by David and Tim Bayly on November 13, 2004 - 8:23pm
(This piece was written several years ago and published in a much-truncated form in CTi's profession journal, Leadership. Here's the larger piece with its politically incorrect portions intact. It addresses the critical problem of the tendency of pastors to abandon the men of their congregation, instead being content to accomplish everything through compliant women. -Tim Bayly)
One of the year's high holidays in towns across America is opening day of deer season. Like all holidays, preparations begin long before the actual day arrives. In September hunting paraphernalia appears on the shelves of the local True Value: rifles, shells, scent, and jumpsuits and caps in brilliant hunter's orange. The big day is usually a Saturday in November.
A young farmer warned me my first year in ministry: "Might not be too many men here next week, but don't take it personal. We'll all be out looking for our buck." Sure enough, there weren't many men in church that next week.
The women of the church kept the doors open that Sunday--along with the few men who never took to the sport or were too old to climb fences or beat bushes. Deer hunting is a male ritual; despite the occasional female hunter, it's largely the men who are gone.
The absence of men during deer season may be troubling, but it's usually just one Sunday out of the year. Far worse is the chronic absence of men from many of our churches. The United Methodist General Board of Discipleship reports that in the 1950's the membership of the Methodist Church was 53 percent female but 47 percent male. Today...
by David and Tim Bayly on August 23, 2006 - 7:15am
Women and children first?
July 6-24, the Scripps Survey Research Center at Ohio University put the following question to 1,010 men and women:
You may recall that male passengers on the Titanic agreed to give up their places on the lifeboats for women and children. If there were a similar situation today, do you think men should be expected to die and allow women to live, or is this an old fashioned idea?
Among men, 63% of men agreed to die for women; 23% thought the idea was old fashioned; and 14% couldn't make up their minds. "Quick, the boat's sinking, Mr. Bayly: What'll it be--you or your wife?"
"Well um... Ahem... On the one hand..."
Among women, though, 43% said men shouldn't bother sacrificing for them while only 39% still thought it was good for men to give up their spots in the lifeboats for women; 18% were undecided. "Quick, the boat's sinking, Mrs. Bayly: What'll it be--you or your husband?"
"Well um... Ahem... I don't know--Tim's the man of the house; let him decide."
We all know the world has lost its way on the meaning of sexuality, but what about the church? I'm reminded of two experiences in my own denomination, the PCA, where the state of affairs became clear.
Several years ago, I served on a study committee of our general assembly assigned to produce a study paper on women in combat. As you might guess, I was agin' it but there were a number of pastors and elders on the committee who would have fit right into this poll. Some were military officers (chaplains, sadly), while others were pastors of local churches. Just short of half our committee believed..
Yet most I thank thee, not for any deed, But for the sense thy living self did breed That Fatherhood is at the world’s great core.
-George MacDonald (1)
(Tim) Some years back when I first entered the pastorate, I sat in a small-town café listening to the son of a prominent church member summarize his relationship with his father: “Nothing I did ever pleased him.” In his late twenties, the son was a neer-do-well; divorced and not able to hold down a job, his children were shunted back and forth, week-by-week, from one broken home to another.
He came to church only on Christmas and Easter so our breakfast appointment was about the only chance I had. His eyes revealed the last flicker of what once had been the bright flame of father-hunger—that hunger God places in the heart of every son. None of my seminary professors had mentioned this hunger to me and I was at a loss as to how to cure his soul. Not knowing how to respond to this great sadness, I was silent...
Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss. -1Thessalonians 5:26
(Tim) Not to express the slightest opinion on any part of the Brett Favre debacle... And yet, pastors and elders would do well to learn from this statement at the end of the NYTimes' article on Favre's welcome to NYC by Mayor Bloomberg, and his statement about how he plans to win the support of the men who are his new Jets teammates:
I want these guys to know me, know what I’m about. I’m
not going to call team meetings. I’m not going to rah-rah. I’m going to
do what I have to do, pat guys on the back, hug them, pick them up off
the ground and hope they do the same for me and hope that’s enough to
If men pick godly, mature Christian young women, these women would not be turned off by lack of money.
The question I think for the women (if they are mature and secure in the Lord) is are these men "with it" in the sense of being responsible for their personal lives and for others -- or are they barely getting by as single men. I think women do not want to have to be "moms" to these men. Women want to find men to whom they can willingly submit and follow.
I meet so many single 30's men who are passive, do not take the initiative or responsibility, and just seem lost as far as what their life is all about. They might hold a steady job (some do not), but they are just working to work. They might have a decent car and a decent house and lots of videos, video games, sound systems, etc. installed in their homes, but they do not really know what to do with each day...
by David and Tim Bayly on January 14, 2010 - 5:48am
(Tim) These wise words were made as a comment under the recent post, Stats on internet pornography, by Alex McNeilly, a young sax student in Church of the Good Shepherd. Thank you, Alex.
