Home christian living Why Men Stay Away From the Feminized Church

Why Men Stay Away From the Feminized Church

by Kelly Crawford

Loved this article the cottage child sent me–I’ve had several conversations recently about this topic and keep running into pieces all sharing a common thought about it:

“…many people think of church only as a nurturing place that addresses personal needs, Pearcey said. Think: sitting in circles, sharing feelings, holding hands, singing softly, comforting members. An example of the feminization of the church is its music. Typical praise songs refer to Jesus as a Christian’s lover and praise his beauty and tenderness. Rarely do they praise his justice or strength, or refer to him as the head of an army leading his church into spiritual battle, like “Onward Christian Soldiers.”

Read all of “Why Men Stay Away From the Feminized Church”

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98 comments

Alison December 8, 2010 - 11:38 pm

Great article. I really enjoyed reading it. I definitely find those aspects lacking in many modern churches. Even though the article lists some of the elements as “masculine” elements such as theology, ethics, debates, etc, I, as a woman, am also very drawn to those. I have a brother in seminary, and I love to have deep theological discussions, debates, etc. with him. I have always loved the intellectual side of Christianity as well as the relational aspects with Christ. I wholeheartedly agree that taking those aspects out of the church not only hurts men, but the church as a whole.

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I Live in an Antbed December 9, 2010 - 1:14 am

Bring on the Soldiers!! And the Mighty Fortress!

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Lisa H. December 9, 2010 - 5:52 am

Rarely, also, do we sing hymns about God’s wrath and judgment. Neither do we hear much preached about it. How can we appreciate His love, grace and mercy without a sound understanding of His justice and wrath?
Do you think Jonathan Edwards was on to something when he preached his “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” sermon? Now there is something for everyone!

Thank you for bringing this up. It is a very worthwhile topic that needs more attention these days.

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rejoicealways December 9, 2010 - 11:51 pm

Good point, Lisa. How much more amazing would our God be if people knew the other side of the story? Of God’s judgement and wrath?
I am a member of a Reformed church where we sing the Genevan Tunes (or Anglo-Genevan Psalter) (from the time of the Reformation). Basically it has every Psalm in the bible put to rhyme and most are easy to sing or play on piano. They just say it how it is…in the Bible. I’m thinking they are given to us by God to sing with each other. I’m not saying God has given us the G.T’s; he has given us the Psalms. So I’m not necesarily talking tune. Singing is one way of memorizing, and God has given us Psalms to teach/encourage/admonish each other through our praises to God. How wonderful is that??
Now, back to the feminizing of the church: many of the latest and greatest Christian songs are most definitely more feminine and do not look like a Psalm. (I am in NO way saying that all other songs are bad!!!)There are many types of Psalms but there are some that are really about that God is needed to fight the enemy. That is probably a Psalm that appeals more to men than woman but it is God’s inpired Word which I believe is true therefore I will respect it and learn from it anyway. Am I making sense? There are also Psalms that are more poetic and appeal more to women but men can also read them and learn from them. Anyway, this could be in part why men don’t feel the need to be part of such a congregation. I read that article yesterday and I thought it said something about how mens and womens views on movie entertainment differs. And that is just God’s design!
On another note: I think also the reason why the church is being feminized is because it starts in the home. Let’s not undermine the mans calling to be the head of his wife because Christ is the head of him. That is HIS responsibility (to be a spiritual leader) and if he does not live up to it, his family, and very soon the church suffers.
I hope this all came across tastefully enough 😉

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Jennifer December 10, 2010 - 12:46 am

“I read that article yesterday and I thought it said something about how mens and womens views on movie entertainment differs. And that is just God’s design!”

Unfortunately, he seemed to think that it’s man’s taste that’s better for the church. Remember, a weak church doesn’t mean a “feminized” one; many of the feel-good doctrines and churches are led by men. Btw, the husband’s never called “spiritual leader”. Both man and wife are called to be good examples for each other.

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Jennifer December 10, 2010 - 12:48 am

Yes, you were tasteful 🙂

“There are many types of Psalms but there are some that are really about that God is needed to fight the enemy. That is probably a Psalm that appeals more to men than woman”

No, why would it? I need God to be a fighter and this is a vital reminder.

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rejoicealways December 10, 2010 - 12:34 pm

*in general*…maybe it’s just my opinion but men would be more drawn to the stories of battle in the Bible than a woman would be. Of course I am interested in them, and learn from them! And we ALL need them.
So…you don’t think a man being the head of his wife is another way of saying he is a spiritual leader of his house? Of course husband and wife have to be a hand and foot to each other and serve each other and help each other in all things good.

Lisa H. December 9, 2010 - 6:01 am

Oh, and I forgot to add to my comment above, here is a hymn my church is currently singing concerning just that:
http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/d/a/dayjdayw.htm

It is beautiful, terrifying, but worthy of our God. We never think of John Newton apart from his “Amazing Grace”, but how much more amazing it would be to us if we, like Mr. Newton, understood His judgment and wrath. Also, a good reading of Deuteronomy 27-32 should give us a clear picture of God’s nature. Notice how many more verses deal with cursings than with blessings! Here is a topic for men…. and women and children!
He is not like us! Praise God!

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I Live in an Antbed December 9, 2010 - 8:29 am

Wonderful truths in a great old hymn. My teenage son has asked for several books by John Newton for Christmas. Needless to say, I am thrilled to buy them for him.

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Liz December 9, 2010 - 7:49 am

This depends on your denomination. The irony is that so many traditional churches have been the object of scorn for their “patriarchy.” Blech. Too many churches have gone the way of entertaining their masses in the name of evangelization, instead of sticking to how it should be done. It’s not just about filling the seats with “awesome” music and a huge movie screen; read Acts and writings from the early church to see how it’s done.

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Mrs W December 9, 2010 - 10:05 am

When you write about this subject, it always baffles me, as every church I’ve ever been in has been male oriented and as a female, if you didn’t get anything out of it, then tough. I really can’t relate to any of the stuff you are saying.

