It seems men are trending further away from church these days; not so much from God, but from the organized institution called "church". Who makes up the Church is an entirely different issue, and not the issue addressed in this book.  David Murrow, in "Why Men Hate Going to Church" does not address a theological issue here, but a statistical one.  While it appears more and more men are absent from church, women are staying.

What factors are driving this trend?  Here are some of Murrow's ideas:
- Feminization of our churches: Pretty curtains, knitted doilies on the quilt-topped communion table, etc;
- Jesus-as-Lion replaced by Jesus-as-Lamb;
- Awkward man-love wording in our music: "Jesus I am so in love with you", etc. What man has ever said that to another man?
- An overly sensitive environment: hugging, holding hands with complete strangers (read, "other men");
- The lack of manly service needs within churches;
- The propensity of men to be less studious and academic than women, yet being harangued into bible studies and talking-head events.

The list goes on, but you get the idea. You may not fit any one of these scenarios, but a large (and growing) number of men do. And many of them fit into several!  Murrow uses the bible as his foundation for the book, but does not cite it for simple proof texts to support his argument. Instead, his position and reasoning are backed by research, studies, and statistics...and they are many! 

The book is divided into three parts: (1)"Where are the Men?" (2)"Church Culture vs. man Culture" and (3)"Calling the Church Back to Men".  I found myself in agreement from the beginning, and somewhere in the midst of part two I began asking, "So how do we fix this problem?"  While Murrow doesn't give the magic genie-in-a-bottle solution, he does provide some tips and techniques churches may consider in reaching out to men. No doubt, many readers will disagree with Murrow's strong support of mega-church approaches, but convincing churches to mimic their style is not his goal.  His point is simply this: Mega-churches are doing something right in attracting men.  Maybe mainline churches may want to consider some of their ideas.

I laughed a lot -- a LOT -- throughout this book. I found myself encouraged by Murrow's words that manly Christianity does not have to be sissified. So my only dislike is that I wondered, "Would I be considered a wuss because I am studious, because I enjoy dancing and raising my hands in worship of my Savior?  Because I share my thoughts and feelings?"  The point of the book is not to say who is manly and who isn't, but I think some men may walk away from it with wrong impressions.

Overall, I give "Why Men Hate Going to Church" 4 stars. I enjoyed the book; I was inspired by the book; I was encouraged by the book. I rarely wanted to stop reading. Most chapters are relatively brief, simple, and straightforward. I would recommend this book for church leaders who may be afraid to tip over those much-cherished "sacred cows".

I received this book free of charge from Booksneeze in exchange for my unbiased review. I was not threatened or offered reward to provide a positive review. All opinions are mine.


  1. Just a suggestion: replace the organ with an electric guitar.

    My wife and I have discussed the issue from the other perspective (there is a severe lack of atheist females).

    She thinks women are often more indoctrinated (she comes from an Orthodox Jewish background where this is truly the case), and she has pointed out single mothers often turn to church for support, in many different forms. She also pointed out there are (or traditionally were) more male-only or male-dominated social groups of other kinds (but this doesn't explain much, in my view).

    I think it has to do with how some men and women treat social institutions differently; men are just more likely to be lone wolves. I think the dislike for the social aspect of religion probably precedes atheism in most cases, and that the lack of social contact with religious people (and often being exposed to anti-religious ideas elsewhere) results in the outcome, which is a higher percentage of male atheists and a fair sized population of people who see themselves as actively religious, but who don't attend services.

    Did he address the fact that Americans claim to attend church more than they actually do? I always find that interesting... as if fooling a poll taker will mean God won't find out...

  2. Couldn't agree more about the organ. In a praise band meeting I once asked a question about the usefulness of a particular instrument (not the organ in thus case). The answer which happens to be quite standard for situations like this, is, "Well, Mike, it was donated and if we don't use it we risk offending the donor.". My reply, "So? Will we always do things just because we are afraid of offending? If it doesn't work it doesn't work.".

    And that's the typical response I hear about the organ. "We will offend the older crowd."

    It's frustrating, and I hear you well!