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It's Sunday morning. Where are all the men? Golfing? Playing softball? Watching the tube? Mowing the lawn? Sleeping? One place you won't find them is in church. Less than 40 percent of adults in most churches are men, and 20 to 25 percent of married churchgoing women attend without their husbands. And why are the men who do go to church so bored? Why won't they let God cha It's Sunday morning. Where are all the men? Golfing? Playing softball? Watching the tube? Mowing the lawn? Sleeping? One place you won't find them is in church. Less than 40 percent of adults in most churches are men, and 20 to 25 percent of married churchgoing women attend without their husbands. And why are the men who do go to church so bored? Why won't they let God change their hearts? David Murrow's groundbreaking new book reveals why men are the world's largest unreached people group. With eye-opening research and a persuasive grasp on the facts, Murrow explains the problem and offers hope and encouragement to women, pastors, and men. Why Men Hate Going to Church does not call men back to the church-it calls the church back to men.


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It's Sunday morning. Where are all the men? Golfing? Playing softball? Watching the tube? Mowing the lawn? Sleeping? One place you won't find them is in church. Less than 40 percent of adults in most churches are men, and 20 to 25 percent of married churchgoing women attend without their husbands. And why are the men who do go to church so bored? Why won't they let God cha It's Sunday morning. Where are all the men? Golfing? Playing softball? Watching the tube? Mowing the lawn? Sleeping? One place you won't find them is in church. Less than 40 percent of adults in most churches are men, and 20 to 25 percent of married churchgoing women attend without their husbands. And why are the men who do go to church so bored? Why won't they let God change their hearts? David Murrow's groundbreaking new book reveals why men are the world's largest unreached people group. With eye-opening research and a persuasive grasp on the facts, Murrow explains the problem and offers hope and encouragement to women, pastors, and men. Why Men Hate Going to Church does not call men back to the church-it calls the church back to men.

30 review for Why Men Hate Going to Church

  1. 5 out of 5

    James

    In this updated edition of his 2005 book Why Men Hate Going to Church David Murrow has addressed a real, verifiable problem. Men don’t go to church, at least not in the numbers that women do. Why is this? Are Women more spiritual than men? Less fallen? No, but among the various factors that keep men out of the pews, Murrow finds that the church have soft-pedaled parts of the gospel painting Jesus as the gentle lamb of God without also showing us that He is the Lion of Judah, ferocious and wild. In this updated edition of his 2005 book Why Men Hate Going to Church David Murrow has addressed a real, verifiable problem. Men don’t go to church, at least not in the numbers that women do. Why is this? Are Women more spiritual than men? Less fallen? No, but among the various factors that keep men out of the pews, Murrow finds that the church have soft-pedaled parts of the gospel painting Jesus as the gentle lamb of God without also showing us that He is the Lion of Judah, ferocious and wild. He asserts that if the church is to recapture the culture, grow, fulfill its mission, take risks, do something significant, be more orthodox, cultivate commitment among the youth, then we need to retool how we do church in ways that appeal more to men and make them feel like church is worthwhile. What Murrow attempts to do in these pages is point out the lack of men in church, identify some of the ways that church culture has excluded men, and offer some practical advice on how to make church more man friendly. I applaud this goal. The issues he speaks of are real and if men are to be encouraged to pursue a real and vibrant faith, clearly this means doing ministry in ways that speak to men. A promise keeper’s male hug-fest doesn’t translate to more men in the church. Murrow tries to put his finger on the pulse of what does. For this I applaud him. And so, what is the problem? Several in fact: 1. Murrow bases his analysis on unhelpful gender stereotypes garnered from pop-psychology. In chapter one, Murrow makes the case that the church displays feminine values because Christian values. Murrow utilizes Men Are From Mars, Women are From Venus to make his point that culturally, the Church is seen as feminine. Women value things like communication, connection, beauty, whereas men are all about power, efficiency, proving oneself and skills. While I think John Gray makes important distinctions in the way men and women are socialized, I think it is a mistake to absolutize his claims. If men are to thrive in life, the so-called feminine characteristics he describes are what will enable it. Without the ability to empathize, and relate to others (feminine traits), a man demonstrates a low E.Q. and will not succeed in business or life. This is what a number of popular business books are telling us guys. Men are not simply task master automatons; they are also relational beings. I have a problem with a book about men which begins with an assumption which denies their full humanity. 2. While Feminization is a problem in the church, Murrow fails to see that it is actually a broad cultural problem, not a simple ecclesial problem. At one point, he does acknowledge that women are starting to be a significant portion of the academic world is also excluding men. This is a societal problem. Men are withdrawing from business, from academic institutions and the church. This book addresses the problem in the church in isolation from culture. Therefore Murrow’s analysis is flawed from the get-go. 3. Murrow’s use of statistics is irresponsible. Well, at least he is inconsistent. Some of his stats are good; sometimes he relies on non-scientific polls to make his point. Other times he draws conclusions from stats that are not judicious. For example, when 11 out of 95 men leaving a sportsman show think that church is not masculine, this is hardly compelling evidence of how feminine the church is. Let me be clear, I agree the feminization of the church is a real problem; yet most of the data Murrow sites is more anecdotal than empirical. 4. Sometimes Murrow fails to accurately name the reasons for the problems he sees. For example, he rightly points out that the biggest gender disparity he sees, is in African-American churches. What is the reason? Gay pastors, the formal and traditional dress of African-American churches, and the length of their services are Murrow’s answer(91, 109, 159). While there may be some truth to his answers, this fails to account for the wider societal issue of the absence of the African-American male. African-American males are under educated, under represented in the workforce, do not have the political clout of African-American women. They are the highest representative demographic of men in prison. Murrow’s analysis doesn’t account for any of this. It makes me think that much of what he says is more conjecture than actually helpful. 5. Murrow operates on the assumption that because something is cultural feminine, it excludes men and therefore we need to do something different for them. I agree up to a point. But he makes the case that men are uncomfortable with physical affection, talking about their ‘relationship’ with God or being in intimate settings with other people. He suggests mega-churches attract men because they feel unthreatened and can be anonymous. Okay. But is this good for men? Personally, opening up relationally and talking about uncomfortable things has been my biggest growth edge in my ‘relationship’ with God. I get that some of relational language can be seen by macho-men as a little bit ‘candy-ass,’ but honestly relational language captures the experiential reality of what it means to walk with God. Murrow would argue that we should abandon the unbiblical language of ‘personal relationship’ which sounds icky to men and anyway is not biblical, to the harder more challenging language of discipleship. I agree that to be a Christian is to come to grips to what it means to be a disciple, but this does not fully encompass our life with God. Jesus himself said to his disciples, “I no longer call you disciples but I call you friends (John 15:15).” There is a personal relationship at the core of how we relate to Jesus. If men object to the language of ‘personal relationship,’ they still need to contend with Biblical language which commends intimacy and friendship. If this is problematic for the would be disciple, maybe they need to let go of some of their gender stereotyping. Man up! Having a personal relationship with Jesus doesn’t make you less of a man, or overtly feminine. It makes you a member of the new humanity. You want to be a man, have a personal relationship with Jesus. You don’t want to do that? Then die in your impotent idea of manhood with its antiquated appropriation of gender stereotypes. 6. As long as I am mentioning language, another place where Murrow gets this wrong is when he eschews the language of ‘family of God.’ He rightly, if woodenly literal, points out that Jesus never used the term ‘family of God; instead he talked about the Kingdom of God. I personally have no issue using Kingdom language, but to dismiss family of God as simply something that appeals to the feminine, fails to emphasis our relationality to one another. To be in the church, is to be connected to other Christians in ways more profound than our marriages or family of origin. The fact that Jesus never says, “family of God” doesn’t illegitimatize the term. Jesus does say, “Those who do the will of the Father are my brother, sister and mother. (Matthew 12:50)” My guess that this statement is more offensive to women than men. Paul, Peter, James and John all use the term ‘brothers’ to refer to those in the church. When you think of the church. this is your family. It is a theological truth for Christians, not gendered language aimed to draw women into the church and exclude men. It is a fact for those who would call Christ their Lord and want to be his disciples. 7. On a personal note, I like church. I am bummed if I miss church. According to Murrow’s analysis, the fact that I like church, thrive in church, have good verbal skills and am relational is because I am feminine. My schmaltzy talk-about-your-feelings-pastoral nature fits well in church and its girly. Well Murrow here is a newsflash. I am all man. I am so manly that other men cower when I walk to a room. If you are a man reading this now, I know you are intimidated. I’m just saying. This isn’t to say all the advice that Murrow gives on how to reach men is bad. Some of it is pretty helpful. He talks about providing places where men feel like they are offering something significant and are taking leadership. He also offers some helpful tips on teaching that connects with men. Occasionally he overstates his advice like when he says don’t allow churches to display flowers because it’s too feminine and men feel uncomfortable. If your church doesn’t look like a bed and breakfast probably most men can handle a few bouquets. I find the inherent sexism in his analysis problematic, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t get some things right. Thanks to Thomas Nelson (via Booksneeze) for giving me this review copy in exchange for my review. I was not asked to write a positive review of this book. So I didn’t.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Callie