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anon December 9, 2010 - 11:48 am

Mrs. W, As members of the body we are called to serve not to be served. To be a footstool; not to be looking for “what we can get out of it”. If we come; we come to worship our King; if you go away from that lacking rather than overflowing with the joy of the Lord perhaps you should pray for God to search your heart…

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Jennifer December 9, 2010 - 12:02 pm

Watch your words, anon; your assumptions and your twisting of Mrs. W’s meaning is not appreciated. You completely overlooked her meaning and made sweeping, castigating judgement that had nothing to do with her point. Plus you entirely miss the point: if God is not properly represented, His followers will NOT get anything healthy, beneficial or good from it, and this is something we NEED. I wonder how many have been hurt and shamed by your leaping-logic kind of words.

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anon December 9, 2010 - 1:08 pm

Your words often reveal your immaturity and lack of wisdom. You are quick to lash out at what you don’t understand and defend what you really don’t know you are defending. Think before you speak and LISTEN and ask God for understanding and wisdom. The words I wrote, appreciated or no, are written with the intention to provoke a bit of soul seeking before the face of God. Mrs. W has an argument of not getting something out of a male oriented church, as opposed to the article’s type of feminine church- that only touches an aspect of God, thus misrepresentation. Regardless of the church we attend, as we do have a choice to where we attend, it is the heart that matters. It is the heart that God wants. Work on your heart for out of the overflow of the mouth, the heart speaks. Your heart is smeared all over this blog and “I wonder how many have been hurt and shamed by your leaping-logic kind of words.”

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Jennifer December 9, 2010 - 1:27 pm

You think you’re wise and spiritually mature? Yes, my heart is revealed here, and I don’t appreciate fools or guilters. You have spoken foolishly and it is you who have lashed out at something, and someone, you don’t understand. Take your own advice: try listening before you launch your attack against another person’s heart. I’m quite familiar with your type and your insults are worthless to me.

Mrs W December 9, 2010 - 2:08 pm

*Confused* Could somebody please tell me where I said I got nothing out of a male oriented church? I LOVE my church, it’s amazing. There are a few things that rub me the wrong way, like there are a few things that rub my husband the wrong way, like there are a few things that rub others the wrong way. But that’s not what church is about. We are likeminded in belief with these people, and so it is awesome to worship with them. They aren’t as male oriented as a lot I’ve been in, but it’s still the men in charge etc and they believe in Biblical roles for men and women but without hyper patriarchy. But you will hear the roles of men and women preached from the pulpit. And I guess what I meant is we don’t have the touchy feely stuff and I’ve never been in a church that does. I wasn’t making a contrary comment, I was just saying I can’t relate, because I’ve never seen it.

Jennifer December 9, 2010 - 2:23 pm

Mrs. W, you said that the churches you’ve been to were majorly masculine and had an attitude that if a woman didn’t get anything out of it, tough. Anon and I both got the impression that you were one such female.

In any case, that’s a nasty attitude for a church to have. It IS about God and not us or what we get, but if a church either focuses too much on a masculine or feminine tone, then they ARE serving or celebrating the creature rather than the Creator. This isn’t Biblical, and neither is brushing aside one’s feelings of discomfort. Plus, it’s hypocritical: we’re supposed to pay big attention to men who are uncomfy with girly churches, but a woman uncomfortable with a macho church is acting selfishly and should just suck it up? Don’t think so.

Mrs W December 9, 2010 - 2:37 pm

Jennifer, thanks for explaining how you saw it. Still not sure what anon’s problem is. I guess they felt personally attacked. Strange, considering I’m a stranger on the internet and all.

anon December 9, 2010 - 3:54 pm

Mrs. W, (laughing with apologies) Perhaps my grasp on the english language is not so firm. You stated; “if you didn’t get anything out of it, then tough. ” So I am not sure at this point what you are meaning by that statement?? (I understood it to mean that you personally got nothing out of the male oriented church)
Regardless, it was not said to attack you. The fact stands that we are to serve not to be served- who ever they are that aren’t “getting”. If we are discerning and see where others are not being served (i.e.the women)rather than be complainers we can be doers. We have the mentality that everything should be about me and if something doesn’t do us service we have THE RIGHT to STAND UP for ourselves. This is dangerously humanistic.. SUCK IT UP and be the fool on the cross.

Jennifer December 9, 2010 - 4:47 pm

That’s a great point anon (about not getting served). But we have to be careful about how we automatically interpret someone’s meaning of “I got nothing out of it”. For example, the men who don’t like these weak churches get nothing out of it, do they? And we’re standing here applauding them for saying so, not calling them selfish. Sometimes the church is the problem, and that’s what this article is saying as it addresses one such way this can happen.

Jennifer December 9, 2010 - 11:12 am

Very true, Mrs. W. Depends on one’s experience, I guess.

Pretty good article, I thought. With a few exceptions: a church that does not address the tough stuff is NOT “feminized”, it’s just plain weakened. “Peacemaking” and “nurturing” are not the epitome of womanhood, especially not the latter (exclusively). Bah!

“Many women believe that the purpose of Christianity is to be happy and to make others happy by not discussing controversial things like religion. They do not attach the same importance as men do to the duty to be an informed ambassador for Christ, trained in apologetics, and able to persuade others about God’s existence and character”

Bah again!

“Many women also don’t want to be confronted about their beliefs by informed men, because their beliefs are based more on intuition and emotion. They would rather be accepted and affirmed”

Now he’s just making me mad..

Start hanging around some real fighter women, not the consistently softie-feely Victorian-lace type.

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R. F. December 9, 2010 - 12:03 pm

Jennifer,

I think we need to remember that this is talking about women in general, not specific.

I am not emotional, touchy feeling, sit in a circle and talk about my feelings kind of girl either. But I do know many. They are not interested in hearing hard truths, but they just want to feel good, be accepted, etc. I think this kind of woman dominates and their ideas have infected the church. When women dominate and lead their families, men take a back seat. Naturally this flows into other areas. They have asserted themselves in church making it more about feelings and acceptance than the hard truth of God’s word.

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Jennifer December 9, 2010 - 12:06 pm

I don’t think that IS true about Christian women in general. But interestingly enough, it is true about many uber-patriarchal women. If you hang out with those, no wonder you don’t want their influence in the church.

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Jennifer December 9, 2010 - 12:12 pm

To be clear, I’m not talking about patriarchal women in general, but the super-Victorian type who, among other things, decorate blogs with nothing but lace, teacups, doilies, flowers. I love all those things, but when I see 12 in a row, my lunch threatens to rebel. That kind of rosy softness is definitely NOT for the church.

