Friday, February 10, 2006

Church is a scary place

As I have been reading more about this latest church fad, I have to admit that it is growing difficult for me not to be highly amused. According to some of the proponents of this movement, the church is a truly frightening place for men.

As a teenage girl I met would say, "What-EV-uh. Are they, like, for REAL?"

I can fully understand people not liking the church. I can fully understand feeling uncomfortable in various church situations. But to go around claiming "men are afraid...very afraid" and that church "forces a man to encounter his deepest fear" (quotes from Dave Murrow's Why Men Hate Going to Church) seems, to me, a bit over the top. Either that, or some men are a lot more timid, mousy, and easily frightened than I ever imagined.

Just for fun, I've decided to propose the theory that church is a truly frightening place for women. I'll freely admit that I've borrowed from the ideas I'm gleaning from the "church for men" movement to come up with my reasons for why women fear and hate going to church. Other ideas are actually loosely based on what real women have told me:
1. Women don't like being in situations where there are no visible female role models.

2. Women fear the church because, everywhere they look, it is always the men who are in charge. (Studies show that what men fear most from an unknown group of women is that the women will laugh at them; what women fear most is that the men will kill them. Imagine how frightening it must be for a woman to go to church and see unknown groups of men in control!)

3. Women find it disconcerting to have the offering plate passed by them, because often they have nothing to put in it. This makes them feel inadequate and reminds them of their powerlessness, especially when their husbands tightly control all the finances. This situation is made worse by the fact that men are the ones taking up the collection.

4. Baptism by immersion is extremely stressful to women. Who wants to be dunked and emerge looking like a drowned rat in a white clingy robe in front of the entire church, especially the men?

5. Women feel inadequate in church Bible Studies because they have often been told their entire lives that they are intellectually inferior. Many times they will not contribute out of fear that the men will argue with them, interrupt them, or belittle them in some way. Since very few women have heard of even one female theologian, women are often reluctant to intrude on what is viewed as "male turf". Also, many women view being studious as something that is not feminine. If a woman is single, and appears too studious, she fears that no man will want to marry her. If she is married, she fears that her husband will view her as less than a woman.

6. Women are afraid of the Christian lifestyle. They fear that they will have to start wearing frumpy dresses, give up their favorite TV programs, and become like the "church lady" on Saturday Night Live.
Want to live dangerously? Want to do something truly courageous? Want to laugh in the face of fear? Go to church this Sunday!

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