16 days of activism to end violence against women

Did you know that:

  • 1 in 4 women in the UK will suffer violence at the hands of a male partner.
  • 1 in 3 women worldwide will suffer violence at the hands of a male partner.
  • 2 women a week in the UK die due to domestic violence incidents.

Theres no evidence that says the picture is different in the Church. *

We’re publishing the above as part of “16 days of activism to end violence against women”, but I’m not convinced the above is the whole story.

Guys. If you are a victim of domestic abuse, please get in touch with the Mens Advice Line 0808 801 0327, or check out the Mens Advice Line Website for more information.

On the other hand, if you are worried about your doing or thinking, please call Respect on 0845 122 8609 for help.

Restored Relationships

Respect

*stats from Restored.

Problems with sung worship?

Thanks to Vicky Beeching for inspiration for this post from her questions on twitter this week.

Many people will say that they aren’t a fan of the singing part of church. I have to say I quite like it, being a musician and worship leader that bit of church is right up my street, it’s just the rest of it I don’t like. Quite often it’s men that I hear grumbling about the content of worship in our churches. A university friend of mine told me that he couldn’t engage in sung worship in church, partly because he isn’t much of a singer and he finds it a bit uncomfortable but also he finds that the words are hard for him to engage with. And I can see where he’s coming from.

Often the songs we sing in church aren’t particularly ‘manly’. And men also have a bit of a habit of running away from anything with the word ‘love’ in it. So it would be easy to say that songs that go like ‘Jesus I am so in love with you’ should be thrown away. But doing so would get rid of one of the fundamental parts of being a follower of Christ – God loved us so that we can love.

And if we look at it more subjectively across the broader spectrum of worship songs there does seem to be a much more ‘manly’ focus as well. For example songs like ‘Yesterday, today and forever’ by Vicky Beeching, ‘Happy day’ by Tim Hughes and ‘Strength will rise’ by Brenton Brown are all songs that don’t have that focus on love.

I believe that as we worship a God who is bigger than anything we can possibly know, and has at least as many emotions and characteristics as us – then our worship should reflect that. We should look at the Psalms as an example. The breadth of emotions are huge, they range from fear to joy, from love to abandonment.  However they all cling to the truth that God is there,  bigger than we can know,  in control, stronger than we could imagine, and He loves us so that we can love. And so so so much more!

A challenge to worship leaders is to incorporate the whole of God not just one aspect of him. Maybe not in every worship time in church but we need to make sure we experience and recognise all of God not just one bit.

And a challenge to men…Man up and share the love that God has given, first with Him and second with everyone else!

Thoughts?

Finding a church

So recently I moved from Bath to Exeter. Not a huge distance but certainly not close enough for me to keep going to the same church. This put me in a bit of a dilemma – how do you go about finding the right church for you?

The first question I had to deal with was why I don’t always like going to church? It’s become almost too obvious to say that men don’t like going to church, but often it’s true. I’m still not 100% on what makes me not like it, maybe I just like to have a lie in on a sunday or maybe I don’t like the idea of being preached at, though I do quite like doing the preaching. There’s lots of things it could be and maybe one day I’ll realise what it is that puts me off every so often. However me not always liking being there isn’t going to stop me going. I’ve figured that this whole following God thing seems to work best in a group!

Looking for a church is something I’d never had to do as a regular punter so to speak. I went to the church my parents when to when I was a child and continued there until I went to uni. While at uni I worked for a church on a placement and was expected there on sundays, so had never really had to find a church to go to for myself. There were a few things however that I thought were important about a church, and this is what I based my decision on, in no particular order.

  • Outward looking – they need to be involved in the community, the city/town and be concerned about engaging with real people missionally, not necessarily always focused on evangelism but working against injustice and bring glory to God in the local area.
  • The Bible as a high priority – I’ve noticed that at times it’s easy to under estimate the Bible and just take it at it’s face value, when in fact it’s a book that can entirely change your life.
  • Passionate worship – it was important to me to be in a church that passionately worships God, not just in sung worship but in everything they do.
  • A place to serve – there needed to be opportunities to serve in all sorts of areas but I do have a passion for worship leading and youth work

and now after a fairly long time of looking, trying to decide between visiting traditional churches and super charismatic churches and everything in between, I have found a church that seems right for me. It’s a free church, with all of the above, to the extent that the second time I went I was in the worship band!

