roman Catholic church did not oppose the civil rights movement. I don’t know about women’s suffrage, (a bad idea). LGBT don’t want rights, they want special privileges. They are mentally ill and should get counseling and therapy. That may not cure them, but it could still be helpful. I feel sorry for them, but can’t cheer for embracing mental illness. The Roman Church is sane and compassionate in its assessment of LGBT folks. I am not Roman Catholic.

          • Fascinatin’ Womanhood

            You call women’s suffrage “A BAD IDEA”!!!
            You must just be trolling—right?

          • sg

            It is a bad idea. It is just one more burden on women.

            Fun fact, why did the big breweries oppose women’s suffrage?

            ….

            …..

            ……

            Because they knew women would vote for the prohibition of alcohol.

            Of course, they were right.

          • sg

            Pretty much every positive social, cultural and scientific and political improvement throughout western history was made possible by the groundwork laid by the Roman Catholic church which established and funded the universities of Europe.

  • Unah

    I think sometimes this issue gets overthought. Sure men and women are different, but not all men are the same, and not all women are the same. Instead of trying to create a “man-mold” that we can use, it would be better to figure out why the church is better at reaching women than men. From my experience the church offers more of what women are looking for throughout the different stages of their lives. For example, the church offers relationship opportunities when women are young, and opportunities for children and motherhood advice when they become mothers. So women are much more connected to the church. I don’t think focusing on testosterone is going to work. Mark Driscoll had a way of drawing in young men with his macho talk, but the turn over rate was high. When those men reached their 30s, and they had wives and children they left.

    • axelbeingcivil

      Sadly, it’s relatively difficult to provide that same sort of social support for men, at least so long as the social stereotypes are what they are. I imagine a man who takes care of his kids more often may be more likely to get involved in his local church community. Men who work jobs as their primary activity, on the other hand, don’t get the same kind of persistent return/benefit from church attendance, even if things like job hunting programs or networking are provided; there’s just too many secular alternatives and, even if they don’t provide it, they’ll only be useful temporarily.

      If you want commitment from people, you need to give them something and persistently; they need to get something out of it. What is the biggest struggle in most people’s lives? Ease that burden and they’ll flock to your side.

      • sg

        “What is the biggest struggle in most people’s lives?”

        Sin.

        “Ease that burden and they’ll flock to your side.”

        The church exists to pronounce the forgiveness of sins.

        Preach the Law and Gospel.

        The elect will believe.

        • axelbeingcivil

          Calvinist, are ye?

          • sg

            Lutheran

          • axelbeingcivil

            I wasn’t aware Lutherans held a belief in the “elect”, as Calvinists did/do?

          • sg

            This is an article on the difference.

            http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2013/10/why-lutheran-predestination-isnt-calvinist-predestination

            Lutherans embrace the biblical doctrine of election to grace. That is that God call us to believe through His Word. It is not our own work.

            Calvinist double predestination is based on rationalism. Basically if some are called by the Holy Spirit through the Word but others reject it, then those who reject it because God is making them reject it. Lutherans do not hold this view because the Bible only speaks of God’s calling to salvation but not to damnation.

            A quick search turns up 15 references to the elect in the Bible.

            http://biblehub.net/search.php?q=elect

            With Matthew, Mark, Luke and at least one author of the epistles commenting on the elect, a theology has to have some doctrine of election even if it is Arminian.

          • axelbeingcivil

            Not every theology, but certainly any theology that posits an omnipotent/omniscient creator and a salvation/damnation dichotomy does. Mind you, I’d say the Calvinists are the ones carrying the argument to the logical conclusion, there, since any claim of predestination must account for both positive and negative outcomes.

          • sg

            In his theology, Luther was making the point that you have to go with what the text says. You are are not obligated to rationalize it. Calvin wanted a logical conclusion, but that is not what the text gives. The text only teaches that God elects to salvation.

          • axelbeingcivil

            I don’t think it’s rationalizing, so much as following it to its logical conclusion, but, as you say, the point remains.