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wordwarrior December 9, 2010 - 12:32 pm

I think this sounds like more of an insult and a comment completely off-topic. Women are *supposed* to be rosy and delicate and feminine…but the point of the article was that the church has rather catered to their preferences (women’s) instead of to men’s, who are the ones who are to be spiritually leading the home.

And you’re right; the majority of women nowadays probably aren’t the rosy, soft types (because of the success of the feminist movement in de-feminizing women) but deep down, they still prefer the “don’t offend me” gospel (as is evidenced daily on this blog) which is part of the point I think the author is trying to make.

Jennifer December 9, 2010 - 1:22 pm

I don’t think we have to be rosy or delicate, and being secure in our faith and disliking some of the guilt-stuff I’ve protested against are NOT the same. It’s more of an insult to imply that we don’t like the challenging, intellectual stuff than to say that I don’t like the lace and doilies crud over and over again. The idea that THIS is what womanhood is is another lie, perhaps one to make others think that we shouldn’t have too much influence in the church.

Lori December 9, 2010 - 1:33 pm

Jennifer, delicate doesn’t have to mean “weak” or “anti-intellectual” as you seem to take it. It also refers to demeanor, as in “delicacy.” Synonyms would include “graceful” (with grace), “tactful,” etc. For example, look at Esther and Ruth. Both intelligent, brave, stalwart women, but they approached others with *delicacy.* It is something to aspire to. On the other hand, for antonyms of “delicate” you have “insensitive,” “inelegant,” “without tact.” Fencing w/ windmills here.

Jennifer December 9, 2010 - 1:36 pm

Windmills? Whatever that means. I know, Lori, you’re right about delicacy. But the problem here is that everyone who’s spoken of delicacy so far HAS equated it with the kind of woman who’s apparently more interested in weak mush than intellectualism.

Lori December 9, 2010 - 1:42 pm

re: windmills – see my response to your previous remark to me below.

I Live in an Antbed December 9, 2010 - 4:48 pm

Truly feminine women are the strongest most powerful of all. Their power lies in their ability to influence those around them without even a word spoken. A truly feminine woman does not need to prove herself. They walk in the peace of being in constant communion with their Father and knowing that He is in complete control. God designs each of us with the perfect set of giftings, talents, and abilities to accomplish His Purpose in our lives and for His Kingdom. A truly feminine woman goes about whatever He sets her hands to, even terribly difficult situations or ones requiring incredible courage, with peace and grace of spirit, knowing that He is Sufficient and He is her Beloved. To have a spirit in constant turmoil says to people that that person does not walk in Peace. To constantly need to defend oneself is rooted in pride. I know this from my own heart. When we embrace the humility of the cross, there is no longer any need to attack others whom we believe to be wrong or misguided, or to lash out in our own defense to make sure everyone understands what is being said. A truly feminine woman allows the Lord to be her Advocate and Defender. She trusts Him to lead her and guide her. Sometimes she will receive instructions from the Lord to speak out boldly about a topic, but it is ALWAYS about His Reputation, never her own. And every word she is given to speak is for the ultimate purpose of Reconciliation, sometimes through the conviction of sin. Femininity is His Design for women. Period.

Jennifer December 9, 2010 - 4:55 pm

Well-said, Antbed. I pray God leads me and keeps my justified offense at one thing away from my interpretation of another; in this case, I wish I could be more like a man (shutting off one issue so I can focus untainted on another). Hopefully there will be a day when I don’t have to get upset whenever it comes time to defend true womanhood, or another believer.

Taunya December 9, 2010 - 1:15 pm

“Women are supposed to be rosy and delicate and feminine” this is simply not true!! Women are all different to say that if a women is not “rosy” she is wrong is hypocrisy!! I know many godly Christian women who simply are not the touchy, feely, rosy type of people. It does not mean they are not good wives and mother. It is who we are in relation to Christ that matters not whether we like roses and teacups!

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Lori December 9, 2010 - 1:25 pm

With all due respect Taunya, (ahem) your chip is showing. First of all, Kelly didn’t say “if you don’t ‘like roses and teacups’ you’re not right w/ God or the Bible. Secondly, “rosy” is another way of saying “cheerful,” but in a distinctly youthful or feminine way. And there are lots of verses (esp in Prov) encouraging cheer. In this case, you’re fencing w/ windmills.

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Lori December 9, 2010 - 1:26 pm

In other words: Relax!

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Jennifer December 9, 2010 - 1:29 pm

She doesn’t need to relax; this is probably something she, like I, have heard endlessly in other places. Kelly did say that women who aren’t rosy and soft are the result of the feminists movement, which IS unGodly.

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Lori December 9, 2010 - 1:40 pm

Jennifer – “this is probably something she, like I, have heard endlessly in other places.”
“…in other places.”

Thank you for illustrating my point. Like Don Quijote, some women know there are monsters out there, somewhere, but said women are in an innocuous forum batting at…nothing. (word definition – really?)

Jennifer December 9, 2010 - 1:45 pm

Lori, you’d be foolish to discount my negative experience at very clearly wrong and inaccurate Biblical portrayals of men and women. I know what I’ve seen and I know where and what it is. The connection between the unGodly feminist movement and non-delicate women that Kelly made is very clear, and apparently twice ignored by you. I’m sure she didn’t mean to offend, but Taunya saw the connection and that’s what she took offense at.

Lori December 9, 2010 - 1:49 pm

I have not disocunted anyone’s experineces. My response is simply “go to where the problem is (like the offending blog) and battle it there.” And also “Don’t accuse a woman of a claim she clearly didn’t make.” I also humbly and jovially recommend that women read others’ responses carefully so as not to misinterpret words that may have more than one meaning, as words so often do.

Jennifer December 9, 2010 - 1:57 pm

I know Lori, I misread your meaning. My apologies.

Kelly has certainly not majorly offended me, nor does she represent the true harm I’ve seen by others. I just understood in part Taunya’s reaction; it was a negative association Kelly made between the feminist movement and “non-rosy and soft” women. Plus, the sweeping remarks this article makes about what femininity is. Thanks for my patience. I’m sorry my hackles were raised, more by someone’s sharp comments about Mrs. W’s honest experience than the article itself.