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of how guarded any home is against sin, particularly the sexual sin of the media, in the world opportunities to indulge in it will abound. But even as we build larger and stronger walls against these sins
in the home, worldly access to them becomes ever more
available as we see in the stats in this post. As a result, I agree
with Kevin that the strongest defense against these things lies in the
We must teach our children the dangers of sexual sin and
pornography, so that when they go into the world (a friend's house, a
computer lab, a video store, etc.), where there are no guards, their
hearts will already be fortified against these iniquities...
(Since publishing this post, I've realized some of our readers may never have heard that John Eldredge opposes Scripture at key points in his writing. So, I'm adding several links here (one, two, three, four, five, six, seven) as a warning to our readers not to be snookered into buying Eldredge's books or listening to his false teaching. Many have been harmed by him and there's no need for any others to fall into the trap.)
Eldredge is likely the most popular proponent of the heresy known as
open theism. (He) is not a trustworthy teacher of the Word
of God. While he presents an attractive message and often does so in an
attractive way, much of the content simply does not line up with
Scripture. He denies many of the truths orthodox believers have long
held to. I do not recommend his books and encourage you to exercise
extreme caution when dealing with his teachings. -Tim Challies
(Tim)Speaking of the perversion of Biblical male sexuality sold in books like Wild at Heart (see final comment under "Sacred Swooning" post), the most recent New Yorker has a piece on the murderous drug cartels displacing the rule of law in much of Mexico. The article delves deeply into one relatively recent cartel known as La Familia, reporting that La Familia's leader, El Chayo or El Mas Loco (the Craziest), "is inspired... it has been reported, by the muscular Christianity of John Eldredge...
(Tim: This article originally appeared in ClearNote Fellowship's newsletter. If you'd like to be added to our mailing list, please send us an e-mail.)
Each time we sat under the ministry of our much-loved Iain Murray at the old Banner of Truth conferences, the Bayly brothers could predict at some point during the Q & A sessions Murray would strike a plaintive note, asking, “Why is there no evangelism in Reformed churches?” After a while, we realized it wasn’t a question, but a lament.
No one ever suggested he was wrong. The question brought on a guilty silence.
But if Reformed congregations don’t have new births, why aren’t our churches dying? Some pollsters even say the Reformed slice of the conservative Christian pie is growing. Doesn’t this prove Reformed men have changed their priorities and are giving themselves to evangelism--that we're all missional, today?
Sadly not. Our converts have simply moved up the social register. To keep our pews filled, we depend upon men and women raised in Christian homes getting their graduate degree and trading in their parents’ Arminian church for a more respectable Reformed congregation...
by David and Tim Bayly on October 28, 2010 - 11:32am
(Tim: Nathan Alberson writes) Dear Dad or Mom:
Your average teenage boy already knows about the birds and bees. But how on earth are you going to talk your darling child through all the issues that come along with it: from lust to porn... Wouldn't it be nice if there was some sort of book about sex written for young men...
by David and Tim Bayly on November 16, 2010 - 5:10am
(Tim, w/thanks to Scott) Some of Church of the Good Shepherd's work is a Saturday men's class called David's Mighty Men. Stephen Baker and I teach, then the men meet in smaller groups for accountability and recitation of their Scripture memory. It's a two-year course of study and as practical as true godliness will always be. We teach male and female, courting, marriage, childbearing, work, authority and submission, fatherhood, church, doctrine...
Right from the beginning, we tell the men that we're out to kill "guyland." What's guyland?
Particularly for young men, guyland's almost always pornography, sports, or video games. Do you know how many men in your church are flunking out of life because...
by David and Tim Bayly on January 28, 2011 - 3:25pm
(Tim, w/thanks to Taylor)Read this wonderful story and ask yourself where the church turns boys--undisciplined angry ones, at that--into men? Youth groups? Home school co-ops? Christian school science labs? Crew? Membership classes? Men's retreats?
You say your church is not a parochial school filled with inner city kids and your own fathers are the ones training their own sons. I say, "Yeah, right."
Face it. Each of our churches has a bunch of young men every bit as much in need of the discipline of playing on Bob Hurley's basketball team as the kids at St. Anthony High in Jersey City. In the ministry today, we're surrounded by man-boys whose fathers have turned their backs on them. These young men crave discipline--which is to say they crave fatherly love...
"...it's indie or classic rock that moves our spirit."
(Tim) You all know ClearNote Church is filled with classical musicians but we worship mostly under the leadership of amplified instruments. This EP just released by our worship musicians gives you a good feel for how we're led. What distinguishes our worship leaders is that they use instrumentation and tunes and rhythms that are familiar to those who attend. We're not asked to go back into genres of previous centuries when we sing God's praises and pray.