The thing is, it’s not just a church that meets my ‘requirements’ . Its a  church that I feel a part of already. This is because of the welcome I’ve received, to the extent that I feel I now belong to a church that wanted me to be a part of it.

The Perils of ‘Wannabe Cool’ Christianity – Hipster Christianity: Where Church and Cool Collide

The below was taken from Vicky Beechings’ Blog, I read it and thought it fitted in quite well here…

The Perils of ‘Wannabe Cool’ Christianity

By BRETT MCCRACKEN

‘How can we stop the oil gusher?” may have been the question of the summer for most Americans. Yet for many evangelical pastors and leaders, the leaking well is nothing compared to the threat posed by an ongoing gusher of a different sort: Young people pouring out of their churches, never to return.

As a 27-year-old evangelical myself, I understand the concern. My peers, many of whom grew up in the church, are losing interest in the Christian establishment.

Recent statistics have shown an increasing exodus of young people from churches, especially after they leave home and live on their own. In a 2007 study, Lifeway Research determined that 70% of young Protestant adults between 18-22 stop attending church regularly.

Statistics like these have created something of a mania in recent years, as baby-boomer evangelical leaders frantically assess what they have done wrong (why didn’t megachurches work to attract youth in the long term?) and scramble to figure out a plan to keep young members engaged in the life of the church.

Increasingly, the “plan” has taken the form of a total image overhaul, where efforts are made to rebrand Christianity as hip, countercultural, relevant. As a result, in the early 2000s, we got something called “the emerging church”—a sort of postmodern stab at an evangelical reform movement. Perhaps because it was too “let’s rethink everything” radical, it fizzled quickly. But the impulse behind it—to rehabilitate Christianity’s image and make it “cool”—remains.
Continue reading “The Perils of ‘Wannabe Cool’ Christianity – Hipster Christianity: Where Church and Cool Collide”

Is the world really that easy?

I’ve just sat and read the article “The world is filled with boys who can shave” by Mark Driscoll, and to be honest… been kinda shocked at how negative the whole article was to be honest.

He seems to take a swipe at men who like to drink beer, play computer games, listen to music, enjoy cars, computers, fantasy football leagues, and burgers, as well as a number of ‘activities’. Now I’m not going to say that porn is ok, but he also mentions ‘women’ in his lists of “past times”. I’d love to hear him expand on this… its almost as if single guys arn’t meant to meet women.

I’ll give him his due, he does almost turn postive with;

Men are supposed to be producers, not just consumers. You’re defined by the legacy, the life, and the fruit that come out of you, not by what you take in. But most guys are just consumers.

Almost encouraging. Almost builds a guy up to make something out of his life, but then he launches into:

What happens if you walk into the church and try to find out what a man looks like? First of all, you’re not going to find a lot of guys in most evangelical churches. The least likely person to see in church is a single, twenty-something male. He is as rare at church as a vegan at a steak house.

In the world, boys who can shave are children who are consumers. In the church, boys who can shave are cowards who are complainers.

A buddy of mine calls them evangellyfish because they have no backbone. They don’t declare a major, church, theology, or fiancé. They don’t want to fail and they think if they don’t try, then they can’t fail. And by definition, that’s a failure.

They are, however, endowed with the spiritual gift of complaining. They say, “I hate the church. The church just wants my money.” As if the church wants his futon, Xbox, light beer, and computer filled with free Internet porn.

Here’s the cold hard truth: it’s a lot harder to do something than it is to complain about those who are doing something. The notorious sin of Christian guys is complaining about guys who are doing something rather than doing something.

Now, this is probably where this blog comes in. Instead of calling 20 something men in the church cowards, why dont we ask some questions? Why dont alot of men feel comfortable in church? Why do some guys feel like that? Is there something about church services that men dont feel comfortable with? There was a stage in my life where I was quite proud of calling myself “Christian”, as opposed to saying I was Baptist, Anglican, Catholic or whatever. Does that make me a evangellyfish?

Continue reading “Is the world really that easy?”