A Nashville-area pastor had noticed his congregation was full of women and lacked men. He asked where the men had gone, and had written a reference to how a service started at his church, and it confirmed what I have said for a long time about men not being there.
He noted as the lights dim, the pop-rock music begins as to start "worship". He looks and finds mostly women who lift their hands while singing these mostly secular songs that are popular. It could look like a popular women's conference. Alas, the writer noted, this is not a woman and this was not at the conference. This was a pastor of one of the popular "Emergent" models but he noted too many churches lack participation and leadership from men.
The man behind the ChurchforMen.com Web site blamed it on church music, with that being called "today's music" or "cool, relevant" having made God into a "lover". In churches of this type, today's Christ is labeled as sensitive, caring, full of beauty, and the "worship music" has " the same breathless feel and romantic lyrics as top-40 love songs. Instead of following God, it is now having to have a "personal relationship". Such songs were criticsed by former Nixon assistant Charles Colson as one lacking theological content unlike the sacred hymns in classical music we enjoy, and the questionable material could be sung at a nightclub(1). (One such Emergent church in Los Angeles meets at a nightclub.)
I've seen this at church, and a rock-solid sacred anthem that may have been sung by a Walter Cuttino, Marc Rattray, Kerri Roberts(2), or Cynthia Hanna that has been considered a "masculine anthem" by the author has been tossed in favour of modern choruses laden with lyrics similar to love songs such as "You are beautiful, my sweet, sweet song" and "You're altogether lovely"(3). We don't think of God as a strong, solid man who can defeat Satan. The author than noted how can a man sing lyrics such as those consciously?
Even the hymnals are changing. One major denomination has clearly feminised their upcoming hymnal by having such "modern worship" tunes, which are sung to rock bands, to replace the great sacred song that usually require an organ. They boast it is "cool," "relevant," and "modern," but what does it say when they are clearly lacking the doctrine, theology, and even the rock-solid themes of the great hyms and sacred song of the past? No wonder many churches would rather sing the latest rock song off the radio than to sing from Elijah (Mendelsson), The Creation (Haydn), or any sacred song sung from centuries ago, including the great hymns.(4)
(1) Charles Colson, "Musical Mush: Are We Impairing Our Capacity to Think," BreakPoint, February 6, 2006. The transcript is available here.
(3) The former song is "You Are So Good To Me," Don Chaffer, Ben Pasley, and Robin Pasley/Copyright Blue Renissance Music / Hey Ruth Music / ASCAP (administered by Warner Music Group) Squint Songs. The latter is "Here I Am to Worship," Tim Hughes. Copyright EMI.
(4) I have sung "O Rest in the Lord" from Mendelssohn's Elijah at a recital, and am working on "If With All Your Hearts" from the same work. I attended a concert in June where my voice teacher sang the soprano solos in Haydn's The Creation. The two of us have been involved in numerous productions of Händel's Messiah.