    This book was interesting, and I have some mixed feelings. In this book Barrow discusses the things about church that tend to make men shy away, and the book gets 4 stars because he made so many good points. He writes about ways we tend to discourage a masculine spirit in our churches, and how this is leading to a significant disparity between the number of men and the number of women in America's churches. As a Christian wife and especially a mother to boys, this topic is pretty relevant to me This book was interesting, and I have some mixed feelings. In this book Barrow discusses the things about church that tend to make men shy away, and the book gets 4 stars because he made so many good points. He writes about ways we tend to discourage a masculine spirit in our churches, and how this is leading to a significant disparity between the number of men and the number of women in America's churches. As a Christian wife and especially a mother to boys, this topic is pretty relevant to me and I was interested in the suggestions he made for what to look for in a church and what to avoid. I agreed with a majority of his suggestions, with maybe just a few that I felt were somewhat off the mark. I listened to the audio, so I didn't have as much time to ponder every suggestion as I would if I'd read the text. There were a couple things about this book I didn't appreciate though. 1) He lumps all kinds of churches together when talking about how to bring men back, and there is no distinction between churches or teachings that are in line with God's word and those that are not. I think he was trying to make sure this discussion was relevant to every denomination, but he touched on some pretty controversial issues without taking a stance on them one way or another - I guess I just wish that there was more of a biblical basis or statement to accompany some of these hot-button issues. He only discussed them in terms of whether they would hinder or encourage men, not whether they were moral or biblical. 2) He gives statistics about the problem of the decreased number of men in churches, but he doesn't give any statistics to back up his suggestions about the elements that may cause men to leave, or what will bring them back. All his evidence is anecdotal or simply his own opinion. I would have liked to see a survey or something to address some of these factors more specifically, by asking unchurched men directly. I didn't disagree with a lot of his thoughts, but he didn't have a lot of substance to back up his statements, besides personal conversations and stories. Despite those two complaints, I did think he had alot of good points and suggestions, and this book gave me a lot to think about.

  3. 4 out of 5

    David

    yikes.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Coyle

    Hmm, another book where it's tough to know where to begin. I guess with a summary: This book is about why men hate going to church. Specifically, it walks through some historical and psychological reasons men don't go to church, and then through some possible solutions. This book is well written, so it gets three stars (my rock-solid rule of book rating is that if you can string two sentences together in a way that keeps me reading, you get the average- it's a rare enough skill that it ought to b Hmm, another book where it's tough to know where to begin. I guess with a summary: This book is about why men hate going to church. Specifically, it walks through some historical and psychological reasons men don't go to church, and then through some possible solutions. This book is well written, so it gets three stars (my rock-solid rule of book rating is that if you can string two sentences together in a way that keeps me reading, you get the average- it's a rare enough skill that it ought to be praised when encountered). Having said that, I do not actually recommend any of the content of this book. Let me just suggest three reasons why: 1) Ultimately the theme of the book is that men don't go to church... because they are men. Which wouldn't be a problem, other than that Murrow believes that the church since the Victorian Era has been in a steady process of feminizing. He points out that the vast majority of church programs and institutions in the 20th century are either geared towards women or require more feminine virtues to implement. This drives men away, or at best makes them grudging attendees. What Murrow fails to point out is that most of these men wouldn't go anyway not because their biggest problem is their gender, but because they are sinners. It is not our masculinity that keeps us from God, it's our rebellion against him. We don't go to church because by nature we hate God and don't want anything to do with him. 2)The bulk of the statistics he quotes are from mainline Protestant churches, as are the majority of his solutions. The fact that he focuses on theologically liberal churches is in itself enough to skew the book to the point where it essentially has no value for a Christian. If churches where the Gospel is being regularly and faithfully preached are having problems keeping men in the seats (and they might very well be), that's a very different issue than a bunch of social clubs who gave Christianity the boot a hundred years ago (and hence really lost the right to be called "churches") having trouble keeping men interested. 3) There is no Gospel in this book. Not only in the sense that it is not shared, it does not work its way into Murrow's writings even by implication, nor is it part of his proposed solution. In one sense, Christians should be like Sunday School kids who know that the answer to every question is the atoning work of Jesus. Murrow thinks that t he solution to the lack of attendance at churchon the part of men is making church more attractive to them. He never once points out that the problem might be with the men. Maybe we don't go to church because we're lazy, or because we're proud, or because we're simply distracted by other good things that we think are more important. To any of these problems, the solution that Christianity has to offer (and has always had to offer, it's not like this is a radically new thing) is the Good News that our sin has been paid for on the cross. Our laziness, our pride, our distraction, all of our sin in wanting to forsake the church has been completely paid for, and not by us. That, and that alone, is the message that we should be relying on to bring men back into the church. Of course there are other things that we can do better, but if the Gospel is left out we might as well lock the doors now, because we're not doing anyone any good, men or women. Without that, this can't even be classified as a "Christian" book in any sense of the term that would have any meaning. I have to confess, this is a somewhat difficult review to write, since I agree with the bulk of Murrow's points. More men should go to church; praise bands do kind-of suck; I don't like being put on the spot to pray; lots of functions in the church are more geared towards women than men; and so on. Nevertheless, I can't recommend this as anything other than a well-written book. Hence: 3 stars. Personal Disclaimer: I intend no comment one way or the other on the state of David Murrow's own relationship with God. Saying this is not a Christian book is not the same thing as saying he is not a Christian personally. That is not information to which I am privy. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dave Johnson

    WOW. great book! and such an eye-opener. i have to say, i think this book may have shifted my perspective on ministry. in my heart i've known that i would eventually father other men, but this book really pointed that out even more and watered the seed in my heart. the idea of the book is simple. men hate going to church because church in general is more of a feminine place. if you think about this, i think you'd agree. he has a lot of research to back this up, citing stats of church attendance WOW. great book! and such an eye-opener. i have to say, i think this book may have shifted my perspective on ministry. in my heart i've known that i would eventually father other men, but this book really pointed that out even more and watered the seed in my heart. the idea of the book is simple. men hate going to church because church in general is more of a feminine place. if you think about this, i think you'd agree. he has a lot of research to back this up, citing stats of church attendance in various denominations and even delving into science to explain why men's brains are different. his findings are very alarming for the church. his suggestions to fix these are, for the most part, fantastic. his writing style is accessible yet scholarly. sometimes i really wish he got a little more authoritative with what he says, and there were times when i really wish he went into a teaching vein, but that's really not the purpose of his book. i also like that he doesnt really write this to bring men back to church; rather, he wrote it to bring the church back to men. and if the church listens and takes his advice to prayer, i believe that we will bring the church back to men. i do have a couple of quibbles that, although i understand his emphasis, i wish he explained it a little more. in some ways i dont fully understand how certain values or beliefs associated with Christianity are more feminine or masculine. and trying to explain this to my friends had them raise their eyebrows at me, not knowing what i meant. i understand his point, but im not sure i follow his conclusions. granted, i havent read much on the subject yet. my other quibble is that he almost seems to advocate a seeker-sensitive posture toward outreach; namely, make church as palatable as possible to get the seats filled. now, i'm not against that per se, because there is importance in just having men in the church to start with. and he does go on to say that men need relationships with God, and not just warm a seat. but as i read the book, it was hard to envision changing the thermostat, as he suggests, from comfort (feminine) to challenge (masculine) is by making the man comfortable in church with more visual aids, changing the pace of service, and even changing the decor. it doesnt really make sense. i also think that although he repeats his stance that we need both masculine and feminine in church, that many will still perceive this book as chauvinistic. granted, all those are really minor things. the overwhelming message i took from this book is that men are vital to God's plans and purposes. and if we want to change the world, we need men. i have a suspicion that because i choose to focus more on men, that people will label me as a "specialist" of sorts in ministry, but from what i gather, i'm really still just a generalist. because as Murrow points out, if we want the world, we need the men. and when we have the men, the women--as proven through his research--will undoubtedly follow.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Butcher

