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"Manly" Christian churches

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  • "Manly" Christian churches

    This morning I was reading an article that I can't link to because of language about Ignite Church out in Joplin, MO that was headed by pastor Heath Mooneyham (more on that in a little bit).When he was pastor he would engage in sermons about being a guy, sex, guns, and etc. He even had a raffle one Father's Day where he gave away an AR15. What got me the most about him was how he would brazenly hit on women in bars using sexual innuendo. He was a guy who fit the profile of "The Art of Manliness" to a T.

    And then he got a DUI and had to step down from his position as pastor.

    After reading about him and the meltdown with Mark Driscoll I can't help but ask, "Are these guys trying too hard to be...well, guys?" I get that these men sometimes had good sermons and teachings on how a guy should live his life. I also get that they try to cater to men because so many Christian churches have become too feminized and when a man converts to Christianity usually his whole family converts as well.

    However, there are things about "manly" evangelical churches that bother me:
    • The overemphasis on sex.
    • Potentially alienating women.
    • Emphasizing being "manly" so much that they forget about being holy.


    The first point: sex. What I noticed about Driscoll and Mooneyham is the incessant topic of sex. I'm a guy and I love having sex with my wife as much as any other married man. However, if I have a problem in that relationship, I'm going to talk to my priest or a therapist in private or read books about it. I really, really, don't want to hear about it constantly from the pulpit. I find people who talk about sex all the time to be revolting. I get that our American culture is saturated with sex but churches don't need to make the same mistake. I also get that sometimes churches swing the opposite way and don't talk about it at all. This is also a dangerous position. The apostle Paul didn't have any fear of addressing the churches that he wrote to about sexual immorality and the proper way to relate to one's spouse. What needs to be found is a middle ground.

    Second point: alienating women. After reading about Mooneyham's church I can't help but wonder if any single woman would go there of her own free will. You may as well as her to go to a biker bar. This is a huge hindrance because women are vitally important to churches. I feel like a church like Mooneyham's with their emphasis on "BRO!" would miss the fact that women have their own individual issues that they struggle with that men don't. Women need the gospel as well as men and need churches that help them with their needs.

    Third point: manliness over holiness. It's fun to shoot guns, drink beer, get muscular, etc. However, that pales in comparison to my relationship with God. Holiness should be at the forefront of my mind moreso than trying to come off as "manly." I think that masculinity is important for me as a man, but I think that a holy life lived for God will bring rewards that ring into eternity itself. When I read about Mooneyham's church one of the things that shocked me was that he didn't even have a cross inside of his office. He had a deer head, a football jersey shirt, etc, but no crosses or other Christian symbolism because, as he said in the article, "I don't need a bunch of [stuff]1 on my walls to tell you that I love Jesus." As an Eastern Orthodox Christian I especially find such a thing especially appalling, but it would take too long and go off topic to list all of the reasons why. Suffice to say that even a cross inside of a church and a pastor's office is definitely appropriate and should be used at least to inspire the leader of the congregation to focus his attention on Christ. What better place where he thinks of writing his sermons and dealing with the multitude of church issues? Driscoll also had a problem of cussing and he even did it from the pulpit. Did these guys forget that such language is a vice and shouldn't be used in those contexts? Honestly, I cuss at work and the nature of my job being so stressful it's hard not to. However, I consider it a vice within myself that needs to be corrected. I want to eventually stop it but it is really hard. What me and many others who struggle with cursing know is that you don't curse in church. Cursing doesn't make someone more manly and I think these pastors tried so hard to be manly that they forgot about being holy which led to a big meltdown in both cases.

    Well, that's basically my rant. What are your thoughts? It'd be interesting to hear from both men and women on this topic.

