All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.



Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!

1/08/2015

Of Church Trends

Why do Americans pick the church they belong to?  Good programs for the kids?  The pastor has good sermons? Grandma went to this denomination, so I will too.  We like the kind of music/entertainment, etc.  For most American church goers, most of the time, those are the kinds of criteria  they use in "picking" a church.

Pastors know this.  They even have classes on it.  "How to be a seeker friendly church", is a topic actively taught on across denominational lines.  Pastors, like any other marketing professional, learn how to "read" a customer. 

If that last line rubs you the wrong way, good.  There may be hope for you.

American's church goers (I didn't say Christians) have become "customers" and the pastors are "salesmen" delivering a product.  Who gives the pastor the most feedback?  Who gets involved?  Who has meetings? Who organizes service projects?  Who does VBS?  Who shows up to do youth activates? Who goes to talk to the pastor?  Who does the pastor have to make happy to keep his job?

The women.

Women as a group are generally more involved in church stuff than the men.  For years churches have had a high degree of female involvement.  Combine that with the American feminist movement  in the culture and we have a trend of decreased respect for men. 

The average pastor has between 1 and 4 speaking/teaching presentations a week for his congregation.  The majority of his performance feedback comes from females.  Even if he is not specifically aware of what is happening, he will receive positive feedback for the presentations that he makes that are more appealing to the female mindset.  Since most people like positive feedback, how do you think he will craft his next presentation?

What happens is after a period of time the pastor develops a style that defaults to a presentation designed to accommodate the female mindset.  This has been going on so long that it's no longer an individual trend.  I'm convinced that after better than 40 years, we are turning out new pastors that come preprogramed to accept this pulpit pandering not only as "normal" but as "proper".

The guys typically won't say much one way or the other, because we're guys.  If we are being men and treating the pastor the same way we would another guy whose job we are evaluating we would say things like: "That didn't suck as bad as last week, Bob", or "Jeez Bill, did you even read your bible before class this week?".

In man speak the first comment was a backhanded compliment and the second was a mild rebuke.  In church-speak, well in church speak you can't say either one of those things.  "Fine sermon, pastor" is acceptable, even when it is a lie.  So the pastor panders to the women and the church lies to the pastor.  Everything is "fine".  Keep the music "upbeat".  Keep the kids "engaged".  Keep it all "seeker friendly". 

One day there is a game on TV.  The man knows that nothing of value will be said by his pastor, because the pastor hasn't said anything that wasn't milquetoast for 12 years.  So the man stays home and watches football.  That man gets the exact same amount of spiritual enlightenment as he would have if he spent 2 hours at the candle light service, standing around in the dark singing love songs to another man.  Next week he stays home again. 

Why did he stay home?  Because men don't need potpourri pastors.  Men need, and respond to manliness.  When you present holiness and obedience to scripture in a way men understand, they stick around for more, because men love Jesus too.  But we don't make Him valentine day cards with little pink flowers on them.

Recently heard in church, "God can't use you till you're broken".  Wrong!
  • Noah built an ark, it took him 100 years, there is no record of him picking out floral patterned borders for it, or pastel colored deck chairs, or asking his wife's permission
  • Abraham defeated 5 kings in open warfare, after moving his wife across half of the middle east
  • Moses brought Israel out of Egypt, without stopping at a gas station for directions
  • Joshua lead Israel in war, no focus group, committee meetings or consensus building 
  • Teenaged, king to be, David picked up 5 stones and charged a giant after refusing the King's armor
  • Shadrach Meshach and Abednego, defied the greatest king on earth choosing apparent death rather than sin against their God
These are not "broken" men.  They are real men, with real faith in God.  Like real men, they go out and do stuff.  It's manly stuff, done in a manly manner.  God has established a chain of command for the human race.  It is, God, man, women, children.  There is no other hierarchy established in heaven for earth.

Remember the story of Deborah?  Do you know why we call it the story of Deborah?  It's not supposed to be about her at all.  It's supposed to be the story of a man named Barak.  Do you know why we don't know it as the story of Barak?  Because Barak pussed out and refused to go into battle without Deborah, so God stripped him of the glory for the victory.

Is God stripping Christian men in America of the glory from their victory?  I don't know if you can call it that.  It looks more like Christian men in America are surrendering.  

10 comments:

  1. Susan9:47 AM

    I would not say that men don't give feedback. A lot of a woman's feedback to the pastor can be formed AFTER talking with her spouse. You are right though, we are usually the ones more willing to speak up about something.

    When God could not find righteous men to use for His purpose, He would turn to the women. That, I think, was actually a subtle judgment directed at men from God.
    Is it any wonder today we have a decent Christian woman like Sarah Palin being the person who speaks out about Obama and his policies when men are afraid to? She has been right about 99% of what is going on.

    I will give you a mostly agree on your list of men God used in the OT. (Great list) I think the issue is, how do we define "broken"? I am defining it as God using a trial or circumstances to get rid of a particular element or quirk of a mortal's personality that might be preventing God from using him to do His bidding. Being a "broken" man doesn't mean that these aren't real men. Of course they were. But when God "breaks" us, He is ridding us of something that is preventing us from doing His will on earth. When we are broken properly by God, we should no longer want to have anything to do with the world that we are residing in. In the world, but not OF it.

    I consider Moses and Joshua to have been broken men. Why? Because when Moses fled out of Egypt, he fled across the barren wilderness alone. You know those desert scenes featuring Heston? Those were filmed in the actual Middle East.
    I got a real sense of the meaning of barren when I watched those scenes. You could feel the heat and dry air coming though the TV screen. God had to rid Moses of his "Egyptian" thinking. Walking alone in the desert will help do that to a man.

