Blokey Bloke Worship
Guys are awesome.
Earth-shattering, I know. You mean a girl likes guys? Who would’ve thought? Seriously, though, I love the males of the species. Bodily-function humor cracks me up. I love baseball games and hockey games. I love seeing guys mess with each other. I love when men are allowed to be men, because when men are manly, women benefit.
The beautiful differences in gender are constantly under attack. Men are told they’re too macho and that they need to embrace their feminine side, that they need to “care more” and “listen” and “manscape”. Women are told that our innate femininity is too much for men to handle, that the beauty we already possess isn’t enough unless we’re half-naked, super-skinny sex objects.
Dan Pierce, the author of the site Single Dad Laughing, has two great posts on men and women and how each creates a culture of worthlessness in the other. Please read these posts. On behalf of your sons and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends, read these posts. For someone who’s not a believer (that I know of), he says some pretty Biblical things about men and women. You’ll find the posts here and here. (Hat tip to my friend Cari for the links)
But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about men and church.
But what I have to say about men and church can’t be said without stating this: God wants men to be men and women to be women. He created us to have identities that are independent of the other. He created us with unique gender traits that are important to understand. “So God created people in his own image; God patterned them after himself; male and female he created them.” -Gen 1:27 (NLT) He created us as male and female to uniquely portray specific aspects of His character. It’s only when we embrace masculinity and femininity that we begin to get a clear, unadulterated picture of the nature of God.
It would be easy to put the blame for this on the secular world. After all, they’re the ones that promote push-up bras for 7-year-old girls. They’re the ones who broadcast Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. But let’s be honest, Church, we’re just as bad. We promote a culture of femininity in our churches. We sing songs with words like, “I’m desperate for you” or “You have my heart and I am yours forever.” No guy I know says that, unless they’re singing in church. As a female worship leader, I feel this disparity in the Church very strongly. I know that, as a woman, my tendency is going to be to sing girly songs. After all, that’s what speaks to me. Those lyrics I quoted? We’ve sung them both in the last month.
Matt Redman, the writer of “Blessed Be Your Name” and a bunch of other church standards, is male and British and awesome. He talked about this several years ago:
The thought occurs to me, that if Matt Redman, who wrote the words: “I’m coming back to the heart of worship and it’s all about You, Jesus,” says we have a problem in the church with romanticizing our lyrics, then we probably do. For me, the solution is not to do away with those songs entirely. After all, we have women in the church who need to have their femininity embraced as much as the blokes need to have their masculinity championed. To me, the solution seems to be that we need strongly theological songs. Songs that speak of the Gospel. Songs that highlight the raw power and majesty of God. Songs that boldly proclaim the audacity of Jesus’s sheer authoritative strength. He was not a wallflower. He was a counter-culture, muscle-y carpenter (not a lot of power tools in 1st century Judea) with a message and a mission that turned an entire world on its head. Jesus was macho. He was more John Cena than John Denver.
Women, trust me on this. When we relinquish our hold on the Church, our men will be better for it. And when we have strong men, we will have strong families. When we have strong families, we will have strong future generations. When we have strong future generations, we will have a strong, vibrant, relevant Church.
And so, Church, let’s champion our men. Let’s make our churches appealing to blokey blokes who don’t want to sit in a circle, hold hands, and sing “Kumbaya”. Your women will thank you.
(For more on the subject, check out: How Women Help Men Find God by David Murrow.)