David Murrow has a new book out, Why Men Hate Going to Church (Thomas Nelson) that sounds intriguing. “Explains why men find institutional Christianity so unappealing—and calls the church to respond to men’s God-given, masculine needs and gifts. It’s Sunday morning. Where are all the men? Golfing? Playing softball? Watching the tube? Mowing the lawn? Sleeping? One place you won’t find them is in church. Less than 40 percent of adults in most churches are men, and 20 to 25 percent of married churchgoing women attend without their husbands. And why are the men who do go to church so bored? Why won’t they let God change their hearts?” According to Nelson, Murrow’s book isn’t calling the “world’s largest unreached people group” back to the church, it’s “calling the church back to men.”
Okay, that book sounds like a relatively safe “gamble” to my inexperienced acquisitions ear. But then, would we have said that before Wild at Heart? I wonder. I worked on Dr. Dobson’s Bringing Up Boys project and I can say it’s a hot topic, this abandoning of masculinity by the culture. And it seems the church is following right behind, as usual.
Which brings me to the point for this evening. No, not that the sordid church often follows the sordid culture and compromises the gospel. That topic’s been covered. I think it’s time we pointed out who the emergent church is really attracting. Check it out for yourself. I’m not a trend-watcher, really, though I do play one on TV. And the “movement” is still too new to prove numbers, but Relevant mag and books, Nelson and Zondervan, Youth Specialties, and the rest of the gang of current-shifters are attracting GUYS, folks. I think this is a fact and a truly collosal one that also has immeasurable impact on you ladies as well. If men are finding their way back to the true faith through the new happenings under the pomo umbrella–an umbrella, I might add, that acts and feels totally unlike any umbrella Grannie’s ever seen, but looks damn cool to all the wet dudes hanging at the bus stop–then it isn’t just the newest slapped-together invention in a back-sliding church. If masculinity is finding it’s acceptable to be a man in front of God again, it isn’t simply a man-made movement we’re talking about here. It’s a revolution, in the truest sense of the word.
But maybe numbers and population data aren’t enough to convince anyone yet. It still feels fairly speculative to use the revolution word. But my hunch, just in my limited experience as a sheltered pastor’s kid with 18 years of Evangelical Christian education behind me, is there’s a whole continent of Holden Caufields out there, disillusioned Dostoyevskys, Tyler Durdens (main character of Fight Club), and broken-hearted Don Millers wishing with their last thread of hope for this “emergent” thing to be real.
And that sort of umbrella doesn’t stay a secret very long.