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SDG   

Nick, you misunderstand me. I'm saying that having something called Man Church is automatically alienating to the target demographic and something that any self-aware guy with a "church problem" would have twice as much of a problem with. As a marketing ploy, it's handicapped out of the gate. I'd like to think most guys would rather let church be church and be a man about it than go to something called Man Church. At church church, at least a guy can tell himself he's doing it for the wife and have the security of holding the whole thing at arm's length. Like a guy at a department store holding his wife's pocketbook. As awkward as that may be, it's nothing compared to trying to sell a guy on a Man Bag. At that point they're asking you to own the bag. No thanks.

Plus, how lame is it that guys are supposed to not want to sing. Lame lame lame.

Edited by SDG

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SDG wrote:

: I'm saying that having something called Man Church is automatically alienating to the target demographic and something that any self-aware guy with a "church problem" would have twice as much of a problem with. As a marketing ploy, it's handicapped out of the gate.

Hmmm, what about "The Man Show"? It worked for Jimmy Kimmel, did it not?

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Nick, you misunderstand me. I'm saying that having something called Man Church is automatically alienating to the target demographic and something that any self-aware guy with a "church problem" would have twice as much of a problem with. As a marketing ploy, it's handicapped out of the gate. I'd like to think most guys would rather let church be church and be a man about it than go to something called Man Church. At church church, at least a guy can tell himself he's doing it for the wife and have the security of holding the whole thing at arm's length. Like a guy at a department store holding his wife's pocketbook. As awkward as that may be, it's nothing compared to trying to sell a guy on a Man Bag. At that point they're asking you to own the bag. No thanks.

Except this "church" does not want the guy to not come for the wrong reasons (for his wife, but not for himself), nor does this "church" wish to alienate those in the single state. And this church wants to demonstrate that, far from being a "Ned Flanders", being a Christian means living the heights of one's masculinity, living vicariously for God, not unlike the saints of old.

As to whether it is successful or not, that's up to those who choose to attend this "church".

Plus, how lame is it that guys are supposed to not want to sing. Lame lame lame.
I read the book, which laid out the case as to why many men are very subconscious in singing in mixed-gender environments. (Not all, of course... I have been compared to Scrooge's nephew in the 1938 version w Reginald Owen). Those who shy from church music do like singing certain songs--but these would not work for 6:30 am.

Which comes down to the same issue I laid above. You can complain about this church trying to meet these non-Ned-Flanders where they are at, or they can chastise them for being lame for not having a natural tendency to sing in public places (particularly those songs outside of sporting events). Pick one or the other.

Incidentally, SDG, I'm surprised you wrote that last part. You and I well know that within our denomination there is a sizeable lot of people who prefer going to midweek liturgies and daily mass, above the Sunday liturgy, partially because there is no singing. (And with the choice of songs one usually is forced with, I can't say I fully blame them). But this is a tangent.

and i'm sure they've got a truckload full of "Man Church" bumper stickers, baseball caps, etc. etc. just waiting for the lucky attendees. It really does seem to be about marketing and merchandising. (Like so many other things in our society.)

Same for the "Church for Men" site and associated books, MP3s and the like.

People make pennies off of a bumper sticker industry. You can hardly pin capitalism on this endeavor, because marketing, at its most altruistic, is nothing more than telling people that you have what they want, and how to get it. If the pastor of this "church" uses this as a means to get the word out, and not relying on just the internet, then he could be drawing some unchurched to his service.

I'm not saying it's successful. I am certainly not advocating going to such a service. I just understand the needs of those who go to this, and I don't fault them. For someone who is firmly entrenched in my own denomination, it is something I keep in the back of my head, occassionally looking at opportunities for the non-Ned's would feel more excited about coming.

