The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Why Men Hate Going to Church

That’s the title of the book, and it has some good insights, particularly into the ‘feminization’ of the church and the church ‘experience’. I identified with many of the points he makes, and his solutions seem to make a lot of sense.
He is not of course saying that ALL men HATE going to church but he does speak for many men.

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Just a hunch but for better or worse a big part of church attendance is socialization and women seem to enjoy that more.

@DaveB2.0 You more or less forced me to buy a book once and I am still paying for it. Why don’t you give a brief overview of the main points?

The church I have attended for the last 12 years does not allow women to vote on any matter except which of them can preside over the women’s meeting where they decide who is to provide cakes and cookies for the next social gathering.

Some might consider my views on the subject to be tainted with a generous sprinkling of misogyny. Not true. I hold women in very high esteem and was richly blessed by being loved by one in particular. It is worth pointing out that, during the period we attended an evangelical church, my wife had little time or sympathy for the pushy (her term) women who sought leadership positions and, worse in her eyes, pushed hard for their children to be given roles ahead of other more deserving kids.

We men tend to varying degrees of laziness and are generally loath to get involved in certain church activities. I’m not at all suggesting that is good and it may be our own fault if women fill the voids we leave. It may, however, partly explain why we, consciously or unconsciously, feel less satisfied with church than we might if we lived up to our God-given responsibilities.

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Apart from the cronyism problem, many men, this man among them, dislike the switch made over the last three decades in the manner how worship services are conducted. Some of us like to praise the Lord with our own voices, as we used to, instead of being treated as an audience for short-skirted trios armed with microphones to drown any attempt at participation, backed by an assembly of guitars, etc. and accompanied by the perfunctory drummer (admittedly mostly male) who models himself on Ringo Starr.

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Thanks for your take on this, Norm I know a lot of men that would agree with you on most of your points.

The emphasis I picked up on - and the one I relate to - was the actual ‘going to church’ part, not the responsibility part. Some men dislike church ‘services’ - I count myself in that number - but are not averse to, in fact welcome, Christian study and Christ’s teachings. Such men often feel worse after a church service than they did going in - not from conviction, but usually from either the rock concert feel or on the other hand, the funereal music; or from the pastel walls and pews with boxes of Kleenex on them; or the expected weeping etc. if it’s that kind of service; and etc. They do not connect all of that with Christianity at all. They do not equate church attendance in any way with the Gospel or with God.

I don’t know that a church service makes much difference, is what I’m saying. Those of you brought up in church, or who are ministers, no doubt see it differently. I’m fine with that; I hope you’re fine in the fact some men don’t see it that way, and are happily Christian and looking to grow in grace and love. Life offers plenty of opportunities for that growth outside a church building.
What do you say?

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And that’s it right there IMO… religianity stifles the life out of personal growth through the inherent pressure of internal group-think.

Yep, such as the iron-sharpening with those whose views differ with ours on media sites like this. Though I still think there’s something unique about committing to regular interaction with flesh and blood grace-builders at my fellowship.

I like the idea of a fellowship. I’ve just found it difficult to find one that did not have, as its central concern, the defending at all costs of a key central dogma. Still looking, though.

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Yes, there are almost no churches with any evangelical tradition who would really welcome a universalist. We were blessed to find a small family centered one within 20 miles where key leaders share the universalist hope, and allow a diversity of theological and political views to be held and expressed.

Why not start one? The Church of DB.
Motto: Come Get a Double Blessing.

I’d pop in if I ever get another invite.

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What I find most difficult in going to my church these days is my inability to discuss what I believe with others. My pastor has made it clear to me that I am not to talk to others about anything that could be taken as questioning the doctrines of the church, which, of course go back 400 years to when the Synod of Dort pronounced what should be the only true doctrines in the light of scripture.

So, I am left to discuss why the Flames lost the Saturday night hockey game to the Jets, how my children are making out, my views on last week’s election - all important stuff, I’m sure. But, I can’t talk about how a particular scripture text might have a different meaning than what is clearly explained in the Confessions! I can’t really discuss the sermon if I have a different understanding of the preacher’s take on the Bible passage

Long gone are the days when old men like me would squat outside the city gates, pipes in hand, and debate the meaning of a verse of scripture.

So, I am left to have a cup of coffee, then leave the church and go home, sit in my recliner thinking about my wife Alida and the good times we had; perhaps go and visit her grave for the umpteenth time; and wonder whether or not I really should be longing (as I do more and more) for that day to come when I depart what Martyn Lloyd-Jones called “this brief, uncertain, earthly life and pilgrimage”.

Norm, what a heartfelt description of the dilemma so many of us have faced. I wish you had a fellowship that would allow honest sharing of how each believer reads the Scriptures, and I am glad that we have this venue where we can express our sincere and differing perceptions upon a host of questions.

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I attended - for a very short while - a fellowship of churches that decided to have deacons ‘visit’ each family in their bailiwick, to review - and perhaps discipline - how the family was conducting itself; this included the deacon giving a yes/no answer to purchases or investments the family wanted to make.
That’s correct - the parents could not make those decisions - it was the deacon’s ‘calling’ to do that.
How does anything go that awry??
And can we see how men just might want to avoid that church?

