What we feel like doing and what we are capable of doing are two very different things. In fact, what we feel like doing and what we are actually designed to do can oppose one another. We don’t have to be comfortable with something to make it right. The lens of our own preference can lull us into a pattern of idolatry where we rule and reign in our lives. From this self-crafted throne, we can control our experiences to ensure immaturity by avoidance of discomfort.
I’m reading a considerable number of articles lately about why men don’t want to go to church and how we need to tailor church to attract the masculine nature of men. I question the perceived inability for men to work past their masculinity towards a valid pursuit of God in a church setting. A few conclusions in the articles I have read regarding men and church are:
- Men don’t want to be relational so any talk of a “personal relationship” should be tempered
- Men don’t want to worship, so worship should be tightly controlled in length and content
- Men don’t want to be intimate so any talk of intimacy with God should be avoided
- Men want to be warriors in an epic battle, so hang out there
I love and believe the imagery and reality of being a warrior in an epic battle and don’t have any inclination towards holding hands and singing “Kumbaya.” At the same time, I have encountered the presence of God and am ruined by His love. The core of my faith is knowing Him as Savior, Father and Friend. I want to fight the battle, but I don’t want to fight it on my own terms or without Him. That would be missing the point.
Men are capable of feeling, receiving and offering love as well as intimacy. It may not be the first stop or most comfortable place for any of us, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need it. Men are also capable of worshiping, whether it be a battle chant or intimate expression of love for a Father that wrecks us with His grace. King David was as manly of a man as there was and He danced with joy for the same God we are invited to dance for.
You know what men want at church or anywhere else, for that matter? They want real. Religion and illusion will be rejected by men as well as women who seek Truth. Real is a pastoral staff that doesn’t elevate themselves to a place of superiority. Real is inviting and allowing for God’s Spirit to move in a way that isn’t on the schedule. Real is practical and Biblical at the same time. Real is full of grace as we see each other beyond just our behaviors. Real is personal, relational, expressive, intimate and meaningful. Real is epic.