Sunday, April 15, 2007

Ambassadors for ECM

I preached this morning on the difference between Tony Soprano and Jesus. Trust me, it worked...I think. The latest Christian Century has an interesting article on manly Christianity (as opposed to the feminine wussy stuff that happens in most of our churches) (Missing Men: Is the Church Low on Testosterone). It strikes me that there are Christians who would rather follow Tony Soprano, who knows better than to show weakness after he is shot, than Jesus, who reveals the holes in his hands and side after his resurrection.

At First United our student chaplains did their first sermons as ambassadors for ECM. Lindsey has posted her sermon. She began:

“Peace be with you”. These are the first words the frightened disciples hear Jesus speak that night in the locked room. The first words they hear after witnessing his brutal death on the cross. The first words after they have witnessed the empty tomb and feared the worst. These are the words Jesus chooses to use the first time he sees his disciples after he has been raised. Out of all the greetings He could have given to the disciples upon their reunion He chose one of peace. What did these words of peace mean for those disciples and what do they mean for us today?

By the standards of the English dictionary peace is defined simply as: quiet; tranquility; mental calm; serenity; or freedom from disturbance. While these are all valid representations of peace, within the Christian faith peace is much more then this literal translation.

Read the rest here.


Kevin said...


I think you make a false distinction. It's not either the brutal masculinity of Tony Soprano vs the feminine Jesus who shared his feelings.

Men, by-and-large, are more action oriented. We want to know how to live our faith. Give us something to do and we'll do it.

Missing men, outside of church leadership (again, action-job oriented), is a problem in our churches. And the problem will grow because church and faith will be seen as something that women do.


Erin said...

I don't think that I was actually making that distinction. The contrast I was drawing was between Tony Soprano who when he is wounded has to beat up the youngest toughest guy in the group to prove that he's the toughest and Jesus who resists the impulse to use violence in return for the violence he receives. And when he appears to the disciples he doesn't prove to them that everything is okay by showing them power but identifies himself by his wounds.

So the issue isn't action vs feelings but a theology of glory vs the theology of the cross.
I do think that the movement described in the article is a perversion of the Gospel.

The issue of why women go to church more than men is an interesting one. I'm not sure it is a question of action vs contemplation - after all the Biblical image of that dichotomy is two women, Mary and Martha.

Rodney Stark thinks that it is because men, especially young men, are more likely to take risks and therefore are more likely to risk damnation than women.

Until we have a better sense of why this is so though it will be difficult to do anything about it. But I would hate to think that hymns about Jesus giving men 'a pair' is the solution.