The Feminine Culture

Our culture loves women. In fact, I would venture to say that our modern culture celebrates and caters to women more than any previous generation ever has. Look at the evidence: many top-rated shows have a female in the lead, most sci-fi series revolve around women, and many of the top-selling books (can anyone say Twilight?) are aimed at female readers. The top selling author in the world is a woman, J.K. Rowling, and she also managed to singlehandedly get an entire new generation of boys reading books. Women are very “in” right now, and that’s not really a bad thing. I enjoy seeing strong women on screen and in books. Women can multi-task, and they can do it in heels. They can also be writers, directors, producers, and spiritual leaders.

So what is there not to like?

Not much, unless it carries over into the Church. Then, we start having the problems that we are facing right now. I’m not the only one to have noticed a lack of marriageable men in the modern church. It has been a rising problem in recent generations but has actually come to a crisis in recent years. Over and over again, I hear the same thing from young women and something I have seen for myself: “where are the young men?” Not in Church, that’s for sure, and surprisingly, there are fewer and fewer of them single on Christian campuses. So where are they? Why are they not in Church? What is happening to our culture?

Certainly, prolonged adolescence has something to do with it, but I think there is something far worse involved and much of it is the fault of the church. Yes, the empowerment of women has hurt men to some degree, but it has by no means intimidated an entire generation of men into moving into caves away from civilization just to get away from a smart, intelligent female. No, our loss of men in churches has to be more than that… and the other night when I couldn’t sleep and had nothing to do, I decided to browse Boundless for awhile. For those of you unfamiliar with it, it’s Focus on the Family’s offshoot online magazine for college kids. I read an article on why there are no young men in church these days that concluded that the church has been “weeding them out” over the last couple of generations by catering so specifically to women, and elevating women to in-church responsibilities much more than men. (Whether this is out of preference or necessity, I don’t know; it could be the cause, or the effect.)

I had to think about that one for awhile, but I can see their point. Many churches are invested in “wimpified Christianity,” which is what I like to call the “touchy feely kind.” It doesn’t work for me either. You know why? I’m not emotional. So singing for forty-five minutes and expecting to feel some kind of powerful, moving experience doesn’t work for me, and neither does the mental image of a scrawny Jesus. He was a carpenter in ancient times. He was not scrawny; He had muscles!

As our culture shifts more toward women in positions of authority, is the same thing happening in our churches? Do we really expect little boys to act like little girls in a service? To sit still and sing and glue buttons on things? Do we expect teenage boys to sit through endless lectures on abstinence, rather than digging into the real meat of Christianity and how hard it is? Do we expect them to stick around when there is nothing in church for them? When there are no male teachers for them to look up to and respect? No mentors to keep them in line and set an example for them? No one hammering into them how incredibly challenging it is even in the modern world to be a godly man, worthy of admiration?

The problem here is that Church, and as a result, Christ, has been turned into a chick thing. Women do tend to attend Church more, so it naturally caters to them. But Christianity is not for wimps! Jesus was not a wimp, his disciples were not wimps, and to identify with Him in modern times is just asking for abuse. Deciding to follow His guidelines in a world overrun with immorality and ambition is not easy; it is much harder than it would be simply to follow the culture.

Christianity isn’t touchy-feely, or just a “chick thing,” and it doesn’t need wimpy guys. It needs guys who are strong when it comes to their faith. It needs leaders, and fathers, and brothers willing to take on rolls in the Church so that women don’t have to. It needs to cater to men as well as women, and it needs to start when the future men of the church are young. We have an epidemic of young people leaving the Church out of high school, in part because they haven’t been integrated into the church body, but instead segregated. What happens when you are too old for youth group? Instead of sticking around, because your faith is grounded in serious reality and Christ rather than how fun it was to play games and hang out with the girls at church, you leave, and men get out particularly fast, which leaves a lot of young women hoping for a godly marriage left with no prospects.