          • sg

            I think I agree, I just meant that Luther means you may not or even perhaps cannot get it to fit into a neat order that makes sense to the human mind. So, we are called to believe. We do not have to understand it perfectly. Consider the intellectually or developmentally disabled. God’s grace is sufficient for them. They don’t have to be able to prove something from the text. Same for the simple, illiterate, uneducated or any other disadvantaged person.

          • axelbeingcivil

            It’s a fair enough response. I think it might break down under further examination but, in this context, it works.

        • Fascinatin’ Womanhood

          Goodness,

          That isn’t why I commune with others.

          “WHEN TWO OR MORE ARE GATHERED IN GOD’S NAME…”

          There is a focus and energy that comes from spiritual practice in a group, that is difficult to muster alone.
          I want to FEEL the presence of God.
          I want to connect with that vast ocean of love the community has tapped into during worship.

          Have my my mind crack open, and my heart flood it with the immense grace that has been called forth.
          Hear my voice merge with my sisters and brothers and all the angels and devas and every living thing that shines from the inside/out, with the spark of the Beloved.

          Feel the blessed silence, as we hold and touch the infinite mystery, our secret life, the sacred pattern, that small, still voice that only speaks when we truly listen.

          • sg

            I have never felt the presence of God and I don’t expect that I ever will. I go to the Lord’s Supper for the forgiveness of sins. I feel no ocean of love from the other penitent folks there. There is no still small voice speaking to me or to you. Jesus does not speak to us other than in His Word, the Scripture. There is no immediate experience of the divine.

          • Fascinatin’ Womanhood

            It is so sad that you think that…
            Even the bible is full of stories of people having direct communion with the Beloved, as have people of all spiritual paths.

            Truly, you have never felt the power and love of grace moving thru you?
            Never wept with joy as your whole being began vibrating to a higher frequency?
            Never felt the mystery and wonder of true forgiveness, which is chosen past all reason and logic?
            Never seen the splendid majesty inside a blade of grass as it bends in surrender to the wind?

            Don’t you know that God, too, desires us?

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DI2tffDReE&index=17&list=PLmopsDBV5PT0agWKGt_j_heG8ELef3kpA

          • sg

            The people in the Bible who experienced direct revelation were the prophets and there were very very few. So, few in fact that the whole of their experiences over the thousands of years are covered in the Bible.

            What you speak of is mysticism. Whatever I feel are just my own emotions, not God. Human emotions are fine, but they are just part of God’s creation and not some kind of immediate experience. I believe the objective truth of the Bible. I don’t feel God.

          • Fascinatin’ Womanhood

            So,

            You think the Bible archived every single encounter with God and documented it?
            What in the world would make you come to that conclusion?

            Many, many people the world over, in every generation, testify as to their experiences with the Sacred. They may not use your book or your language or belong to your little denomination—do you actually think God loves them less and refuses to commune with them?

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wOURVfx2ok&list=PLmopsDBV5PT0agWKGt_j_heG8ELef3kpA&index=7

            There is nothing objective about the Bible, just as their is nothing objective about a mystical experience.
            Just because you don’t have them, means that no one does?
            If your wife doesn’t have orgasms, does that mean no woman does?

            Dude, you need to get out more.
            Sorry you have totally shut down that wonderful part of the brain (temporal lobe) that we have been given as a transmitter and receiver of divinity.
            If you WANT to hear the infinite, you must be willing to learn how to listen—but I get the feeling you don’t really want to…

            An angel could whisper in your ear, and you would just swat at it and say it was a fly.
            Goddess herself could appear, and you would probably call her a Jezebel, and mutter about demons.
            How sad.

          • sg

            “You think the Bible archived every single encounter with God and documented it?
            What in the world would make you come to that conclusion?”

            The Scripture’s condemnation of false prophets and followers of other religions and those who just go with their own imagination.

