This subject comes up from time to time. In the last thread, I commented in passing that there were significantly more single women in my ex-church than single men, probably contributing to the difficulty some women found in meeting a future husband from people attending that church. Since then I came across this article from the Washington Post in 2005, about a book which postulates reasons for why ‘men hate church’. Obviously many men who frequent this site don’t hate church or you wouldn’t bother attending (I assume), but still, its worth looking at the topic I think.
The book, ‘Why Men Hate Church’ by David Murrow, apparently postulates that most church activities focus around sharing, caring, routine and ritual (my words, not his) which alienates risk takers, who are more often male than female. In other words, church activities are primarily female. It also postulates that many churches have taken the ‘testosterone’ out of Christianity; and that men want objective lessons, harder talk – a more ‘masculine’ approach. (Maybe this explains part of Mark Driscoll’s success – he seems quite aggressive in his presentation at time and is more than capable of hard talk – is that his appeal?)
I actually attended a church where the ratio of men to women was at least the same, and possibly there were slightly more men than women for a while. Ironically, it grew out of a group started by a woman, though it was now led by a man, and the senior pastor was nothing like Mark Driscoll in style. But you couldn’t have accused him of a ‘touchy feely’ approach either. Men seemed to find it intellectually appealing, and weren’t expected to take on the leader’s views in order to be ‘good Christians’ though those views were always worth consideration.
In the previous thread, we’ve been talking about how the church can express itself as family, and about caring and sharing amongst other things. Yet the ‘sharing’ is something that according to that book, can alienate men. How can a church express itself as family to men – is there an issue here? (Being female, I haven’t perceived one, but you never know.) Most early church leaders where men; the appeal to men wasn’t a problem around Jesus time. Is there an issue now?
Possibly the fact that less men attend church doesn’t mean that there are less men who are Christian; it could just be that out of Christians, less men than women choose to attend church. I’m not sure if there are any statistics looking at that question.