Every branch of American Christianity has a disproportionate percentage of women. This was an open secret when I used to go, and they tried everything to remedy it with men’s prayer breakfasts, war-themed posters, and screamo music. Of course, I use the word “everything” loosely. Try as they might, there’s something fundamental about 21st century American Christianity that is repelling men, and this is a big problem if you want your virgins to marry “a good Christian guy.”
Caveat: The only exception to this sex disproportion is Eastern Orthodoxy, which is a collection of immigrant communities and socially malcontent converts. If you’ve ever met an Orthodox, especially a convert, you’ll find they often have the same contempt for protestantism and Catholicism as the most virulent homoeroticist. So for the purposes of this article, I’m not considering them American Christians.
Here are my reasons why I quit going to your church:
1. Your music is saccharine
Christians assume that a distorted guitar is the definition of rock music. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Rock music is as much a philosophy as it is a sound. I heard time again growing up, “The only problem with secular music is the lyrics.” This is nonsense because in every genre, music and lyrics are innately connected. Imagine “Something in the way” by Nirvana with Jesus lyrics. It just doesn’t work.
But of course churches soften the “guitar and drums” element, and you’ll never hear a guitar solo that has any integrity. Perhaps there was some merit to early Christian rock (perhaps), but songwriters now simplify the chords so that churches can play it. So you’ll never find an A7 #9 in a church with “contemporary rock”. Because, you know, those extra two notes in the chord are just too hard to pull off. You might even have to have an extra volunteer guitar player, and the mild dissonance could make people uncomfortable with their edgy new form of worship.
“But worship is about lyrics, not music!” cries the Christian who glossed over everything I just said. Your lyrics are also sacharine. If you look at Bob Dylan’s “Slow Train Coming” (1979), you’ll find that at least there were a variety of topics on display. Not every song was a praise song. Some were simply doctrinal teaching songs, like the old hymns. Today, your lyrics are so hollow that many musicians are rewriting (and ruining) old hymns on their Christian rock praise albums.
If nobody is capable of writing anything with substance, then maybe the secularists are right that all Christians are stupid. And no, the exception of David Crowder doesn’t negate the broad-sweeping reality.
I don’t want to go to church to be entertained, because I can experience that at home. The world can entertain me far better than your ragtag band of volunteers and non-profit workers. If I want to experience religion, I want something otherworldly. I want an escape. Religion is supposed to be an opiate after all, but playing shitty soft rock is a reminder that I’m stuck on earth instead of in the next life.
But music isn’t the only source of entertainment…
2. Your sermons sound like a high school assembly
It seemed like every sermon was either about getting through hard times or being obedient to God. Most pastors I ran into knew fuck-all about the Bible and basic doctrine, which I guess is a product of giving a seminary degree to anyone with “a call from God.”
And what’s with the props? My childhood pastor brought a fishing boat on stage to illustrate being fishers of men or something. How insulting is that? I’m a grown adult, and I don’t need constant visual stimulation to pay attention to a lecture that I’m already interested in. I woke up early, dressed nice, and drove here to listen to you prattle. You’ve already got my attention.
One year for Easter, we took the song “Celebrate Good Times” and gave it Jesus lyrics. We also had cheerleaders with streamers. It felt very reverent for the most sacred day on the calendar. But the pastors weren’t aiming for reverence. They wanted people to think church was fun, and to their credit, they probably succeeded.
If you’re a pastor reading this and you learn nothing else from this article, take note of this axiom: What you hook them with is what you’ll have to keep them with. If you try to “get people saved” with funny stories and clever alliteration, then that’s all they’ll ever expect from you, and the actual teaching parts of your sermon will feel intrusive and unwanted.
3. Your buildings are ugly
I was in Charlotte, North Carolina. There is this massive evangelical church called Calvary. I mean, this is the kind of thing you see on TV, and not at 3am either. I went in one day to look around. They had this beautiful old organ several stories high, and they tacked two ugly screens on it so the people could read the lyrics. It completely upset the whole aesthetic of the room, but it was necessary since Jesus condemns the use of hymnals. After all, you wouldn’t want to miss out on the latest, most innovative praise chorus, would you?
