Religion News Service story about the gender imbalance in Christian churches - not a new story. One thing I liked about the article is that unlike most of this type, it took the relatively long view, reaching back to 19th century concerns on the same matter, "Muscular Christianity" and so on.
Negatives: It's a Protestant-oriented story, with no references to Roman Catholics or the Orthodox - but I thought this quote from an academic was spot-on.
The gender gap is not a distinctly American one but it is a Christian one, according to Murrow. The theology and practices of Judaism, Buddhism and Islam offer "uniquely masculine" experiences for men, he said.
"Every Muslim man knows that he is locked in a great battle between good and evil, and although that was a prevalent teaching in Christianity until about 100 years ago, today it's primarily about having a relationship with a man who loves you unconditionally," Murrow said.
"And if that's the punch line of the Gospel, then you're going to have a lot more women than men taking you up on your offer because women are interested in a personal relationship with a man who loves you unconditionally. Men, generally, are not."
Fascinating. We tend to believe that the way we conceive of religion and spirituality today is the same world-view shared by Christians forever. Just not so. Christianity defined as finding personal fulfillment through that unconditional love and acceptance is a fairly modern emphasis - oh, it's always been there, in the mystics (without the explicit "personal fulfillment" part), and then, painting in broad strokes, with the evangelistic impulses of the late 18th century in England the US, but as a whole, this is an innovative emphasis, borne of a completely different worldview that is personal, not cosmic, individual, not tied into the structure of reality. Interesting.