    David Murrow has updated Why Men Hate Going to Church, his renowned book with new information and text previously published by him in other books. Murrow in this text uncovers the gender gap in churches, asking the question where are the men? Murrow shows his readers that today’s churches are dominated numerically by women and that men are largely absent. He explores the culture of the church noting that church vocabulary and words like love and relationship are tied to feminine culture and not David Murrow has updated Why Men Hate Going to Church, his renowned book with new information and text previously published by him in other books. Murrow in this text uncovers the gender gap in churches, asking the question where are the men? Murrow shows his readers that today’s churches are dominated numerically by women and that men are largely absent. He explores the culture of the church noting that church vocabulary and words like love and relationship are tied to feminine culture and not masculine images. For example, churches typically use pictures of Jesus as a lamb or dove while generally ignoring the word pictures of Jesus as a lion. He also shows how church programs, largely academic and feelings based provide boys and men discomfort leading to a male exodus from the church. In general, churches rely on volunteer positions that are better suited to female preferences instead of male. And church programming generally also follows this trend. Finally, he provides suggestions and practical examples of how to return men to church. Murrow advocates that the greatest way to grow the modern church is call men back by changing our culture. By bringing back men Murrow argues that men, women and children will all benefit. This book creates a lot of conflict in me in my ministry and my personal life. My ministry has been within one that stereotypically is a women’s ministry, working with families and children. Part of my personal call has been to have manly guys working within that ministry so kids can see both the masculine and caring side of men demonstrating balance. But I see exactly what Murrow describes with curriculum that are largely intellectual in nature and put boys at a disadvantage with girls in the “competition” of Sunday school. And I think that this realization is what has led me to also seek non-traditional curriculum and curriculum that relies on movement and diversity to help keep boys engaged in learning about Christ. Honestly, one of my best days of ministry was spending a day with a predominantly boy youth group scooping horse manure. There were no complaints as these boys completed a manly task in God’s name. As a man I often found myself chaffing at his description of academic pursuits as womanly. I personally excel in this area while my skills in car maintenance are completely lacking. But with this prejudice aside I definitely see and have felt the issues he points out about language, frilly decorations and relationships. My academic training is history, which warns that generalizations are not absolute. So, there are exceptions to what Murrow describes, but the generalizations are widespread enough that leaders should take notice of this book and assess how their ministries are attracting or repelling men and boys. Review Copy Provided by Thomas Nelson

  7. 4 out of 5

    Travis Bow

    Is this one of those cheesy, real-men-go-to-church, read-it-because-it-talks-about-trucks-and-barbed-wire Brother's Breakfast study guides? No, not really. The book does paint men (and women) with broad, generalizing strokes, but it's not a man-up-and-go-to-church pitch, and it didn't strike me as manipulative or pandering to an imaginary dim-witted man who could be won over if you just used more distressed wood and Celtic knots in your Bible study branding. It's a book about the struggles and t Is this one of those cheesy, real-men-go-to-church, read-it-because-it-talks-about-trucks-and-barbed-wire Brother's Breakfast study guides? No, not really. The book does paint men (and women) with broad, generalizing strokes, but it's not a man-up-and-go-to-church pitch, and it didn't strike me as manipulative or pandering to an imaginary dim-witted man who could be won over if you just used more distressed wood and Celtic knots in your Bible study branding. It's a book about the struggles and turn-offs that the church presents to a large number of men, and even as a church-going man, I can say that 80% of them were spot-on. Sure, there were some trivial turn-offs that probably don't make much difference to most men (like the decorations in the church), as well as some turn-offs that probably do make a difference to a lot of men, but probably shouldn't be dropped (like a Christian emphasis on humility, service, and relationships). The author was clear that he was presenting reasons why men don't go to church, not valid reasons for men not to go to church. There were dozens of tips here that rang true and should be carefully considered by church leadership to see if changes should be made. But the biggest and most powerful turn-offs for men, which I see in many churches, are an emphasis on comfort and maintaining the status quo rather than challenge, risk-taking, and excellence. I think men (and probably women, too) are dying to be a part of something great, to try something difficult, to have a specific goal and people that push them toward it. Churches absolutely need this. A solid, thought-provoking book. If you don't let yourself get too sensitive about stereotyping (it's impossible to make generalizations about broad groups like men and women without doing so), you'll probably learn a lot and be inspired to make some changes in your own life and church.

  8. 4 out of 5

    David

    When I mentioned this book to a friend, he had the same knee-jerk reaction to the title that I did. The only reason a man would hate going to church is that he is lost (unsaved), or backslidden (out of fellowship with God). After reading this book, I realize what a simplistic answer that is. While it is true that mature Christian men, who have either been raised in the church or have been going long enough to become accustomed church culture will feel quite all right about the status quo, many ne When I mentioned this book to a friend, he had the same knee-jerk reaction to the title that I did. The only reason a man would hate going to church is that he is lost (unsaved), or backslidden (out of fellowship with God). After reading this book, I realize what a simplistic answer that is. While it is true that mature Christian men, who have either been raised in the church or have been going long enough to become accustomed church culture will feel quite all right about the status quo, many new believers, or unsaved men will find most church environments to be strange and foreign for several reasons that the author points out and explains. The author analyzes the typical church service and the typical church décor. The programs, even the vernacular are oriented to the personalities and needs of women. I have heard it said that church is for women and children, and if we are honest with ourselves, there is some truth to that in the current state of things. Recently I attended a church service where a soloist got up and sang the following words: Your holy presence living in me. This is my daily bread. This is my daily bread. Your very word spoken to me. And I, I'm desperate for you. And I, I'm lost without you. and Hey, ey, ya Now if you are a woman, or even a man ingrained into the church culture, you might think, “Well, what is wrong with that?”. My answer would be “Nothing, unless you are a man, who is not indoctrinated in church culture.” A man looking at Christ as a possible change in his life might be put off by the effeminate sentiment of the song. We speak of “relationships” a lot in the church. Men do not have “relationships” with other men. Men have “partnerships” or “friends” and sometimes “buddies”. It’s all vernacular, I know but we need to think about the terminology we use as setting the table for those that we care about bringing to Christ. The author looks at men psychologically and biologically. Men’s brains are different from women’s. Men follow men that they admire. Men want to be challenged. Men are risk-takers. The author says women interact face-to-face and men side-by-side. Men develop friendships in crises, working together, and in the trenches of life. Men need to be convinced of relevance to invest their time, energy and money. When all a man experiences are a sing-a-long and a half hour speech (sometimes longer), it will not fill that need. Men need fraternity. In the community where I live, para-churches are increasing. There are “cowboy churches”, “biker churches” and the like. The commonality is in their interests and sense of fraternity and belonging. Men need a spiritual father. Men do not follow dogmas. They follow other men. Most churches are declining, and changes must be seriously considered, not in doctrine, not by compromise, but we should look at our methods in a critical fashion and ask ourselves: 1. Are we interested in a strong male presence in our congregation? 2. Are we content to focus on women and children and just have men in “supporting roles?”. If we are serious about creating a place that men will feel comfortable worshiping in, we must make the necessary changes to pique their interest. The author refers to this as “adjusting the thermostat. I have often said that if you are trying to grow a church congregation and you bring in children, you have a congregation of children. If you bring in women, you will have a congregation of women and children. If you bring in men, you have the entire family, and that is the basic unit of any growing church. The book is an easy read and provides both problem and solution. The author is direct and pulls no punches. For that reason, and because most church people like their waters to remain calm and free of waves, you won’t find this book in many church libraries. He is not nearly as verbose as I have been in this review. I would recommend anyone who would like to see a growth in men’s ministry in their church to read the book. If you are satisfied with the status quo, move along. There is nothing for you to see here.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ryan French

