The book that my Wednesday morning Discipleship Group is reading now is called King Me. In one of the chapters, Steve Farrar laments what he calls the “feminization of our boys.” He writes, “Godly women can have a wonderful influence on young boys. But he needs a man in his life to show him what masculinity looks like.” The entire book, by the way, is about how fathers need to proactively and aggressively take the lead in mentoring, training, and discipling their sons to be men of God.
During the time I was thinking through the chapter, I happened to see another book in a Christian bookstore entitled, Why Men Hate Going to Church. I wondered if it didn’t contain a similar premise. Why is it that many churches have a disproportionate amount of women in them? Where are the men?
I think Farrar may be on to something. He writes, “Our sons need to be around masculine preaching and worship. When was the last time you heard a sermon on the importance of being a warrior for righteousness, or being aggressive in telling the truth regardless of the cost? More often the traits we hear lifted up are the more feminine traits: tenderness, compassion, sensitivity, and gentleness.” Wow!
He also talks about “feminized worship.” This is where the guy leading worship is soft-spoken, quiet and passive. And the songs talk about Jesus being “beautiful” or “lovely.’ Keith Drury calls these, “Jesus-is-my-girlfriend” songs. Farrar says, “Am I in a church or a spa? At a deal like that, you don’t bring your Bible, you bring your moisturizer.”
He talks about the pictures of Jesus. You know the ones – the soft, European-looking Jesus with the long, flowing hair and the manicured nails, and the flawless complexion. What’s up with that? He recalls looking at one of those pictures as a young boy and thinking, “Jesus is a Breck Girl!” John Eldredge dealt with this topic in Wild at Heart. His point was that we’re not going to attract men by lifting up a harmless, fluffy, Mr. Rogersesque, really nice guy as the model of Christianity.
I think these guys are right. A real Christian man is a manly man, and yes, there needs to be a tender, compassionate side to that man, but I don’t need to be a girlie man to be a godly man.