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.