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The first requires an appreciation of the importance of academic orthodoxy, of wrestling with difficult theological ideas instead of watering everything down to the lowest common denominator.
Some of the sermons preached in previous eras—check out the homilies of Augustine or John Chrysostom—were really intellectually challenging!
I, too, have noticed the uneven gender split in church singles groups, and I've been curious about what's going on.
I don't recall this being nearly as true (or at least as apparent) a generation ago.
Everything gets reduced to various bland truisms of pop psychology.
Eventually we'll need to decide whether it was worth it. Make church too easy and friendly, and men will assume it's not worthy of their time.These days, pastors are afraid to leave anyone behind, and sermons have become an exercise in finding entertaining ways to state the obvious.As someone with a doctoral degree in the hard sciences, I find it impossible to recommend most church services to my (mostly male) friends, because the intellectual engagement seems so juvenile and simplistic.But social prejudice probably makes that idea almost impossible in the current climate.Trying to find a pastoral position as a single who's recently graduated from seminary is just about impossible.
I have mixed feelings myself, but I suspect women will be reluctant to give up their new influence, even if it comes at the cost of a gender gap. Well, the natural problem the church has is that it's a cooperative, relationship-valuing community. That's why the entire modern approach to outreach—reducing barriers—is making the problem worse.