    This book will reshape your view of why churches have become disproportionately comprised of women. Men seem less and less interested in church and it isn't just because men are less enlightened. Murrow doesn't use this phrase but since reading this book I have started noticing the "sissification" of churches. Everything from church decor to song choices subtly encourages men to find their feminine side rather than encouraging godly masculinity. Even the cultural emasculation of Jesus has become This book will reshape your view of why churches have become disproportionately comprised of women. Men seem less and less interested in church and it isn't just because men are less enlightened. Murrow doesn't use this phrase but since reading this book I have started noticing the "sissification" of churches. Everything from church decor to song choices subtly encourages men to find their feminine side rather than encouraging godly masculinity. Even the cultural emasculation of Jesus has become problematic in the average church mindset. Murrow sheds light on these issues and more. Every church leader should have this book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    I think I'm a little unqualified to review this book, but here goes. Author David Murrow asserts that the rapid loss of men in the protestant faith over the last 50 years is due to the unintentional feminization of the church. I would have to say he's probably right - most of the time. From the decor (quilts, doilies, flowers, etc.) to the ministries that thrive (women's events, children's ministries, choir) church is tailor made for females and gives men the impression that they are not needed. I think I'm a little unqualified to review this book, but here goes. Author David Murrow asserts that the rapid loss of men in the protestant faith over the last 50 years is due to the unintentional feminization of the church. I would have to say he's probably right - most of the time. From the decor (quilts, doilies, flowers, etc.) to the ministries that thrive (women's events, children's ministries, choir) church is tailor made for females and gives men the impression that they are not needed. There were times where he separated men into only two categories - wimps and macho beer drinkers - and I'd have to disagree with him there, but most of the time he seems spot on with his assessment of why the church is dying out. Even the language we use repels men. We talk about being "passionately in love with Jesus," a phrase never found in the Bible, and most men don't want to be passionately in love with another man, even if He is their savior. There were some real gems in this book, such as the discussion about the focus on sharing our feelings. He says, "Christians often say things like, 'Steve, would you please share with us what the Lord has placed on your heart?' Regular men don't talk this way. It sounds too much like kindergarten. Imagine a gang member saying to one of his brothers, 'Blade, would you please share with us how you jacked that Mercedes?'" He also says church has been skewed toward only academic people - we sit through a lecture, go to Sunday 'School', and 'study' the Bible, but most men prefer action and visual aids, because "a good sermon is like a good skirt: long enough to cover the essentials, but short enough to keep you interested." Thought provoking and highly recommended.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    Why Men Hate Going to Church David Murrow Nelson Books ISBN 0-7852-6038-2 Almost any church you walk into, any Sunday service, any church committee, you will notice the gender gap. There are more women than men. Is this just the way of things? Are women just naturally more religious than men? If you think that's unlikely, but don't understand why and want to know mote, then this is the book for you. David starts by looking at Masculinity, and then at some more detailed categories of people who are n Why Men Hate Going to Church David Murrow Nelson Books ISBN 0-7852-6038-2 Almost any church you walk into, any Sunday service, any church committee, you will notice the gender gap. There are more women than men. Is this just the way of things? Are women just naturally more religious than men? If you think that's unlikely, but don't understand why and want to know mote, then this is the book for you. David starts by looking at Masculinity, and then at some more detailed categories of people who are not attending church. Did you know that the church is also lacking young women? Then he uses lots of statistics to prove the point. All of these are American, but look at the numbers and think of the churches you know. It begins to make sense. Now you're hooked. You have to read on to find out what can be done about this situation. Having explained his background, he move on to make some suggestions as to what might need to change. If you can remember back before the feminist movement, and see how things are different now, you'll get the idea, or part of it at least. If not you'll have to read the book and see how the church 'thermostat' as he calls it can be set in a more comfortable way for men. I read this book while preparing for a training course I will be running shortly on reaching men. These ideas are not so much about reaching, as about keeping. There's no point in reaching men, having them commit their lives to Christ, only to leave the church in six months. So I will cover both – to some extent anyway.

  12. 4 out of 5

    John

    The premise is wrong. Men don't hate going to church. They just don't go. The same goes for women. Until they know Jesus. When a man comes to know Jesus he will find a church to go to, for all its many flaws. That's where he will come to know Jesus better, so that's where he will want to be. This is not to say that churches couldn't stand to be more guy-friendly. And the author does have some really good points. But his writing is repetitive, and it's filled with hyperbole, made-up examples and gen The premise is wrong. Men don't hate going to church. They just don't go. The same goes for women. Until they know Jesus. When a man comes to know Jesus he will find a church to go to, for all its many flaws. That's where he will come to know Jesus better, so that's where he will want to be. This is not to say that churches couldn't stand to be more guy-friendly. And the author does have some really good points. But his writing is repetitive, and it's filled with hyperbole, made-up examples and generalizations. Not all men like to hunt and fish, watch violent movies, watch NASCAR races and fix cars. Still, this book has been a springboard for good discussions in our men's group this year, and I appreciate it for that. Our men's group usually meets in church. I don't think any of us hates going, except when the weather is really nice.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Louis Vigo

    I remember a girl friend of mine coming to an event where I was playing guitar for on a worship team about 17-18 years ago. Our worship set was pretty up to date for the times, consisting of worship hit songs from Matt Redman and the ilk. Most of our set was geared to bring people into the throne room of God. That’s when you can zone out and feel the warmth of God’s presence and embrace of his spirit. It’s a very emotional place where people are often weeping, kneeling, or joyfully dancing. It t I remember a girl friend of mine coming to an event where I was playing guitar for on a worship team about 17-18 years ago. Our worship set was pretty up to date for the times, consisting of worship hit songs from Matt Redman and the ilk. Most of our set was geared to bring people into the throne room of God. That’s when you can zone out and feel the warmth of God’s presence and embrace of his spirit. It’s a very emotional place where people are often weeping, kneeling, or joyfully dancing. It takes a delicate touch of musicianship to play like that, and although we weren't the best of musicians, our leader had a sort of freeform improv style that we were all able to follow, since we were also of the same mind. While we played the set I saw my friend standing in the audience, so I went to her right after. She was raised in a Christian home, and her dad was a minister. But our commonality was mostly underground punk music, such as Samiam and Screeching Weasel. “I was expecting a list more ‘grrr’ in the music”, she said to me making a fist. And immediately I knew she was right. And although neither of us could articulate it for some years, I came to understand that the masculine spirit was missing from our worship. And thats exactly what this book gave to me, the words to describe how I’ve been feeling the last 20 years since becoming a follower of Jesus. Murrow doesn’t blame any one group, even as he traces a history of emasculation in the church and points out certain trends and possible causes. Some of it points to contemporary worship industrial complex where research panels are pumping money into the writing songs geared towards women since they purchase upwards of 75% of the music. This, in turn, affects the type of songs saturating the market that are mostly tender in performance and about relationship(s) in content. And thats totally understandable, since that how the market works. Whats missing is an emphasis on the transcendental and awesomeness of God, his eternal qualities and such. No doubt you might be thinking of such a song or a couple of songs in that realm as you read this, and thankfully there are many such songs, but by and larger the majority (up to 75%) are not. And this feeds into the fact that the common perception is that Church is a woman’s thing. Practically every Christian church has a large majority of women in attendance and serving in practically every capacity. Even in my own church (which I consider to be more masculine than others I’ve been a part of in the past) consist of 2/3 female attendees. I though this was not the case until I started counting heads each Sunday. Where are the men? Population says we are 49.5% of the world so the church should represent that… but females vastly outnumber men in church. And while I appreciate that my own denomination is making a big push towards multiculturalism, perhaps the next step will be the direction to include men. This book gives a voice to the concerns I’ve had for a few years. The author may over generalize too much for my taste, but his point is well taken. I wont give out too many details because I wont to them justice and may be hard for an overly gentrified people who have unknowingly subscribed to overcivilization. Other issues he brings up are an over emphasis on Church as a community when Jesus’ emphasis was on a kingdom. Theological consequences have to do with sin and judgment, its not refined and polite to believe in judgment and hell, educated people are civilized after all. And I’ve seen complex arguments the last few years arguing about the complexity of biblical interpretation, was written largely by uneducated blue-collar working men intended to be read aloud to a largely illiterate people. Jesus, himself, was a blue-collar worker and spent his years preparing for his ministry by hammering in nails and working with wood under sweat and muscle. The author also talks about how church culture has evolved so that women excel and become the all-star players, while men are the bench warmers. His arguments are throughly researched and he sites all his statistics, studies, and sources. And there are many more points. Over all David Murrow gives good advice on reversing this trend in your local church culture without appealing to macho or chauvinistic attitudes or getting into divisiveness. Small steps intentionally taken will make consistent progress, and the men will come back if the attempt is made.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sonia Reppe

