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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fathers’ Day throws into sharp relief a growing trend that I’ve noticed in the church, namely, that we’re seeing a decline in men’s attendance in every activity and service we offer. Many church leaders and authors have communicated their theories about this trend, citing correlations among marriage, children, job security, and even the rise of sports in our culture as taking men away from the pews. I wonder why church is increasingly unattractive to my own gender, more especially to my own social demographic. Is church just not manly enough?
I understand that there are great things to take men, as well as every other family member away from the church and her activities. However, I find that there are equally (if not more so!) compelling reasons to be involved. When men are thrust into the complicated and demanding role of the husband and the father, where shall they turn to learn how to be the best at both? Where else is authentic manhood demonstrated if not in the life of Christ and his disciples?
I think that men, especially fathers, have gotten a bum rap in our society. Consider all the bungling, idiotic father-figures on television; their stupidity and incompetence has become some sort of expectation for all fathers, and men for that matter, to be barely sentient and unable to care for themselves. This is hardly the image of manhood as given to us by God, where fathers are strong, intelligent, and courageous. It’s sad that as the men of America have slid into a stereotype and caricature of their real selves, so has the church.
I’d invite everyone, fathers, mothers and us in between, to worship God with us this Sunday. Let’s push back against what manhood and womanhood are being cast as by this world and find what we’re supposed to be through Christ Jesus. Let’s prove that there are indeed real men in Riesel. Let’s make this Fathers’ Day about our Heavenly Father.