invigorate it, and nurture it?
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“We believe that healthy growing congregations have a balance of masculine and feminine spirit, reflecting our triune God. We envision female and male believers, lay and clergy, serving Christ as co-laborers and partners in Christ. This is a unity issue, not a gender issue. We must become ONE in Christ.”
“Women and men must stand side-by-side as co-laborers in Christ. The difficult challenges facing ministry to men must be enjoined by men and women in genuine partnership. We need each other, more than ever.”
~ from UMC Men’s Ministries Guidelines
“The alienation of many men from the femininity of Christian spirituality has created grounds for an enormous misunderstanding about men and religion that every pastoral care-giver must recognize and confront. The absence of so many men from so many churches, their lack of involvement, their diffidence and even hostility to Christian piety, has created a mostly unconscious assumption in our culture that men are not naturally religious. It is widely assumed that prayer and spirituality are basically female enterprises, and that all but a few unusual men can relate to religion in only a peripheral way.
“A trip outside the bounds of American Christian culture, a journey into the temples, monasteries, and shrines of the world’s religions, would quickly shatter such a misandrist illusion”
“Our religion-alienated American men represent neither a wave of the future nor a rational advance over centuries of superstition. They are an anomaly, a quirk, an oddity in the community of all the men who ever lived, who ever wondered at the Unspeakable Mystery, sought alignment with the Eternal Tao, burned with affection for the Great Holy, or trembled before the Totally Other. And all of this ancient affinity for God – every bit of it – still lies buried deep in their unconscious, waiting to be called forth into a spiritual life that will make them a little less mad and a little more human. It waits there, this penchant for the Holy, drowned out by Muzak and numbed by the dreariness of shopping malls, paralyzed by stress and enervated by neglect, until something wakes it. Who will call religiosity fully to life in men, invigorate it, and nurture it in the face of the death-dealing boredom of modern secularity? That is the task of the church in its care of souls.”
~ from “The Crisis of Men and the Church” in Masculine Spirituality and the Bible, by Patrick M. Arnold