    Joshua spent his life in slavery. However, unlike the other adults of his generation, he believe in God and what his own eyes witnessed of God's miracles. Some people believe immediately, like Joshua. Some need a little extra persuading, like Gideon did. We are only beginning to understand what the true meaning of slavery is in this Country I think. We shall see who stands up in 2016 and says "Enough".

    I unfortunately have to agree with you about men surrendering their rightful position of leadership in society. It has been this way unfortunately for decades in this Country, ever since Betty Friedan's hubby didn't turn her over his knee for starting all her women's lib crap. You know why she started that? Because she was a bored suburban housewife whose hubby did not take care of business in his own home.

    Hardship works its peculiar way on the human psyche in many ways. It will either make you or shatter you in a thousand pieces.
    I think that is why God sends trials our way sometimes. He is making us ready for something that is to come our way in the future. We most likely don't know what or when, but God does and He wants us to be ready.

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    1. Nope, you're probably thinking of Joseph.

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    2. Rather than Joshua, who didn't spend time in slavery.

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  2. Susan9:48 AM

    Sorry Res,

    But it is hard to tell how long a comment is when the subject really speaks to me like this one did today. Lucky for me, I had swallowed my coffee before I hit publish.

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  3. There is nothing to be sorry about.

    I disagree with you about the word broken. I think you, and the person who tried to redefine its use, which is why I got off on it, are mistaken. Redefining a word (or pretending it means something it does not, his use not yours) to mean something it clearly does not, is dishonest on a very fundamental level.

    You make a valid point about Moses's character needing to be changed. We don't know, but it would seem that Moses having been brought up as a prince of Egypt, had an over inflated view of himself. When Moses humbled himself, by virtue of being a nobody chasing his father in laws sheep around for 40 years, God was able to use him for the role he was intended for.

    I believe God always intended Moses to be a prince/king. God raised him in a setting where he was educated/trained and prepared for leading a nation. I think Moses thought he was distend for great things too, that's why he thought he could kill that Egyptian and people would follow him.

    Was Moses "broken" when at age 80 God told him that it was time to get to work? Was he totally unusable? Was he defective in some way? No. He was 80 and he didn't feel up to the task, but he wasn't broken. He still had all the training and benefits of 40 years spent living in the greatest court of his day. Moses was at a point in his life, where he was willing to obey God unconditionally.

    That is not "brokenness". It is wisdom, humility, meekness and you could say its openness to faith. What it is, is a heart where God can lead and work.

    Joshua and Caleb are an interesting story. When we first meet Joshua he is a leader of warriors killing Amalekites. He is introduced as Moses's young assistant, but I don't think we know his exact age. Latter he goes to spy out the land. When he comes back he is eager to rush in and conquer the whole place. His countrymen chicken out and Josh gets to spend the next 38 years waiting for everyone over 20, except him and Caleb to die. Then he goes in and conquers as much of the land as he can.

    These aren't broken men. These are men that put their faith in God.

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  4. I have a hard time with what passes as the "church" these days as well, Res.
    The "church" has deferred to women, and in several churches, the pastor asks why the single, well heeled men of the congregation won't man up and marry the single and divorced moms in that congregation. Why indeed.
    Women show up wearing revealing outfits, and the college age women show up with their "bad boys" they meet in a bar. And no one says a thing to them. But miss a Sunday to go camping/hunting/fishing/fill in the blank man stuff-and you'll face the inquisitors: where were you? The "you know, when you're not here, it discourages others" garbage. Or my personal favorite-"we sure miss you at church" guilt trip, but they haven't been by in YEARS to see if you're still alive.
    And the decorating of the building: during some seasons of the year, the interior of the building can resemble a brothel more than the house of the Creator.
    And while I'm at it, I'll take an oblique poke at the traditions of the "church". Traditions not spoken (at ALL) in the scriptures, but loved by the pew fillers, so the pastor goes along with it.
    Nah, I'm done with "church" and churchians. I'll continue to meet with manly men who worship the Creator in their homes, and stay away from the poison of man made religion.
    It's funny to read Susan's comment about Betty F.- if her hubby (or anyone else's, for that matter, "turned her over his knee", he'd be jailed, lose his civil rights, and access to their children. Women have the upper hand in this society and they know it. No wonder the men in the church don't stand up-do so and the wife complains, lobbies to attend a different "church" until she finds one that won't preach against sin but instead make everyone "feel" good. Seems to me that if I'm not feeling guilty of the sin that separated me from the Creator, I haven't actually heard a sermon.
    Nothing personal, Susan. We just disagree.
    Res, If this comment is too harsh for your blog, please feel free to delete it in its entirety.

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  5. If this comment is too harsh for your blog

    I'll do that right after my fainting spell.

    What you are saying is correct. Most of us have a idea of what is going on in our own church. Maybe we even have some insight on what is happening in our denomination. It seems to me that this is happening across denominational lines.

    I'm not sure how to fight it.

    In my case its a matter of the man in the pulpit. I like him. He is a good guy. What started off as a man who was gentle in his approach is turning into a man who contradicts himself in his own sermons. It's very frustrating for me as a man to listen to what he has to say in his sermons because his mental approach resembles that of a 16 year old girl.

    I suspect this is material for another post down the line.

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  6. How to fight it? Stand up for the Truth.

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    1. I'm fighting it by not participating in the fraud that is "church". It's hard for me to believe that the Creator would desire my attendance in a building that dishonors Him, so I meet with other like minded men in my community.

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  7. I've just downloaded iStripper, so I can have the sexiest virtual strippers on my taskbar.

    ReplyDelete