Nick

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SDG   
Nick, you misunderstand me. I'm saying that having something called Man Church is automatically alienating to the target demographic and something that any self-aware guy with a "church problem" would have twice as much of a problem with. As a marketing ploy, it's handicapped out of the gate. I'd like to think most guys would rather let church be church and be a man about it than go to something called Man Church. At church church, at least a guy can tell himself he's doing it for the wife and have the security of holding the whole thing at arm's length. Like a guy at a department store holding his wife's pocketbook. As awkward as that may be, it's nothing compared to trying to sell a guy on a Man Bag. At that point they're asking you to own the bag. No thanks.
Except this "church" does not want the guy to not come for the wrong reasons (for his wife, but not for himself), nor does this "church" wish to alienate those in the single state. And this church wants to demonstrate that, far from being a "Ned Flanders", being a Christian means living the heights of one's masculinity, living vicariously for God, not unlike the saints of old.

As to whether it is successful or not, that's up to those who choose to attend this "church".

Nick, Nick, Nick. If everyone just said "It's up to the people to decide" and refrained from critical analysis and prognostications, where would punditry be, to say nothing of wit? :P I don't need market data to observe a branding problem, let alone to crack wise about some Evangelical niche marketing of church to Manly Men. I stand by my Man Bag critique of Man Church branding.

Anyway, I think you may be somewhat misjudging the guy whose socially constructed masculinity takes cover in the diffused personal initiative of attending church as a family affair. Just because he holds personal responsibility for attending church at arm's length (like a woman's purse) doesn't necessarily mean that he's fundamentally there "for the wrong reasons." Especially compared to some guy who only wants to go if there's no wimmin or wimpy singing and we can hang out as guys and eat donuts, and do it at a manly hour like 6:30am so we've got the rest of Sunday morning for, like, more important stuff. (I know these early morning church types. Unless they're old people, they just want to get it over with.)

: I'm saying that having something called Man Church is automatically alienating to the target demographic and something that any self-aware guy with a "church problem" would have twice as much of a problem with. As a marketing ploy, it's handicapped out of the gate.

Hmmm, what about "The Man Show"? It worked for Jimmy Kimmel, did it not?

That's an exception that proves the rule. Like "the men's room," not every "Man __________" implies a default non-manly identity for "__________." But "Man Church" does. I was oversimplifying for the sake of oversimplicity.

Edited by SDG

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: I'm saying that having something called Man Church is automatically alienating to the target demographic and something that any self-aware guy with a "church problem" would have twice as much of a problem with. As a marketing ploy, it's handicapped out of the gate.

Hmmm, what about "The Man Show"? It worked for Jimmy Kimmel, did it not?

That's an exception that proves the rule. Like "the men's room," not every "Man __________" implies a default non-manly identity for "__________." But "Man Church" does. I was oversimplifying for the sake of oversimplicity.

Not to mention that there was a satirical edge in the Carrolla/Kimmel years. It walked the fine line of celebrating and mocking being a beer guzzling, woman oggling neanderthal. Sometimes it was successful, often not. But Man Church seems more serious than satire.

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I don't need market data to observe a branding problem, let alone to crack wise about some Evangelical niche marketing of church to Manly Men. I stand by my Man Bag critique of Man Church branding.

I was thinking it more thoroughly, and I think this is where your "Man Bag" critique falls short: Take a woman's purse, and remove all those things that make a purse, um, feminine. Remove the strap. Remove the overly-visual bag-part. Cut it and sew it together in such a manner so that it simply fulfills a basic purpose, carry your money, your ID, your credit cards and your family photos. Have it portable so that it can be carried in one's back pocket. Let's reinvent the purse--even drastically--so that men can benefit from its usage, so that a need can be met, without compromising a man's id, particularly those who succomb to society's dissatisfaction with "girly men" (whether you hold those views or not).

Indeed, it's no longer a "man bag", it's a wallet. But it's what most men use.

This "pastor" made some serious drastic revisions for his "Man Church". I see Church as much bigger institution than an interdenominational weekly morning outreach with no sacraments, no music, but good preaching that is specifically targeted towards a particular, hard-to-reach, demographic. And it's got this going for it--it is truth in advertising. Men (and women) who attend know exactly what they're getting into.

