"Let life enchant you again." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Thoughts
December 18, 2006

The Godmen Thing

The recent blogpost on Godmen (Thank God For Our Testosterone?) has been getting a bit of attention in terms of both blog comments and links. Do check out the comments if you haven’t already, because some of this blog’s readers have chimed in with some really excellent reflections. Amongst the links is one from Think […]

The recent blogpost on Godmen (Thank God For Our Testosterone?) has been getting a bit of attention in terms of both blog comments and links. Do check out the comments if you haven’t already, because some of this blog’s readers have chimed in with some really excellent reflections.

Amongst the links is one from Think Christian, a really interesting blog, which has put yours truly right alongside heavyweight commentators like Al Molher and First Things (will the wonders of the blogosphere ever cease?). Actually, both Big Al and Mary Angelita Ruiz at First Things have made some telling comments on the Godmen phenomenon.

From Al Molher,

“Christian manhood is not about beating chests and celebrating testosterone — it is about showing up and doing what real Christian men do. Real manhood is demonstrated in the fulfillment of a man’s assigned roles as husband, father, leader, servant, teacher, protector, and provider. Real manhood is in doing what men do, not endless talk about how great it is to be a man. Real Christian manhood is evident in taking up leadership in the home and in the church, not in crude and facile talk about Jesus using profanity when he called Herod “that fox.”

In other words, real Christian men are those who have grown up to be men, not those who embarrass the church and confuse the Gospel with displays of adolescent misbehavior. Let’s hope this movement grows up before it blows up.”

From Mary Angelita Ruiz,

“The aim of meditating on Christ is to know him and love him‚Äîall of him: the judge, the spouse, the brother, the child, the friend, the king, the shepherd. The aim of imitating Christ is to become like him. There are no shortcuts. Slogans, self-help books, rallies, makeovers‚Äîthese will not substitute for worship of Christ, not as we might like him to be, but as he is.”

[tags] Godmen [/tags]

Toni 18 years ago

We’ve been talking (Chris, my wife and I) about the ‘godmen’ thing. For us, true manhood isn’t about all those thing described, but about sacrifice, love, humility and leadership by example. I’ve always been reminded of the passage where husbands are called to love their wives as Christ loved the church, and gave Himself up for her. Self-sacrifice at home is the husband’s role, not insome bleeding-heart, pathos drenched kind of way, but sucking up whatever needs to be absorbed and carrying on.

And sometimes I forget.

I rather wonder if we’re seeing many more women in ministry because men have also forgotten this is their role? Once we stop practicing this at home we have also lost our training ground for ministry in the church. Women are naturally self sacrificial, and tend therefore to step into the breach. Maybe this is where men think there is a link between humility & self sacrifice and feminisation of the church? I guess another aspect of this is in the commands ‘Husbands love your wives’ and Wives respect your husbands’. We men may respect without love, while women can love without respect.

There is rather a lot to be mined here, all interconnected methinks, and it’s going to upset a lot of people.

Paul 18 years ago

Thanks for the excerts – i agree with the first, maturity is something of a process and most things start with a lack of it and gain as it continues, a reading through the book of corinthians gives us an insight into that process in a new church for instance…

I think we are in danger of not the feminsation of the church but how we as educated western men and women have been taught to regard the whole issue of women – now our first reaction is one of horror, the caveman has been educated out of us, we are a civilised people now and anything that smacks of male wildness is just a fraction of away from turning to hair dragging, ugging demands of women…

Perhaps we are seeing a reaction to the swing of this pendulum and rather than men wanting to go back from wence they came we are seeing men wanting something of a balance, although perhaps over correcting slightly…

worship of Jesus is the key – but we should not be so snobby as to suggest that worship which is uber masculine is not authentic worship for those taking part in it – we may not like it from a western liberal educated mindset but then again I don’t think anyone is making us take part in it either…

Fernando Gros 18 years ago

Toni I have no doubt that if this Godmen thing had a better language of love and respect it would be a lot closer to being useful. Thanks for your comments on these posts; they’ve given me a lot of constructive stuff to ponder.

Fernando Gros 18 years ago

If Godmen is an over-correction, it’s a might big one! I’m not sure I can buy that; this looks to me much more like a genuine throwback move, which is why I’m so disquieted by it.

It’s not snobbishness about worship styles – I grew up in a fairly working class environment, listening to hard rock, etc. If a movement want to contextualise their worship with hard rock, foxsports-style presentation and masculine language is a bit of a non-issue.

What Godmen seems to be embodying is a more fundamental shift, or reversal, most notably because it is a masculinity defined with no reference, or no constructive reference to women. The way it is currently construed, there is little hope for balance and the few examples of it’s rhetoric and resutls thus far don’t really give the impression of potential balance either.