The Catholic Church is actually having a substantial number of converts from protestantism. The Eastern Orthodox are being jump-started back to life with converts, and the break-off Anglo-protestant groups are finding evangelical converts demanding Anglo-Catholic worship. Why is this? There are a variety of reasons, but part of it is because people enjoy looking at pretty things and listening to pretty music. Even the Catholic Church is finding its own people are tired of bluegrass masses and dadaist architecture. For all its lies and manipulation, consumerism is right that what you are surrounded by affects the way you feel about that place and about yourself.
If the people are the bride of God, and if the church building is the house of God, then why must God have an ugly house? What wife doesn’t want to create a beautiful home for her family? And what husband would allow his wife to neglect their home? They call it the sanctuary, but it just looks like an auditorium.
4. Your Jesus is a pussy
The typical protestant Jesus is always calm and gentle and never emotional or assertive. Jesus has long, flowing hair that shimmers in the sun. He always has a neatly trimmed full beard. He wears brightly colored robes instead of pants. When he is hanging on the cross, his body is perfectly hairless. In short, the protestant Jesus is a woman.
The Catholic Jesus looks the same, except he’s holding his heart in his hands to give children nightmares. Funny how that statue is always placed at the back of the church. The historical Jesus was a sexless vagrant, not a bureaucrat with an MBA. Is it possible that a functionally homeless Middle Easterner wasn’t concerned about his body hair? You make Jesus look like a JC Penney model, and then you wonder why men hate going to church.
5. Everything is marketed towards women
I remember looking in the bulletin of a church I went to for a year. Every week, there were at least half a dozen activities for women advertised. At most, there would be two events for men in the distant future, and neither of them looked interesting. The only constant one was a prayer breakfast once a month at seven in the morning.
Look in a Christian bookstore. There are lovely pictures of flowers everywhere. Jesus on the cross is never very bloody (the exception being Mel Gibson’s snuff film, which was literally God-awful). You’ll never find an ugly person on the cover of a Christian book or CD. Lots of novels are written about 19th century debutantes. Even the music is acoustic rock that better appeals to women’s softness.
American Christianity is a service industry for women. The men are just there orbiting because they don’t know how else to get sex from their wives. Dalrock best explains how feminism has saturated Christianity, but he is fighting a losing battle. The reality is that pastors will always be afraid to speak on what the Bible says about women because they will lose their biggest clients. Pastors have to eat too, you know, and if public speaking is their own marketable skill, then they’ll do whatever it takes to survive.
1 Peter 3 makes it clear that women are to handle marital difficulties by being quiet and submissive, and St. Peter even calls women “the weaker sex.” Titus 2 says they are to be “home-workers” in the Greek. Beta Christians (i.e. almost all Christians) love to champion the Proverbs 31 woman who sells her surplus weaving, but they don’t realize that’s an occupation from the context of the home. It’s a surplus of what she was already doing. And if you’re open to the Apocrypha, Sirach 25 says that it is shameful for a woman to financially maintain her husband.
So I don’t go to your church anymore because they have nothing to offer me as a man. Give me one practical benefit from going to your church beyond career networking. I can read an inspiring sermon at home, and I can even choose one instead of taking a crap shoot at your lecture hall. The same is true with worship. You may argue that fellowship is necessary, but precious few of your people are worth imitating.
A person is colored by the people he is surrounded by, and I don’t want to be colored by the kind of people who go to church. The kind of people with an obsessive fear of Coors Lite or the word “damn.” The kind of people who think Fireproof and Mel Gibson’s Passion are high works of art defying the ethics and conventions of modern cinema. The kind of people who think women are the centerpiece of the household. The kind of who believe Chris Tomlin is as good a musician as Brian Wilson. You know, the kind of people who are American Christians.
Read More: Why Tolstoy Rejected The Church