Saturday, April 23, 2005

Resisting the assault on manhood

Frank at Team Swap has added to the discussion on why men stay away from worship services. One of Frank's valuable insights is the idea that manhood is under assault by our culture:

The core of the problem that churches are reaping is the result of how society in general view men. Church has become just one more place that men are told they are failures, and they get that enough in the world. In general, men do not provide enough, they do not support enough, they do not love enough, they are never satisfied, they are boy’s with larger wallet, etc. A man comes into church hurting and he leaves with even more of his shrinking ego bruised and battered. It is not that the church is meaningly kicking him, but the sheer message of the gospel – sinner saved by grace – reinforces a man’s failures.

I think Frank's diagnosis is sound. In the United States at least, manhood has been under attack in popular media for at least the past thirty-five years. What, for example, is invariably the gender of the sitcom buffoon? What gender is it acceptable to denigrate across-the-board in certain academic circles? This assault has a couple of devastating effects on men. Even worse than causing men to be ashamed of the way God created them is the attitude that would turn men away from the gospel as just another attack on a man's self-worth. The truth, of course, is that we are all failures, all sinners, whether man or woman. And the great, wonderful news is that God reaches out to us through Jesus Christ anyway to come back into victorious relationship with him.

So how does the church proclaim the good news of salvation without reinforcing the assault on manhood? Here's Frank again:

Men need to be encouraged in church, from the pulpit, within Sunday school, in Bible studies, by others members, and by their families or friends. A man that attends church, even if it is not regularly, needs to be encouraged when he succeeds or is beginning to be consistent. That does not mean accepting lower morals, sin, and such, but it does mean being supportive when men make right decisions and right steps. It also means being patient as men move from a worldly focus to a Godly one.

I'm reminded of Adrian Warnock's imagery of the "drip, drip" effect of preaching over time in worship services. Men, and all Christians, need encouragement. And I know of nothing more encouraging than the truth that God loves us and cares about our eternal wellbeing.


Blogger J. A. Gillmartin said...

Hey brother, you're linked at The CRIB again.


12:58 PM, April 25, 2005  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Thanks, John. Blog on!

4:42 PM, April 25, 2005  

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