People have started noticing the gender disparity in church. The Thinkers out there in the real world couldn't care less. It's not their problem. But the men in the churches feel outnumbered. Where are the guys? So they start new ministries to attract men into the churches, and to keep them there once they come. Thus was born the ``Men's Movement.''
The guys in the Men's Movement (MM) don't have a clue. They are all Feelers themselves, so they do not understand that all the guys who don't come have very different values than they themselves do. All of the MM stuff is about ``showing your inner feelings,'' in other words, becoming Feelers. Some of them try to bring in ``manly'' activity such as physical exertion, going fast, making loud noises and breaking things, but its focus is still on relationships and feelings, not truth and justice.
A few years ago there was a run of ``chick flicks'' which emphasized romance instead of going fast, making loud noises and breaking things. One memorable example was ``Sleepless in Seattle,'' where the guys were explicitly discussing the difference between chick flicks and guy movies. In this ridiculous scene the guys teared up and got all emotional over their guy movies the way the women had done with their heart-throb movies just a few minutes earlier. I was not surprised to see in the credits that the director was a woman. Guys don't cry over their great guy movies; women do that. Guys get their adrenaline going, but not their tears. The Men's Movement in the churches is like Sleepless, a Feeler effort to somehow make men into Feelers.
The movie industry has moved past chick flicks to ``date movies'' with both romantic elements for the women and adrenaline elements for the guys. Follow the money. The MM is now trying to do the same, but their adrenaline activities are still only a thin veneer over a Feeler agenda. They are not trying to get men to be men, they are still trying to make Feelers out of them. The movie industry does not expect the guys to like the romantic scenes (except to look at the naked women in them), the guys pay for the adrenaline, but the MM still wraps their adrenaline activities around Feeler devotionals, which is the product the guys are expected to buy into.
Promise Keepers (PK), founded by former Colorado football coach Bill McCartney, is probably the most visible of the Christian MM organizations, drawing over a million men into their stadium rallies in their height. They identify their ``Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper'' as their core teaching. Promise 2 is essentially a Feeler value, promoting relationships:
A Promise Keeper is committed to pursuing vital relationships with a few other men, understanding that he needs brothers to help him keep his promises.Promise 4 emphasizes love:
A Promise Keeper is committed to building strong marriages and families through love, protection and biblical values.The Bible commands that husbands love their wives, so in principle this is not wrong. But the PK team does not always clearly explain that Biblical ``love'' is about self-sacrifice, not the emotional romantic feelings or erotic arousal denoted by the English word. Unqualified as it is here, any reader seeing the word ``love'' will think ``romance'' and ``sex'' but not ``self-sacrifice.'' Romance is the intended meaning. Self-sacrifice is buried in the details to satisfy theological pedants.
In a widely cited blog posting, Barry Yeoman recalls his visit to a Promise Keepers rally. He says:
Speck and his friend hold on tight, weeping -- and when the tears subside, he turns to me and throws his arms open wide. ``Love you, brother,'' he says. I want to love Speck back ... What I do love is his ready affection, a rare commodity in American men. So I give into his hug.Did you get that? This is about relationships and unconditional love. Those are Feeler values. He concludes in awe over ``what it's like to see 50,000 men cry.'' Sounds like Sleepless all over.
[Another speaker] urges us to build lifelong friendships with one another, relationships so close that we can confess our addictions and weaknesses, knowing we'll receive unconditional love in return...
Much older than PK, but with much of the same Feeler emphasis is the Christian Men's Network. Their website claims, ``the late founder of CMN, Dr. Edwin Louis Cole, authored one of the first books on masculinity and men's issues in the modern Christian men's movement some three decades ago. Maximized Manhood is now the most widely read men's book in the world.'' I have not read this book, but it's interesting to find in one of its Amazon reviews this Feeler line:
Thanks Cole for showing us the true definition of manhood-Jesus Christ! He's our model, our role-model, our guide, our friend, our father that gives us a godly intimate hug right when we needed it!Another reviewer quoted from the book in his blog:
Love is of God, and true love is always giving. God's love desires to satisfy the objects of his love.True Biblical love is indeed always giving. I think it was C.S.Lewis [I can't find the reference] who reportedly said, ``The truth is so big, it's hard to miss all of it.'' But Cole's love is not rooted in God's holy attributes, it just wilts into an unconditional affirmation.
There is a better way. The MM should not be trying to make Feelers out
of the (men) Thinkers, it should be trying to get the church back onto
the agenda promoted in the Bible, which is substantially a Thinker agenda.
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Rev. 2008 May 6