    A lot of this book is about the differences between men and women; and why men are not comfortable in church (because most churches employ feminine themes and imagery, use a verbal teaching style, don't challenge enough, talk about having a "relationship" with Jesus, and so on) and how churches should adjust to meet men's needs. There are so many points I could expound on, and yet maybe they are obvious to you. Men don't go to church because it's boring for them, they don't like the hand-holding A lot of this book is about the differences between men and women; and why men are not comfortable in church (because most churches employ feminine themes and imagery, use a verbal teaching style, don't challenge enough, talk about having a "relationship" with Jesus, and so on) and how churches should adjust to meet men's needs. There are so many points I could expound on, and yet maybe they are obvious to you. Men don't go to church because it's boring for them, they don't like the hand-holding or the singing or they don't like to just sit there. They want to be doing something, the hands-on learning method. And they viscerally reject the soft, meek version of Jesus that a lot of churches perpetuate. They want to worship a strong, brave warrior who tells it like it is. Murrow says churches should hold up this truthful picture of Jesus over the other one. Yes, I read this because my husband doesn't come to church. But maybe—I'm now starting to think—this is the Church's fault, not his. Women do seem to take over the church sometimes, and it becomes about love, comfort, and security. Well, aren't these good things? This book says, not totally. Lots of men followed Jesus and his apostles because it was dangerous. Men are drawn to challenges and risky situations. And we all know there would be no wars if there were no men. This author says we have to bring back the war analogies (fighting the devil) if we're going to draw men back to the church. How do I feel about that? As a woman, I can't say I like that. So much of the bible is about war and violence because it was written by men, and I don't like that either. But that is the reality. I have to admit that sometimes I think men are stupid for being so aggressive and being consumed with the things that consume them. This author tells me that they're just acting the way God made them and we women shouldn't keep trying to feminize them. I'm not the extreme, like the mom who won't let her son play with water guns. And I'm not against changes in the church. But I do have to admit, I like a man who is in touch with his feminine side. I'm so torn. Are guys just acting the way God made them or are they not as spiritually evolved as women are? (Not my idea—I read that somewhere). Consider this quote, "If we want aggressive, bold, greatness-seeking men, we must do what Jesus did and promise suffering, trial, and pain. But today's Christianity is marketed like Tylenol: the antidote to suffering, trial,and pain. We've turned Jesus's approach on its head." I can't fully agree. I don't think men are really attracted to pain and suffering, even if it's for a meaningful cause. Jesus also promised no more suffering, didn't he? What the author's saying in part is that churches have to require people to get out there and help needy people more than just soup kitchens, because men learn by doing, more than by reading. It's good that the author is pushing for churches to get out of their comfort zone and require help in the community and even other countries and let men be "hands on," but contemplation and prayer do have their place in the church. I'm all willing to let church be a more masculine place, and let men be macho, and lead as men, if it will bring men to the church, thus leading their sex as a whole to becoming more spiritually-minded, assuming that will lead to more peace and compassion over-all, hopefully. Let me say that although I may seem begrudging against the male human species, I have met many good, moral, admirable men who try to live good lives, and that my husband is a wonderful guy.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Grant Baker

    Did not finish this one. The big problem is that the author is under the impression he wants to get men to church by making church more accommodating to them. This view inhibits a full view of the issue and just leads to revival-type appearance of Christianity rather than a changed life. Does the average evangelical church cater to much to women? Probably, but it misses the point. Church isn’t about you, it is about Christians following God’s command to worship him. And we don’t get to define th Did not finish this one. The big problem is that the author is under the impression he wants to get men to church by making church more accommodating to them. This view inhibits a full view of the issue and just leads to revival-type appearance of Christianity rather than a changed life. Does the average evangelical church cater to much to women? Probably, but it misses the point. Church isn’t about you, it is about Christians following God’s command to worship him. And we don’t get to define that.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Derek

    This book is awesome. This dude nails it, and he had the data to prove his points. I would encourage every Christian to read this book, and then begin to act on the truths and the hard realities contained within. This book isn't sexist, or misogynistic. It is true, funny, and well researched. The author was able to put words to many of the things that had been rumbling around in my head for years. It sounds like it might be a negative book, but actually it's very upbeat, humorous and positive. H This book is awesome. This dude nails it, and he had the data to prove his points. I would encourage every Christian to read this book, and then begin to act on the truths and the hard realities contained within. This book isn't sexist, or misogynistic. It is true, funny, and well researched. The author was able to put words to many of the things that had been rumbling around in my head for years. It sounds like it might be a negative book, but actually it's very upbeat, humorous and positive. He points out many problems with the church but he's careful to provide positive observations as well as upbeat, reasonable, doable solutions. Literally, every pastor in America (and Europe) should read this.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Louisa

    Great book! Everyone should read this. Pastors, fathers, mothers, old ladies who want to make doilies for the communion table. :) Centuries-old problem of a female-centered church experience, how we got there, and great ideas to fix it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Trevor Dailey

    Wonderfully written and challenging. Written from a practical standpoint which then translates into real spiritual results. Will definitely be referencing in the future.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kelli

    So many points he raised rang true, both as a parent of boys and as a former Sunday school teacher. I want to go back to those young men and say, "Sorry! I didn't mean to drive you away!" So many points he raised rang true, both as a parent of boys and as a former Sunday school teacher. I want to go back to those young men and say, "Sorry! I didn't mean to drive you away!"

