New Masculinity

I am getting more and more infuriated with the “new masculinity” movement in the Church which seems to have been developed due to a lack of men in the Church.  This movement suggests the reason there is a lack of men in Church is due to the Church being too “feminised”, there is not enough “manliness” in the Church and this femininity is stopping men from becoming part of it.  This article from the Guardian is a good example of it.
On the surface of it, that would seem like a perfectly valid explanation.  However the problem with this new masculinity is the fact it assumes masculinity is a fixed, absolute thing, that there is only one masculinity and this masculinity is prevented from engaging with Church because of the other fixed absolute thing that is femininity.    But if this is true, how come the majority of the fruits of the Spirit are considered “feminine” characteristics; love, joy,peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians5:22-23)?  Surely the new masculinity will have to do away with these in favour of more “manly” characteristics, such as strength, logic, leadership and competitiveness (taken from this website)?
I would also like to say I am rather offended that theadvocates of the new masculinity stuff are saying the problem with the Church is me, my “womanliness” is putting off all those men.  These advocates of course would say I am missing the point, it is not me that is the problem, but the “Jesus is my boyfriend” songs and the fluffy, cuddly stuff.  But you see I can’t stand that part of Church either, not because I am a man (I am not a man) but because I am distraught that parts of the Body of Christ have been reduced to something so…small!  The radical, sold out, discipleship to the Son of Man has been turned into soppy, self indulgent songs and being “nice” to people.
But still, the advocates would say the reality is, there are less men in Church than women and that has to prove something.  So here are my thoughts on why there are less men in Church:
Due to the reality that the majority of stay at home parents are women (a whole other discussion in itself), they are more in need of the social interaction found in Church than men.  Men are more likely to work in a socially interactive environment and will see the weekends as time off from those interactions.  Men are usually happy for their kids to go to Church, which would suggest the problem isn’t with Church, more with their participation in it.  Rather than a biological issue, this is a social issue.  Men are socialised into certain acceptable behaviours, these do not often include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness.  Therefore Church is uncomfortable for them as it requires growth in all those areas
So, rather than condemn the Church as too feminine, maybe we could rather challenge the accepted understanding of masculinity, and provide a safe place to explore other ways of being as men, women and more importantly people, people who need God’s grace, mercy and love to become all He made us to be.


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