Murrow: The Men are Screened Out of Church

Dave Murrow–author of Why Men Hate Going to Church–has the following take on the dating scene at the Church. (HT: Lisa Anderson of Boundless.)

I can’t say that my views are completely at odds with Murrow. I’ve long been a critic of children and youth ministry. And I completely agree with his take on female youth leaders. If you want to help boys become men, you need MEN involved in educating them. Otherwise, you are running a greater risk of developing a generation of GIRLY MEN.

Moreover, I also have observed exactly what he describes in the lengthy, intimate praise and worship sessions that drone on ad infinitum. I’ve also been in settings where–if you aren’t worshiping in terms that are satisfactory to the music minister–you end up on the receiving end of a plethora of shaming tactics.

And the teaching? Gooooodddnesssss, he’s right on the money. For one thing, the teaching is topical, with very little in-depth discussion of the Scriptures. As Murrow says, the emphasis is often on the hot moral issues, often involving sexual immorality. (While I’m all for admonishing people to eschew sexual immorality, there’s more to the Christian life than that.)

Sadly, it is in those years that the kids can be gaining great insight into the Scriptures. A good teacher can challenge them, and do this in a way that they would likely enjoy.

As for who ends up left among the adult men, Murrow provides his take on the categories of single men:

1. The Bible geeks. Quiet, studious men who love to study theological tomes. Or verbal guys who love to teach.

2. The musical. They play in the band. Or they stand on the front row raising their hands during the music.

3. The asexual. Guys who are OK with kissing dating (and kissing) goodbye.

4. The predators. Guys who know there are plenty of desperate young women in church and enjoy trying to get them in bed.

5. The social misfits. Strange men who come to church because it’s the only place women will smile at them.

(Hey…what’s so bad about us geeks?)

On a more serious note: the single musical types I saw either (a) got snatched up, or (b) were also in the “predator” category, as they used their musical affinity to attract the ladies, or (c) tended not to date at all.

Murrow also describes something quite interesting:

If you’re into these kinds of guys, then the church dating scene isn’t so bad. If not, then you’ll have to fight over the most rare (and for some, the most desirable) category of single churchgoing men: the late converts. These are men who came to Christ in their teens or 20s, bypassing much of the screening process. Many were saved out of terrible sin. They have been forgiven much and love God much. (These guys get snapped up quickly by the best-looking women.)

Granted, I didn’t see a whole bunch of that after I got out of college, but I did see a little bit of that dynamic during my days at Embry-Riddle, when I attended the Assembly of God church that ran the bus to campus. I knew a few of those guys–former drug/alcohol abusers who had been saved–and they had recently married. And their wives–while not originally members of that particular church–were definitely quite attractive.

I think what Murrow described there is more prevalent in the charismatic/Pentecostal circles. I think that has to do with the fact that charismatics/Pentecostals are a VERY forgiving lot, and are very receptive to people with baggage. Say what you want about some of their doctrinal emphases regarding certain spiritual gifts, but one thing they do that other evangelicals don’t do well: they are very receptive to people with “pasts”.

But here’s where I’m kinda mulling things over, and I’m not sure I’m completely in agreement with Murrow.

On one hand, he is suggesting that the men aren’t in the church, and yet he categorizes the men who are there: geeks, musicians, asexuals, predators, and the socially-challenged.

Now, don’t get me wrong here, but how would it go over if I said that the only single women available were (a) the gravitationally-challenged, (b) the divorcees, (c) the head cases, (d) the sluts, and (e) the basket cases? I didn’t think so.

My point: if Murrow is correct, then the women aren’t really asking, “Where are the men in Church?”

No…they are really asking, “Where are the ALPHA men in Church?”

Now let’s be honest here: we have a plethora of men and women who fall into the “tough to marry” brackets, who are having a hard time finding a mate. Fact is, 50 years ago, even these folks would have had an easier time getting married.

But both sides need to get a grip here: the ladies need to accept that not every gal is going to get an Alpha male; the men who fall into the difficult categories also need to gain better skills to improve their market value.

Still, Murrow is on many right tracks: the Church in the United States has a long way to come before She recovers from the onslaught of the Jesus with No Balls–the variation that has been slammed down the throats of Americans for nearly 150 years.

22 thoughts on “Murrow: The Men are Screened Out of Church

  1. one of the things that i LOVE about my new husband is that he wasn’t raised in this kind of stuff – it’s foreign to him. so.very.refreshing for me.

  2. I’m still trying to figure out what’s wrong with us “Bible Geeks”. I suppose I would have counted as such………. Something unmanly about being smart, serious and observant?

  3. you wouldn’t encourage two men to settle their differences in a manly way with fisticuffs in the center isle. You would tell them to take it outside. But too many churches try to create a new program to satisfy every need. Healing from divorce and singles mtching are the fashionable needs. I am sure some chuches are considering workout rooms with “Christ-centered” personal trainers.

