Earlier this year we published an in-depth series about masculinity and the Christian religion — in particular, why it is that in nearly all Christian churches the world over, women outnumber men. One of our sources for that series was a book called Why Men Hate Going to Church, and on today’s show I talk with the author of that book, David Murrow.
David and I talk about the significant disparity in the sex ratio of Christian churches, the factors that led to that gender gap, why fewer men in the pews typically leads to an overall decline in congregation attendance, what some churches are doing to make church more “man-friendly,” why newer megachurches have been more successful at attracting men than older, smaller churches, and why one branch of Christianity — Eastern Orthodoxy — hasn’t suffered the same decline in male attendance that’s plagued other traditional denominations. Whether you enjoyed our series on Christianity and manhood, have wondered why you find going to church so unbearable, or simply enjoy discussions on the intersection of faith, culture, and masculinity, you’ll love this podcast.
- The gender gap in church attendance between men and women
- Are women more spiritual than men?
- Does the gender gap exist in other world religions?
- When did the gender gap in Christianity begin?
- The increase and decrease in male church attendance during the past 500 years
- “Jesus-is-my-boyfriend” praise and worship music and the decline of battle hymns in congregations
- The difference between the type of God men and women like to worship
- Why Christian churches are more feminine even though men are often still the leaders
- Why “church plants” attract more men than established churches
- Why the way mainline denominations are organized has left them struggling in the 21st century
- What megachurches do to attract men
- The difference between vertical and horizontal worship
- Why old-school hymns are coming back into church services
- Why churches with more women are declining and churches with more men are growing
- The benefits men get from attending church regularly
- What churches can do to attract more men (and it’s not just having Harley Sundays)
- The Muscular Christianity Movement in the late-19th and early 20th centuries
- How the Muscular Christianity movement laid the groundwork for the explosion of growth in the mainline churches after WWII
- How churches can add danger and risk to attract men
- The rise and fall of the Promise Keepers movement
- How men are using technology to innovate the church
- Why the Eastern Orthodox church hasn’t had the same man problem as Western churches
Resources/Studies/People Mentioned in Podcast
- Christianity’s Manhood Problem
- The Church Impotent by Leon J. Podles
- Bridal mysticism
- Protestant Reformation
- “A Mighty Fortress is our God”
- “Onward Christian Soldiers”
- Church planting
- My podcast with Barry Nalebuff about The Art of Strategy
- Willow Creek Church
- Saddleback Church
- Craig Groeschel
- The decline of the Episcopal church
- When Christianity Was Muscular
- Boys’ Brigade
- Men and Religion Forward Movement
- Billy Sunday
- Promise Keepers
- The Three P’s of Manhood: Protect
- My podcast with Sherry Turkle about reclaiming conversation
- Kettlebell swinging Greek Orthodox priest
Why Men Hate Going to Church is a throughly engaging look into the historical and cultural factors that have contributed to fewer men attending Christian churches. David’s got a punchy and humorous writing style that makes the book both interesting and highly enjoyable to read. Pick up a copy of it and visit David’s website, Church for Men, to learn more about his work with men in churches.
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And thanks to Creative Audio Lab in Tulsa, OK for editing our podcast!
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