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ethan

    There are some books which prove quite important to one's growth and development in life because they make evident a pattern, challenge, and/or idea that is true, real, and yet somehow neglected or left unconsidered. Why Men Hate Going to Church by David Murrow is one such book: after reading it, you will never look at Christianity and its practice in 21st century America the same way again. I first encountered this book a few years ago and was glad to have the chance to read and review the updat There are some books which prove quite important to one's growth and development in life because they make evident a pattern, challenge, and/or idea that is true, real, and yet somehow neglected or left unconsidered. Why Men Hate Going to Church by David Murrow is one such book: after reading it, you will never look at Christianity and its practice in 21st century America the same way again. I first encountered this book a few years ago and was glad to have the chance to read and review the updated and revised edition. "Completely Revised and Updated" is not an exaggeration: I remember many of the key arguments and themes, but in the new edition they are presented more powerfully and underscored with more evidence. My reading of the original edition really caused me to think about the best way of approaching ministry; reading the new edition has led to the same process. Why Men Hate Going to Church presents one of the pressing challenges of American Christianity: where are all the men? The author sets out the evidence: most churches have a gender gap, featuring far more women than men. The more active the women get, the more likely the men are to leave. When men are not active in churches, their children are less likely to be active in churches, especially their male descendants, and the challenge grows. The author then provides helpful analysis of the sources of the difficulty: church plays to the strengths of women but the weaknesses of men. Women tend to be more auditory, better at study, more relationally-driven and focused, willing to sit and listen, share, and better at expressing themselves verbally. Men are more visual-spatial, less patient with study, less relationally-focused, fidgety, and often find expressing themselves verbally as challenging. Men do excel at boldness, willingness to take risks, and engagement in acts of service, but many times these values are not honored as highly in the assembly and in the general life of a church. The author spends some time contrasting different images of Jesus and to whom men and women best relate ("the Lion of Judah" vs. "the Lamb of God"). The author describes how churches better appeal to women, and on account of it, develop a more softened and feminine approach, further alienating men and enhancing women's presence. Yes, many ministries are male-dominated, but the author does well at showing how ministry is often done by men who are more verbal, studious, and more "feminine" than the average "macho man" (and I, for one, must plead guilty). The author also shows how when women do take over, either in terms of various matters within the congregation or as preachers themselves, men are most often further alienated and their number continues to drop. The author spends some time looking at historic trends and the various reasons why we have come to the place at which we find ourselves, as well as seeing different experiments that seemed to work in the past (like the YMCA). He also spends a lot of time considering how to bring the men back in: return to a mission-based view, consciously think about how a given prayer, song, lesson, theme, etc., would sound to the average man and adapt accordingly, find things for men to do that play to their strengths, and find ways to work with boys and their particular composition in such a way as to respect their constitution and not develop an inferiority complex in the face of all the girls. I have some concerns about many of the suggestions which put a lot of the impetus on the church where the Lord put it on the individual Christian in terms of service and in terms of the programs which should be provided for the youth; thankfully, the revised and updated edition put less emphasis on adaptations to the assembly and more on finding ways to get men to serve out in the world. I'm afraid that some of his theological points in terms of masculinity might be a bit too reactionary against an overly feminized version of Christianity; it's understandable but not necessarily beneficial. These concerns should not distract from the main point of the book or its importance. I believe this is a must read for anyone who seeks to promote the Gospel of Christ and wishes to encourage his or her fellow Christians: you don't have to agree with every point or every solution to gain from the author's perspective and the needed reconsideration of thought, feeling, and practice toward being more inclusive of masculine characteristics. There's a reason Jesus speaks more concretely and obviously about mission than relationship; there's also a reason why Jesus chose 12 men and worked intensively with them. If the church will grow and prosper in the twenty-first century it will need men to stand up with faith, boldness, vision, and effort to promote the Gospel message, and an over-emphasis on the "feminine" aspects to the detriment of the "masculine" aspects of humanity is pushing those men out and away. There are times for preaching and study; there are times for service and boldness. There is a strong need for greater relationship; there is as strong of a need for recognizing, understanding, and accomplishing God's mission for His Kingdom. Let us find ways to bring men into the fold and make sure that we are not pushing them away on account of our distorted emphases or an environment hostile to masculinity! *---book received as part of early review program

