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Oh man. This whole "manly church" thing gets me worked up. I've never come closer to throwing a book across a room as I did when the author of "Why Men Hate Going to Church" blamed art and other girly stuff for making Sunday morning too effimate.

My brain almost exploded with sudden influx of historical inaccuracy and unspoken prejudice.

The author of this article links to this article, which hammers the point home nicely:

"And won’t he be hacked off to discover that when God wanted to found a nation, he chose Jacob, the effeminate, namby-pamby mama’s boy over Esau, his manly, rugged, outdoorsy brother? It goes against everything he apparently believes about the masculine flavor of the faith...There is room for all types of men and women in the Body of Christ, its worship and its mission. No standard of “masculinity” or “femininity” needs to be upheld or promoted.."

What just blows my mind is how people read the "Manly Man" image onto the Bible without recognizing it as a cultural artifact. I just can't wrap my brain around that.
Wilson's latest article is the latest in a string of controversial statements.
Dave DeBaeremaeker's profile photoNathan Tolbert's profile photoJordan Sallis's profile photoJake Tolbert's profile photo
Ever notice that the bible is completely silent on worship style? It doesn't dictate in any way what the format of the service, the type of music, art work etc. Any thoughts of femininity is simply a human issue, and it sounds like this guy has some serious female issues. I hope he gets the therapy he needs.
While I agree in general with your complaint of the write-up Jake, I gotta say I get sick and tired of "Jesus is my girlfriend" worship songs.

Also, churches are way too generous with their use of flower arrangements, pastel colors, and Thomas Kinkade paintings. And I've had people complain when I play the hymn "Onward Christian Soldiers" because its "too militant."

We are a bride & their is not Biblical mandate or precedent for acting like church is supposed to be butch. But there's plenty of "manly" imagery in Scripture (armor of God, Battle of Armageddon, driving the money changers out, etc) that we like to gloss over in favor of "date night with Jesus."
I'm troubled by both Jesus as my boyfriend songs (I do NOT want to sing with 200 other people about Jesus touching me in my secret place) and militant songs (we've had a bad run of conflating faith with politics and war in the last couple hundred years and need to think hard about how necessary it is to push that..)

Truth be told, I'm troubled by any song that focuses on us (and for that matter what God has done for ME!) as opposed to the character/awesomeness/etc of God.

The latter make it way too easy to be selfish....
It's true, but you know, there's not really any book of the Bible that's more self-centered than Psalms.

Our praise to God is an outpouring of our relationship with God. We definitely have to fight the impulse to make it man-centric, but to remove ourselves from the equation entirely removes the deeply personal motivations we each have for worship.
What type of churches do you two go to anyway? I've not seen either of these issues in any church I've been too... its concerning.
Dave, it may have more to do with sensitivity. Jake and I are both worship leaders, so it may be more of an issue for us than with people who do not constantly (over-)analyze their worship experience.

That being said, my experiences are entirely with American churches of various denominations (or "non-denominational), but are all very Western as well as Protestant.
Dave - just for a point of reference, here's a few songs I've sung in worship that I get tired of, primarily for their "Jesus is my boyfriend" qualities:

"In the Garden" I'm starting with an old hymn to show that it's not necessarily a strictly "modern" problem. Dew on roses? Whispering in my ear? "I am his own?" Yeah, this song has got to appeal strictly to chicks.

"Draw Me Close To You"

"Everything I Do, I Do it for You" (seriously, this was sung at my sister's church once, with the word "Jesus" sprinkled here and there but no other lyric changes)

"I Love the way you hold me" Every time this comes on a Christian station I want to tear my radio out of the dashboard and throw it out the window.

An honorable mention goes to "Above All." While the verses and chorus are wonderful, the phrase "like a rose trampled on the ground" always yanks me straight out of "worship" mode and into "you have got to be kidding me" mode.
+Jordan Sallis I don't recognize any of those songs, which is probably why I have been unable to relate to the issues in this thread.

Our church's worship songs are definitely not romantic (I can't believe i'd even have to point that out). They sometimes speak of our relationship with Christ, but it is more of a Lord and servant, or a teacher/student point of view.

Our praise band leader released a CD with a good cross sampling of tunes we sing:

To tie this all off, Jesus is my lord and savior, but he's also a dude. I have no interest in dating him. Playing hockey with him maybe. Perhaps there should be more worship songs about "Jesus shoots and scores".
Here's my question, to play the other side of things. We tend to roll our eyes at "Jesus is my boyfriend" songs because they are sappy and vapid. But other than complaining about them possibly being poorly written, is the topic actually something to reject?

Scripture talks about earthly love/marriage being a model or illustration for our relationship with God. If our relationship with God is the REAL version of what all these cheesy songs are about, why shouldn't we sing songs about the REAL version of love? Or the basis for what marriage is modeled after? Sure, we can tone down the cheese a bit, but why shouldn't the topic be celebrated? (Although I'm not suggesting it should be celebrated at the expense of other topics and themes)
I think it should and we should hold that idea in tension with the idea that worship isn't about reveling in how much better my life is now.

Im just not comfortable with singing about Jesus touching me in my secret place in public.
lol, I don't care how accurate it is, please stop saying that Jake. It's creeping me out.

+Nathan Tolbert: For me it comes down to the fact that we have ZERO precedence within scripture for that type of language to be used, especially in a worship context. We are given an example of Christ's relationship with the Church being like that of a groom with his bride, but even in those contexts the text isn't about romance, and it's barely about love. It's about authority, suddenness, self-sacrifice (for both parties), deference, and attitude of service (called love).

We also get the example of the marriage supper of the lamb at the end, but again, that's not about making doe-eyes at Jesus while blushing at the thought of him ravishing us later that night, but rather it's about having a big huge reunion party that never ends.

The modern Christian church's emphasis on God's love borrows more language from Victorian romance than Scriptural self-sacrifice and service.

And I know bugs you, Jake, but we've got as much if not MORE militant imagery from scripture to draw from than we do bridal imagery. Forget playing hockey with Jesus. I'm all up for joining the army at his back when He descends on Earth to permanently and forever DESTROY THE ENEMIES OF GOD AND MAN.
Egads, "Breathe" just came on my Pandora station. I usually like this song, but now it's really bugging me...
"This is the air I breathe....
I'm desperate for you...."
I'm telling you, it really grosses me out. Like in a "I'm not sure I can sing this, but I REALLY don't want my children singing it!"
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