Book Reviews

Book Review: Why Men Hate Going to Church

I read Why Men Hate Going to Church by David Murrow in February. It’s now April, and I’m finally reviewing this book. Besides my usual procrastination, there is a reason for my delay: this book is worth thinking about.

I was skeptical at first. I expected this to be nothing but gender stereotyping and excuse-making. Murrow does rely a bit heavily on gender-based stereotypes, but he didn’t miss the point. Everything we do communicates something, regardless of our intent. If our building is messy, it communicates to a guest that we might not care about the facilities, that we don’t take care of things, or that we don’t have the time or resources to devote to cleaning. The real reason might have been that the janitor got sick and we didn’t find a replacement, but that’s not what is communicated.

Murrow suggests that the typical church communicates almost exclusively feminine values. When the Bible presents two counter-balancing ideas, the church has a bias towards the feminine. Which gets more pulpit time? The lion of the tribe of Judah or the lamb of God? Does our average song service communicate that Jesus is a conquering king or a compassionate friend? Murrow includes a “man-friendliness” test online. One of his questions is, “If you replaced ‘Jesus’ with any other name, how many  of your songs last Sunday could be a top-40 pop love song?” It’s not hard to imagine how this affects men.

This book is absolutely worth your time. It will help you evaluate the tendencies of your congregation to skew towards the feminine at the expense of your men.