  21. 4 out of 5

    Chris French

    I’m sure you’ve noticed a decline in the male population in our churches. Why are men fleeing from the church like a fat kid from gym class? Murrow thinks that we’ve feminized the church. We’ve focused on the Lamb of God to the exclusion of the Lion of Judah. He may have a valid point. Today’s church identifies more with the love, helping and relationships than with success, achievement and power, which is interesting because the first grouping comes from the women’s values in the book Men are f I’m sure you’ve noticed a decline in the male population in our churches. Why are men fleeing from the church like a fat kid from gym class? Murrow thinks that we’ve feminized the church. We’ve focused on the Lamb of God to the exclusion of the Lion of Judah. He may have a valid point. Today’s church identifies more with the love, helping and relationships than with success, achievement and power, which is interesting because the first grouping comes from the women’s values in the book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. The second grouping comes from the same book, but it’s the values men cherish the most. While we as a church have been focusing on relationship and love, our men, the driving force behind our growth, have been slipping out the back door looking for some place where they fit in. They’re looking for a place where their talents and hobbies won’t make them outcasts. How do we fix this problem? Murrow offers a couple of solutions in the framework of an entire mindset change. We need to think of the church as the Kingdom instead of a family. In a family relationships rule the day, not so in a kingdom. We need to show a more balanced view of Jesus. Yes He loved children, but He was also driven, very skilled, highly successful and very powerful. We need to play to our boys strengths in Bible class. Girls learn to read faster and read better than boys their age. When we ask a boy to read out loud in class we’re setting him up to leave the church one day. Our format for Sunday School is also counter-productive for our active boys. We ask them to sit still and listen for 30-45 minutes and when they can’t meet that expectations we embarrass them by punishing them. The answer is to get men in the classroom for our young children. Walk down that wing of your church building this Sunday and see how many male teachers you’ve got down there. Any? We don’t have a single one. That’s the first step. Next, get the boys up and moving. Let them act out the Bible story. Go all out maybe one Sunday morning a month, call that Sunday something other than Sunday School to bring added interest. Have props set up and involve the class in the story. Recreate it for them and let them be a part of it. I guarantee they’ll remember that class! Let’s make the church man friendly. You can do that by having a pulpit minister that is bold, a risk taker. He needs to be a visionary and a gifted communicator. If he were to use male oriented illustrations and props (golf club, boxing gloves etc) in his sermon it wouldn’t hurt either. The church needs to be free to innovate and do so quickly. Find the need, figure out what you can do about it, and start meeting that need. If that idea doesn’t work kill it and come up with something that will work. Do EVERYTHING superbly! The building, worship and the sermon all need to be done very well to attract men. Men will not invite their friends to a church they’re embarrassed to be a part of. Speak the language of men. Talk about risk, productivity and growth. Measure effectiveness, celebrate achievement and launch new programs. Have men serving EVERYWHERE! Get rid of the man repellent stuff. No more photo collages, quilts, or bulletin boards. No forced mingling. It makes visiting men uncomfortable. Before you teach you need to be prepared! Be a storyteller. Bring object lessons into class. Use pictures and videos. Make your lessons short. Use humor, especially at the beginning. Make the lesson practical. Do something unexpected like breaking something or shouting. Challenge them. Empathize strength instead of weakness. Use male language like sports analogies, battles and sacrifice. When you’re ministering to men you should remember a few things. First give them a chance to use their talents and gifts. Start a Chainsaw Ministry to help clean up trees after storms or a Mechanic Ministry that operates once a month to change oil in people’s cars. Find a place for men to use their talents! Give them a path to follow. Show them the way. Give men an external focus. Let them make a difference in the community. Dream HUGE dreams. Give men adventure. Deploy men for evangelism. Tell everyone. Charge men money, it’ll make them commit. Offer personal invitations. Give men entry and exit points for ministry. No one should have to stay in any single ministry for years on end. Give them a definite starting point and a definite ending point, then find somewhere else for them to serve. Make them disciples! I loved this book! There’s so much practical wisdom here that we need to hear. I had never thought about making the church feminine before, but I think we have. I’m also sold on his ideas to effect the change and bring our men back to faith. The church needs men’s ideas, abilities and leadership. Let’s go after them.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    NB: my review is of the revised second edition - not this one. The revised edition doesn't seem to be available on Goodreads. Christianity is not attractive to men at the moment. In fact, men hate going to church, according to David Murrow, the author of Why Men Hate Going to Church. Murrow argues that Christianity has become feminized since the industrial revolution to such an extent that men are leaving in droves or avoiding church like they avoid housework (my example - not his!). The men who NB: my review is of the revised second edition - not this one. The revised edition doesn't seem to be available on Goodreads. Christianity is not attractive to men at the moment. In fact, men hate going to church, according to David Murrow, the author of Why Men Hate Going to Church. Murrow argues that Christianity has become feminized since the industrial revolution to such an extent that men are leaving in droves or avoiding church like they avoid housework (my example - not his!). The men who do dominate the leadership positions in churches are actually feminized men who feel comfortable with, and demonstrate the characteristics of, women - intimacy, verbal communication, emotions, caring, touching etc. The entire thesis of this book is premised on the assumption that men and women are completely different in their natures. (The author draws on the popular Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus by John Gray.) Murrow believes that most people conceive of Jesus Christ as living out the values ’that come naturally to women.’ The way that church is structured (in most Christian churches) appeals to women because of this belief about Christ and, therefore, men are left out in the cold. Christianity is seen as a "soft" faith and, if men are attracted to Christianity it is because they are ’highly verbal, sensitive, and relational.’ ”Real” men are into power, competition, achievement, practical skills, results, setting goals, etc. All of this is not deliberate, of course. But it's a very real problem. How do we get men back into the church? Reverse the feminization of Christianity and bring masculine elements back into church worship and life. If the Church is to reverse the declining membership of its congregations (in the West, in particular) it needs to get men back into the pews. Women, it turns out, like churches with lots of men so the focus needs to shift to making the faith more masculine - and the women and children will follow. Why Men Hate Going to Church is a passionate, fast paced read. It's powerful and persuasive. A lot of the material sounds reasonable and some of Murrow's assertions are backed up with empirical evidence. The idea of “masculinising” aspects of Christian belief and worship is certainly needed? For example, images of Jesus need to become more real than the effeminate versions of much Christian art. And the praise songs that have men singing to Jesus as his lovers definitely need to go! But I experienced a degree of discomfort as I read this book. Firstly, the differences between men and women seems overly stereotypical. Very little is discussed in the book about the commonalities between men and women. The simplistic distinctions between men and women as described by, for example, John Gray have been criticized as excessively reductionistic and not reflecting how similar men and women are in so many respects. The picture drawn by Murrow seems to "black and white". Secondly, Murrow's passion and enthusiasm for making his point sometimes borders on sexism. While the feminine is occasionally affirmed it would be easy to infer that the bad aspects of Christian worship and life are the product of female nature. I've only read the book once, but I can't recall any occasion where the author has remotely suggested that “masculine” Christianity may have its problems or any hint at the historical abuse of women by men who have suffered at the hands of men in power. I don't believe this is intentional but Murrow needs to be more careful about this aspect of his views. In summary, Why Men Hate Going to Church is a passionate plea for the reconsideration of men's needs in our churches. It's a plea also being made outside the church in areas such as education. Men and boys do need healthy masculine role models in the church. Murrow's passion and enthusiasm for the concerns of men is great to see. For me, though, I would have liked to see a more substantial, objective argument presented for rejuvenating Christian worship for all. But then, maybe I'm not a “real” man! Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    This book would have been intriguing if, instead of a 200-page book, it were a comment in a conversation. The author’s premise that church has evolved into a feminine society, thus making men feel uncomfortable and less interested in attending, is an interesting one. It seems that he took this, began assuming it was a general rule, and decided to write about it. Then, when he started unearthing facts and actual data, he realized they didn’t quite line up with his premise, so skewed them and publ This book would have been intriguing if, instead of a 200-page book, it were a comment in a conversation. The author’s premise that church has evolved into a feminine society, thus making men feel uncomfortable and less interested in attending, is an interesting one. It seems that he took this, began assuming it was a general rule, and decided to write about it. Then, when he started unearthing facts and actual data, he realized they didn’t quite line up with his premise, so skewed them and published anyway. The support was very weak, from uncited data, to loosely interpreted statistics that could have supported or disproved his point, to an abundance of hypothetical anecdotes describing a scenario where there should have been true stories if his beliefs are as accurate as he insinuates, to loosely sketched graphics: his supporting material alone is weak enough to sink the book for me. However, it is not alone. The author makes a few very broad assumptions about masculinity and femininity that are simply too far from accurate to be of value. He strongly insinuates throughout the book the masculinity can be reduced to an adventurous, pioneering attitude that gives no quarter to relational thinking, meekness, or domesticity. Scholarly men, quiet men, and family men alike are all impugned as emasculated and oppressed, along with any man who isn’t pillaging and plundering. He even specifically faults the church for giving him nothing to pillage (pp 99-102). If a man doesn’t go to church because he wants a Sylvester Stalone action hero to lead him into battles and explosions, it’s not masculinity. It’s childishness. A man can be manly and gentle and sensitive and studious. They are not mutually exclusive concepts, and the author makes no allowance for men who have accepted that they can’t be Indiana Jones. Plenty of his statements about manliness are so insulting, that I wanted to put the book down. “The average churchman is what John Bly calls the soft male. He is a tamed man Mr. Rogers is his mascot. The stallions hang out in bars; the geldings hang out in church.” Pg 74 “Real men have no place in the church today.” Pg 75 And his comments about women aren’t much better: “When male energy is absent, creation does not happen, either in the human soul or in the world. Nurturance happens, support and love perhaps, but not that new ‘creation out of nothing’ that is the unique prerogative associated with the masculine side of God.” Block quote from pg 44 “Women are to worship as men are to sex.” Pg 184 There were statements here and there in the book that I wanted to write down to present a balanced view of the book, but by and large the best the book has to offer is the premise: if men feel like Church is a woman-thing, they will not want to go.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    In Why Men Hate Going to Church, David Murrow exposed the truth to the gender gaps in churches around the world. Men are rapidly disappearing from the congregation. Men have decided to do different things on Sunday. Women have become the main people running and going to church. Men are leaving churches because they have fear losing their masculinity. Many churches are using feminine language to describe a personal relationship with Christ. Murrow feels like men associate the word relationship wi In Why Men Hate Going to Church, David Murrow exposed the truth to the gender gaps in churches around the world. Men are rapidly disappearing from the congregation. Men have decided to do different things on Sunday. Women have become the main people running and going to church. Men are leaving churches because they have fear losing their masculinity. Many churches are using feminine language to describe a personal relationship with Christ. Murrow feels like men associate the word relationship with male and female. Some men will get turned off by thinking about being close to another man. Hugging and hand holding also seem to scare some new visitors away. Dress codes are a big problem in the church everyone is expected to dress in their Sunday best in many churches. David Murrow gives pastors, women, and men advice to draw men back into the church. Churches must keep messages real with examples of everyday life. Challenge men to become their very best they can be. Young men need to move around and take risks. We have to teach the messages with more adventure. Young men tend to not enjoy reading aloud and we don't need to force them to do so. We also need male teachers teaching young men. Women are needed for teaching young women. We need the same gender role models especially when we are younger. Murrow believes that churches need to work on changing the trend. We have to bring men back to the churches. I would recommend this book to pastors, deacons, men, and women. Everyone can benefit from bring men back into the church. We need both genders to reach and spread the Gospel of Christ. I have personally seen young men and older men leave the church. It's always been a mystery to me as to why some men just disappear and they never attend church again. Sometimes it's not because they don't believe in God. They just can't get into going to church for a variety of reasons. This book will help readers understand where all the men are going. It will guide churches into how to bring back the men and how to keep them. David Murrow has revised and updated Why Men Hate Going to Church. It is completely up to date with the latest finding in data about men leaving the church. It is a worthwhile read if you are curious about how to get more men into your churches! “I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program.”

  25. 4 out of 5

    David Santos

    Before I get into the actual review. I'd like to remind people that there are other Christian religions such as the 7th Day Adventist, that do NOT worship on Sundays, but on Saturday mornings. The author researched many other religions and mentions them in the book except the SDA's. Now, as I said I am an unbiased reviewer so I will not lower the rating of this book because of that, but I thought I should point that out. We do exist people. For years I have asked myself that very question "Why do Before I get into the actual review. I'd like to remind people that there are other Christian religions such as the 7th Day Adventist, that do NOT worship on Sundays, but on Saturday mornings. The author researched many other religions and mentions them in the book except the SDA's. Now, as I said I am an unbiased reviewer so I will not lower the rating of this book because of that, but I thought I should point that out. We do exist people. For years I have asked myself that very question "Why do men refuse to go to church"? And I have had many answers, from lack of faith to their just plain lazy, but this book made me realize how far off I was. Being a guy myself I can relate to alot of the things David mentions. Like men disliking holding hands with other men in a prayer circle or the dress code. Let me tell you, there have been times where I did not go to church because I didn't know what to wear. If the church wasn't so obsessed with suit and ties, I would go in jeans and t-shirt anytime. As David mentioned in some church soon as they dropped the suit and tie gimmick, male attendance nearly tripled! Which is insulting to us guys when you think about it. Girls take 7 hours to get ready for church and guys can't even take 10 to get fancied up? Now that is sad. As I read this book I thought about my church and other churches I've visited. I realized that all Christian religions have two things in common: Worship the same God and we have the same type of people. A Church dominated by women and men who hate being there. I could pull 5 sermons out of this book and preach it in several churches. or even at a Men's Ministry retreat which no one goes to for the reasons David mentions in this book! A Book filled with lots of facts and figures. I didn't even need to read his sources, because I can see the facts in my life. For example: 7 out of 10 boys raised in church will leave as adults. I believe it, because I'm one of the 3 that stayed. I like how he took his time and did research for the book and didn't just use common sense (as we know common sense doesn't fly anymore these days)he had facts to back up the obvious. It takes 223 pages to answer the question, but it answered it well, showing people the truth on why many men hate going to church and showing how women have "owned" us in church leadership. A really good read in my opinion.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Paul Baggaley