Incidentally, those folks trying to make an actual "man bag" work, are like those "men's ministries" where the leader is anything-but-masculine, singing "Draw Me Close to You", and having men "share their feeeeelings."

Anyway, I think you may be somewhat misjudging the guy whose socially constructed masculinity takes cover in the diffused personal initiative of attending church as a family affair.
I'm doing nothing of the sort. There are many men who have families who go for the right reasons. That there are a substantial number of men who attend for the wrong reasons is what I am speaking about.

Besides, while I respect your need to "crack wise", I suggest that you can't really do that unless you actually participate in the actual service and envision it up front. Otherwise, you are judging a book by its cover, or judging a movie by its marketing campaign.

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Greg P   

Are evangelical men the most socially inept creatures on the planet that they need their own "church" just so they can talk with others about Vital Men's Issues like pornography, masturbation, halter top-wearing coworkers and frigid wives? Because, seriously if you cut through the christian-speak, segregating a group simply for "Men's Issues" translates into one thing: men sharing their sex problems. I went to countless Promise Keepers-type events in the 90's and this was the always the crux of the meetings-- wrapped in prayer and man-hugs, of course.

If I can tweak Paul in I Corinthians 11:22-- "Don't you have your own sports bars to talk about sex in?"

Edited by Greg P

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Are evangelical men the most socially inept creatures on the planet that they need their own "church" just so they can talk with others about Vital Men's Issues like pornography, masturbation, halter top-wearing coworkers and frigid wives? Because, seriously if you cut through the christian-speak, segregating a group simply for "Men's Issues" translates into one thing: men sharing their sex problems. I went to countless Promise Keepers-type events in the 90's and this was the always the crux of the meetings-- wrapped in prayer and man-hugs, of course.

If I can tweak Paul in I Corinthians 11:22-- "Don't you have your own sports bars to talk about sex in?"

I don't think this particular expression is the same thing as a Promise Keeper conference, one which appeals to the Ned Flanders in all of us. Nor does the sermon listing exclusively go into the issues you shared above.

I think an evangelical outreach to unchurched men is different from an actual evangelical church.

I'd also be weary about comparing anything from PK rallies fifteen years ago (pre-Elderidge) to any men's ministry today, including today's PK rallies.

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SDG   

Behold: The Butch Bakery, featuring Man Cupcakes. Nota bene the last line.

A New York businessman came up with the unique idea of creating cupcakes that would appeal specifically to men. You will not find any pink, frilly little confections in this bakery!

David Arrick opened Butch Bakery in November 2009 after losing his job as a Wall Street lawyer in 2008. He spent months looking for work, but then decided to try something different. After doing some market research, he came up with the idea of creating 'manly man' cupcakes.

"That's how Butch Bakery was born, I thought they are all very feminine and pink and a lot of them are frilly with jelly beans and sprinkles, and I thought I wanted to do something very different, and I decided to [do] something with a masculine bent to it and that's how I came up with the idea," Arrick told Sky News.

The cupcakes, about $4.25 each, are unique both in flavor and in appearance. There are no vanilla or chocolate flavored cupcakes, and no frilly toppings on pastel-colored frosting. Each Butch cupcake is instead topped with a chocolate disk in designs like Woodland Camo, Wood Grain, Plaid, plus three other manly designs to choose from. ...

The funny thing is, most of his orders are from female customers.

QED, as they say.

I was thinking it more thoroughly, and I think this is where your "Man Bag" critique falls short: ... Indeed, it's no longer a "man bag", it's a wallet. But it's what most men use.

  1. You're thinking way too thoroughly, my friend, and too earnestly, with too straight a face.
  2. What part of "branding" and "marketing problem" is confusing to you? A "wallet" does not have a branding/marketing problem. A "Man Bag" does.

