In a comment on my post Why real men don’t go to church Bill recommended a similarly named but longer article, Why Men Don’t Go to Church, apparently by Neil Carter. The name of Neil’s site, Christ In Y’all.com, betrays his US southern states perspective.
Nevertheless I found the article had a lot to say relevant to my own experience and situation. I am among those who are
not happy with “church as usual”
– even though my church is wonderful compared with most. It’s not so often the preacher who boils my blood, more often the way other things are done during the service. Basically I am one of those men who
despise their passive role in the church, whether they have been able to label their frustration or no.
I probably haven’t dropped out of church altogether because my untypical Anglican church is rather like a Southern Baptist one in that “There’s just so much to do“, something to keep me busy most Sundays. But when there isn’t I find it hard to remain positive.
I was interested by this quote, which fits my own experience. Years ago I
felt a growing, general desire to do something important for the kingdom of God, which automatically precludes being a layman! Most ministers and missionaries first struggled for a while with a very general “calling,” only to settle on a particular ministry after discussing their feelings over time with folks already in “the ministry.” Many missionaries then leave this country for unevangelized lands because they cannot find established churches in this country that satisfy their need for church life.
Within my own Anglican setup in the early 1990s, this was in effect the only route into doing anything in the church other than being ordained, which wasn’t for me as I didn’t see myself as a pastor. I know many ordained Anglicans are not working as pastors, but in effect they are all expected to start as such. To cut a long story short, I ended up in an unevangelised land.
I would, however, consider that the distinction Carter makes between masculine and feminine preferences is a cultural one, not a fundamental biological or spiritual distinction between genders. Not all men feel like me, no doubt some women do, and that’s OK.
Here is how Carter finishes his main argument: a man
needs men who know him well, who will fight with him, and who can be his comrades along the journey he is on. And finally, through various and often unexpected means, the Church of Jesus Christ will be a place where the sacrificial dying of Jesus can manifest itself for the sake of His Bride. When a man has found Her, he will suffer the loss of everything for Her just as Christ did in the beginning. Man, this is what you want.
Carter finishes with a plug for his own loose association of house churches. I am not so convinced that this is the way forward, but that is really a separate issue, one that I want to come back to sometime. But there is a lot in Carter’s article to make me think, and I hope to make think any church leader who is concerned about a shortage of men in the congregation.