    1. He actually cursed here. I replaced the word.
    "Concentrate on what you have to do. Fix your eyes on it. Remind yourself that your task is to be a good human being; remind yourself what nature demands of people. Then do it, without hesitation, and speak the truth as you see it. But with kindness. With humility. Without hypocrisy."
    -Marcus Aurelius

  • #2
    Originally posted by T-Shirt Ninja View Post
    After reading about him and the meltdown with Mark Driscoll I can't help but ask, "Are these guys trying too hard to be...well, guys?"
    I actually think it's more simple than that --- I think there are guys who need to be in power and control, and it's easier to do that "in the ministry" than in the corporate world. Having a lust for power, they lack the discipline to "keep" the power, and the eventually go too far.
    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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    • #3
      I find it amusing that being manly has to focus on guns, sports, and sex. There are plenty of manly men who do not fit the phoney image set out in these sort of venues.
      Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

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      • #4
        I see these churches as a counter-reaction to the feminization of evangelical Christianity where love songs to God are nearly indistiguishable from love songs to guys. Both approaches lack balance.
        Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

        Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
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        I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

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        • #5
          Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
          I see these churches as a counter-reaction to the feminization of evangelical Christianity where love songs to God are nearly indistiguishable from love songs to guys. Both approaches lack balance.
          Interesting. And, maybe even "yeah!"
          "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
            I actually think it's more simple than that --- I think there are guys who need to be in power and control, and it's easier to do that "in the ministry" than in the corporate world. Having a lust for power, they lack the discipline to "keep" the power, and the eventually go too far.
            Why do they want power? Doesn't power=responsibility? Or does great power = great responsibility only apply to superhero stories?
            If it weren't for the Resurrection of Jesus, we'd all be in DEEP TROUBLE!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Christianbookworm View Post
              Why do they want power? Doesn't power=responsibility?
              Not necessarily.. corrupt power just wants to boss people around, or control people or circumstances.

              Or does great power = great responsibility only apply to superhero stories?
              "good" power equates to greater responsibility ... "remember, use those powers for good, not for evil".
              "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Jedidiah View Post
                I find it amusing that being manly has to focus on guns, sports, and sex. There are plenty of manly men who do not fit the phoney image set out in these sort of venues.
                Eh, guns and sports I would take, sex, not really. Even then, guns and sports do not a man make, in fact, they're relatively unimportant.
                Better to illuminate than merely to shine, to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate.

                -Thomas Aquinas

                I love to travel, But hate to arrive.

                -Hernando Cortez

                What is the good of experience if you do not reflect?

                -Frederick 2, Holy Roman Emperor

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                  Not necessarily.. corrupt power just wants to boss people around, or control people or circumstances.



                  "good" power equates to greater responsibility ... "remember, use those powers for good, not for evil".
                  Currupt power should be shamed!!!
                  If it weren't for the Resurrection of Jesus, we'd all be in DEEP TROUBLE!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
                    I see these churches as a counter-reaction to the feminization of evangelical Christianity where love songs to God are nearly indistiguishable from love songs to guys. Both approaches lack balance.
                    Yeah. Interesting and Yeah.
                    Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
                      I see these churches as a counter-reaction to the feminization of evangelical Christianity where love songs to God are nearly indistiguishable from love songs to guys. Both approaches lack balance.
                      This.

                      Also, for Driscoll, I got the strong impression that fellow leaders in the church put up with his peccadilloes because his style produced results, ie he drew a large crowd. So as he was useful, they let him have free rein and he got increasingly out of hand, as could be expected.

                      Edit:
                      Mooneyham was characteristically unapologetic. “If we get people in the door, we get to preach the gospel,” he told the Joplin Globe. “If we can get more people to follow Jesus, I’ll give away 1,000 guns. I don’t care.”
                      “We target 18-35 year old men. That’s it! If we win the men, we win the women, the kids, the jobs, the town, the WAR! And we’ll do anything short of sin to accomplish this.”
                      Last edited by Paprika; 09-26-2014, 01:28 AM.

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                      • #12
                        This doesn't relate to the goings-on with Driscoll, but I tend to think the issue here relates more to viewing church as an entertainment place rather than, well, a church.
                        "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
                          This doesn't relate to the goings-on with Driscoll, but I tend to think the issue here relates more to viewing church as an entertainment place rather than, well, a church.
                          That is another great point. Entertainment driven churches in American evangelicalism is a big problem.
                          "Concentrate on what you have to do. Fix your eyes on it. Remind yourself that your task is to be a good human being; remind yourself what nature demands of people. Then do it, without hesitation, and speak the truth as you see it. But with kindness. With humility. Without hypocrisy."
                          -Marcus Aurelius

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