By Brian Welter
Social justice Christians, like the kind I studied with and under in the United Church of Canada, are utilitarian in their approach to God. They use God for their political adventurism and in telling their sentimental, often anti-male, feminist stories. Only the most obnoxious of human beings would do this to God.
In contrast, an article at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article7127223.ece discusses a Sufi order's intimacy with each other and with God. The members chant the Koranic names of God throughout the evening, addressing each other as Brother.
"The chanting ended. I was given fruit juice, dates and baklava, and introduced to several members of the group, who extended the eastern courtesy of touching their hearts as they shook my hand. I may have been feeling light-headed, but the room seemed to be charged with celebration and a strong sense of brotherhood - as if we were a sports team that had just won an important fixture.
When it came time to leave, one of my brothers called out: “Have a good evening!”
It was nearly one o'clock in the morning."
Raised a Catholic, I spent over 3 years in the United Church, studying theology and engaged in ministry, and never once felt a sense of brotherhood. The femini-nazis psychologically assaulted men, with the silent approbation of the hippy male professors. This reflects the fact that the failure of modern Christianity is an internal failure, as Pope Benedict alludes to in saying that the Church has brought the evils of pedophilia on itself. Don't blame the media, in other words.
Ironically, the liberal denominations, like the United Church of Canada, are the ones suffering the worst loss of adherents and voice in society, desperate though they are to conform to the values of the mainstream. The lack of brotherhood (or sisterhood, despite all the feminist propaganda) is total. Rejection of the creeds, community, and masculine leadership has led to the downfall of Christianity.
Evangelical Christians, and Protestants in general, practice gimmickry more than anything. Protestant spirituality = gimmickry and fadishness. Protestants are always coming up with new, improved religion, whether it's the Emerging Church, the Deep Church, Neo-Monasticism, or some dramatic announcement by a famous pastor. I simply can't keep up with the factory of theological trends. The evangelicals are as gimmicky and trendy as the social justice Christians.
The Islamic brotherhood and sense of stability contrasts sharply with this. The true "menace" of Islam is that it is drawing people away from secularism and these goofy churches because of its integrity and community, its sense of service to others, and its allowance for patriarchy and masculinity. These last two are in sharp contrast with my experience with liberal Protestantism, where men are treated like H1N1.
Christianity, with such writers as Jean Vanier, Henri Nouwen, and the screeching feminist chorus, has become a therapeutic religion. Christians no longer categorize good and evil in absolute theological terms, as they should, but in terms of feelings. Don't call bad bad, just find the underlying causes, especially the social causes. Find someone, or something, to blame. No one, especially non straight white males, is responsible for their actions anymore. Just tell your story, get a little emotional, and boldly declare that you are getting on with the new version of you.
Islam, because of its reverence for the Koran, would never humiliate or lower itself to therapeutic religion. Bad is bad and good is good. The hierarchy, the patriarchy, remain. They remain because they are good. For Christianity to escape its downfall, it must embrace patriarchy and masculinity. It must refashion a Christian knighthood. Forget all the hippy theologians, and just get on with it, without the gimmickry, and without trying to please women. You'll never please them so forget about them. Perhaps the best church would be an all-male church!
Christians could learn a lot from Muslims. First, separate the men from the women during church services and for everything concerning religion. Don't just have a "men's group" and a "ladies group." Make it a practice to separate the men from the women at Church. That would reduce a lot of the feminization at church. When people complain about "churchiness," what they're really complaining about is feminization of church life.
Put men back in firm control of every aspect of church life.
Religion should make men more masculine and women more feminine. Christianity has failed to do this, turning women into coarse she-men, and the few men who still bother going to church into sissies or clod-footed Mr. Beans too shy and inept to order a coffee at Starbucks. Christianity has made men useless.
Islam is the answer if Christianity is not willing to remasculate men. Christians should be ashamed of their treatment of men. They deserve the secular, anti-Christian society in which they live. They helped build it, after all. Think about abortion: 50% of Canada's population is supposedly Catholic, and the other half is largely Protestant. So why is abortion even a consideration, an issue. Christians from 2000 years ago have staunchly opposed abortion. If Canada were ever 50% Muslim, would there be abortion?
Promote the Fatherhood of God. Remind people that God is not a utilitarian thing to use for their projects. Nor is God to be used for people's personal development. God is not the psychoanalyst. People should go to the psychoanalyst for therapy. God is about the things of God. People should remember how the ancient Israelites feared God. While the original Hebrew meaning might not be the same as how we take the word "fear," there was at that time no doubt a deeper awe, reverence, and respect for God than Christians and secularists have now.
Muslim men chanting the name of God all evening is a pure way to relate to God, because nothing is being asked. God is not being used. Men are together, building brotherhood, and therefore community (which can only be built through brotherhood - hence the dire need nowadays for patriarchy, masculinity, and fatherhood).
Islam now is superior to Christianity because male-bashing is not allowed. Christian male-bashing is often subtle, as when a Christian magazine hypes up the adventures and successes of women while the same publication is silent about men, especially white straight men. This is a very common practice in the United Church of Canada, the Anglican Church, etc. If you want to lose male church members, and eventually die out as a denomination, do it the United Church way: Dramatically highlight the greatness of women, repeatedly, and remain silent about men and their achievements. Then deny that you are biased.
Men deserve more, and if we must join Islam to find it, then let's do it. This is such a sad thing to happen to Christian tradition.