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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Why is the church not attractive to men?

I just finished listening to the 2nd Sunday of Advent message from Pastor Brian Zahnd in St. Joseph Missouri. He was not speaking about the shortage of men in church. But what he spoke on got me thinking about the question of this post, and the hand wringing it inspires in some church leaders. He spoke on Daniel's vision of the goat who would dominate the world, Alexander the Great, and the son of man who would prevail, Jesus, the lamb who was slain but lives, as seen in John's revelation. The contrasts which Zahnd highlighted between Alexander and Jesus were striking, but on in particular stood out to me. During one of Alexander's conquests he crucified 2000 enemies. Jesus, however, announced his kingdom, proclaimed its victory, by letting his enemies crucify him. Alexander's backdrop as a Greek was Homer's Iliad and it's violent hero Achilles. Jesus's backdrop as a Jew was Isaiah's vision of a king who suffered and died and was rejected to save his people. They both died in their early thirties and Alexander's kingdom long ago faded away, but Jesus's kingdom continues to expand.

Alexander's example inspired subsequent despots, men who were successful at warfare, destruction, and victories on the battlefield. Some churches preach a Jesus who looks like Alexander rather than stands in sharp contrast to him. Those churches attract men. Those men become what they worship.

A beat up, outcast, weak Jesus attracts outcasts, the weak, and the broken, men and women. Defeated men and women. Minority men and women. Unsuccessful men and women. Jesus tells a story about this in Luke 14.
12-14 Then he turned to the host. “The next time you put on a dinner, don’t just invite your friends and family and rich neighbors, the kind of people who will return the favor. Invite some people who never get invited out, the misfits from the wrong side of the tracks. You’ll be—and experience—a blessing. They won’t be able to return the favor, but the favor will be returned—oh, how it will be returned!—at the resurrection of God’s people.”
15 That triggered a response from one of the guests: “How fortunate the one who gets to eat dinner in God’s kingdom!” 16-17 Jesus followed up. “Yes. For there was once a man who threw a great dinner party and invited many. When it was time for dinner, he sent out his servant to the invited guests, saying, ‘Come on in; the food’s on the table.’
 18 “Then they all began to beg off, one after another making excuses. The first said, ‘I bought a piece of property and need to look it over. Send my regrets.’ 19 “Another said, ‘I just bought five teams of oxen, and I really need to check them out. Send my regrets.’ 20 “And yet another said, ‘I just got married and need to get home to my wife.’
 21 “The servant went back and told the master what had happened. He was outraged and told the servant, ‘Quickly, get out into the city streets and alleys. Collect all who look like they need a square meal, all the misfits and homeless and wretched you can lay your hands on, and bring them here.’ 22 “The servant reported back, ‘Master, I did what you commanded—and there’s still room.’ 23-24 “The master said, ‘Then go to the country roads. Whoever you find, drag them in. I want my house full! Let me tell you, not one of those originally invited is going to get so much as a bite at my dinner party.’” The Message
Jesus is for losers. It's not a message that can bring the crowd of winners, men who think highly of themselves. But it's a great song by Steve Taylor. I'd love to hear this every Sunday morning coming into church to set the right frame of mind for all who enter.


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1 comment:

Joe said...

Sadly, Jesus just isn't enough to satisfy many, especially men. Nevertheless, we must never adjust the message to attract any who are not vulnerable to the message of salvation in Christ.