Sunday, January 31, 2010

Church is too girly, and this article is too sexist

Rarely a day goes by that I don't find something on the internet that makes my head explode. Seriously, this blog is starting to get so negative. I get linked to so much mind boggling garbage; you guys need to start sending me happy awesome stuff to renew my faith in humanity.

But until then, here's more stupid shit:

Real men don't like going to church because they don't want to "sing love songs to a man", because the "vicar wears a dress", because they feel like "mongrels on parade at Crufts" and because they want to be waited on by women rather than queue for coffee after the service.

Okay, that's an interesting hypothesis. It would annoy me if this was the case, but I'm being realistic. I'm sure there are plenty of guys out there who like to make ludicrous gender stereotypes. What exactly should churches do about this? The charity Christian Vision for Men has some suggestions:

These include redesigning the interiors of church buildings to make men feel more at home. Instead of the usual flowers and statues of the Virgin Mary, they suggest, "How would it go down to decorate with swords, or pictures of knights, or flaming torches?"

Because I know all men decorate their abodes with swords and knights and torches. Well, at least the ones into Dungeons & Dragons.
The charity continues: "Maybe it's not 'politically correct', but men quite like the attention of women! They also like to be waited on - so long as they are not made to feel guilty. Instead of having to queue for coffee, why not ask some of the women to go round with trays of coffee and biscuits or chocky bars? Coupled with a charming smile, many men would find that very attractive!"
...So let me get this straight. Christianity, which is notorious for its patriarchy and oppression of women, is still not manly enough? We need to go back to the 1950s and have women do their duties of serving men? I'm surprised they didn't suggest the women make them a sandwich while they're at it.
"Jesus, I am so in love with you," or "Beautiful one I love, beautiful one I adore," - many men wouldn't sing that to their wives, let alone another man, the charity advises. ...

Men don't want to feel brainwashed by reciting words that they don't believe: "The language can be offputting, even the word 'love' has undertones of the love of a man for his woman - they'd rather 'admire' or 'respect' another man. Think how they will respond if called to be Jesus's lover, or to be 'intimate' with him. Don't play into Satan's hands by using language that he has corrupted."
So not only is it unmanly to love your wife, it's kind of gay to love Jesus, because Satan changed love to include icky homosexuality.
I was going to make an "I love Jesus! No homo" joke, but the internet beat me to it.

Oh, and the brainwashing part? Yeah, I think that's always been a bit of a problem, girly decor or not. Kind of may explain why so many people are becoming atheists. But apparently women love being "brainwashed by words they don't believe," because we're just mindless coffee-serving baby machines, after all.

Other suggestions to attract more men:
  • Don't talk about "Jesus’ love, compassion and grace" because they're "not male concepts." Men are all robots and leave all that silly worrying to the little ladies.
  • "Men want to know about his great decision making and leadership," because men have to be the head of the house, you know!
  • When holding men's group discussions, pick topics like "pornography," which men obviously love and women have no interest in talking about (lest we offend their fragile sensibilities).
  • Play the World Cup during services. Because all men love sports, and much rather watch them in church than in the comfort of their own home or a pub.
  • To correct for the previous point, start holding church services in a pub! The only downside to offering free beer is that you'll likely attract a bunch of godless heathens who are just using you.
You know what? I kind of like this marketing idea. Yeah, it's horrendously ignorant, offensive, and constructed on both male and female gender stereotypes. But it's going to attract manly testosterone filled douchebags who are too homophobic to sing songs and expect women to wait on them. Religion can have those assholes. Atheism will gladly take all the thoughtful, open-minded, non-douchebag men that you scare away.

Though the one flaw in that plan is all the religious women who will have to deal with being transported back in time 60 years. We'll take them too, once they realize they need to escape.


  1. The whole of the article can be summarized by this little bit:

    « A number of distinctly non-pc ways to get men back into church are among those being advocated by a charity, Christian Vision for Men, which has discovered that the Church has lost nearly half of its men aged under 30 because it has become too feminine. »

    Got news for ya, Christian Vision for Men. It’s not excess femininity in churches that drives men under 30 away. It’s the fact that they – along with women under 30, and both men and women above 30 – simply don’t believe in the church anymore.

    Talk about finding idiotic solutions to a nonexistent problem. Someone say something about mastering the art of futility yet?