  4. @Professor Hale
    Personally, I’m against so-called “singles ministry”, at least the way it exists in the Church today. What might be more appropriate is integrating singles into the larger Body.

    What I’ve observed: by compartmentalizing groups–singles, couples groups, old fogeys, etc.–there is the unintended consequence of isolation: they get locked into that particular microcosm. This is a very serious problem in the larger churches.

  5. I agree. While there is comfort in being grops with similar people, the huge benefit that is rejected is the opportunity of older people to mentor younger ones. You don’t need a nursing mother’s program if you have experienced mothers who have done tha before in normal daily contact with new expectent mothers. Young dudes learn to become Godly men of the Church by being around the older men who are doing it. Homogengeous churches screen out the predators instead of the “good men”.

    Thee is still no hope for the Bible geeks.

  6. @ReconsDad
    Good point. I believe there’s room for ministry to singles just as we have ministries to men, women, married couples, etc., but the Balkanization of the church is the last thing we need.

  7. Could you explain the Jesus with no balls…. How was this presented to you folks? I just don’t understand how this watered down idea of Jesus makes anyone want to believe in Him?

    Shouldn’t a basic trinitarian understanding give one a correct picture of who Christ is?

  8. @tannen – it might be the contents (or lack thereof) of many of the studies. Michael Horton’s book Christless Christianity was an interesting read touch on, amongst various other things, what many don’t appear to learn in such a place.

  9. @tannen
    The Jesus With No Balls–also called “Gentle Jesus Meek and Mild”, and “Metrosexual Jesus”, sort of goes like this: Jesus was a really nice, loving person, who never got into fights, who never got angry, who was always peaceful and happy.

    The upshot: this “emasculated Jesus” undermines both the righteousness and justice of God, as well as the very humanity of Jesus.

    The Jesus of Scripture had a pair.

  10. I cannot but help this whole notion of “personal peace” coming to the forefront again.

    First of all, I went through all of this when I was in church when I was younger. Was it hard? Yes. However, I was someone who made up my mind that I was going to learn to stay there because that is what God required of me. I did not want to leave simply because it was difficult. Men should not be leaving the church, since God commands the fellowship of believers.

    Also, one thing that I do think Morrow has hit is the incredible feminization of the church’s view of dating and marriage. This whole “delay of marriage is a sin” nonsense is so feminine it is not even funny. It is all about what the *women* want. *They* want to be married; *they* want a man to pursue them; *they* want this man to be specific characteristics. And folks like Albert Mohler crumble to their desires.

    Also, what gets me is that none of the things that Morrow listed in his list of “men still in the church” have anything to do with attraction. What Morrow seems to be saying is something that boggles my mind and that is that a girl can be attracted to you, and turn you down flat or not pursue you because you are not *exactly* the kind of person they want. That is disturbing. That is personal peace taken to a dangerous extreme.

    All in all, this article only confirms what I have already suspected-namely, that the problems that exist between men and women and the reasons that relationships and marriages do not form is because of personal peace. What I pray is that God gives us a heavy dose of suffering, and knocks our personal peace out of us. That way, we will learn to trust in him and have peace with him above all, and not value our personal peace above all. Then, we can truly love one another just as Christ loved us-self sacrificially.

    My pastor preached on this passage last Sunday, and I think that it bears quoting here:

    John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

    The sad thing is that our testimony to the world is skewed when we put our personal peace ahead of loving one another self sacrificially. Love is the *exact opposite* of the attitude we have in the church. No wonder marriages cannot form.

    God Bless,
    Adam

  11. Holy SMOKE, I can’t believe Boundless published something so FACTUAL and INSIGHTFUL! His list of “Who’s Left” is dead-on, and so is this:

    If you’re into these kinds of guys, then the church dating scene isn’t so bad. If not, then you’ll have to fight over the most rare (and for some, the most desirable) category of single churchgoing men: the late converts. These are men who came to Christ in their teens or 20s, bypassing much of the screening process. Many were saved out of terrible sin. They have been forgiven much and love God much. (These guys get snapped up quickly by the best-looking women.)

    Every line – especially the last one. I might have to write more about this myself.

  12. Hello, Amir. Nice blog. You should all relax and listen to the accompanying podcast where the roundtable discusses the article. It’s the same old Boundless type outlook. Well no, it’s even more off the mark than I feared it would be.

  13. “…..Many were saved out of terrible sin. They have been forgiven much and love God much. (These guys get snapped up quickly by the best-looking women.)….”

    The Christian girls’ dream of the reformed rake. Ideally he hasn’t lost all of his “edge”….

  14. @tannen
    Some of that dynamic can be attributable to the realities of Game. OTOH, like I said, from what I’ve seen, very little of that seems to be going on in the Baptist circles whereas it is more prevalent in the charismatic/Pentecostal circles.

    I think that has a lot to do with the charismatic/Pentecostal folks being a lot more forgiving and accommodating to people with “pasts”.

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