When I was a young child I remember a spring day when my father was planting our winter supply of potatoes. Being rural poor and with a lot of mouths to feed, planting and harvesting a good garden was really important to my mom and dad. As dad was getting everything ready for the planting a Jehovah Witness gentlemen drove up our driveway. Since we never ridiculed or turned them away we were on their visitation list. The gentleman approached my dad and asked; “Do you have time to hear about God and how He can help you?”
My dad answered; “Well, I have to plant my garden. Do you have time to help me plant my potatoes?” The gentlemen shook his head; “I’m sorry but I’m really busy so I don’t have time to help you. And I’m not dressed for dirty work.”
My dad looked the man and quietly said; “If you don’t have time to help me plant my potatoes, I don’t have time to listen to you.” The Jehovah Witness left and that was the end of that!
At the core of every man is a hard-wired need to ‘provide’; a need to provide sustenance and security for his family. Oddly, this ‘knowledge’ of the male ‘inner landscape’ seems to have been lost to our generation. Women have a need to ‘nurture’ and men have a need to ‘provide’. In our society’s rush to make everyone equal and the same, this duality was denied until it was all but forgotten. We now wonder why men don’t live up to their responsibilities. We now wonder why boys don’t become men. We now wonder why men don’t bother with church.
Douglas Todd reports in his Ottawa Citizen article, “As women rise, men vanish from churches” (Dec. 29, 2012); “The gender imbalance could be far worse. The minister at Mount Seymour United Church is painfully aware men have been quietly, but in huge numbers, streaming away from many of North America’s Christian churches. ‘I don’t think many of us have answers to why it’s happening,’ says Talbot, who has led Mount Seymour United for eight years while raising two boys in a same-sex relationship with her partner, Brenda. While Talbot wonders if many men have lost interest in the church because it no longer confers social status, another part of her worries men have been turned off by a church that might be reflecting the subtle devaluing of men that’s prevalent in secular culture.”
Most of the time I worship in a church filled with thugs, thieves, drunks and drug addicts. They are all male and many of them are from jail. Every man in this fellowship has had a hand out of his prison by Jesus Christ. Jesus got his hands dirty with each one of them. That is the Gospel preached there. The Gospel of Jesus for ‘bad’ men is hard-hitting, confrontational and ‘in your face’. No man there, would say Jesus didn’t have time to help them with their ‘dirty work’. Over the years that I have worked and worshipped in this church I have realized that there is little difference between the twisted broken men of my church and men elsewhere. We all have ‘dirty work’ that needs to be done. We all need Jesus to help us. Sadly, we often don’t meet up with that Jesus in mainline churches.