Why do more women attend church than men?
That’s the simple question this book seeks to answer and I think David Murrow has done a pretty good job. As a church attending male, I am statistically a rare breed, for you see there is a gender gap within our churches which grows day by day. Women seem to be in the majority almost everywhere; be it select vestries or kirks, in our study groups, choirs, prayer groups and even our outreach teams... so what is going on?
Well in this little book first published in 2005, but now revised and updated (with more up to date statistics) for 2011 David Morrow expresses succinctly, and often with a nice touch of humour, the fears, boredom and dissatisfaction many men feel within modern Christianity. He writes practically about what many of us have felt for a long time; that the church, with all its lovey dovey worship songs, bright colours, “group sharing times” and feminine ideals, is fast becoming a cold house for men.
That’s not to say that us men want darkened rooms, with songs about death interspersed with long periods of silence and a Scriptural message on how to go to war.
Rather Murrow’s book calls to the church to re-address the balance, and to take a good hard look at itself. Where we speak of “relationships” should we really speak of “cooperation”? Should we forget the chatty door to door evangelism in favour of the logistical practical needs evangelism? Is our conception of God becoming too feminine?
Could it be that the language of the average church is just too “womanly” for men?
I can almost hear the chuckles coming from all the girls out there, scoffing at the idea of men feeling emasculated in church, but ladies I too must admit that I have felt many of the fears, and anxieties expressed in this book. In fact reading other’s reviews of the book I can see quite a big difference opening up to this book, with men generally praising it for its honesty and ability to address our common problems with the current state of the church, and women generally saying that it’s a good book but ultimately the problem is with men, rather than the church.
Personally speaking I think this book is great for anyone who seriously wants to learn about what had put men off Christianity, and for anyone who wants to lay the groundwork before starting to revitalise men’s ministry and attract them back in the church. It shows that men do have gifts and talents that are truly needed within the church, even if Murrow often presents “real” men as muscle bound, beer drinking, “i’m gonna punch you face” types... which means that the rest of us men who attend church at present are “feminine” and “girly”, which I found quite rude but well I got over it pretty quickly.
For Murrow it’s about giving men the opportunity to live their faith in the local church, rather than expecting them to leave it at the door... and before anyone asks I assure you it’s not anti-feminist or anything like that, nor is it a book for Mr. Macho (though he certainly gets high praise) out there, but rather an easy to read, and humorous assessment of what is a worrying trend within our churches and what’s causing it... which makes this a book as much for the men out there as it is for the ladies.
This book was kindly given to me for free by the publisher "Thomas Nelson" in return for a fair and honest review. The opinions expressed are indeed my own.