What do we need each other for?

It’s no secret that men often find it hard to “connect” to church life. Part of the reason for this, I suspect, is that men are not as naturally excited as women tend to be about sitting around and talking (sharing their hearts, that sort of thing). The female communal instinct will gravitate to a Bible study; it’s less certain that this sort of thing will draw men, who would rather be hunting elk together, framing out a kitchen together, scaling a climbing wall together, or playing a round of horseshoes. I’m not saying any of this is universally the case (yes, I’m stereotyping), nor am I saying it deserves unqualified acceptance (real men can talk theology), but I am suggesting that Christian “life together” often lacks an outlet for manly interests and energies.

It need not be this way. There are actually lots of things men might do together to the glory of God in a serious Christian community. But this leads us to a particular problem of our time. It was not so long ago when men needed each other for a variety of everyday tasks: barn raising, garden planting, crop harvesting, wood cutting, cattle branding, fishing, hunting, auto repair, or what have you. A significant change introduced by industrialization (handing over our work to machines), urbanization (availability of professional services for every conceivable need), and “virtualization” (increasing localization of all work on the personal computer) is we don’t need other men for very many projects anymore. I don’t need other men to help me run my laptop, and so while it’s perhaps still easy enough to play with other men, it’s tough to find meaningful work for us to do together. To that extent, it’s hard to meaningfully share life together.

Lots of loose ends here. Just something I’m thinking about.

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