          • Fascinatin’ Womanhood

            So everyone is wrong but your brand of Christian?
            NO HEAVEN FOR THE CHINESE!

            What a pompous and arrogant stance.
            Mystical experiences the world over, regardless of what century, have a LOT in common.
            And so do the mystics!
            They all get along great with each other, can worship and commune freely together, have joint pot-lucks etc…

            When people unite in their direct experience of God, there is no argument, no uppity doctrinal notions, no lines drawn in the sand.
            It is when the petty mind starts dissecting and over-explaining these experiences, that people begin to foist their own precious prejudices and projections onto others.

          • lizzysimplymagic

            “There is no immediate experience of the divine.”

            Maybe not for you, but why are you projecting that experience onto others? It’s ok that you don’t have or need that to experience your faith, but people aren’t all the same. Some of us DO feel God’s presence in moments of prayer, communion, sorrow, joy, and grace. Some of us feel the presence of love in our family and community, in the beauty of nature, and in simply living day by day. Some of us find value in all those things without any hint of feeling connected to God, and that’s just fine – but it doesn’t invalidate the feelings of those who do feel God is close.

            I believe that God is present, whether you hear the still, small voice or not. I don’t think hearing it is required, and I don’t think it should be held up as the normative Christian experience… but to deny the very possibility of it happening for others is a deeply hubristic position to take.

          • sg

            No, it is deeply hubristic to claim one feels God’s presence when nothing in the Scripture implies such is to ever be expected and the obvious explanation is one’s own emotions.

          • lizzysimplymagic

            No it shouldn’t be expected. But God is really good at the unexpected.

      • Unah

        I honestly don’t have a clear answer. I suspect it’s not just one thing.

        • axelbeingcivil

          Aye, I didn’t expect one; this is a difficult problem to solve. If it weren’t, it’d be solved already.

  • Danny

    So, the gospel is not enough to attract men?

    • Father Thyme

      Why would it be? It’s not news. It’s not good.

      All it is is a rehashed pagan fear-insurance scam.

      […] they perform their ritual, and persuade not only individuals, but whole cities, that expiations and atonements for sin may be made by sacrifices and amusements which fill a vacant hour, and are equally at the service of the living and the dead; the latter sort they call mysteries, and they redeem us from the pains of hell, but if we neglect them no one knows what awaits us.

      Plato (4th century BCE) The Republic. Book II.
      classics.mit.edu/Plato/republic.html

      • Danny

        I think that applies to anyone, not just men.

  • sg

    “What does it look like for these testosterone-charged, act
    first think second, fix-it-focused-brained men, to follow Jesus through
    our local congregations?”

    Men make great leaders.

    The last time I was in an ELCA service every single person at the front was a woman. The pastor, the communion helpers, acolytes, etc. I think men see this and feel like the women have got this covered, so they will take their talents and energies where they are needed. Clearly they aren’t really needed in the church because the women and girls are now empowered to do everything and are managing to do it, so yeah, nothing much else to do there.

    I don’t really see men as ” act first think second” but I would agree they tend towards “fix-it-focused-brained”

    Thanks to men thinking first and then acting, we have paper and pens and computers and lawn mowers and harvesters and tractors and fertilizers and higher yield crops and silos and threshers and mills and bakeries and breweries and distilleries and glass factories and trucks and cars and ships and airplanes and dog breeds and corn varieties and wheat varieties and cattle breeds and polyesters and looms and sewing machines mattresses and lamps and windows and doors and locks and wall board and bricks and mortar and staple guns and guns and hammers and nails and screws and lathes and drills and chairs and tables and floor tiles and plumbing and asphalt and concrete and gunite and swimming pools and diving boards and light bulbs and CD’s and mp3’s and phones and cell phones and electrical plants and dams and levees and vaccines and hospitals and blood pressure machines and stents and chemotherapy and …

    Technically the list of what men have first thought of and then acted to make may be finite, but it is so immense that it seems infinite.

    Men generally aren’t the problem. However, they often have the solution, unless of course the ladies have it all wrapped up already and there is nothing for them to do.

