THE FEMINISATION OF THE CHURCH
Leon Podles is a Catholic historian. His book,The Church Impotent – the Feminisation of Christianitysays his church has lost the fight to retain men at church. The reason? “men don’t like church. To be more precise masculine men have a problem with Christianity, at least in its Western forms.” Yet in Eastern Orthodox churches men participate in services and other religious activities as much or more than do women, while in Roman Catholic and Protestant churches the women outnumber the men, sometimes by wide margins.
Podles does not believe sociology can explain this disparity, rather a development in the 13thcentury when Christian piety underwent a dramatic change. Bernard of Clairvaux introduced bridal mysticism, and praying with “erotic” language from the Song of Songs to express his love for Christ. Bridal mysticism appealed to women very much; from the 13thcentury explosion of women’s orders until today, the image of being the spouse of Christ has been a favorite of Catholic women. To men, however, praying as if one were the bride of a male Christ took on “sexual overtones that sound peculiar to the masculine ear.” As more women filled the pews, and as the more masculine realm of theology became too scholarly for use in homilies, Podles believes, preachers leaned on bridal mysticism to appeal to their congregations, thereby perpetuating the feminization of Christian piety begun by St. Bernard.
David Murrow, a Presbyterian Elder agrees. His book Why Men Hate Going to Churchsings the same song as Podles does. Men hate going to church because of the prevailing feminist climate evident in décor, programs, atmosphere, prayers and leadership.
It should concern all of us that more than 60% of an average congregation are women, while probably 95% of pastors are men. But if those pastors support feminist ideals they will only perpetuate this gender imbalance.
Australian churches have never faced this issue.
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Welcome to my blog where you can read about books, bods and battles for the truth. Your comments are invited.
Minister, pastor, evangelist, convention speaker, college lecturer, private pilot, invitee to minister in India, Singapore, Indonesia, Kenya, Cyprus USA and China, CEO of a Sydney church Retirement Village and author of four biographies - these are some areas in which I have served Christ for more than 60 years. Called to preach at age 16 I have served mainline and independent churches in all States save the NT. Decades of ministry, have led me to conclude that "judgment has begun at the church of God". Where will this end?