Lori December 9, 2010 - 2:00 pm

Thank you, Jennifer. I’m glad that’s cleared up! 🙂

Jennifer December 9, 2010 - 2:02 pm

Me too, and thanks again for *your* patience, I meant to say, not mine.

Word Warrior December 9, 2010 - 1:43 pm

“Relax” is the right admonition. My sentence, “women are supposed to be rosy and delicate and feminine” is a general statement. And I stand by it. Femininity is a good thing, and is a normal thing for women. That’s all.

It does NOT mean that all women like teacups and doilies; but it’s a statement meant to combat the “I am woman hear me roar” mentality so many of us have adopted.

For centuries it has been acceptable and desirable to “cultivate” feminine tastes, appropriate to each woman’s uniqueness. It has been her honor. And now we bristle at it? Quite telling, me thinks.

My comment simply signifies “the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit” and a woman “clothed with dignity and honor” and “the weaker vessel” (which signifies delicacy, a trait that should be cherished among our society).

The bristling is evidence, to me, of precisely what the feminist agenda seeks to accomplish.

Jennifer December 9, 2010 - 1:47 pm

Kelly, what we bristled at is the definition given and how it’s been made to look negative for the church. Plus, please re-read your original comment that Taunya reacted to; I think you implied something you probably didn’t intend to.

Taunya December 9, 2010 - 1:53 pm

Lori perhaps you can “relax” when the Word of God is being misused but I can not, sorry!

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Lori December 9, 2010 - 1:56 pm

Kelly did not misuse God’s Word. You have misused your dictionary (or lack of use, as the case may be).

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Word Warrior December 9, 2010 - 1:47 pm

(To post my reply where it belongs…)

“Relax” is the right admonition. (Taunya, your anger surprises me. It gets increasingly more obvious.)

My sentence, “women are supposed to be rosy and delicate and feminine” is a general statement. And I stand by it. Femininity is a good thing, and is a normal thing for women. That’s all.

It does NOT mean that all women like teacups and doilies; but it’s a statement meant to combat the “I am woman hear me roar” mentality so many of us have adopted.

For centuries it has been acceptable and desirable to “cultivate” feminine tastes, appropriate to each woman’s uniqueness. It has been her honor. And now we bristle at it? Quite telling, me thinks.

My comment simply signifies “the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit” and a woman “clothed with dignity and honor” and “the weaker vessel” (which signifies delicacy, a trait that should be cherished among our society).

The bristling is evidence, to me, of precisely what the feminist agenda seeks to accomplish.

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Taunya December 9, 2010 - 1:51 pm

Kelly my anger surprises you! Hmm when people attempt to manipulate the Word of God to say what it does not all God-fearing Christians should become angry. The Word of God is not to be tampered with or added to period. I am sorry but I feel that you often skirt this line with the things you say. If you worded your comment wrong and did not mean it as it is written say so, otherwise I stand by my comment and my anger at the Word of God being butchered.

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Jennifer December 9, 2010 - 1:59 pm

Taunya, I understand your original bristling, but I think you’re being far too harsh about Kelly’s intentions right now.

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the cottage child December 9, 2010 - 2:10 pm

Taunya – I’m genuinely curious as how God’s word is being butchered here? I’m certainly not disputing your right to disagree, but seeing a different angle on something isn’t the same as blaspheming, is it?

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Word Warrior December 9, 2010 - 2:38 pm

Taunya,

I reread my comment and can’t find one place where “the Word of God is being butchered”…you’re anger is unwarranted and I think we should be able to have a discussion without it. Please explain how I am manipulating the Word.

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Taunya December 9, 2010 - 2:54 pm

Kelly I think my comment above at 1:51 explains my meaning. I stated “I am sorry but I think you often skirt the line with the things you say.” My reaction (angry as you term it) is a reaction to many things said here. I do feel that you add to the Word of God. I feel that you take personal preferences, not bad on their own, and elevate them to the level of biblical doctrine thus adding the the Word of God. In other places on this blog I along with others have pointed this out. I have listed areas and topics where this has happened.

Let me be clear Kelly I am an ULTRA feminine woman and have been all my life. I am often called Mrs. Prissy. I love all things pink, girly and frilly. I have a TON of teacups and my mother my daughter and I are regulars at our local Victorian Tea Shop. I even have a closest full of period dresses that I put on whenever (even my neighbors are aware)!! I am also a homeschooling mother who believes that God called her to stop a career and stay at home. I don’t find anything at all wrong with these ideas and concepts but when a person begins to elevate these types of things, stay-at-home daughterhood, quiver-full, homeschooling, stay-at-home mothers to level of biblical commands I do get angry because it is adding to the Word of God. I can’t be any more clear than that and yes adding to the Word of God does make me angry as it should any Christian.

Word Warrior December 9, 2010 - 3:11 pm

Sorry you feel that way. I actually don’t believe I “add to the Word of God”, but you are welcome to interpret my writing as such. I believe that I am careful to distinguish the difference in a “command” and a “principle”. For example, with a “quiverfull” stance, I’ve never termed using birth control as “sin” and I, in fact, believe in making allowances for couples who choose to prayerfully delay or prevent children. I do speak strongly of the wisdom I think is clearly evident in Scripture about the way Christians should view children and the sanctity of life, which has real, practical implications about the way we live regarding our reproduction, and I point out the absence of any Scriptural caveats to the contrary. I am stating precisely what is written in Scripture without adding to it.

I do think Scripture speaks to all things ethical and moral, and we can glean the wisdom from there necessary to make wise choices. Some of these area teeter on “command versus non-command” and some are simply wisdom versus foolishness.

My best advice to you is to stop hanging out on a blog that makes you angry. There are plenty that make me angry too, where I completely disagree with the authors and would call them false teachers or heretics, as I am routinely called.

We must all answer and give account of the way we handle the Word and teach others to do. It is a grave thing indeed and I do not take it lightly. But you anger doesn’t make me see things differently.

Taunya December 9, 2010 - 3:56 pm

Well Kelly I don’t hang out here at all, in fact I rarely comment and only read every once in a while. As a matter of fact I am often astounded by the amount of time you and those who regularly comment spend talking back and forth (smile) you truly must have more time in your day than do I.