    • lizzysimplymagic

      How certain are you that men made all that stuff in a vacuum? How do you know women didn’t help significantly without being credited?

      • sg

        Of course, it did not happen in a vacuum, but the others that helped with the actual inventing were also men.

        Women significantly helped without being credited?

        Sorry, but that just strains credulity. No, I don’t think it is possible for women to have helped a lot with such inventions and have been consistently and universally overlooked. There is no basis for such an assumption.

        • lizzysimplymagic

          “No, I don’t think it is possible for women to have helped a lot with such inventions and have been consistently and universally overlooked. There is no basis for such an assumption.”

          Really.

          Really?

          Really?!?

          I know at least this much about you: you can read, and you have access to the Internet.

          Please, for the love of sanity, educate yourself.

          • sg

            I am familiar with those women. Yes, there is a tiny fraction that are real and significant. But my point was that there were very very few, which is exactly what your citations establish. Yes, there are some. No, there are not very many, and no, they didn’t make much in the way of contributions whether noted or ignored. The fact that there are some in no way refutes the fact that as a fraction of all inventors, scientists etc., there were extremely few.

            This chick is particularly impressive:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyudmila_Pavlichenko

          • lizzysimplymagic

            Exceptional people aren’t the norm, regardless of gender. The fact that history records fewer women is a little more complex than you’re willing to admit.

          • sg

            No it isn’t. History does record women’s accomplishments.

          • Fascinatin’ Womanhood

            Why do you think they call it HIS-STORY?
            Most of women’s accomplishments were never recorded; some of them had men take credit for them.
            Just as so many women authors had to write under a man’s name to be read.

            But you don’t really care, do you?
            You don’t want to learn and grow.
            You LIKE your patriarchy—it gives you an ole’ Shep to kick around…

          • sg

            “Most of women’s accomplishments were never recorded; some of them had men take credit for them.”

            How do you know that?

            “Just as so many women authors had to write under a man’s name to be read.”

            Why?

            You are the one who doesn’t really care because you are throwing out stuff that not only has not been established, it can’t even be established.

            Patriarchy is really the only successful system. Christian patriarchy in particular brought us life improving things like human rights, civil rights, science and technology. I like stuff that delivers good to everyone. Given that we are all sinful and corrupt, it has worked better than other systems.

          • lizzysimplymagic

            “Christian patriarchy in particular brought us life improving things like human rights, civil rights, science and technology.”

            Debatable for so many reasons, not least of which being that in a patriarchal systems most benefits exist for the primary intent of benefiting men, with women at best a secondary consideration.

            “I like stuff that delivers good to everyone.”

            Me too! That’s why I’m a Christian feminist. I have this niggling suspicion that women are human beings deserving of dignity and respect.

          • sg

            Yeah, I am just not seeing any system anywhere where women are treated better than in the Christian system, nor are they moving in that direction independently based on either the philosophy or trajectory of their systems. You could cite an example perhaps that I haven’t seen.

            No, it is not really debatable that our system for at least the immediate past thousand years has been Christian, patriarchal, and progressive. Primarily men have been doing the philosophical, political and scientific work to alleviate suffering and establish justice. That is not the same as perfection. But, I think our great liberal documents like the US Constitution and scientific improvements like vaccines, and ideas like equality before the law have definitely helped women, but were not conceived of or implemented by women.

          • Fascinatin’ Womanhood

            It certainly has never been established that patriarchy is “the only successful system”.
            If it was, we wouldn’t be in the big fat mess we are today, with a trashed eco-system, war breaking out everywhere, and an overpopulated, violent and sickly bunch of humans perpetrating the largest mass extinction we have seen since the dinosaurs left.

            Patriarchy held sway for so long because of upper arm strength and child-bearing duties. Thank God we no longer need either in this new millennium!
            When women really gain 50% of the power in Industrialized civilizations—WATCH OUT!
            It is going to be fantastic.
            And it will be women who save us from ourselves and extinction.

