Tuesday, September 06, 2005

An interesting problem to have

It’s come up in casual conversation in my parish that we have attracted single men, but not single women. As you may have noticed, more churches have the opposite problem of repelling men and would love to have our “problem.”

From time to time, I may speculate why our parish has this interesting demographic. For starters:

1. We are a small parish, about 60-80 I would guess. So it could be a fluke. If we continue to grow, the numbers likely will even out. And good looking single men like myself are sure to attract single women sooner or later. (Why are you laughing?)

2. Our worship is definitely not feminized as at many churches. There are no Jesus-is-my-boyfriend songs. No sugary sweetness. Even the way we sing the canticles is more masculine than at many churches.

3. Like all REC parishes, we have no women priests. Like it or not, many men just don’t relate well to women priests or pastors.

This isn’t a pivotal doctrinal issue with me. I have no problem being in communion with churches who have women priests. I even think a Biblical case can be made for women priests (although I would disagree with it).

Yet, something just rubs me the wrong way when I’m in a service with a woman priest. And I prefer communion be giving to me by a man. Maybe that makes me a male chauvinist pig. But that’s the way I’m wired. And I’m not alone.

4. Except for our excellent organists (who play up in the balcony), women don’t have highly visible roles in worship. And while I don’t think that attracts any men, maybe that has turned off a female visitor or two in the past. I don’t know. And I do think the average woman responds better to male leadership than the average man does to female leadership.

Well, that should stir up enough discussion for now.

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