That said if you are bothered by my dissent simply say so and I will not comment nor even come to this site. As for me I believe the Bible when it says iron sharpens iron and I do listen to other Christians when they disagree with me, always aware that I could be off on something.

Consider my words sister, I think you have skirted the line several times here no matter that you intentions may be good. But ultimately as we all know God is the judge. If you feel my words have no merit disregard them. If you would like me to be absent and silent here so that you do not have to listen to what I say then tell me and I will be gone. If I do not hear from you I will assume it is okay to continue to comment and I will do so as the Lord leads.

Word Warrior December 9, 2010 - 4:13 pm

I’ll just be flattered if you continue coming by, how ’bout that? As for the “gentle stabs” (i.e. “I am often astounded by the amount of time you and those who regularly comment spend talking back and forth (smile) you truly must have more time in your day than do I.”) CAREFUL…I manage my blog (and often am quite absent) and hardly ever read other blogs, let alone comment (we’re talking once in a blue moon). You have a blog yourself AND manage to banter on numerous others. That doesn’t bother me; it bothers me that you insinuate *I* spend more time at it than you do, when evidence speaks the contrary. Let’s just be honest (and careful and courteous) in our discussions, otherwise, no the comments aren’t welcome.

Taunya December 9, 2010 - 4:22 pm

Kelly glad you don’t mind my commenting and you do spend more time than I do no jab intended. I have a blog but it is barely active. I have not even blogged twice a month for the entire year of 2010!! As for the blogs I comment on they are less than five and I am not even a regular commenter on those few. It is not a slam I really do find it amazing!! Perhaps it is me and I simply am inefficient in my housework and homeschooling, seriously!! I don’t even have time to read all the comments put up here let alone respond and come up with new posts. Don’t take it as an insult if you are able to keep up with this blog and homeschool and do housework more power to you!!

Jennifer December 9, 2010 - 1:42 pm

For the record, it’s not my intention to offend anyone, Kelly/Lori. Like I said, I love flowers and I do get the GOOD side of delicacy. But judging from your own words, you understand exactly the type of negative soft stuff I was talking about. The problem I saw is that this kind of feminine stuff is upheld as “normal” for most and as bad for the church. I do NOT think that kind of stuff is normal for everyone, or that true Christian femininity is bad for the church! There’s the difference. In fact, Kelly (and Lori), I know you’re beautiful and feminine, but I always saw you both as more the intellectual Christ-fighter types than the mushy feel-good types (have either of you EVER promoted feel-good stuff above challenging stuff here? Nope). So I figured you’d know what I meant.

In any case, certainly didn’t want to put you or the roses of Christianity down or veer this thing on the wrong foot. Just clarifying.

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Word Warrior December 9, 2010 - 2:52 pm

Thanks for clarifying.

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Bethany Hudson December 9, 2010 - 1:55 pm

I find these sorts of articles so interesting. It’s certainly the experience of observing my husband’s Methodist church that he grew up in–they even have a female pastor now! But, it’s just not the experience I have ever had in the Catholic Church. In fact, plenty of people complain that the RCC is too MASCULINE. haha

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liz December 9, 2010 - 6:46 pm

I agree. I hear more often about how our Church is too patriarchal. Weird.

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Rachel December 9, 2010 - 3:01 pm

I just feel with this issue of churches being feminine or masculine – well the point is that churches should be biblical and reflect Christ. some of what Christ stands for – mercy, love etc will perhaps be seen by some as “feminine”, though these things cannot be exclusively feminine if Christ, the perfect MAN displayed these attributes. However, he also displayed “male” characteristics – justice, righteous anger boldness. The key is that the church should display the fullness of Christ. I actually grew up in a very masculine church – neither way is healthy or biblical.

I think churches often spend too much time thinking about how they can attract different demographics that they are lacking. The point is, we preach the gospel faithfully and we reflect Christ in all his fullness, with all his different attributes – by doing that, we only alienate with the gospel, not with anything cultural and attract all to Christ because of Christ, not because of our constant clever schemes or marketing techniques.

Interesting thought though – the church is the bride of Christ, and so in one sense, the church is the feminine partner? Just thinking out loud here!

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Jennifer December 9, 2010 - 4:49 pm

“I just feel with this issue of churches being feminine or masculine – well the point is that churches should be biblical and reflect Christ”

Give the lady a cigar! (Or a bouquet of roses, whatever’s best). Right on.

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Rachel December 10, 2010 - 3:05 am

He he, I’ll go with a bouquet of peonies 😉

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the cottage child December 9, 2010 - 3:10 pm

I think it’s important to read the article with a complete understanding that it is something of a triangulation – it’s written by a man quoting a book review written by a woman about a book written by a man. (Whew.)

I happen to agree with the sentiments of all three, based on what I’ve seen with my own eyes and what I know to be true of the men with whom I’ve discussed this, primarily my husband and my brother. That said, I think perhaps a better description for the article, if not the title, would be The Denial of the Masculine Nature of God by Many Churches (and why that isn’t conducive to male church attendance, Amen).

It’s worth considering that it would be easy to fall off into the “what am I getting out of it” mentality whether we’re men or women. I haven’t read the book, but intend to, because it wouldn’t serve to attempt to derive a solely emotional experience based merely on a personal preference for a more manly church service, any more than it is to expect that the Body and the Blood (a pretty gritty reality to consider in and of itself) will be offered as tea and crumpets(with or without doilies ;)).

The point to the conversation is God isn’t just an emotional, feminine, feel good experience. He is real, occasionally downright rough, and I suspect not much for human manipulations being assigned to his Divine nature. The truth of that is what is missing in so many churches, of all denominations, and it’s being replaced with what amounts to a behavior driven Sunday morning donut get together, with a little Jesus thrown in for grins. Without substance, it’s natural that men and women both would tune out and drift away. Women are better, designed to be better, I would argue, at filling in gaps. The trouble for many men is what is being used as filler is entirely counter to what motivates THEM, as was pointed out in the article – so if there’s no Biblical substance, and lullabies are being substituted for hymns, why bother? The final truth is that NO ONE is getting anything out of it, Biblically speaking, because there’s nothing Biblical there to get.