          • sg

            It is obvious that patriarchy is the only successful system. You can’t even name a country that isn’t patriarchal, let alone a successful one. What big fat mess? The big fat mess of saving people’s lives from horrible diseases?

            “Patriarchy held sway for so long because of upper arm strength and child-bearing duties. Thank God we no longer need either in this new millennium!”

            Wait right there, How is it we no longer need brute strength? Oh, it is because of all those gadgets and technology that men invented so that princesses like you can announce that the chicks are now able to take over now that all the real work has been done.

            “When women really gain 50% of the power in Industrialized civilizations—WATCH OUT!”

            LOL

            Watch out indeed. Some of my friends have said that whenever a woman takes over as CEO of a company, they always dump that stock because they know which way the company is headed. Pretty funny, but true. Anyway, women aren’t much interested in saving anyone from anything. Some are, but very few.
            Right now Angela Merkel is busy importing young fundamentalist Muslim men to help out her industrialized nation. Women in charge, Watch out indeed. Unlike Charles Martel who defended the women of Europe, chicks will flood your nation with young violent oppressive men! You can’t make this stuff up. Watch out, ladies.

          • lizzysimplymagic

            Except when it doesn’t.

            Strange… according to you, men are leaving the church because of all the women who’ve got things “all wrapped up”… women who simply aren’t exceptional, because exceptional women are so much rarer than exceptional men, of course. Are men put off of being exceptional themselves by the mere presence of even unexceptional women? Are these merely average women still so accomplished that insecure men have nothing to add? Are men truly that petty, in your eyes?

          • sg

            So how do you know that women’s accomplishments are not recorded? I mean, how do you know that something not recorded ever happened? How would you know? Further, it is possible even probable that all kinds of stuff was not recorded, but we can’t know what that stuff was let alone who did it.

            Anyway, I said not to expect men to follow women. Women have women’s clubs and men weren’t protesting to join in women’s stuff. Men don’t want to do that. So if the church ladies are already doing the stuff, then men don’t need to do it. That doesn’t mean women are excelling, rather just filling the job. It doesn’t need filling if it is filled. I am not insecure just because I don’t want to cut the grass. My son has already cut it. Likewise men aren’t insecure because they don’t want to do something that someone has already got covered. Are you insecure because you don’t work in a coal mine? Is emotional insecurity the only reason you are not trying to get a job in a coal mine? Are you really that petty?

          • lizzysimplymagic

            I would only expect men to “follow” people who are skilled and effective leaders, regardless of their gender. If men are refusing to follow someone merely because that person is in possession of a vagina, that’s sexism. The “stuff” women are doing includes social justice work, care for the sick, the poor, the elderly, feeding the hungry, sheltering refugees… you know, that stuff Jesus was so big on? So, yeah, I think it’s pretty damn petty if men are simply opting themselves out of that because they don’t get to be bossy-pants 100% of the time.

          • sg

            “I would only expect men to “follow” people who are skilled and effective leaders, regardless of their gender.”

            Yeah, but those folks overwhelmingly are men.

            Men will follow the leader, and that leader is pretty much always a guy. It’s not that men will never follow women. There was Joan of Arc. Rather it is just that so few women can inspire men to follow them. It is rare. Inspiring leaders are overwhelmingly male and competent leaders are overwhelmingly male.

          • lizzysimplymagic

            Huh. So men are leaving the church in droves because they don’t want to follow women… but leaders “are pretty much always” men, so there are no women to follow anyways.

            You can’t have it both ways. Either the men are getting scared off by droves of frighteningly competent women, or the church is full of incompetent women and and all the cool dudes left because… reasons.

            Or you’re just arguing in circles. Having fun?

          • sg

            No, you are the one arguing in circles.