Paul 18 years ago

Interesting Fernando, a throw back to what? Some of their hype is a little bit loud and a lot of the media coverage has got its own story, but just through reading all of their website and blog I don’t see anything anti-women (a few wincing moments of clumsy language but heh the comments are open for me to add something if I choose). If they are truly passionate about helping men be better followers of Jesus and it helps some men then to me it’s a good thing…

I would not say that it is a movement that as no constructive reference to women, on their site they say they believe men and women are intrinsically equal just that they want to have a bit of space to do men stuff – which seems from their agenda to be to talk about porn, issues with fathers, anti-intellectualism, isolation etc. That doesn’t strike me as anti-woman it strikes me as trying to help men talk and act about issues that we don’t often talk about, let alone face up to… if some men need an all male environment to feel comfortable/safe space to open and share themselves then I am more than happy to overlook the media hype and hope for changed lives as a result…

Steve Goettler 17 years ago

I see the Godmen movement as originating with man, not God. I have not seen this as truly spiritual movement, but rather just another attempt for the flesh of man to exert itself and think that it is going to be manly.

True manhood is not about getting all pumped up with worldly music and course talking. This is like another PK movement type thing. The media certainly would not be covering it like it is if it was truly from God. Movements from God are always met with great resistance from the world’s establishments.

Just like the New Evangelical Movement of today’s seeker sensitive church movement, this is another twisted attempt at man’s religious efforts in trying to impress God and get the praise of men.

This movement is not built on the eternal rock solid commands of Christ, but rather on human pride and self absorption.

I could be wrong – but I for one will be steering clear of this movement.

Fernando Gros 17 years ago

Steve – thanks for your comment. I also found there to a number of connections to pride in the way this movement presents itself.

bailey 17 years ago


I think as a Christian, there is nothing more humbling for me, than recalling that Jesus died for all us sinners, both little and bigger sinners..and when
we judge rather than try to help those who have gone astray, it shows our lack of humility..
The GodMen seem to be giving the sinners who may think nobody cares for them the opportunity to feel love and support from the group and of
course from the MOST HIGH.. Time will tell if it is real, it will last if not it will dissipate

dwfjn 17 years ago

Leadership is a woman’s role. How grievous for many women who have been denied from being who they are all these years.

Are men still so afraid of women they need a movement like this?

I also believe this so-called ‘study’ that suggests men are leaving the churches in droves is bunk. If anything women are leaving because the churches are so patriarchal and they have had enough. I would love to see how scientific this study is. People are so gullible they believe anything they read.

I am sure some men are leaving the churches(actually everybody is), but it is not because of the ‘feminization’ (even that is insulting) of the church…but as usual men need to blame women. (It never ceases to amaze me to see what men come up with)

Toni 17 years ago

dwfjn – I would be interested to know what kind of church background you have and what kind of church institution your comments are related to. I would certainly agree that in certain parts of the church there is no trace of feminisation, and things continue as they have for a long time.

dwfjn 17 years ago

Toni – My comments are related to any church institution. My concern is why people believe everything they read, like this so-called study. Actually, it is this kind of naivete that drives thinking people away from the church.

If the church has become feminized because there is a fern up front, then blame men not women(btw, having a fern up front does not equal feminization). They are the ones who made that decision. As far as hand holding….no one I know likes it either female or male….blame men for that too as they made that decision. Men have ruled the churches and made these decisions, so blame men not feminization of the church for driving people away. These characteristics are obviously masculine.

Actually since when is feminine related to weak, self sacrificing and meekness. In my experience and women around me, it is the women who are leaders, logical, independent and dominant and active. So when people talk of feminization of something, those are the characteristics I believe they are talking about. I am always surprised when I find out they mean something else.

Toni 17 years ago

Fern up front?

Some parts of the church are not at all feminized – formal Anglican services for example – despite having women leading. Other parts of the church have male leadership, yet sometimes feel distinctly girlie (some current worship songs are the source) in style. I do not think that my question or earlier comment was obvious in its meaning to you.

Fernando Gros 17 years ago

A Fern up front is not all bad!


“Are men still so afraid of women they need a movement like this?”

I think this is a very good question. The idea that men are staying away from church because it is “feminised” holds no water for me and the very idea of “feminisation” as a construct is pretty problematic. In any kind of sociological research there’s an important distinction between the reasons people might give to justify their actions and the actual reasons (if there are any) for their actions. Sometimes people just don’t have a reason for their actions beyond habit and they make up a reason when asked.

For me, if there is a culprit in all this, it’s actually the excessive focus on “the family” as the core unit of society (within the church’s interpretation) and the nuture of said families. In socially conservative contexts this ends up becoming a focus on intra-family relations and by extension focusses on the role of women as nurturers and the raising of children (which is often more in the hands of women than men). Church thus becomes about “caring” for the family.

As a male who is also a primary-care-giver (that title says it all really!!!) I can attest to how difficult it often is to intergrate into “normal” church life when the roles are “reversed.”

I don’t think the Godmen fear women as much as they might fear a lot of other things that are redefining the place of men as breadwinners and cultural leaders. They fear difference, globalisation, economic insecurity, personal hygene, etc.

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