Then too, we believe our music should be characterized by masculine zeal. The congregation should have men pushing us to express our joy and firm commitment and worship for the majesty and glory of God. Faint spirits and cold hearts are challenged when singing God's praises, here.
So you'll notice how well-matched the music and instrumentation and beat are to our goal. If you were to worship with us one Lord's Day morning, you'd notice this is how we pray and preach, also--we don't give people space for unbelief and ambivalence...
Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse. (Malachi 4:5, 6)
(NOTE: helpful obscenities ahead) Almost always, an absent father, father-hunger, and hatred define The New Yorker profiles of the purveyors of our Godless culture. Here we have a profile of the hip-hop group, Odd Future, and its best rapper, Thebe Neruda Kgositsile (alias Earl Sweatshirt) who at the time of the song's release was sixteen years old. From The New Yorker's profile, "Earl Sweatshirt begins one track by sneaking some autobiography into...
Under another post, a longtime reader named Jay asks a question that seems worth answering on the main page.
* * *
Answering a question like this by writing rather than in person is very difficult, pastorally. How can I show you I love you and am very concerned that you know the mercy of God for your particular set of temptations, especially in a time and place when any condemnation of sodomy is seen as at least shrill, and likely smug, insensitive, and grounded in self-righteousness, to boot?
Still, I will work to answer you because you say others are unwilling to do so, and because you are a precious soul belonging to the Lord of us all Who bought us each with His Own Blood and has called us to be holy as He is holy. If you want, I can put you in touch with those struggling with your particular set of temptations who are a part of our church here in Bloomington and you may ask them if what I write here is from love or censoriousness? You may ask whether you’d find our church to be loving of all regardless of their particular besetting sin, or loving only of those with more acceptable besetting sins?
So on to the difficult work others have avoided.
You wrote, “I would not consider myself heterosexual at all. Is being straight a requirement?”
Let’s clarify the question. The opposite of straight is gay, so another way of asking the question would be, “My psychological and emotional identity and inclinations are completely homosexual, so can I be give in to them as long as I don’t go all the way?” Or another way of saying it would be, “May I give myself to gayness rather than straightness in everything but physical intercourse, and will this please God?”
When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?”
And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:25-26).
Again, here's a response to a question asked by "Jay" under the post, "Must a gay man go straight?" I thought it best to put the response here on the main page as a post.
Jay asked: "I do know other men and women who struggle with homosexual temptation, who not only reject copulation but also gay identity and culture, but who do not have any heterosexual desires. Are they saved?"
Sorry for the lack of response. The post took all my time for the blog yesterday so I'm playing catch-up.
First, I'm doubtful these men and women you know who struggle with homosexual temptation actually reject gay identity and culture as clearly and with the finality you indicate. If we live in a culture that hates sexuality as God made it; if we pursue androgyny in the pulpit in the way we preach (see the category of Baylyblog titled "gelded discourse"), in our appearance--hair length and style, for instance; if our men are physically vain (whether macho buff or femmie bling and piercings or a sweet combination of both); it's likely no Christian tempted by homosexuality has really turned away from androgyny to Biblical manhood and womanhood. Made an effort, sure, but today within the Church there are precious few heterosexuals who pursue Biblical manhood or womanhood.
So being "straight" in our sexuality as the Bible presents manhood and womanhood is exceedingly rare, today. Men are narcissists and refuse to man up, taking responsibility for themselves or others...
This past October 1st, we were blessed with a fly-by visit from Father Bill Mouser and his wife, Barbara. On sexuality, if would be hard to do better than taking our churches through the Mousers' Five Aspects curriculum--Five Aspects of Man/Woman. My closest friend, Pastor Robert Woodyard, is using Five Aspects with men in his church and has found it excellent. Here at Clearnote Church, Bloomington we have a Saturday morning program...
When I was serving my former churches (a yoked parish of two congregations) an hour north of Madison, Wisconsin, a young man working toward a graduate degree at UW(Madison) served the congregations as a pastoral intern and we became close. As time went by, he decided to enter the ministry and to train at the Christian Reformed Church's Calvin Seminary.
Even then, back in the eighties, Calvin Seminary was going down the tube. Turning our backs on God's Order of Creation, Adam first then Eve, was all the rage and Calvin was drowning in this rebellion. Dutchmen were reaping the fruit of their diffident-to-cold relationships with their wives and children and, having sown the wind, they were about to reap the whirlwind.
Ortega y Gasset pointed out that true thinking begins with exaggeration, you understand.
Another pastor in the area was on the board of Calvin and he told us the school was going liberal and it was only a matter of time before the Christian Reformed Church would follow...