    In this book David Murrow correctly identifies the problem that most churches are not appealing or comfortable for men. He makes the point that churches that do successfully attract and retain a higher proportion of men are those that are healthy and growing. Murrow posits a number of historical and cultural reasons why this problem exists, and ultimately makes some limited suggestions about what can be done to tweak our churches to make them more man-friendly. For the most part I agree with his In this book David Murrow correctly identifies the problem that most churches are not appealing or comfortable for men. He makes the point that churches that do successfully attract and retain a higher proportion of men are those that are healthy and growing. Murrow posits a number of historical and cultural reasons why this problem exists, and ultimately makes some limited suggestions about what can be done to tweak our churches to make them more man-friendly. For the most part I agree with his analysis of the problem, causes, and solutions. I did, however, find myself disliking some aspects of his book. Although stereotypes can be of some use, Murrow falls into the trap of excessively relying on this macho, sports-jock, rugged working outdoorsman image of ideal masculinity. He holds this ideal uncritically, and is in many places quite derogatory towards men who don't fit into this box labelling them as soft-men, or nerds. I found this somewhat offensive - men are not the homogenous group he makes them out to be - many more men than he thinks would show some of what he regards as negative, "feminine" character traits. His section on music, whilst offering some good insights about the excessive use of feminine or "romantic" lyrics in modern songs, is inconsistent, especially regarding the place of old-style hymns, which in my opinion are not going to attract the modern man. Also, although he doesn't delve into theology or the Bible very much, I thought his emphasis on the Masculine "Lion" Jesus in contrast to the supposedly feminine "Lamb" Jesus, was a massive overcorrection. I would prefer a more integrated view of Jesus but if I was forced to choose, the Lamb image is a far better reflection of the New Testament Jesus. Those and a few other minor negative points notwithstanding, the central premise of this book is a very important one for church leaders and members to take note of - we often do have a problem with attracting men to church, and an intentional approach to making church a more man-friendly place is more likely to see healthy, growing churches into the future.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kj

    I have a love-hate relationship with this book. On the one hand, I was annoyed with the way he portrayed women - I know, it was a stereotype to highlight the differences between men and women, but as a woman it annoyed me. I felt judged whilst reading it, and that my feminine qualities were somehow the reason men couldn't worship alongside me. I'm probably being oversensitive about that. Maybe it's that time of the month. I also really didn't like the way he separated Jesus into two separate charac I have a love-hate relationship with this book. On the one hand, I was annoyed with the way he portrayed women - I know, it was a stereotype to highlight the differences between men and women, but as a woman it annoyed me. I felt judged whilst reading it, and that my feminine qualities were somehow the reason men couldn't worship alongside me. I'm probably being oversensitive about that. Maybe it's that time of the month. I also really didn't like the way he separated Jesus into two separate characters who he called 'lamb Jesus', who he spoke of in quite a derogatory manner, and 'Lion Jesus' who he insisted never demonstrated gifts of the spirit such as being gentle, loving or patient. Painting a picture of schizophrenic Jesus by parodying two different sides of his personality felt very uncomfortable to me. On the other hand, the book is very readable and makes some interesting points. Near the beginning he gives two lists of characteristics and asks which list best describes the church. Naturally you lean towards the list that doesn't include 'aggression', but has 'nurturing' listed. He then points out that these lists were actually taken from 'Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus'. Men and Women are different and want different things, but whether this is inherent or the fault of culture is a whole other debate. Murrow points this out when he talks about targeted advertising. I couldn't help wandering though, aggression is surely not something we should be striving for when the bible asks us to be 'peace-loving'. 'Men are from Mars' is a secular psychology book, not a biblical guide. Just because our culture says men should behave one way, doesn't necessarily mean that our churches should emulate that to make men feel more comfortable. 'Why Men Hate going to Church' does raise interesting questions, the church certainly is losing men in their droves, but I'm not sure that the conclusions Murrow draws from that are entirely helpful.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    YES! He’s right! David Murrow begins by calling out specific peeves that turn off men in contemporary churches. But he doesn’t stop there. He backs up his observations with solid data and supports his assertions directly from scripture. At first, his often humorous commentary felt very validating by asserting the same concerns and dislikes that I’ve felt for many years. It seems I’m not the only guy who’s uncomfortable with overly sentimental praise songs. But the tone changed away from what cou YES! He’s right! David Murrow begins by calling out specific peeves that turn off men in contemporary churches. But he doesn’t stop there. He backs up his observations with solid data and supports his assertions directly from scripture. At first, his often humorous commentary felt very validating by asserting the same concerns and dislikes that I’ve felt for many years. It seems I’m not the only guy who’s uncomfortable with overly sentimental praise songs. But the tone changed away from what could have easily become a gripe session about effeminate Christian music. It became a much more compelling argument for change. And, he makes a strong case that failure to change could drastically affect our faith and our families. Through the course of the book, Murrow establishes that there is indeed a gender gap in churches today. Then, he explores why that gap presents such a serious problem. He delivers many analyses of why the gender gap came to exist. Then, he wraps up the book with calls to action in order to change the course of our churches today. Murrow consistently backs up his ideas with scripture, citing the actions of Jesus as He led the 12 disciples. Additionally, Murrow makes effective references to other contemporary Christian thinkers, including Rick Warren and George Barna. Anyone involved in leadership in a church (or who aspires to leadership) absolutely must read this book. It’s required reading not just because it gives clear, actionable guidance for attracting and retaining men. But rather, it makes clear the guidance given in scripture on the mission of the church and how we must go about fulfilling that mission.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Aleesa Sutton

    Murrow has written a thought-provoking and important book about the crisis of the number of "unchurched" men today. This is an obvious labour of love for Murrow, as he almost abandoned Christianity himself because he didn't feel there was any room for his masculinity. Some points I especially liked: - men’s passivity in church stems less from laziness and more from uneasiness (with the “feminine status quo”) - many of today's churches are focused on comforting rather than challenging - churchgoing Murrow has written a thought-provoking and important book about the crisis of the number of "unchurched" men today. This is an obvious labour of love for Murrow, as he almost abandoned Christianity himself because he didn't feel there was any room for his masculinity. Some points I especially liked: - men’s passivity in church stems less from laziness and more from uneasiness (with the “feminine status quo”) - many of today's churches are focused on comforting rather than challenging - churchgoing shields a woman from her deepest fears (abandonment, isolation) but forces a man to confront his (loss of independence and control) - the songs and sermons use language that appeals to women ("precious, tender, sharing, communication, feelings, nurturing, gentle, relationship"); even traditional images of Christ are feminized (long, flowing robes and hair) - today’s Christianity is marketed like Tylenol: the antidote to trial, suffering and pain. That’s Jesus’ approach upside down! - stagnant churches ask, how can we minister to our people? life-giving churches ask, how can our people change the world? I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in why there are so few men at church these days...and want to change that.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Flewts

    If you have never read this book, I can't recommend it enough: Why Men Hate Going to Church. I picked it up because I have been dissatisfied with the church I have belonged to for 30 years and couldn't really figure out why. While it did help me spot some things, the more important thing it pointed out was how feminized our churches have become, why Islam is so appealing to men, and what we should do to change our churches so they can become more welcoming to men. It's not about making churches i If you have never read this book, I can't recommend it enough: Why Men Hate Going to Church. I picked it up because I have been dissatisfied with the church I have belonged to for 30 years and couldn't really figure out why. While it did help me spot some things, the more important thing it pointed out was how feminized our churches have become, why Islam is so appealing to men, and what we should do to change our churches so they can become more welcoming to men. It's not about making churches into paternalistic, chauvinistic bastions of male supremacy. It's about all the subtle things that make men uncomfortable without consciously understanding why. It's about how to make church appealing to little boys, so that when they are teenagers they don't head for the hills (as so many do). It's about revitalizing our churches, which are predominantly female. If the man is the head of the body and he's not going to church, the church isn't going to continue. Men need other men. They need "side-by-side relationships" where they DO things together and and thus build friendships. Bible study doesn't do it (although it is of course important). A church where men are actively engaged is a church that will attract ALL people because it will be vibrant and energetic.

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