Is this a problem we can fix or will it take a few generations of godly Christian women having to remain single their entire lives for us to realize that we cannot allow the culture’s emphasis on women to distort and distract us from the reality that men need fed in Church in a different way than we do? Culture would have us believe that men and women are no different, that we all need and want the same things, but as Christians, we know that is not true… so why do we pretend it is? And how can it be changed?

10 Replies to “The Feminine Culture”

  1. As a man, I agree. I just read The Dip. It is another way of summing up the idea that the system is screening men out. I am thinking that the church better come up with a way to direct men’s natural ambitiousness into something useful and teach leadership skills that is focused to young male teens though college. It would teach them to be a man though service to others, just what the world needs right now. Men who are not their wives oldest child, but serve the family and their world with max gusto.

    Sorry to any of the ladies, I am taken already.

  2. I have to agree with your thoughts. My uncle, when I went to his church, used to mention the same things sometimes We can’t put women first; neither can we elevate men. Each has separate job that complement each other.

  3. There’s a lot of truth in that article, particularly the ‘screening process’. Even as a (very tomboyish) girl I wish there had been some more robust meat to my youth group. I was the only teenager in my church and to be honest I don’t think anyone knew what to do with me. Rather than being invited to leave the Sunday school and sit in with the adults and get some more challenging teaching (which as an annoyingly brainy child, I could have handled), instead I drifted from being in Sunday School to being a ‘helper’ for the younger kids, and it wasn’t until I left home at 18 and went to university that I sat through a proper adult teaching in church of my peers for the first time. Man, I ate that stuff up! I couldn’t get enough of it; where had this powerful teaching been all my life? I’d heard the ‘cutesy’ versions of the Bible stories over and over; like how Noah is about a fun ride on a boat, and Jesus was a really nice gentle man. No! Why did no one tell me the good stuff? What about the Jesus that threw over tables when he got angry, and Ehud the Judge who stabbed an evil king and escaped down the toilet, and Jael who saved her nation by tent-pegging a man through the brain? What about Elijah the prophet and his massive fit of suicidal depression, and Deborah who co-commanded the entire Israelite army? What about all the Psalms of anger and hatred and despair? What about the genocides of nations and the generational consequences of sin for Israel? What about all the difficult stuff? Where was that? And where was the theology? I LOVE theology now! It suits the way my brain works so well. it’s becoming the bread and butter of how I relate to God, and I missed out on it for 18 years!

    Wow, I didn’t mean to rant that much. Sorry.

    I’m still only just starting to get over my massive complex about Sunday school. I’m in a good church right now but it’s still frustrating to me that sometimes there’s a lot of emphasis on God’s Love (which is quite right) at the expense of some of His other characteristics. What about God’s Power? or God’s Justice? or God’s Sovreignty? There’s an amazing fusion in God’s character between what we see as ‘male’ and ‘female’ characteristics. By focussing too much on one side of Him that appeals to certain members of our congregation, we miss out on the rest of Him. Effectively, we shrink God.

    1. This response, even though it was “rant” made me laugh — because I can relate. Kids grow up hearing the “nice” stories and it makes for a real culture shock when they figure out, hey, God isn’t just an enormous Grandpa up in the sky after all! We spend so much time trying to fit Him into a box, without realizing that no box is big enough to contain Him. He is all that He is, and we either accept Him as He truly is — or we walk away.

  4. Agreed. Both men and women are important in the Christian faith and Christianity took me out of my “wimpiness state of mind” and made me stronger.

    Back in my college days, the Christian organizations did have an even mix of men and women and it seemed as if they were treated equally.

    1. I’m glad to hear that. I’ve only ever been in situations where the women outnumbered the men five to one! (In big city churches as well as small country ones!) It’s… troubling.

  5. I agree with you Charity that there is a problem here. I believe God ordained men’s and women’s roles to be different yet complimentary. One is not superior to the other. Why is it so hard for we humans to find balance? 200 years ago women were being squelched and now men are being squelched! Ladies, let’s do our best to support the strengths of the men in our lives. Indeed, Charity said, Christianity is not for wimps and we need strong guys as well as ladies!

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