by Greg Krehbiel on 26 August 2004
One of the sad undercurrents in our society is the notion that religion is for women. The sadder thing is that there’s a lot of truth in it. Many religions have been emasculated to keep them from offending the oh-so-sensitive.
The whole thing is rather amazing when you think about it. Christianity is a blood and guts religion. It’s full of sacrifice and killing and dying — prophetic challenges to powerful kings — characters who live in the wilderness, dressed in camel’s hair, feasting on bugs and honey — warfare against spiritual forces — and a radical underground movement to take over the planet in the name of the legitimate king!
But we get doe-eyed Jesus, meek and mild, who’s oh-so-gentle and ever-so-sensitive. And then we’re supposed to sing drippy bunny-rabbit songs about how scared and fretful we are.
This kind of sentimental slop doesn’t appeal to most men, so they worship at St. Mattress, or head out for a game of golf, or spend the morning tying their fishing lures. And their boys, who are watching and absorbing more than you think, get the message very clearly — religion is for women (or effeminate men).
This is a huge problem that the so-called leaders of the church need to tackle. Unfortunately, many of them are too busy playing dress up.
In the meanwhile, fathers have to cope. And that doesn’t mean grudgingly allowing your wife to drag you to church. In terms of the message that would send to your son, you’d be better off playing golf on Sunday, because now your boy thinks (1) religion is for women, and (2) dad is a wimp.
The solution is to take the lead in family religion. You’re the one who makes sure everybody goes to church on Sunday. You’re the one who insists on prayers before bedtime — and who kneels down and prays with the kids. You’re the one who insists on grace at meals. You’re the one who takes the family to confession once a month. Or whatever. You get the point.
And when the preacher feeds a bunch of sentimental goo to your family, you correct it on the drive home. And at Christmastime you make sure to sing the politically incorrect version of all the songs — really loud! — you know, “born that man no more may die” and “peace on earth good will to men.”
Well, only if you feel like it. But the main point is to combat the notion that religion is feminine. Do what you need to do to make sure your boys aren’t infected with that drivel. Have a talk with the pastor about introducing some manly fare at church — like a talk from a missionary to cannibals or something. Volunteer to teach Sunday School class. Read stories at dinner about Christian missionaries who were torn in pieces by savages. Boys love that stuff.
If you have to, change churches, or supplement the double-x chromosome twaddle on Sunday with other events — Boy Scouts, or Awanas, or whatever. But don’t raise your boy to think that religion is for women.
-- 2004-08-26 » Greg Krehbiel