Saturday, April 29, 2006

It's catching on...

[Note added 5/11/06] By posting this article, I was not implying anything regarding the state of my denomination, or the state of women's ministry in my particular denomination. I mostly posted this out of its report of some of the observations and thoughts I have concerning the way that the American Church has interpreted Christianity and the gender roles, specifically with regard to "spirituality" (e.g. the 19th century temperance movement's "women are the spiritual ones", etc), and also with regard to the decline in men's attendance at churches in general. I also thought it to be interesting since the source is Biola. I take no issue with anyone specifically, nor did I post this link with anyone in mind. I liked the article and believe that it makes some compelling points. I realize that many churches have thriving men's oriented ministries, as well as women's ministries, however, I do believe that there are other churches which do not provide outlets for men. I understand that this post would have been enhanced by some of my own comments, but occasionally, due to full time graduate studies, three jobs, a wife, a turtle and a rabbit, I have to post a "hit and run".




Here's a great article on the feminization of the Church.
http://www.biola.edu/admin/connections/articles/06spring/feminization.cfm

Some hilghlights:
The gender gap began as early as the 13th century, according to some church historians. Others say it began during the Industrial Revolution. Nancy Pearcey, a visiting scholar at Biola, outlines this theory in her book Total Truth: Liberating Christianity From Its Cultural Captivity (Crossway Books).
Pearcey said industrialization forced men to seek work away from home, in factories and offices, which created a split between the public and private spheres of life. The public sphere became secularized through the new values of competition and self-interest, and the private sphere came to represent the old values of nurturing and religion, Pearcey said. Thus, religion came to be seen as for women and children and not as relevant to the “real” world of business, politics and academia, she said.
Soon, in churches, women began to outnumber men, Pearcey said. So, male pastors began to adapt churches to their female demographic, she said.


In America, among evangelical churches, 57 percent of members are women and, among mainline Protestant churches, 66 percent are women, according to a 1998 book American Evangelicalism (University of Chicago Press).
The imbalance is greatest in rural churches, small churches, older churches, traditionally black denominations, and in liberal churches, Murrow said, citing research from the 1998 National Congregations Study. It’s smallest in non-denominational and Baptist churches, he said.
About 23 percent of married women attend without their husbands, according to Murrow. The men who do attend show less commitment, including less participation in Sunday School, small groups and service activities, according to Barna. Men also report less practice of spiritual disciplines like tithing, Bible reading, evangelism and prayer.


Love Songs and Feminine Spirituality
An example of the feminization of the church is its music. Typical praise songs refer to Jesus as a Christian’s lover and praise his beauty and tenderness. Rarely do they praise his justice or strength, or refer to him as the head of an army leading his church into spiritual battle, like “Onward Christian Soldiers.”
“There’s definitely a trend toward a more intimate music style, like the music from the Vineyard,” said Dr. Barry Liesch, a professor of music at Biola and author of The New Worship (Baker Books).
Feminized music concerns Steve Craig (’05), a graduate of Biola’s degree completion program and the director of a men’s ministry of over 400 men at Yorba Linda Friends Church in Yorba Linda, Calif.
“In our men’s ministry, we’re beginning to take out the flowery songs and replace them with the warrior-type lyrics and more masculine things that men identify with,” Craig said.


Men’s Ministry — A Church’s Lowest Priority
Another example of feminization is a lack of ministries for men. Women have Bible studies, prayer groups, support groups, teas, and retreats and, of course, children have a plethora of programs. But some churches offer only an annual retreat for men. Yet, this is the opposite of the way Jesus did ministry, according to Murrow. He said Jesus focused on men, knowing that women and children would follow.

HT: Mark Horne and Garrett Craw

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Wind power

Since Jen & I will hopefully buy a house next year in the city we move to from St. Louis, I've been conducting research on energy efficiency for homes. One option, which seems to be a no-brainer, but has some start-up costs is installing some sort of windmill, or if in an urban/suburban area a small turbine, to use less energy from the electric company and generate some of your needs from the wind.

I'm not thinking about this from a standpoint of saving money on our electric bill, or being self-relient, but I think it's an option to reduce energy consumption and use the natural resources that God gave us in a way that eases some of the damage done to his good creation. I am not trying to sound like a rabid environmentalist, but I think that for too long Christians have bought into the Western utilitarian idea of economics over ecology.

That being said, if there are ways where we can be better stewards of our resources, then by all means, we should begin the dialogue, journey, etc, etc, etc to that point.
Here are some cool projects by crazy hippies who use the wind and sun to power their homes. http://www.otherpower.com/otherpower_wind.html

Monday, April 24, 2006

Commuting...is it worth it?

This article http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12438812/site/newsweek/ highlights a growing problem in our country that has been a problem for a few decades, but now is beginning to spin out of control: commuting.

Here is the question I pose: is it worth loosing the hours a day with your family in order achieve the American Dream?

As Christians what is more important?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

One of my favorite places in St. Louis

That is, of course, the retirement center where I intern, not our church..just in case.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Easter Hymns..

One of my favorite aspects of Easter is singing resurrection hymns.
If your church doesn't sing traditional Easter hymns tomorrow, I feel for you.

The offensiveness of the Cross continues...

From yesterday's Oklahoman editorial cartoon.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

It wouldn't be Easter

This morning there was a commercial on the radio for a grocery store and toward the end, the narrator said this, "it wouldn't be Easter without ham!" To that I replied aloud in my truck, "no, it wouldn't be Easter without the Resurrection!"

Monday, April 10, 2006

Does this mean I can skip ordination exams?

You scored as Reformed Evangelical. You are a Reformed Evangelical. You take the Bible very seriously because it is God's Word. You most likely hold to TULIP and are sceptical about the possibilities of universal atonement or resistible grace. The most important thing the Church can do is make sure people hear how they can go to heaven when they die.

Reformed Evangelical

100%

Neo orthodox

75%

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan

71%

Emergent/Postmodern

50%

Fundamentalist

43%

Classical Liberal

32%

Roman Catholic

18%

Modern Liberal

14%

Charismatic/Pentecostal

11%

What's your theological worldview?
created with QuizFarm.com

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Vapor

Jen & I went to Chicago this past weekend. I, being a nerd, was happy to find out that our hotel was just a few minutes' drive to Mt. Carmel cemetery. Now, that doesn't sound like a good road trip destination, but I knew from watching a documentary on the History Channel that Al Capone's grave is there.

So, I talked Jen into going to see it and take a picture and we went there. Thanks to findagrave.com, we were able to track it down fairly easily.


After looking at it for a minute and taking a photo of it, I was hit with the reality of the situation. Capone is one of the most infamous figures of 20th Century America. He has been glamorized, immortalitized and turned into a household name. He amassed wealth, fame, women, etc only to end up in Alcatraz and eventually die of dementia caused by syphilis.



So, here is this famous, famous man's grave. It's next to his parents. It's small, unassuming and in one of the largest cemeteries in the country. All of the notority has gone. There is only a decayed body in a box six feet below the ground.

As I left the cemetery I wondered, "was it all worth it for him?"

Monday, April 03, 2006

I'll be back

soon, very soon...
we've been gone and when we came back we did not have electricity until just now....silly St. Louis powerlines that fall in a 50mph wind.

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