Monday, 20 February 2012

Men, Women and Church

I’m paying heed to Nicola Morgan‘s advice today from her blog post making your blog work. She writes “Don't make your title too obscure”. Blogs can be found easier on Google if your title matches your content.

So no fancy title today just exactly what it says on the tin.

OK so it may not be the most inspiring title but these are some of the thoughts that occurred to me yesterday as I sat in church.

Like most congregations ours is made up mostly of women. Single, married, widowed, old and young but very few men. Although there are some who come on their own most are accompanied by their wives and children.

It has always been quite common for a woman to go to church on a Sunday morning and take the children for their spiritual nourishment and good moral upbringing leaving her husband at home but it so rarely happens the other way round.

For some reason many churches don’t appear to engage with the male half of the population and as the mother of two sons this worries me for the future. I already have one son who won’t come to church unless I “make” him and the other one only comes to see his friends.

Not that that is a totally a bad thing, the best way I know to get teenage lads into churches is to make sure there are plenty of fanciable girls in the youth group.  I’ve heard several preachers talking about how they started attending church because of a particular girl. All that sliding along the pews to legitimately get closer. From experience I know you can squeeze more teenage bums in a row than adults.

It certainly always seems to be the females who entice their men to come along. God knew what he was doing when he created Eve and her tempting ways!

Andrew was a classic case of a disenchanted male only coaxed back to church by the love of a good woman.

He was brought up in a Christian home, regularly going to church. In his teenage years he was still going or at the very least was attached to the church youth group – from the information I have gathered and old friends who remember those years.

But as he got older church became less relevant for him and by the time we started dating he was on the very fringes of the church community, helping out with discos for the youngsters but not stepping inside the building on a Sunday.

Actually the first time I met him I was a volunteer at the church and on my first evening in the area had been taken along to the youth club disco to meet some of the young people. There he was playing the Bart Simpson record that was popular at the time convincing the kids that it was Bert not Bart and he lived next door. It’s funny the things you remember.

I persuaded Andrew to come to church with me almost as a condition of us going out! His faith which had always been there but lain dormant began to come alive. It took many years but looking back now with the wonderful gift of hindsight I can see where God was working in his life and how God had never let Andrew go.

One of the loveliest sights I spotted in church yesterday was a young couple sat next to each other a few rows in front of me.

I don’t know if it is just a phenomenon in our church but several married couples don’t actually sit together during the service. The women sit at the front with the kids while there is a hard-core male contingent sitting along the back row. 

Anyway this couple sat so close together, bodies overlapping, it was easy to imagine them holding hands during the sermon. It made me smile because that was how Andrew and I sat together in church. Fingers often entwined and when Andrew got particularly bored he would write “I LOVE YOU” with his index finger on the palm of my hand.

So there you are – my thoughts from yesterday once more leading all the way back to Andrew.

And one final thought, a verse from God that’s just popped into my head and I’ve looked up – thanks Google!

“See I have written you name on the palms of my hands.” 
Isaiah 49:16

Just as Andrew wrote his message of love on my hand, and it is still indelibly there, so God writes your name on his – man, woman or child. Whether sitting eagerly at the front or in the pew nearest the door ready for a speedy exit. Those inside the church and outside its walls – he has no favourites.

He remembers, reaches out and beckons you closer.

If only those of us inside the church could find a way to do the same…

No comments:

Post a Comment