            You wish to malign men for not following women. You call them scared or petty or bossy pants, etc. But men are just being logical. If a woman has filled an undesirable role, like being a pastor, or diaper changer, or whatever, then swell, one less thing to do. If a woman tries to lead but isn’t competent, then it is time to get out of the sinking boat. And if she isn’t inspiring, then yeah, they just don’t feel like it. None of these reasons are malicious or petty, and in fact are the same reasons the men would have for not following a guy. The difference is that so much more often these reasons come up when it is a woman. It is just the way things shake out. Just think of it this way. There are some women over 5’10”. They are rare at 0.7%. There are some men over 5’10”. They are less common at 33% than men under 5’10”. So men over 5’10” outnumber women over 5’10 by 50 to 1. When you chose some threshold standard that is above the mean, then you will end up with more men. Leadership ability is not exactly the same in every person. More men than women are good leaders. So, Joan of Arc notwithstanding, leadership roles end up filled by guys generally. No malice, no pettiness, etc.

          • lizzysimplymagic

            You’re stating your belief that women are generally incompetent leaders as if it is fact. It’s not.

            75% of ELCA clergy is male. Even if ALL the female leaders were lousy at their jobs, it wouldn’t account for the fact that so few men are coming to church. Blaming women for the unfortunate behavior of men is such a classic example of sexism it ought to be a collectable – but it’s just not a valid argument.

            But even if the majority of leaders were terribly, unrepentantly feminine and uninspiring, I would still find that to be a poor excuse for the exodus of male Christians. To quote another Patheos article:”…if one truly believed that the church was too feminine, they would not isolate from the church. Instead, they would actively work to facilitate a more balanced expression of masculinity and femininity in their church settings. The assumption that one can only change the church by leaving the church is not an act of noble masculinity; it is an act of disconnected, misguided brokenness. It is an act of isolation which is common among men unable or unwilling to learn how to abide in community.” (Emphasis mine)

            If the men who are fleeing church were really leader-types, they’d work towards creating the kind of church culture they wanted instead of washing their hands of it.

            If men don’t like touchy-feely services and the one in four chance of that sermon being delivered by a woman, fine by me. I don’t care if they attend services, I care if they are actually willing to be servants of God. The ushers at my church are almost all men, because they like to be busy during the service. They don’t use the presence of female leaders as an excuse to avoid doing their share of the work. Honestly, if women had refused to be of service to male leaders, I doubt Christianity would’ve survived at all – and don’t try to tell me women haven’t had plenty of terrible male leaders to contend with.

          • sg

            Well, we left the ELCA when there was an agreement to join up with the Episcopal church.

            My biggest objection was to the ELCA’s accession to the requirement by the Episcopal church that all ELCA from then on would have to be ordained in to the historic episcopacy in order for them to join the clergy. My objection to this lay in the fact that even though the ELCA and its members knew they didn’t believe it was necessary, they publicly stated officially that they did believe it was necessary. They lied and everyone knew they were lying. This was not some long studied issue that the church finally decided that this was something they really believed. Rather, it was a bald faced lie that they were willing to say so they could join up with the Episcopal church. So for me at that point the willingness to so baldly lie made me distrust all leadership in the ELCA. Our former pastor at that church led his new congregation to leave and join the new LCMC.

            Now that just is my reason, my husband grew up LCA and wanted to stay, but finally agreed it was not best for our son for other reasons.

            Why are the men leaving? Probably for various different reasons not all of which are peculiar to the ELCA, but which may be related to seeing certain changes in the church.

            And no I do not think it is reasonable to expect men to follow women.. It may happen, but do not just expect it. It is unreasonable.

            FWIW, I really kind of liked the woman pastor we had at that ELCA church but her sermons rarely made any sense. We didn’t leave until the new guy came in as pastor. He was much worse than she. He was a real snake. Unfortunately people were more willing to follow him than her. He was a bad actor. She simply suffered from not being very inspiring. She was an okay adminstrator and a sweet person.

          • Fascinatin’ Womanhood

            More and more I doubt that you are really a woman.
            What woman calls another a CHICK nowadays?

