I’ve struggled to fit into many churches. One reason is that I am not a particularly agreeable guy. I have strong opinions based on lots of reading. I am also stubborn. I like make jokes and humor is increasingly difficult in a culture that looks to take offense. I’ve tried to be more agreeable and keep my opinions to myself and tell fewer jokes but I don’t fit in any better. I think part of the reason is that church is no longer for masculine men and, despite my college education, I am a masculine man.
I have attended both evangelical and Calvinist churches. Calvinist churches are definitely better for men, but they still have this problem. I think this is because many ministers have little contact with the working world and most come through college which scrambles their brains the same way it does for everyone else.
I remember complaining to one minister of a conservative Calvinist congregation that I saw few Americans driving down to my parents in Southern California for Christmas and that California now looks like the third world. He worried that I was just a racist. My concerns were completely disregarded. The minister had a software engineering degree.
Evangelical “protestantism” is much worse off in my experience. Evangelical churches are often led by men with liberal arts degrees and Big Ideas but no work experience. The typical evangelical pastor is a college-educated moralizer like Russell Moore or Matt Chandler.
An even uglier truth is found in Philippians 2:19-21:
I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20 I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. 21 For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.
Commenting on this passage, Matthew Henry explained that many ministers
prefer their own credit, ease, and safety, before truth, holiness, and duty, the things of their own pleasure and reputation before the things of Christ’s kingdom and his honour and interest in the world
I see plenty of this in evangelicalism. Evangelical churches tend to be staffed with many college-educated ministers who may have gone into ministry idealistically but fit Henry’s criticism perfectly. This is important because masculine men are outcasts in this culture and therefore not desirable in churches pastored by men who want ease, safety, and comfort. CR Wiley explains this androphobia in this post.
One of the threads on my wall following this post had to do with the relative absence of men like these in our churches. I am happy to say that I have a number of such men. (In fact one of my members hosted this event.) But I can’t recall a single time in any of the church planting strategy meetings (and I’ve been in more of those than I can count) that men of this sort were “targeted” as a demographic to evangelize. People in the mold of Rachel Held Evans come up a lot. These guys? Never.
CR Wiley’s writing is important and I hope more ministers start speaking out against androphobia and misandry in our churches. His advice to young women is similarly excellent. I’m going to have to buy his book as he seems to be advocating a retroculture movement like Bill Lind.