February 22, 2007

Men in Church

I just read a post over at my good friend Rodney Olsen's blog with the title, "Why do men hate church?" After I read it, my first reaction was: hmm... I don't hate church. But I do know what he is talking about.

I can remember while I was growing up, I would notice that it was the women, for the most part, that were on the spiritual track. It was the women who seemed to be reading their Bibles and having the additional prayer times and Bible/book studies. The men were there and they were diligent with their different duties. They provided for their families, they took their turn doing parking lot duty, they helped paint on the work days, they never missed a moment when the doors were open... but even as a child I noticed that it didn't go much further than that.

So, when I entered adulthood and God in his great mercy reached down and jerked me out of my selfishness, I purposed in my mind that I would not be that way.

More recently, when I moved to Greenville (the buckle of the Bible belt) I set up a list of things that I would look for in a church. I knew that it would be a difficult task because I saw the great list of churches in the yellow pages... there were hundreds. But one of the things that made it on my list had to do with the men in the church. I want to see men that are truly spiritual, men who are leading, men who are open and honest. (All things that I struggle with myself.) And I am so thankful that I have found a place that is like that.

Just last night I went to Starbuck's with my friends Abe and Dave, from my shepherding group. We had a chance to talk together about what was going on in our lives, in our marriages, in our thoughts, etc. It was a good time, and I found myself being more honest with them than I have with any other men that I have ever known. In turn, they were very honest with me. Sometimes it seems a little odd to hear men who are spiritual talk about their struggles, but that accountability is what brings us to be more like Christ. Anyway, right in the middle of this talking, one of the guys said, "I just love going to church."

But loving church isn't something that comes from exteriors. It isn't about the music or the pews or the color of the wall paper. Even though the right elements in church can make it much easier to love being there, the truth is, the right attitude flows from the heart. We love or hate church based on what was already in us to begin with.