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"The stallions hang out in bars; the geldings hang out in church." This observation from David Murrow strikes a little close to home for someone like me. I always thrived in my congregation but was never certain I fit the mold of masculinity I saw modeled around me. So as much as I resent Murrow's sentiment, it nevertheless rings true: In many churches, a certain type of man is conspicuously absent.

The disparity in men's and women's attendance in American churches has made men the target of specialized ministry over the last two decades. Promise Keepers kicked off the men's movement in 1990 by challenging stadiums full of men and boys to fulfill their duties to God and their families. Today a growing body of literature is leveling its sights on the church, suggesting that men are uninvolved in church life because the church doesn't encourage authentic masculine participation.

The first writer to popularize this concern was John Eldredge, who, in his three-million-selling Wild at Heart (Thomas Nelson, 2001), lamented that the masculine spirit was at risk because "most men believe God put them on the earth to be good boys." The church's tendency to promote discipleship as merely becoming "nice guys" keeps men from embodying their God-given maleness.

...

Inspired by Murrow, comedian Brad Stine began GodMen, a ministry that provides space in which "men can be men; raw and uninhibited; completely free to express themselves in the uniquely male way that only men understand." In a 2002 GodMen meeting, this experience included videos of karate fights, car chases, and songs like "Grow a Pair!" whose lyrics read:

We've been beaten down Feminized by the culture crowdNo more nice guy, timid and ashamed … Grab a sword, don't be scared Be ...
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hide thisApril April

In the Magazine

April 2008

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