“My husband hates going to church,” she said with her face buried in her hands, tears flowing down her cheeks.
I wonder why this surprises women. How many men do you see wanting to head out to hang with people they don’t know to sing songs they don’t know while listening to some guy they don’t know lecturing them from behind a desk? Church looks like a pretty feminine institution to me. “Let’s all get together to share our hearts.” Um, no thanks.
Women, on the whole, not all, love stuff like this. They go out of their way to take walks together or catch up while sipping coffee from giant mugs. They plan “play dates” for their kids and go to “mom’s group” meetings mostly to connect with other women. Their notebooks fill up at bible studies while most men look to their watches wondering how long it will be before they are free.
About a year ago I heard of a church with a men’s service. They met in the gym for no more than an hour. The pastor promised there would be no singing but lots of humor. When he got up to preach he would ask that 20 minutes be put up on the scoreboard. He crafted his messages to be fast-paced and relevant and done by the time the final buzzer sounded when the board hit zero. After the message ended the guys either watched a game together on large screens or cleared the tables to play floor hockey or shoot hoops. The service was growing each month and guys started developing friendships. Some of those friendships even spilled over into Sunday morning services, golf courses and workplaces.
As you can imagine, the keepers of “sound doctrine” and “deeper teaching” went on the attack with “that’s not real church” and “it’s compromising the gospel.” Blah, blah, blah … Why does the established church always seem to be compelled to undermine anything new or any attempt to penetrate the culture with something that just might work?
I bet the majority of women would hate that type of service. Maybe a husband would end up it my office asking, “Why does my wife hate going to church?”
Let’s dare to do something different.
Church services are absurdly sentimental, that’s certainly true. If you split things along gender lines, however, what are you going to do with women like me, who aren’t any fonder of sentimentality and hand holding than men? Or the few men who must exist who like their religious instruction sans machismo? In Christ, there isn’t supposed to be male or female. But in the church, it’s pretty much ALL male vs female. Which is one of several reasons I’m no longer religious.