There’s nothing the article points out that isn’t arguable – it’s an opinion piece. But just in this conversation, mostly among women (those who are Anon., I don’t want to make any assumptions), there has been a resistance to what a man who went to the trouble of researching a book about men in church (the lack of which is something I’ve heard lamented here and elsewhere in the Christian blogosphere) is trying to offer as “hey, here’s what some men told me” and we pick it apart and argue about what femininity looks like. And there’s the rub – we woman, in observation, as a group, default to a personal and emotional agenda rather than “I’m going to ask my __________ (man in your life) if this has been true for him”. It’s not a denial of the importance of femininity, nor an indictment of any one’s personal expression of it. It’s about men and church.

Again, I think the writer’s points are worth careful consideration, hopefully without emotional derailment.

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Jennifer December 9, 2010 - 4:25 pm

“It’s not a denial of the importance of femininity”

No, but I did feel that it was a misrepresentation of what femininity IS, sometimes. For the most part it was good and my initial criticisms of it (the “bah” comments) were said in a mostly light-hearted spirit. I simply felt we need to be careful in how we generalize women; this is why I said earlier that a church that is a feel-good, mushy-gushy, we-accept-all-things establishment is not necessarily “feminized”; it’s just plain spineless.

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I Live in an Antbed December 9, 2010 - 5:24 pm

Cottage Child,
You are so right! The article was intended to be thought-provoking, requiring us to allow the Lord to search out anything in our hearts that is not in perfect alignment with His Will and Design.

The evil one has little to fear from The Body when we so angrily “fight” amongst ourselves instead of against the true enemy! We must seek the Truth and that is ONLY FOUND IN HIM!!!!

The writings of those who are earnestly running after Him and asking big questions are to be used as the tools the Spirit desires. I AM NOT ABLE TO JUDGE SOMEONE ELSE’S HEART! I am to “judge” the fruit borne.

If we can take these discussions and lay them before the Lord in humility, asking Him to interpret (not our own feeble ability to discern anything) then much growth and fruit will be borne in our spirits that will then move out through our souls (mind, will, emotions) sanctifying them for greater use to His Body and in His Kingdom.

Knee-jerk, emotional responses to everything do not benefit the discussion. Look at the fruit borne in these heated exchanges? Do we really believe He is pleased when we shred the heart of one of His Beloved with our words, “spoken in His Name”?

Oh Lord,
I tremble before You, for Your are a Just and Awesome God. May the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your Sight, Oh God, our Rock and our Redeemer. May we not allow ANY unwholesome talk to come out of our mouths but ONLY WHAT IS HELPFUL FOR BUILDING OTHERS UP, ACCORDING TO THEIR NEEDS, THAT IT MAY BENEFIT THOSE WHO LISTEN. Oh, Lord, break our hearts with what breaks Your Heart. Let us see all those around through Your Eyes of Love and desire Your very best in and for them. May we humble ourselves before You. Teach us to fear You so that You may redeem every unclean place in our hearts. And PLEASE start with me!

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Kelly L December 10, 2010 - 12:18 pm

Amen!

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Charity December 9, 2010 - 3:11 pm

Great article Kelly, very interested and thought provoking. Thanks!

PS. I don’t see how you handle all the off-topic, odd, angry comments that pop up on here. I would be bald from pulling my hair out, yelling “where in the world did you get that from??” You are always so graceful! Bless you!

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anon December 9, 2010 - 3:12 pm

“We, Protestants, are an undisciplined people. Therein lies the reason for much dearth of spiritual insight and serious lack of moral power. Revolting as we did, from the legalistic regimens of the medieval church, we have forgotten almost completely the necessity which inspired these regimens, and the faithful practices which have given to Christendom some of its noblest saints.
Without discipline there would have been no Francis of Assisi, no Bernard of Claivaux, no Teresa of Avila, no Brother Lawernce, no William Law, no Evelyn Underhill, no Thomas kelly.
Without discipline there will be no such rich legacy of sainthood bequeathed by us to succeeding generations, or revitalizing the church and redeeming the society of this generation.
The spiritual vitality of the church, depends, not on complicated organization or creative administration, important as these are; not on eloquent preaching or adequate theology, valuable as they are; not on unlimited financial resources or cultural maturity, helpful though they be.
What the church primarily needs now, as always, is the presence within it of God- conscious, God- centered soul. Even a few here and there would mean very much to a church confronted by the chaos of this age.
A multitude of men and women, pressing “on to the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus,” would confront the secularism and skepticism of out time with a challenge not easily laughed off or shunted aside.” From Discipline and Discovery by Albert Edward Day

Perhaps the essence of what causes the said article to make some bristle is here:”Many women also don’t want to be confronted about their beliefs by informed men, because their beliefs are based more on intuition and emotion. They would rather be accepted and affirmed – and so they favor men who don’t know much about the details of Christianity.” In other words women have yet to submit to God’s ordained authority: The head of every woman is man. When to ordained order is followed with Christ then being the ultimate head of all there is order not chaos. Where there is order there is light. Where there is light, it shines in the darkness.

We see a “feminine” church – a weak church- in this age, because we lack discipline. When someone casually remarks “I just don’t get anything out of that(the church)”, rather than take heed to scripture that instructs us to take up our cross we spout off our mouth with insensible words to defend an unChrist like attitude. When someone states in general that we females are to be feminine they are accused of adding to scripture…for making a general statement about reality?? We are offended far to easily. We think far to highly of ourselves…Kelly points out above:”but deep down, they still prefer the “don’t offend me” gospel (as is evidenced daily on this blog) which is part of the point I think the author is trying to make.”

The feminine church produces weak women, weak families, and little if any weak men. We lose our focus when it’s “all about me”, ”
“emotional high”, “love one another” aka fluff and stuff. We need the discipline that comes from the Father through his Word.We need to be lead by the Male Headship. We need to be totally grounded and total fools for Christ. We need to heed the voice crying out in the wilderness…”prepare ye the way of the Lord”…the voices that will turn the hearts of the fathers back to his children.

The author also points out a distinct contrast to this “wrong” type of gospel.He provides links at the end to both a male and female blog- “a tough female lady”. Never does he say that femininity is bad for the church. He is pointing out that the feminized church: lack of God as head, lack of spiritual discipline, lack of instruction other than feel good; has very little concern for how the Bible says we are to live our lives.

