Monday, June 11, 2012

Book review: Why Men Hate Going to Church By David Murrow

Why Men Hate Going to Church by David Murrow is a comprehensively referenced book that seeks to address the issue of why men, more than women, abhor going and getting involved in churchy activities. Notice that it is about the problem of men with churchy stuffs, not about theological questions. This book is not a theological treatise, and does not seek to address soteriology issue, eschatology, etc although Murrow features prominently that the word "developing intimate relationship with God" sounds too girlie for a man. Instead, Murrow suggests that words such "becoming a follower of Jesus" give the connotation of our readiness to lay down our lives in battle, willing to undergo hardship, with full resolution to be a disciple of Jesus, etc; these words are more appropriate for men. In essence, the simple premise of this book goes something like this:

The church was originally intended for men. The reformation era, for example, saw courageous men willing to speak out the truth of the Gospel.

Unfortunately, as Murrow claimed, during the Victorian period (where Queen Victoria reigned), things turned out to be more refined and womanly or girlie. It was also during this time that economic recession occured; and many men were forced to work extra hard. This, together with the issue of a man not finding himself comfortable in a 'girlie" church, resulted in many men decided to keep working on Sundays rather than going to church. As a result, many who went to church during that time were females. In order to keep these female members felt at homes with a sense of belonging, the pastors had to adapt their sermons, songs, etc in a more female-oriented style. And this compounded the problem, resulting in vicious cycle.

Nonetheless, I find that Murrow's book to be heavily stereotypical. He paints a picture that the typical man is supposed to be a rough, muscular man. Within its pages, I find Murrow rather biased in such form of over-generalization.

Furthermore, Murrow focused too much on the externals rather than the heart issues.  He virtually blamed almost everything external the system has to offer (except for women, which he emphatically denies upfront in the Introduction chapter), right to the very trivial stuffs such as the types of decoration in the church, which may be perceived as too pinkish or girlie as well as the use of decorative flowers in church. As such, I think he does not render sufficient space to deal with the heart issue, which is more than important than the external.

In conclusion, I would say that I enjoyed reading this book with Murrow sprinkled a dash of humor throughout the book, especially the crude, clean jokes of churchy stuffs. He claimed that many of things we routinely do in church, such as holding hands, the different styles of churchy prayers, etc, are not comfortably handled by men. Nonetheless, after reading this book, I agree that this book is an entertaining, humorous book for light reading but it is NOT a convicting book. I don't feel much of  a punch from this book. I don't feel convicted if I were a man who does not attend church regularly. In fact, I would have felt good because now I know where and how to blame-shift my problem of not going to church. I don't sense Murrow was serious enough to deal with this issue at the core level (particularly with his frequent churchy jokes).

I personally don't think this book deserves a 5-star recommendation.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this e-book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their 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.”

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