Monday, June 01, 2009


In Sunday school yesterday, we talked about a paragraph in the International Series student book. The first paragraph in the "Living the Faith" section talks about how the author believes that churches more readily attract women than men. He supports this by saying that the church loves Christmas, with a baby in a manger and angels in white. Churches love stained glass and altar flowers. He says that we value "feminine" virtues, such as patience, innocence, goodness, self-control and submission.

The whole concept bothered me.

First of all, why would the fruits of the spirit, such as patience, innocence, goodness and self-control be considered "feminine." Submission? To assume submission is a feminine virtue is insulting in itself.

Consider one man I know who is the soul support of his Down's syndrome adult daughter. Do you believe for one moment that he doesn't have patience? That God hasn't given him that gift? Do you think he would call it a "feminine" characteristic?

Self-control? Feminine?

What about the man who was a practicing lawyer who submitted himself to the call of God and becomes a pastor? Is he less masculine than he was before his ordination? Of course not.

And I also want to ask if these are the only characteristics that we celebrate in the church. What about strength? Courage? Faith? Hope?

Consider the widow who walks foward in strength and courage, facing a future which she would have chosen to avoid. Are those characterstics solely for men? Of course not.

All of that aside, however, I think there is a flaw in the logic to begin with. The community of faith called the church -- the body of Christ in the world -- does not need to "attract" people. We are not selling church. Rather than choosing a church based on how good it makes us feel, or how much we gain by being present, perhaps it's time to realize that what is important is how God calls us to serve in his Church. Not what we can gain, but what we can give. What good can we do? How can we serve?

Those questions are certainly not masculine or feminine. They are questions for the children of God.

Image: Vine at Ritter Park



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