Modern Christian men are the recipients of two great evils here at the beginning of the 21st century. We live in a nation that is full of effeminate churches and watered down beer. And the two are not unrelated. A friend has pin pointed the World Wars and the subsequent increase of women in the workplace as the cause of the diluted beers, and while it may have certainly contributed to the problem, the roots are a bit deeper than that. Sentimentalism and sappy piety are our plague. Scrawny pastors with broken, mournful grimaces pouring over their congregants like luke warm syrup Sunday after Sunday are the cause of our plight. When salvation became a teary-eyed, emotional roller coaster, masculinity began its exodus to Sunday football and fanatical lawn care. Obviously these alternatives have their perversions as well, but for the man, they at least have the pretense of being masculine, while Church services unabashedly demanded their men to act like craven women, sharing their feelings and pouring out their hearts, a weekly castration for any conscientious male.
Of course sin has its roots in Adam and apart from Christ is hid deep in the recesses of the human heart. But this malady like every sin finds its genesis in a perversion of worship. This emotionalism and sentimentalism were carried in parasitic fashion on the back of liturgical deformation. Revivalism swept through many churches bringing with it the free for all, spirit-lead-ism that still engorges the Church today. The bold joy of the historic liturgies: confession of sin, sung creeds, chanted psalms, prescribed prayers, and Scripture lessons centered around the eucharistic meal were eclipsed by sappy choruses and chaos on the one hand and in supposed reaction: stuffy, lecture halls on the other. But the historic liturgies of the Church attack both tendencies which are the same at heart: seeing true religion as a feeling or a thought (internalized in either case) instead of incarnate gratitude. Of course these emotion driven services are not true femininity any more than they are true masculinity. But the nobility of historic worship is part of the answer to both deficiencies. May God be pleased to give us repentant hearts, courageous leaders, and thick, dark beers.
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