The latest worship innovation among the evangelical set is GodMen, headed up by Christian comedian Brad Stine (think Dennis Leary with no profanity and Republican politics). Tapping into the ongoing evangelical dismay over the “feminization” of the church, Stine and company have created a worship space that is “unapologetically male, including plenty of rock and roll and sex talk.” MSNBC’s review tells us, “strobe lights flashed, and tracks by the Killers thumped from speakers stacked on either side of a stage. Four large video screens showed clips of karate fights, car chases, and ‘Jackass’-style stunts.” Are you pumped yet, brother?
Now unless the Holy Trinity has been replaced by football, Nascar, and power tools, I’m inclined to write GodMen off as another example of how the modern church confuses therapeutic self help with ministry of the Word. The worship song video accompanying the MSNBC article (warning: listen at your own risk) certainly seems more appropriate as a theme song for the newest Tim Allen show than for church. Perhaps it’s because I’m not entirely sold on the idea of a “feminization crisis” in the church–though the topic seems to make its way around the Christian blogosphere once every six months–or that this crisis is anything new, but I suspect GodMen will have little appeal beyond a certain demographic. Its definition of masculinity is a quite narrow construction confined to the Nascar, fried food, extreme sports, Blue Collar Comedy Tour set. To be fair, this problem is not unique to GodMen — almost all men’s ministries these days draw a very small circle around what is acceptably masculine. GodMen would probably write off a pseudo-intellectual Yankee like myself as hopelessly “feminized,” as I prefer dressing up for church, the liturgy, and the pipe organ (cranked up to 11 of course).