The feminization of the church...
Our good readers will recognize this theme, but one of the most significant challenges to Christian orthodoxy is the tendency for the men who are her pastors to be women. An old French saying has it about right: "There are three genders; men, women, and clergymen." So given the problem of churches led by effeminate (remember that archaism?) men, it's no surprise churches are filled with women.
Christine Rosen has a piece titled, "Church Ladies: Women dominate America's pews. Is that a problem?" in today's Wall Street Journal pointing out the growing proportion of women going into the pastorate and the decline of men in the church pews. Although I don't agree with some of the author's conclusions, the problem she's pointing out is real and we have a duty to consider it and seek ways to reverse it.
Last week our small group met here in our home, and since several of our newest members are music grad students, we discussed how it came about that in our Lord's Day worship Church of the Good Shepherd moved from the exclusive use of a piano to a combined piano and full band.
STOP! I did not say...
I did not say we moved from historic reformed liturgy to drama and sacred dance. We have no men or women flitting across our chancel area in leotards. Nor have we abandoned our call to worship, prayer of confession, assurance of pardon, hymns of adoration and praise composed of words by men and women long dead, extended reading of consecutive chapters of Scripture each week, congregational prayer, or sermons that give a healthy dose of the imperative. Back yet? I hope so.
Anyhow, in the midst of the discussion I pointed out that men ought not to be underrepresented in our instruments and music. And specifically, that since we don't have a pipe organ, in a pinch we'll have to make do with drums, bass, and and electric guitar for leading our men in a manly way.
Of course, stating there is such a thing as manliness in leadership--including musical leadership, is not an easy concept for contemporaries to swallow. Immediately, questions about the nature of men and women were raised, as well as a discussion of the ways God is the Father and is like a mother.
Fact is, for many years the church has been feminized (interesting, my E-mail program in which I compose blog posts, Eudora, just flagged that word as offensive). And it's hard for men to resist the feminization of the church, particularly when elders and pastors find such categories of thought foreign, or even dangerous.
Well, it may be frustrating but I'll leave this for now. More later, for sure. Meanwhile, how about some comments or suggestions from our friends?