For background, see Part 1.
Men, or so I've been told by many of them, like to fix things. They also like to organize things. In addition, they like to know who is in charge. Women, or so I've been told by many men, may like these things also, but not to the degree that men do. In fact, some men argue that these are not wants, but NEEDS. If there is a problem, a man NEEDS to fix it. If there something going on, a man NEEDS to organize it. If there is a project, or a group of people, or any sort of situation, a man NEEDS to know who is in charge.
The church, unfortunately, has been masculinized because of this. What started out as an extremely loosely structured group of believers in the New Testament quickly became highly structured, organized, and hierarchical.
But I think it's only getting worse.
A few examples:
1. Men will sometimes see problems where none really exist and then rush in to "fix" them. For example, rather than being concerned about the lack of discipleship and spiritual growth going on in a typical church, the male leadership will tend to convince themselves that the real problem is that the youth group is "too small". In order to "fix" this problem, all sorts of programs are suggested for implementation, ranging from hiring a new, more dynamic and exciting youth pastor, to building a youth building, to buying an expensive new turnkey multimedia youth curriculum, to having rock concerts, etc., etc.
2. Pastors will worry that the small groups they started as a means of fostering deeper fellowship are working all too well, and will insist that all small groups be disbanded and reformed every six or twelve months, so that no one becomes too "close".
3. Male leadership will endlessly worry over who is in charge. Countless hours will be wasted in numerous board committees arguing over such ridiculous things as "Well, who is really in charge of making sure the day care center is locked up after another group uses it? Is that the janitor's job? The christian ed director's job? The trustee committee's job?"
4. "But who will be in charge?" will become one of the first responses whenever anything is suggested, even if it is as simple as making sure a kleenex box is available at the front of the church. One woman I know brought up the idea of having family fellowship dinners. She was required to write up a proposal, which apparently was discussed by the elders for almost a year. Finally they told her they couldn't find a suitable person to "be in charge" of such an undertaking. In many churches, prayer groups are frowned upon unless an elder or staff person is in charge. Women can't just meet in a home to have fellowship and pray together unless they have a "covering", i.e. a man who will exercise authority over them. Someone always has to be in charge, and it has to be someone who meets the approval of the male leadership of the church.
5. Structure, organization, and programs become far more important than relationships. I even heard of one pastor who searched online for a "fellowship program" that he could implement in his church! Finally he decided that a certain cell group curriculum would be effective in bringing about healthier fellowship. The idea of simply...well, forming relationships? loving one another? everyone functioning as a member of the Body? Who would be in charge? How could this be done without a program? In another small church, after the leadership board refused to buy a $5,000 program designed to teach people to greet visitors in a friendly manner, the pastor spend months designing his own program. It was so highly structured as to be baffling. "Greeters" were told where to stand, exactly what words to say, how to show a visitor to a seat in the sanctuary, how to walk, etc. The instructions were so complex and took so many pages that one person asked in dismay, "How can I ever memorize all this so that I'll be sure that I'm doing it right?" One woman distilled the program into, "Smile. Be friendly. Let Jesus love this person through you. Introduce him/her to others. Make him/her feel comfortable and welcome." But that's the feminized version, of course!
I have to admit that I am growing more baffled as I grow older. Isn't the church supposed to be a family? Why don't we act as one, instead of as a corporation, a social club, or some sort of organization? Why has the church become a business?
The sad truth is that many men don't fully understand the family either. I've read and heard many men who like to say, for example, that the husband is the CEO, the wife the plant manager, and the children employees-in-training. Either that, or the husband is the Captain, the wife is the first mate, and the children are all sailors. It doesn't matter that the Bible never gives these sorts of analogies. Men like them. It doesn't matter that, in the world, CEO's are forbidden from having sexual relations with plant managers, as this would be seen as a horrible misuse of power. Apparently this is a good thing in the corporate model of marriage.
Lord, save us from our families becoming masculinized. Let our families be the right blend of masculine and feminine, just as you intended. Let us not pretend to be businesses or sports teams or military units.
Lord, save us from masculinized churches. Let us be Your family, Your Body, Your bride.
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