            And to print a link to a “impressive” woman, who as it turns out, is a SNIPER—are you kidding me?
            That is the stuff of wet dreams for 14 year old boys.

            What would Jesus think of that?

          • sg

            She was acting in her vocation as soldier fighting the Nazis. You got a problem with that? Anyway, she was impressive in the sort of way that really stacks up when compared with the guys. Also, I doubt too many teen guys dream of soldier women. I just ran it past my teen son, he said not so much.

    • Fascinatin’ Womanhood

      We don’t need your countless gadgets.
      Spirit calls to our hearts and souls.
      Don’t want to commune with women?
      Don’t want to do your share of the routine work?
      Have no sense of humility and fair play?

      Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
      See how you like being in a church full of men only…

      • sg

        Sense of humility and fair play?

        LOL, one of the first things my sons learned in school is how quickly the girls cheat or quit because they can’t beat the boys at games.

        Perhaps what you mean by fair play is heavily handicapping everything in favor of women.

        Yeah, as for not letting the door hit them on the way out, men have left and the church in fact is realizing how much they actually need the resources of men.

        • Fascinatin’ Womanhood

          Can’t get your mind off competition and proving how much better you are then women, for a minute, can ya?

          If additional resources are needed, they can be hired.
          No one is indispensable.

          • sg

            I am a woman and am better that some and not as good as others.

          • Fascinatin’ Womanhood

            If you are not lying, then you are brainwashed.

      • sg

        “We don’t need your countless gadgets.”

        Great. Get off the computer, and don’t go to the john or use any electricity or running water, or air conditioning or cars or bicycle, or bus or phone or spoon, or oven or door, etc.

        Just do what we would all be doing without men’s contributions, digging for grubs to eat on the bank of a muddy stream while watching our children starve.

        • Fascinatin’ Womanhood

          yawn.

          Could have talked about how you are willing and able to join in and do what women have done forever—your share of the menial and routine work.
          But you didn’t.
          Instead, you patronize women by implying they are low IQ children who are just waiting for some man to come in and take over and provide them with all of life’s necessities…

          You must be one of those men’s rights activists who think women are going to bat their eyes, roll over and play dead for them, because the little ladies just can’t make it without ya…

          • sg

            Nah, we women have about the same average intelligence as men. But we are not distributed along identical curves. Men have more retards and geniuses, and women have fewer. Some speculate that it is due to men being xy and women xx, so women’s performance/health shows a stronger central tendency and less variance at the extremes. Of course, I can’t know exactly the cause, but we do know the result: fewer women at the tails of the distribution.

            I am doing the menial work and have been all of my life.

          • Fascinatin’ Womanhood

            Most all of us are somewhere in the standard deviation—those few geniuses are NOT what we are talking about when discussions of division of labor are at hand. IQ tests were written by and for White males. Even now we know how little they really tell us about individual talents .

            And society doesn’t often nurture, reward or even recognize the genius of women.
            That will be for your great-granddaughters to enjoy.
            No thanks to your slavish attitude.

          • sg

            IQ tests still correlate more highly with life outcomes than any other measure. Also, Asians outscore whites on such tests designed by and for whites. So, it isn’t biased against non-whites.

            “And society doesn’t often nurture, reward or even recognize the genius of women.”

            Yeah, I don’t see that. That is just empty rhetoric. There are lots of programs just for girls to promote their achievement. The few interested ones are nurtured, supported and recognized far more than guys of similar ability. Guys may benefit from having more like minded male peers than girls do, however.

          • Fascinatin’ Womanhood

            Interesting that you would do a shift to race, when this is all about gender…

            The whole foundation of most IQ tests are rotten. They assume that there are only a few kinds of intelligence; now we know there are many.

            Perhaps you are just to young and callow to know what women as a gender had been thru for many millennium.
            More likely, you are looking thru the rose-colored glasses of that fairy-tale patriarchy someone sold you when you were too young to fight the brainwashing.