Kelly I believe that you and many of your readers are those God-conscious, God- centered souls the church needs right now. You have said time and time again it is ABOUT THE HEART. Who are you sold out to? Christ, or the world? Who molds you? The Word, or the lie?

I have really never left any comments here. It seems there are those who add to the discussion with edification and those that lie in wait like the roaring lion to pounce and tear down. I don’t understand that position other than perhaps insecurity. I pray that You would allow Christ to dwell in you and make your life that of service to him.

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Word Warrior December 9, 2010 - 3:21 pm

Very thoughtful response. Your insight is refreshing.

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the cottage child December 9, 2010 - 3:31 pm

“We are offended far to easily.” I think that pretty much sums it up.

Excellent observations, Anon.

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Jennifer December 9, 2010 - 4:43 pm

Anon, if you are saying that a weak church is all the things you described (lack of direction, weakness, no authority) then I agree with you. But if you are calling such a church automatically feminine and defining such weak traits as “feminine”, then there’s a big problem. Please be careful how you phrase things; this is why I hate calling such churches feminine. Some weakened churches do tap into the weakest, softest branches of female-ness, but others are just spineless and just as easily, I assure you, led by men as women.

“In other words women have yet to submit to God’s ordained authority: The head of every woman is man. When to ordained order is followed with Christ then being the ultimate head of all there is order not chaos”

Are you saying that feminized means weak and if it’s weak, it must be because women are rebelling against male authority? If so, that’s a typical brush-off. And if so, please read on:

The idea that femininity means lack of discipline or focus on God as the true Head is both offensive and false, not at all accurate. “Male headship” deserves no capitalization, only God’s Headship does. It’s also inaccurate and offensive to claim that the feminine church is the one that’s self-focused. Any idea how many MALE macho churches I’ve seen that are “all about me”? These churches and the idea that the male way is the right way both serve the male Creature, not the Creator. If femininity or feminine leadership meant lack of discipline, God would not have elected women to raise generations.

Like I said, this only applies to you if you automatically equate church weakness with “femininity” or feminization.

“When someone states in general that we females are to be feminine they are accused of adding to scripture…for making a general statement about reality?? We are offended far to easily”

We should be offended by what Taunya described as adding to Scripture, and the definition of femininity that I’ve described gave us is not reality for all. Once again, if the church is not focused on the Creator, people have good reason to complain of getting nothing, as God’s thirsty lambs looking for water. We do not take up our crosses for humanized churches.

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Kristi December 9, 2010 - 4:33 pm

Beautiful! The exact reasons listed is the main reason we are converting to Catholicism from being lifelong protestants.

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Jennifer December 9, 2010 - 4:51 pm

Traditional Catholicism, with its walls of people between us and God, is a prime example of serving the creature. We don’t need spiritual intercessors.

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Kristi December 9, 2010 - 5:02 pm

And your comment is a prime example of misunderstanding what the Catholic Church teaches (very common among protestants, I was a victim of this for a long time before I actually studied Church teachings for myself). There is no wall of people between me and God, nor any Catholic I know. There is, however, plenty of support and role models, much more than I ever found in any protestant church.

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Jennifer December 9, 2010 - 5:07 pm

Yes there is. There’s us, the priest, and then a line of more holy men. I love the saints, I love cathedrals, I love the early fathers and usually I defend Catholicism, but I don’t approve of praying to God through someone else or of human hierarchy within the church. We are all equals before God, no spiritual ladder involved. The idea that Catholicism, with all this, is more disciplined than all Protestants is false.

Kristi December 9, 2010 - 5:13 pm

“We are all equals before God, no spiritual ladder involved.”

There is clear teaching on spiritual authority in the Bible. The apostles were the ones Jesus kept close and taught how to lead the people. He *breathed* on the apostles and gave them (and only them) the power to forgive sins. He can do that because He is God and holds all power, but He shared some of that power with the apostles He chose. He did not give that power or authority to everyone. We as humans, need (humble and godly) teachers and leaders. No human will ever be perfect or take God’s place, but we need leaders and teachers. There is, Scripturally, a place for that within the Church. I can pray to God whenever I want to, and do all throughout the day. 🙂

Jennifer December 9, 2010 - 5:25 pm

But the apostles are dead; I believe such power was meant for a limited time, probably specifically only in the sphere of people who knew Christ. There are people with amazing gifts, I’ll say this (of the more supernatural kind, I mean) all through history, and not everyone has them. And of course we need leaders and teachers! But while teachers are superior in wisdom and leaders are important, actual spiritual hierarchy is another matter. I’ll leave off here since, as I said, I love and respect many aspects of Catholicism and don’t wish to infringe on what God has led you to do. But if you’d like a greater understanding of what exactly I mean by spiritual hierarchy among humans (which is very different from authority, yet by a sometimes very fine line) you may wish to read “Who is your Covering?” or “Rethinking the Wineskin” by Frank Viola. Just to get a clearer idea; those books explain things painstakingly and challenge the common Protestant view of things too, actually.

I’m glad you pray to God 🙂 And I must say I take great non-guilty pleasure in my books of the Saints, prayers by Sister Wendy, and my epic poem of Joan of Arc.

Kristi December 9, 2010 - 5:34 pm

I love reading biographies of the saints as well. Fascinating! 🙂

liz December 9, 2010 - 6:54 pm

I am not going to get into a back-and-forth with you; but I want to say that you are very mistaken in regard to Catholic teaching. If you care to learn more, read the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It explains each teaching complete with biblical reference. Learn from the actual source where these teachings are found.

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Jennifer December 9, 2010 - 7:07 pm

I’m not mistaken at all in regards to how many view human authority. Which, btw, is probably why so many have a problem with the severity of its patriarchy.

Taryn December 9, 2010 - 3:35 pm

We had a single lady sing one of those songs where it sounded like a secular song- it was embarassing and never happened again. Our Baptist church uses a hymnal like the Abeka one. We do not hold hands(I don’t even like germy shaking hands-does that have a Masonic origin?) and we do not even clap when someone sings- our church agreed that clapping is part of the cult of celebrity. Being in a circle reminds me of the goddess/wiccan practices so I don’t like that either. keepersofthefaith.com has great biographies-without author agendas- including a Newton one. We have 4 sons so I am glad we have strong Christian men that are Bible Christians and don’t have a tv Christianity-in fact many people in our church don’t watch tv(including the Pastor and his family). There is a sense of protection that vulnerable women “with child”(KJB) and young children need.