  2. To be fair, if a church here did play every World Cup game, I'd probably go.

  3. Yeah, can we keep all the men who can communicate their thoughts and express emotional variance? They can keep the knuckledraggers they seem to want most.

  4. Nothing new:

    I think I have to part company with the rest of you on this one. As a former charismatic fundi, I can relate to some of the plaint, though by no means all. The bit about wanting to be waited on by women is merely insane and I shan't discuss it further.

    Well, churches used to be decorated with D&D stuff, didn't they? Statues and stained glass knights all over the place. I am tempted to ask, who subsequently enacted that flowers should be the only décor, and did anyone ask us when this decision was made? There is, after all, a difference between a gender stereotype and a valid generalisation; most men aren't particularly into flowers, live with it.

    Another thing that has to be lived with is that at any rate Catholicism is built on an erotic metaphor, with the Church as the Bride of Christ, and I don't think any one would deny that many female Catholics do fancy the pants off Jesus. Hetero Catholic Men get the BVM to interface their sexuality with their religion. I guess the Vision for Men people are too Protestant to go this route, so they're fussing about trivia instead.

    Patriarchy, schmatriarchy, religions are generally businesses run by men to appeal to female paying customers.

    I am not a Guy guy. I detest beer and sport, do not want a gun and don't have an erotic relationship with automobiles. Nevertheless I had a lot of trouble with what Berne calls the emotional marrow-show of such churches. Being required to Emote on cue, yech.

    Now, not wearing one's heart on one's sleeve is not knuckle-dragging masculinism, it's a perfectly reasonable position, as is a distaste for demonstrations of soi-disant moral superiority via ostentatious sentimentality. I consider the whole hydraulic model of emotions as things to be vented lest the pipes burst to be simply flat-out wrong, the way the geocentric model was flat-out wrong, and if women in general hold to a wrong model of the human mind and emotions, tant pis for them; I reject the current thesis that men must join the women in this misapprehension, so sue me.

    I am profoundly uninterested in verbal expression of emotion (not the same, GodlessGirl, as communication of thoughts, with which I have no difficulty); and I hold that love is measured by what you do for another person, not by what you say to them. Among religionists, the Quakers have it right: don't sing sentimental songs, sit in silence then go out and do good things.

  5. To correct for the previous point, start holding church services in a pub! The only downside to offering free beer is that you'll likely attract a bunch of godless heathens who are just using you.

    I am in your church killing your free booze.

  6. Some of this stuff is already used by American mega-churches to attract men. Some of them use their projectors to show the Super Bowl. Most of them downplay Jesus's messages of compassion and anti-poverty messages and play up the leadership and fire and brimstone portions. Almost all of them keep women out of decision making roles but expect them to "step up" when there's some kind of social organization going on - like organizing the pot luck dinner, or the church picnic, or making sure that there are refreshments available after services.

    In fact the whole article kind of sounds like some Brit visited an American mega-church and thought he could Anglicize the idea and make it fly in Britain. (Free beer is definitely a British add-on. No American mega-church that I know of would advocate "free beer", they're all so anti-alcohol that it just wouldn't fly. Though come to think of it, I seem to recall a Catholic church where free beer was used as a selling point to attend the Church picnic in the summer...)

  7. This reads like an article from The Onion!!

  8. So, have the Brits come up with their own version of The Onion, or what?

    Yeah, let's not have any of that homo crap around here! Let it be about the real Jesus.

    Let's see. Thirty-year old Jewish guy who never married. Hmmmmm...

    Lived with his mom. Hmmmmmmmm...

    BFF with twelve other guys. HMMMMMMMmmmmmmmm...

    Nope, nothing to see here, folks. Move along...

  9. There's a church where my dad used to live in Montana that shared space with the pub. They had to be done by 12, because that's when the pub owners and bartenders showed up to open up for the afternoon. According to my dad, lots of the church goers just stayed put. lol

  10. @Amanda: The northern half of the Long island (Lewis + Harris + odds and ends), Scotland, is Protestant, the Wee Free Presbyterians, the southern half Catholic. In the north, you have to spend the Sabbath alone behind drawn curtains; and youth hostels bear (or used to bear) notices telling the guests that they aren't allowed to leave or show their faces. In the south, they go to Mass and then straight to the pub to drink and talk and have a laugh together. I know we don't believe in either of the schticks, but I know which Sabbath practice I consider human and sane.