            And obviously you are much too provincial and sheltered if you can make the statement “the FEW INTERESTED ONES are nurtured… far more than guys of similar ability”.

            There are plenty of interested women.
            The programs that sprang up for girls in the last 25 years exist because of many thousands of years of oppression. You don’t wipe out that legacy in 15 years—the proof is in the paycheck women bring home, and how wages drop for any profession once a good number of women enter it.

            And let’s face it—for every “exceptional” person in a leadership position, regardless of gender, there are lots of mediocre people doing the leading.

            I would present the notion that almost everyone should take turns leading, and that leadership positions should be rotated. Not only does that increase the skill-set for most all of us, but exposes us to different leadership styles.
            It gives us all a taste for the difficulties of leadership, and exposes us all to the feedback from others as we learn to lead.

          • sg

            Got anymore cliches up your sleeve? Sheesh, chick.

            Leaders are born not made. My son is a leader. I am always surprised at what all he is able to get people to do. We didn’t train him to do it. He just has whatever it is that people follow.

            Crime can’t be about gender, which is socially constructed. Haven’t you heard. I joke of course, because just as men are more likely to commit many offenses, so are members of certain communities. It has been exhaustively chronicled. That means past incidences have been recorded. There is a long record and and every day that passes, that record is further documented without a change in the trend.

            Patriarchy is like democracy, flawed but better than anything else we have tried. Even if it is the best of the worst, it is still the best we have done.

            Anyway, you are the brainwashed one. You spout only the currently popular fact free drivel.

            There is no evidence that women’s inventions were overlooked at a greater rate than men’s.

          • sg

            “The whole foundation of most IQ tests are rotten. They assume
            that there are only a few kinds of intelligence; now we know there are
            many.”

            This is so goofy. The foundation of IQ tests is not rotten. They tested huge group of British school kids, found the mean based on the average number of correct responses and labeled it average and gave it the arbitrary score of 100. Other tests are normed the same way. It is a measure of the abilities of the respondents with respect to the group average. If you are at 100, you are average compared to others taking the same test. No one ever claimed that it measures athletic, musical, or other abilities. It just compares people one to another based on solving questions.

            IQ correlates more strongly with life outcomes than any other single measure. That doesn’t make it definitive for any given individual, but it is still useful.

          • sg

            “There are plenty of interested women.”

            This is pretty subjective.

            There are few interested women as compared to interested men.

            There are very interested women, just far fewer than men.

            My son participates in sports and extra curricular academic clubs. For sports there are more guys wanting to play than they have places for. For girls, they are begging them to come out so they can have a team. For academic clubs, guys outnumber the girls four or five to one and my son invites more to join. The guys come and at least check it out. The girls don’t even come.

  • Lisa Lindsey

    First, the disproportionality of the sexes in the church has been documented since the earliest days. There were always a higher number of women. That Christ’s message attracted the marginalized of society is one of Christianity’s strengths, not one of its weaknesses.

    Secondly, it seems strange that men feel “out of place” in the church when roles of leadership are still dominated by men. Maybe some men feel out of place because their idea of what it is to be a man is all wrong to begin with. Jesus himself showed tenderness at time and boldness at times. The same Jesus who commanded the storm at sea to be quiet, who chased the moneychangers from the temple, also blessed the little children and wept when Lazarus died. Stereotypes that reduce men to biceps and women to clinging vines are NOT biblical. Nor is it helpful to split church experience so that the women have all the duties of hospitality while men get all the challenging calls to discipleship.

    Finally, women have always been willing to serve. They stood at the foot of the Cross and were the first at the tomb on Easter morning. They went there not expecting a miracle, but were surprised by the miraculous presence of Jesus. They took every situation, no matter how demanding or mundane, and found God there. There is no reason why men can’t do the same.

    • Fascinatin’ Womanhood

      Terrific response.
      Glad to hear I am not the only woman thinking about these issues.

  • Father Thyme

    Bickersons like “sg” and “Fascinatin’ Womanhood” are reason enough to not go to church.