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samedi, décembre 17, 2011

 Book Review: Why Men Hate Going To Church by David Murrow (completely revised and updated)

I picked this book out of a list that was available for free download at booksneeze.com, which gives free books in exchange for reviews (like this one, which I've also cross posted on Amazon). It seemed to address the problem of disappearing men from the church, so I thought, why not give it (and booksneeze) a go. Plus I wanted to see if booksneeze was really legit, esp if I wasn't in the USA, but could read/review from the kindle ebook version that they were giving out.

First things first - the book's really about all the reasons why men hate going to church. The central thesis: poor preaching has led to a lopsided view of God (more lamb than lion), and have thus drawn more women than men. Women develop women-friendly programmes, and men are left out in the cold (or more likely, left out to be ushers.)

Murrow is fairly comprehensive when it comes to listing down the things that church does to alienate men - and I have to agree with a good many of his thinly-veiled complaints, like when in meetings (oh the bane of the baptists!) where we have to be meek and conciliatory towards everyone, ensuring that everyone is "happy".

Most damning is his painfully honest assessment of the ministries that we have in church - children, visitation, choir, vacation bible school - they're skewed towards women's skills, rather than the man's abilities. Murrow here skirts a very, very, VERY fine line between adroit observation of gender difference, and sexist attitudes when he prescribes - almost demands - that churches sit up and take notice that unless we start re-engineering and re-thinking some of our programmes (rather that stick with "what all the other churches are doing), we're going to lose men altogether - and be left with feminized, emasculated men.

It was an interesting read - a little long-winded (could have been made much, much sharper with better editing; Murrow tends to ramble on with many stories), I was most disturbed that a lot of Murrow's prescriptions to "fix" the church tended to be predicated on a marketing fix, rather than one grounded in the Word. To give Murrow credit, I think he tried to ground in on observations of Jesus' behaviour: for example, he said that men are driven to challenges, which Jesus did give in the imperative "Follow me" when calling his disciples. Linking this to men's need for risk-taking was good, but not all men are risk-takers, and to draw a link between the imperative command and men's need to rise to challenge/competition seemed rather shaky. I don't think that these two inductions lead to a biblical truth being presented.

This is not to say that it's a bad book - read the book if you want fresh ideas on how to make your church more appealing to guys (and girls). Just remember as you read the book that these are methods, not biblical truths - and the problem with methods is that it can never be "everything to everyone". Not every guy is a jock in the making, and not all guys are macho-men who work with power tools. In this information age, other methods of engagement need to be thought up for guys working in financial services and technology - aren't these the freaks and geeks who get picked on by the jocks in the first place?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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[Book Review: Why Men Hate Going To Church by David Murrow (completely revised and updated)]
Sngs Alumni @ 17.12.11 { 0 comments }


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