Worship: when men stop leading
(By Køren Sierkegaard, sitting in a Starbucks across from Redeemer Presbyterian Church.)
It never bothered me to have women up front leading worship musically through singing in the choir and playing the organ and piano. Even directing the choir. Growing up we experienced some of these things, yet worship leadership was male and masculine. The work of the women was rarely intrusive and never pushy. Our parents knew men should lead men to the throne room of God to worship the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and they knew women would follow their men.
Now worship leadership is female and feminine. We have given over to women the work of leading women to the throne room of God to worship the “Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer,” and men follow their women. Yes, women sing in the choir and play the organ and piano and direct the choir, but women also show you to your seat and collect the offering and serve the bread and wine and read the Scripture and give the announcements and exhort the congregation concerning the importance of the upcoming congregational meeting and call the congregation to worship and lead the pastoral prayer…
Even when the women leading us in worship are pushy, their prayers and prophecies and announcements and exhortations and the songs they choose and the way they sing is hopelessly feminine. After all, it was Boston’s Women’s Health Book Collective that declared “Our Bodies, Ourselves.”
So today, even in the most conservative churches, we men fall all over ourselves proving to the world that Christians are no different. Just happier because we have Jesus.
Nowhere are we more eager to show them our sameness than tipping our hat to the new monstrous regiment of women. But retaining some residual fear of God and wanting to keep a certain minimal validity to our “complementarian” moniker, like all hypocrites, we make a show of submitting to God’s Word. Concerning Biblical sexuality, God’s male and female mattering somewhere somehow is sufficient—say, for instance, by reserving the pulpit most Sundays for the “Senior” pastor and keeping that “Senior” pastor male.
Note I said “male”—not “manly.” It might be a male in our pulpit each Sunday, but his leadership and preaching demonstrate full compliance with the monstrous regiment of women. His illustrations are touching, his presentation is suggestive, his doctrine is nuanced, his prayers are graceful, and his pauses pregnant.
He steers clear of any slightest expression of male authority. His highest aspiration is to avoid offending the monstrous regiment of women.
Yes, I know these are sinful thoughts and I’m fully aware the grotesque regiment of effeminates will punish me for pointing these things out.
But you know, life is short. As the ads for Schlitz said in much better days, “Go for the gusto.”
“Gusto” was the placeholder for manliness back when men chugged their beer and loved their women. Yeah, it was a long, long time ago.
Now men caress their beer and love themselves.