Thursday, 9 September 2010

Fatherhood, Healthy Masculinity and Churchgoing

In "The Truth About Men & Church," an article in the June 2003 edition of Touchstone magazine, C of E Vicar, Robbie Low, provides a fascinating and disturbing piece on how much a churchgoing father influences the likelihood of his children growing up to be churchgoers:

if a father does not go to church, no matter how faithful his wife’s devotions, only one child in 50 will become a regular worshipper. If a father does go regularly, regardless of the practice of the mother, between two-thirds and three-quarters of their children will become churchgoers (regular and irregular). If a father goes but irregularly to church, regardless of his wife’s devotion, between a half and two-thirds of their offspring will find themselves coming to church regularly or occasionally.
A non-practicing mother with a regular father will see a minimum of two-thirds of her children ending up at church. In contrast, a non-practicing father with a regular mother will see two-thirds of his children never darken the church door. If his wife is similarly negligent that figure rises to 80 percent!
The results are shocking, but they should not be surprising. They are about as politically incorrect as it is possible to be; but they simply confirm what psychologists, criminologists, educationalists, and traditional Christians know. You cannot buck the biology of the created order. Father’s influence, from the determination of a child’s sex by the implantation of his seed to the funerary rites surrounding his passing, is out of all proportion to his allotted, and severely diminished role, in Western liberal society.
Low also has some challenging things to say about how we do church these days:
Emasculated Liturgy, gender-free Bibles, and a fatherless flock are increasingly on offer. 
What results, he argues, is worship and communities in which healthy masculinity, masculine leadership and fatherhood and are being devalued.

This is not to say that women and mothers are somehow inferior or deficient in their witness to their children. Their feminine influence is just as important as that of the fathers. The motherly and fatherly influences are different and were designed to complement one another.

Read it all here (H/T VirtueOnline).