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Taryn December 9, 2010 - 3:39 pm

“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.”- Psalm 119:165(KJB)

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Taryn December 9, 2010 - 11:10 pm

I would not attend a church where there is a woman pastor or a lesbian pastor- or join a church that has the official position of being pro-evolution and teaches evolution in its schools. I hope to visit The Creation Museum someday. We use Abeka science for homeschooling that teaches a creationist point of view- not just intelligent design. I am not a fan of woman mystics or mysticism. I also don’t like to hear women tv “Christian”celebrities quoting women mystics. I don’t like the idea of going to faith healers-men, women,or priests. 1 Timothy 2:5 says that there is one mediator between God and man- Jesus. I like simple Bible Christianity.

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Jennifer December 9, 2010 - 11:33 pm

That’s right, there is only one mediator. I love many female pastors, who never automatically mean liberalism, though I agree about the mystic stuff. I do love mystical art and music, but the crystal ball gig has no place in the church.

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Amanda December 10, 2010 - 2:21 am

Totally Agree…we have forgotten the WARRIOR who was strong enough to turn the other cheek and openly rebuke the leadership of the day because He was so CONNECTED to the Father and KNEW WHO HE WAS!! Men need to be reminded WHO THEY are and WHAT THEY ARE CALLED TO DO: PROTECT AND DEFEND! We need our men back!

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Bethany December 10, 2010 - 4:39 am

I haven’t read all the comments, but I do have to say that I think that this is very much a church by church issue. I used to go to the Salvation Army; we were constantly reminded that we are soldiers of God’s army, sang “battle hymns”, and were told that the wages of sin are death. I currently go to a Nigerian church with a similar feel, though the hymns are different. In both cases, as a woman, I have been in the minority at church.

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Taryn December 10, 2010 - 8:16 am

I would like to recommend Voddie Baucham’s books and teaching DVDs. I thought some things were preferences and Voddie shows that it is Biblical-clearly. I already was quiverful, stay-at-home mom, homeschooler- now I believe that stay-at home daughters are best(Duggars).

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Charity December 10, 2010 - 9:14 am

I wholeheartedly second the recommendation for Voddie Baucham’s books. You can watch/listen to alot of his sermon’s online and his beautiful stay-at-home daughter now has a book out…I’m sure everyone has noticed it on Kelly’s sidebar. Great gift for a teenage daughter.

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Taryn December 10, 2010 - 9:13 am

I have heard people say- he is the head of the company- meaning that he is the leader. Ephesians 5:23(KJB) says that the husband is the head of the wife. Husband means-one who puts a band of protection around his wife(read that somewhere). Verses 1-21 are speaking to the church. I don’t know what the NIV says-a lesbian- Virginia Mollencott was one of its NT “editors” and a homosexual “editor”(forget his name) worked on part of the OT so it has some strange changes.

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Taryn December 10, 2010 - 1:22 pm

My standards are high- I don’t buy books,etc. from divorced and remarried Pastors, tv “Christian” celebrities,etc.- Joyce Meyer, Amy Grant, Sandi Patti, John Hagee, Hal Lindsey, Arthur Blessitt,etc. I wonder about divorced Pastors,etc. I wouldn’t buy any Johnny Cash books,CDs years ago for the same reason.

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Jennifer December 10, 2010 - 1:27 pm

Good grief. Your loss, then.

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Flora Poste December 10, 2010 - 6:09 pm

No, we certainly don’t want the Bride of Christ to be too feminized!

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Taryn December 10, 2010 - 6:34 pm

Jesus said in Mark 10:11,12(KJB) that if a man divorces and remarries it is adultery -and if a woman divorces and remarries it is adultery. My three married sons also believe what Jesus says in the gospel of Mark. We also try not to take God’s name in vain or use euphemisms in that regard. A good book on that subject is Daisy’s Swearing Class at keepersofthefaith.com. kingdombaptist.org taught on what “gee” means in cartoons,etc. Some people prefer “Bless you” and I understand- how many times a day do people say-“Oh my God!” We need to have higher standards than the world does.

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Jennifer December 10, 2010 - 7:03 pm

There’s a problem with the word “Gee”? Sounds more like looking for problems and impurity than having high standards. Jesus spoke thus because people of the time were using divorce and marriage very loosely, much like we are today, but it amazes me when people assume He would condemn every case no matter what the circumstance. I just find your words surprising for several reasons: Do you not believe in redemption for divorced people? Will they carry your snub no matter what? Besides this, unless a pastor is actively living in sin or promoting it, their private life and pasts are no business of yours.

Billy Graham and his family are also “tv celebrities”. I understand you are Quiverfull and homeschool? I guess you don’t get to enjoy Stacy Mcdonald’s teachings, or her husband’s.

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Taryn December 10, 2010 - 8:11 pm

I have the book- Billy Graham and His Friends by Dr. Cathy Burns(libertytothecaptives.net). I do not have books by his children. I do not have a Stacy Mcdonald book. Our Pastor will not marry divorced people who have living spouses. Our denomination is Conservative Baptist. We have divorced people in our church but they cannot be ushers,etc. My father-in-law couldn’t be an usher in a nondenominational church because he smoked. Families and churches must have standards. My daughter likes country music but she will buy a CD from a family man over someone who just left his wife for another singer- Her preference.

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Jennifer December 10, 2010 - 8:43 pm

Because he smoked, not currently smokes? Wow, no grace at all then for people who have been divorced or who smoked. Their pasts will always be marked and remembered, unlike what Christ does. Utter judgement, not grace; He had different “standards”.

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Taryn December 10, 2010 - 9:36 pm

He smoked at the time. He smoked his whole life and is currently deceased. I went to a Messianic Jewish church where the Assistant Pastor could never be a Pastor there- even if the Pastor moved-because he married a divorced woman. Christian Light Publications has a book- Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage.

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Jennifer December 11, 2010 - 5:06 pm

I don’t think it’s a good book, if I recall reading it (or hearing it recommended) before. Thanks for taking time to describe things.

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