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“Men Need Church Too”

Mathewes-Green, Frederica | Christianity Today, 24 May 1999


p. 70

If you’ve got more pantyhose than beards in your church, “there’s one word for you: ‘typical.’” Women are more religious than men. Two-thirds to one-third in American churches. Some liberal Protestant churches have very few men. In black churches women are 75 to 90% of the whole, and it’s understandable. Women haven’t been crushed by the Christian faith. John Updike in The New Yorker: “It is not Christianity that in parts of Africa promotes clitoridectomy as a means to properly shaped femininity. It is not Christianity that inflicts upon women, as in Iran and Afghanistan, hysterical restrictions that inhibit their access to employment, education, social life, and even medical care.” Other faiths have more men. Christianity has them to some degree in the East and in the South. But here in the West, according to Leon Podles, The Church Impotent, we have lost men. Mathewes-Green: “The Norman Rockwell painting ‘Easter Morning’ depicts the problem: Dad slouches in his pajamas, awash in newspapers, while Mom and the kids march past him in their Sunday best. A hundred years before that, clergy were already being stigmatized as prissy and effeminate.” St. Bernard’s mysticism: each of us is the bride of Christ. But most men don’t like being brides. Most men find it tough to imagine themselves in Jesus’ arms.” Most men can’t imagine ‘having a love affair with Jesus.’” Men respond better to the military, athletic, and other active calls of scripture. Maybe they should get them in church.