Increasingly I am finding blog posts that I think are worth sharing with those who read this blog.
Here's one from Dan Edelen -The Real American Christian “Either/Or” .
The posting is really about the lack of men in church and why. He points to the issue of money as a singular reason. Read his posting and our exchange in the comments.
He also says is that many men think that the church is boring. I don't find the church boring. I find it complicated, poorly focused, and difficult to lead. I find many men boring. A major part of the reason is that they are fixated on money.
Here's a comment I left at Edelen's blog.
What you describe I see daily in my work. I don’t think the answer is taking the boredom out of the church. Many of these men are some of the most boring people I know. All they talk about are their jobs, their projects and their complaints about partners and clients. They are scared to death. The whole man law shtick is a window into these incrediblly shallow, fragile people. It isn’t that they find the church boring. Because if you get below the surface, they know there is more than boredom. I think they see it as so much revolutionary change that they cannot handle it. As a result, they can’t face reality, can’t be honest with themselves, don’t want to be responsible for other people, and reduce their public life to staying busy.
What’s the answer? I don’t think it begins with the church as an institution. It is a product of the people that are in it. I think it begins by each man developing the kind of honest, courageous relationships with other men that provide them the safe space to grow. I think it needs to be connected to something that forces them to take risks, because it is at that point that they begin to understand that faith isn’t a bunch of words, but the character of our lives in action.
I'm I being too hard? Possibly? Am I speaking about all men? No. Absolutely not.
Here's what is at issue for me. For many organizations, business and churches, the standards by which they are measured have been dumbed down to the lowest common denominator. Often this is about their finances.
Where there is mission energy, it is often misspent on programs that have no clear objective.
I don't think most men think the church is boring. It think they see it as unmanagable, and therefore beyond their capacity to make a difference. That is why simple concrete projects like mission trips and Habitat house building do attract men. It isn't that they are not boring, because they are not. What they like is that it is a tangible way for them to make a difference. For them business is a tangible process. It is about organization, process and finances, and without a clear sense of mission, it is easy for a church to come to look like an average business. Not a great business, but an average one.
It is a very confusing time to be a man in our society. The expectations are unclear and mixed. As a result, we are unsure what we are to do, and so we do that which we know how to do. Work, play golf, and spend time with the family.
The church doesn't win men back by trying to entertain them. More men may show up, but it doesn't mean their lives will change. The church wins men back by living out a story of purpose, courage and impact in the context of nurturing relationships of honesty, trust, caring and mutual service. It has to do this by providing the opportunity for all members to reach beyond their comfort zone. It is hard to do this individually, but less so when we are in community with one another. When these other aspects of discipleship are present, dealing with the money issues can be done positively and constructively.