|In the last article, I posed the question, " Why aren't there more men in the Church?". That provoked some comment, and the question, "Why should there be more men in Church?". One manhood on-line member asked "What's the point anyway, why does a relationship with Jesus matter any more than relationships with any person?" I'll try to tackle that question in the following article, and don't forget if you're a member of Manhood on-line, you can post your comments, or if your not, e-mail me through the link at the bottom of this page.
"There's nothing like the original.... "
I suppose before we ask the question, "Why should men go to Church?", we need to define some terms and ask a more basic question, "Why have Church anyway?" Well the way the word "Church" is used in the New Testament, refers to a group of people who believe in Jesus. They have that in common and they meet because of that. The Greek word is "ekklesia" and you can find it used in your Bible in places such as Romans Ch16,v5 and 1 Corinthians Ch16,v19. So when we talk about "going to church", the original Church - Paul the Apostle, Peter and so on, would have assumed you were going to see the local group of Christians. They might have been in a house, a prison, or in the open air. The main thing was the people, not the place. In fact, the book of Hebrews calls on Christians to not neglect meeting together to encourage each other, to spur each other on, to love and good works. It puts the emphasis on encouraging each other not performing some dry ritual. The clear distinction between the Old testament and the New is the end of rituals, with the coming of Jesus. So our Church meetings should reflect that. If your's doesn't - time for a change.
"Find yourself in Church this Sunday.... "
When the ad agencies got involved in a campaign to get people back to Church someone came up with the catch phrase "Find yourself in Church this Sunday". It looked good on a billboard, and created some ripples of interest at the time. Trouble is, it further reinforced some people's perceptions that going to Church is some inward-looking, contemplative thing. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is outward looking - ie. we are looking at the source documents of Christianity - God's communication to us, and we are interacting with each other.Unfortunately, men often have a tendency to be threatened by such interaction. Especially as we get older, we find it more difficult to change. We stick in zones of safety - sometimes even our circle of friends shrinks, as we shy away from new relationships. Women don't seem to relate in the same way. That may be why there are more of them in Church. Some men are not great conversation starters, and they struggle with shallow talk about the weather,their jobs and sport, just waiting for the chance to get away. Yet there is no such thing as a "Robinson Crusoe" Christian. We need each other for encouragement to push on, and Church, whether it be in a mock-Gothic stone building, or a weatherboard hall - is the place to get it.
The means is not the end......
Going to Church does not make you a Christian - although as I've said if you are one - it's the best thing you can do. What makes you a Christian is the relationship you have with God. To have a relationship with God may sound strange to you. Chances are that's because your God is too distant. Perhaps he is the "watchmaker" God. That is, he makes the world, winds it up, and lets it run. End of story - end of God. Or maybe he is the "cosmic cop" God - there to spoil fun and frown on bad behaviour, and absent the rest of the time. Yet if you look at the source documents, you find a very different God to either of those. You find a God of relationship. Even though we have turned away from him, he has reached out to us. Think of the father in the story of the prodigal son, and you have a picture of the God who is there. And if you have a relationship with that God, then Church is not a chore, it is simply a meeting of "the family".
What about you...
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