Friday, August 17, 2012

Having attended one too many men's meetings featuring an alpha male in dockers and a polo shirt strutting a muscular self-help ethic masquerading as the gospel for men like him, I was delighted to read this intelligently provocative piece by Jonathan Langley. It's on a website that's new to me but which seems to be offering some stimulating reading matter. Check it out here.

What I like about Jonathan's piece is that it's the first by a man that recognises that men don't go to church for a whole range of reasons and that a one-size-fits-all approach to men's ministry is absurd and demeaning to all involved.

I remember a long time ago attending a men's event that featured an alpha male who at the time was heading up a large national Christian organisation. In order to demonstrate that becoming a Christian had not made him less of man, he told a story about lobbing a spanner (a harmless prank, you understand) at a work colleague ribbing him for joining the God squad. This demonstrated, so he thought, that he was a still a red-blooded male able to bond with his mates. It demonstrated, I thought at the time, that he was a boorish thug both before and after he started going to church. I prayed that he might actually get what Jesus was about.

As Jonathan points out too much men's ministry is aimed at a parody working class male. It seems to me that it mostly fails on two levels: working class men find it as buttock-clenchingly embarrassing as we do and it seems tangentially related at best to anything Jesus is about.

Men are as fabulously diverse as the other 50% of the human race and reaching them with the good news about Jesus requires we get that. So thanks Jonathan for stimulating the grey cells.

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