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In the Name of God بسم الله

Christian churches as feminine spaces

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I think one of the biggest challenges Christian men face is the feminization of the church, and it is something that does not seem to be an issue within Islam.

Christian men are demoralized and alienated from the church, and feel they no longer belong --or maybe they never belonged at all. In my case, I never felt I belonged. Something was always "off"

Here are my insights on this matter: feel free to chime in with ideas (both Muslims and Christians)

CHURCH AS A FEMINIZED SPACE:

1. Within Christian denominations, women outnumber men, sometimes by a great deal. Women also have a higher rate of attendance at church. “In America, among evangelical churches, 57 percent of members are women and, among mainline Protestant churches, 66 percent are women, according to a 1998 book “American Evangelism”

23 percent of women attend service without their husbands

The liturgy and theology have been influenced heavily by Medieval women mystics such as Catherine of Sienna, Christina Mirabilis, and others, who emphasized a “bride of Christ” idea, and Jesus as a gentle lover or spouse.

Sermons are “sentimental”, emphasizing emotion and inner religious experience instead of the intellectual aspects of the faith, or the duties and responsibilities of the faithful.

2. Churches, and religious organizations are feminine “safe spaces” that amount to Ladies’ clubs.

Decades ago, it was common for men to find a future wife within the church, or clubs and organizations associated with the church. But as one writer asserts:

Women increasingly expect churches and church functions to be places of freedom from “unwanted” interactions. Translated, this means women expect unattractive men to know their place and not to ask women out or otherwise talk to them at church. They expect men either to avoid them completely, or to be eunuchs, existing to serve them. There have been reports in the manosphere of women actually complaining to pastors about “unattractive” men asking them out at church. It is as if women expect pastors and church staff to punish and rebuke men for “sexual harassment” at churches, merely because in a social situation they acted like men and pursued someone/something they wanted. Of course, none of this applies to attractive men, who are never the subject of complaint or sanction no matter what they do”

3. Social Justice and far-left politics, which is typically the province of upper-middle class white women, have infected the church. With this comes feminism.

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13 hours ago, Silas said:

1. Within Christian denominations, women outnumber men, sometimes by a great deal. Women also have a higher rate of attendance at church. “In America, among evangelical churches, 57 percent of members are women and, among mainline Protestant churches, 66 percent are women, according to a 1998 book “American Evangelism”

:salam:

Isn't it just like in The Simpsons, where wife attends church while husband watches football? 

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Women tend to be more social than men, and so go to church to see and visit with friends. 

Women also tend to be more focused on spiritual rather than worldly matters than men are. 

I believe it has always been this way. 

 

What would a "masculine" church look like? Specifically, what would need to be changed so that men feel like going to church instead of staying home relaxing, enjoying the outdoors, or socializing outside of church? 

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I have just read your post and your observations...I reluctantly have to agree with you! I believe that it is a rather complex situation but I have been disappointed myself in seeing women outnumber the men in worship. I have despaired at the lack of strong men of faith taking leadership positions especially in difficult and challenging times. 

One of the possible many reasons, is that I believe women have a greater sense their need for worship and community than men do. 

However, I agree completely with you about the preaching issues...the sermons need to be Truth based not sentiment based. Truth always challenges me to be accountable for not only my actions but also the attitudes of my heart. I do not attend worship to be coddled emotionally but to be strengthened to stand. Perhaps if the sermons were as they should be, men would be drawn to listen and follow?

So, I wonder if the core of the issue is the actually the men preaching the sermons? Why are they so emotionally based? I will have to think about this more...because you have raised a very pertinent observation.

 

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Hello All,

Yes, It‘s quite interesting because according to Catholic Church practice there are no female priests allowed. So, at least the Catholic Church power should be male dominant. However, there are not enough male priests...Here an article about this;

‘Save Catholic church’ by lifting ban on female priests, activists say

Ya Allah

K

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4 hours ago, justme48 said:

I have just read your post and your observations...I reluctantly have to agree with you! I believe that it is a rather complex situation but I have been disappointed myself in seeing women outnumber the men in worship. I have despaired at the lack of strong men of faith taking leadership positions especially in difficult and challenging times. 

