Thursday, May 14, 2009

Why are so many men bored with church? Part 2 - Real men don't read

Why are so many men bored with church? This is the question I asked in my previous article [link]. Here are several reasons I listed noting that this is not an exhaustive list but a list I believe covers some if not most of the reasons why the church is missing manly men who love their Bibles, love to humbly serve, and love the church of Jesus.

1. They have a distorted view of God.
2. They have a distorted view of the church.
3. They have a secret sin or secret sins in their life.
4. They don't enjoy reading.
5. They don't communicate and operate naturally in large settings.
6. They like action over words.
7. They aren't saved.
8. Some churches no longer rightly preach God's word connecting everything back to Jesus.

When I wrote the last article I put together the above list in no particular order but want to address these points in what would make logical sense so it should look like this...

Here are several reasons why I believe many men are either bored with church or who don't see any value in attending church.

1. Most men don't read or don't enjoy reading.
2. Their Theology is whack....they have a distorted view of God.
3. Their Ecclesiology is whack....they have a distorted view of the church.
4. Their Christology is whack....some churches no longer rightly preach God's word connecting everything back to Jesus.
5. They aren't saved.
6. They have a secret sin or secret sins in their life.
7. Men are mono syllabic....we don't naturally communicate and operate well in group settings.
8. Men like action over words.

Let's deal with number 1 first....Most men don't read or don't enjoy reading.

Let's face our lives are hectic. We get up early, we go to work, we deal with complex issues during the day, we are taxed with responsibilities of job, family, and bills and when we get home most of the time all we want to do is to turn on sports center and quietly slip into a comma and or "vegg out".

Generally speaking vegging out does not include large books with lots of words and no pictures. The goal for most men each day is to make it through the day, go completely mind numb at the end of the day so as to achieve some amount of peace and relaxation before going to bed and having to get up in the morning and do it all over again.

To be completely honest and blunt most men want to disengage from the thinking process not kick it up a notch by reading.

Most guys I know will say that the last book they read was in high school 10, 20 plus years ago and if pressed hard enough they will eventually admit that even then they did not read the book but instead watched the video.
So what? Who cares? Why does this matter at all?

The problem with this is that most men do not read books which includes the greatest book of all...the Bible.

If we aren't grounded daily in the word of God then where will we get our information about God? How to live our lives? How to be a good husband? How to overcome temptation? How to handle our finances? How to be a good dad? How to be a good employee? How to obtain salvation?

Right now some of you reading this are thinking...."this is weak...I don't need anyone or anything telling me any of this...I know how to do all of these things and my life is just fine..."

Really? How is that working out for you?

If we do not get our information from the Bible, God's words, then we will get our information from the examples around us, from our dads, from other men, from the culture...which is scary because I am not sure I want to be getting any advice from Paris Hilton or Bradd Pitt on how to raise my family.

The reality is that each of us are created to worship and we will either worship God in truth and spirit taken from the reading of God's word or we will worship someone or something in place of God based on being spoon fed lies by the culture which is not worship but is in fact idolatry and false worship.

The very fact that few men read their Bibles at all has given birth to an entire generation of men who don't know the truth, don't know how to handle complex questions about morality, ethics, and religion, don't have a right view of who God is, what God's church is, who Jesus is, how to overcome secret sin, and for some how to be saved.

How do approach this?

This is a challenge for all Christian men who love their Bibles, love Jesus, and love His church. We have to be in the word daily, we need to be accountable to each other, and we need to encourage each other to be diligent students of God's word. We need to be leaders and teachers of God's word in our homes, and we need to be bold in our witness about both in word and lifestyle so that the truth of God's word can be testified to glorifying God and drawing men to Him.

We need to put aside any notion that reading is somehow anti-man, we have to realize that we have been born into a world at war against us, against our families, and against God.

We we need to man up and not be afraid to pick up the sword of of the Spirit to do battle (Hebrews 4:12, Ephesians 6:17) for the sake of our hearts and minds and the hearts and minds of our loved ones.

Practical helps

1. Don't like to read? Purchase an audio Bible on CD to listen to on your way to work or better yet download a free version on iTunes and put it on your iPod. Don't have an iPod? Repent, go buy one and sin no more.

2. Can't understand what you are reading? Purchase a translation of the Bible you can read, enjoy, and understand. I like the ESV, NIV, and the NKJV. The Message is a great translation for general reading as well.

3. Pray - Ask God to give you a hunger for His word. Ask God to help you understand His word.

4. Just do it! Make time, schedule time, and do it. It won't happen if you don't.

A weak knowledge of the Bible leads to distorted views of who God is, what the church is, and who Jesus is which we will look at in part 3.

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