There’s been a recent uptick – or explosion – of blog posts complaining about the “feminization of the church, and not just from the Wild at Heart crew.

Others are decrying worship songs they call “Jesus is my boyfriend” ditties. And I have to wonder: why the sudden Christian male angst over intimacy with God?

We’re supposed to be enlightened 21st century dudes, after all, not stuck in 1950s Leave It To Beaver gender roles. So, what’s the deal with accusing the church of becoming “feminized”?

I’m trying to envision the preferred, balanced, man-friendly alternative – Perhaps worship services based on professional wrestling, or maybe a tractor pull. Picture with me: the stage is adorned with flannel-draped power tools, and the pastor looks like Tim “Tool Man” Taylor, or perhaps that icon of ultimate Canadian manliness – (insert genuflection) –  the king of duct tape, Red Green.

Okay, that was a little silly, but I’m not clear on the appropriate response to the angst over the church being “feminized” (the decorating committee chose pastel colors for the foyer?).

I suspect the real culprit behind church feminization and “Jesus is my boyfriend” songs is the false dichotomy between God’s transcendence and imminence.

When songs like Craig Musseau’s Arms Of Love or Brian Doerksen’s Father, I Want You To Hold Me were written in the late 1980s/early 1990s, they counter-balanced a missing element in worship: that God is an approachable, loving Father. Previously, most of us sang songs that highlighted God’s transcendence, holiness, and the need for reverential respect (fear) of the Lord. Some of these churches considered songs of intimacy as an attack on God’s sovereignty.

But pendulums swing wide and far, as pendulums are wont to do.

Today, it’s fair to say there’s been an over-correction. God is now viewed as the Big Guy in the Sky, a smiling “hey, holiness is no big deal” bobblehead, or with the cavalier attitude of “Jesus is my homeboy.”

I suppose we could start an online poll: “Syrupy Worship Songs that Send Me into a Diabetic Coma.” But focusing on just one side of pendulum swing only serves to perpetuate the false dichotomy.

(Insert sound of gale-force winds here)

Wow, almost got knocked over as the pendulum swung past again! It seems to be swinging hard in the opposite direction. Early 21st century peeps have embraced “mystery” – am understandable reaction against narrow-minded fundamentalism – but take it to an extreme that makes God distant and unknowable.

Respect? Sure.

Wonder? Okay.

Mystery? Cool.

Intimacy? Not at my tractor pull, buddy!

We need to get comfortable with living in the tension – radical middle believers who hold in one hand the idea that God is holy, sovereign, and worthy of deep reverential respect (fear of the Lord), and with the other hand, that He’s loving, approachable, favorably-disposed toward us, and shows up even if there’s only two or three of us in the room.

There’s no biblical basis for juxtaposing God’s imminence against His transcendence. Loving God “with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength (Mark 12:29)” is no threat to masculinity. God the Father is – and always has been – both near and far.

“For this is what the high and lofty One says – He who lives forever, whose name is holy: ‘I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite’ (Isaiah 57:15).”

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