Except for some men who might enjoy it if they were the deacons who exercised that kind of authority.

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And yet bewilderingly a good many people choose to put themselves under it… go figure!! :neutral_face:

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I think it might help if we clearly defined what we mean by “church.” Isn’t “church” a much later development in Christian history?

The Greek word in the Bible that some mistakenly translate as “church” is “εκλλησια” (ekllāsia). However, there is one context in which NO translator renders “εκλλησια” as “church” (Acts 19). Nevertheless I have placed “CHURCH” for “εκλλησια” in the following passage so that you can see how ludicrous it would be to so translate it.

23 About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way.
24 For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen.
25 These he gathered together, with the workmen in similar trades, and said, "Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth.
26 And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods.
27 And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship."
28 When they heard this they were enraged and were crying out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”
29 So the city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed together into the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul’s companions in travel.
30 But when Paul wished to go in among the crowd, the disciples would not let him.
31 And even some of the Asiarchs, who were friends of his, sent to him and were urging him not to venture into the theater.
32 Now some cried out one thing, some another, for the CHURCH was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together.
33 Some of the crowd prompted Alexander, whom the Jews had put forward. And Alexander, motioning with his hand, wanted to make a defense to the crowd.
34 But when they recognized that he was a Jew, for about two hours they all cried out with one voice, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”
35 And when the town clerk had quieted the crowd, he said, "Men of Ephesus, who is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the great Artemis, and of the sacred stone that fell from the sky?
36 Seeing then that these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rash.
37 For you have brought these men here who are neither sacrilegious nor blasphemers of our goddess.
38 If therefore Demetrius and the craftsmen with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls. Let them bring charges against one another.
39 But if you seek anything further, it shall be settled in the regular CHURCH.
40 For we really are in danger of being charged with rioting today, since there is no cause that we can give to justify this commotion."
41 And when he had said these things, he dismissed the CHURCH. (Acts 19)

In every version of the Bible I know, the translators render “εκλλησια” as “assembly” in this passage. Indeed, that is how it should be translated in ALL contexts. There are Christian assemblies and non-Christian assemblies. An assembly is simply a group of people who have assembled.

I don’t think Christian men are any more averse to assembling with other Christians than are women.

That’s the point, a good one to make.

Plus some churches I’ve attended - frown on a man enjoying a cigar! Yes, that’s true!
Here is an entertaining short video about the joys of cigars among other things. Paidion may/may not like it!

I looked at part of the video. I’ve heard the reasoning many times. “My father smoked many cigarettes (or cigars) every day since he was 15, and he lived to 96.” I ask, "How long would he have lived if he hadn’t smoked?

It is a well-known medical fact that smoking causes emphysema and lung cancer. Both my wife’s parents died from smoke-related diseases, one from emphysema, and the other from lung cancer. Just because some people have smoked throughout their lives and haven’t contracted either of these diseases is no evidence that smoking is not harmful to the health. I think that the bronchitis that I endured as a child and throughout my life thereafter, was brought on by a combination of tobacco smoke from my father’s pipe and and living in an uninsulated house (or should I call it a shack). My worst memories was coughing until I was sweating and exhausted. To this day, in my 82nd year of life, I still continually bring up phlegm which I spit into a small plastic container lined with a paper towel.

It’s fine to enjoy things in life, but unwise if those things are harmful to your health. I enjoy 3 ounces of rum in a glass containing a can of coke zero. But I do this only twice per week. Doctors and nurses at clinics and hospitals ask me, “Do you drink?” I answer, “Yes.” Then they ask, “How much.” I answer, “3 ounces of rum twice a week.” With that reply, nearly all of them are totally silent, although one nurse responded, “That shouldn’t hurt you.”

Some men enjoy linking up with prostitutes. But the risk is high of their contracting HIV, chlamydia, genital herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis, trichomoniasis and other such sexually transmitted diseases.

In conclusion, I affirm that it is wise to be aware of the consequences of and dangers from some of the practices that we enjoy.

Maybe watching all of it sometime would clarify things, Don? He did not use his father as a reason for smoking - he just recited the fact of his age. Would he have lived longer if he did not smoke - probably not, a good case can be made that he would have died years earlier.
However, the point was not that anyway - the point was the extreme mildness of the risk (like your drink) and the healthy philosophy of enjoying life’s pleasures.
I have specifically asked 3 doctors, in person, about smoking 1 to 3 cigars a week and got the same answer as you did with your heavy drinking :slight_smile: - none of them saw any danger at all. Just sayin’.
Cigarettes are a different animal, and I’ve never smoked one.
Anyway we certainly do agree that there are pleasures, some have great risks some have very small ones - but pleasure was created as a good thing.

I take it back - the point was really that condemning cigar smoking as an excuse to keep a man out of Christian fellowship is imo a weak-minded one. And lacking charity.

BTW - the church I last attended invited a nationally-known Reformed pastor and preacher to spend a week at the church, teaching and preaching, and he came and was a gracious and learned guest.
However, he did enjoy a daily and sometimes twice-daily cigar, and had to be hid from the membership when he was smoking and studying. :0)