One of the possible many reasons, is that I believe women have a greater sense their need for worship and community than men do. 

However, I agree completely with you about the preaching issues...the sermons need to be Truth based not sentiment based. Truth always challenges me to be accountable for not only my actions but also the attitudes of my heart. I do not attend worship to be coddled emotionally but to be strengthened to stand. Perhaps if the sermons were as they should be, men would be drawn to listen and follow?

So, I wonder if the core of the issue is the actually the men preaching the sermons? Why are they so emotionally based? I will have to think about this more...because you have raised a very pertinent observation.

 

I certainly don't mean the above post to be an attack of Christianity, and I appreciate the thoughtful response

I grew up Christian, and am learning to be Muslim (I live in an area that is Christian and Sunni Muslim --there really isn't a Shia presence. Likewise, my wife is Christian, so it is complicated)

but I experienced a lot of things when I was Christian that I didn't realize were problematic at the time

1. When I was in college I joined the Newman Association, which is a Catholic group on campus headed by a priest. The group was 80% female, and the leadership, aside from the priest, consisted of girls. They were nice girls for sure, but it seemed almost like a girls club.

2. I was never actually confirmed as a Catholic. I completed a few of the sacraments, but after moving overseas, I never finished. When I came back to the states, I contacted my local parish about getting confirmed, but both the priest and the administration seemed entirely unconcerned, and wouldn't return my calls.

3. My wife attends a local church (Swedish Evangelical Free), and while the people are friendly, the sermons are pretty hollow and sentimental. There are more women than men in the church, and the men who do get together in groups seem to be pretty unmotivated. 

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The pentecostal church that I used to go to had a men's choir, men's bible study, men's social group, men's softball team, and teen boys basketball and bible study. 

They also had women's and teen girls groups, but not a sports team. 

I was raised Catholic, and besides the priests, most of the church leadership were women. They even had about a half dozen female deacons the day after Rome declared that they were permitted. 

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In my previous post I had commented that I needed to ponder this issue a bit more. I decided to ask a single male Christian what he had observed and experienced. He believes that most men are not as verbal or demonstrative as females particularly when it comes to issues of faith within the Christian churches. Much depends on the leadership of those preaching...there is an old saying that "as the leader goes so goes the group!" A strong leader will draw men into being all that their Creator meant for them to be.

My own thoughts have led me to realize that 'balance' is not so easily achieved. It can be difficult for men to live lives of balance between allowing themselves to be overpowered by the majority of women present and remain silent or choosing to be overpowering themselves to the point of dominance where women are intimidated and fearful of participating. 

Hmmm I think it must be difficult to be a man of God who is able to live a life of honor and strength while maintaining compassion and gentleness.

Again, just thinking...I appreciate you being so honest!

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We need to be careful with generalizations.

I have been involved with 'church' for all my life and have seen both men and women in leadership and in the congregations.  I think after the first war and the second war many men had been killed or become disillusioned with religion so the male attendance at church dropped.

However there are many men in the history of the church and Christianity who were strong reformers and stood up to the status quo.  There are many men preachers - you can watch them online - who say hard hitting radical stuff.  Jesus the Messiah didn't teach about a soft easy life - Those who follow me must take up their cross daily.  A call to 100% commitment to dying to self and putting God first in everything.  I don't see that as either feminine or masculine for each person whatever gender it is a challenging call.

Maybe that is why men don't like to respond because we are proud and like to be in control of our own destiny.  To sacrifice and serve a God who calls for 100% commitment attacks what many men see as their rights.  However when it happens and a person (Whether man or women) is totally given to God life becomes an exciting challenge and an ongoing walk of discovery and growth.

I'm sorry that many of those who have contributed have had negative experiences of church.  For me the oposite has been true - I have always been challenged to live a radical demanding life of total surender to the God of the universe who empowers me with His Holy Spirit equiping me to face the challenegs of living a life against the flow of a decaying and immoral culture.  Wow it's worth it!

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