Besides, while I respect your need to "crack wise", I suggest that you can't really do that unless you actually participate in the actual service and envision it up front. Otherwise, you are judging a book by its cover, or judging a movie by its marketing campaign.

What if I'm judging the cover by the cover and the marketing campaign by the marketing campaign, and specifically the title by the title? What if my point is a point about men, not a point about Man Church?

If I want to write a critique of a movie, I need to see the movie. If I want to say "Guys are not going to turn out in droves for this movie," I may not need to know much more about it than whatever the average guy is likely to know when he doesn't turn out for it.

Ponder this: Virtually all guys who never go to Man Church will do so without ever going.

Edited by SDG

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SDG,

A Man Bag definitely has a hurdle to overcome, partially because it is culturally contradictory for a "bag" to have masculine traits (except if it's, say, a backpack for the mountain-climber).

For a specific segment of society, "church" has a definite feminine connotation... and I'm not merely talking about it being "The Bride of Christ." I'm talking about how this-group-of-unchurched-guys look down upon church-attendees as emasculated wimps, as sermons being boring, as praise-songs being too touchy-feely, and "all they ask for is money." Most of the ministries that take place in a church are staffed by women. Most of the needs within a church--child care, for example--are traditionally been staffed by women. Even if you think that last statement is sexist, remember, we're talking about generic perceptions by this unchurched group--not reality.

But church, and Christianity, does not have to be seen as feminine. Throughout church history there are numerous and diverse examples of men who lived for God. We know this.

That is why the analogy failed. A "Man Bag" will always be seen as an attempt to market purses to men, and purses have always been feminine. But Church has not always been seen as emasculating, as it does (for many people) today.

Part of what "Man Church" strives to do (even if I think that a new "denomination" it is not the way I would do it), is cater to this unchurched group, right where they're at, showing the different dimensions of embracing Christ without compromising on their masculine traits. The need is there, and I can see why it is there.

As for looking at this too seriously, I am a comedian, and I recognize that sometimes a satirical jab simply isn't funny because it misses the point. Your posts look at the facile carbon-copy of what "Man Church" is, but if the church is a success for that geographical area, (and indeed, there are many such success stories in different areas--"Men's Fraternity" in Arkansas being one of them, following a similar model), then there can be lessons learned, and integrated into one's own denominational framework.

Peace,

Nick

P.S. Same goes for cupcakes.

Edited by Nick Alexander

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Greg P   
I think an evangelical outreach to unchurched men is different from an actual evangelical church.
No it's not. Evangelical outreach to the unchurched is a meeting filled with evangelical church members.

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I think an evangelical outreach to unchurched men is different from an actual evangelical church.
No it's not. Evangelical outreach to the unchurched is a meeting filled with evangelical church members.

That, my friend, is a failed evangelical outreach.

Remember that a successful evangelical outreach has bumper stickers.

Edited by Nick Alexander

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SDG   

Nick,

We murder to dissect, but since the freight train of your cross-examination will not be turned aside by oblique banter, here is my humor-free final statement.

My posts above describe a negative visceral reaction that -- I confidently assure you -- many guys will have to the very phrase "Man Church," and to phrases like it. If you don't feel this response, or even if it turns out there are enough guys in the geographical vicinity of Man Church who don't feel that response, or whose negative response is overcome by other positive factors, that "Man Church" becomes sociologically successful, that doesn't mean that the negative response I describe doesn't exist. Or that it isn't funny. In that connection, the humor professional should know better than anyone that he isn't really an Authority on What Is Funny, just as a critic knows better than anyone he isn't really an Authority on What Is Good. Not to be unkind, but I hope the day never comes when I say to someone I disagree with, "I'm a critic, so I know that sometimes people miss the point because..." Cheers.

Dude, are you still jetlagged?

I am always jetlagged. But that has nothing to do with the attempted Zen humor of my closing line, if that's what you're referring to (it was meant to be a sort of "Wherever you go, there you are" thing). If you don't find it funny, it isn't because I just got back from Europe. If you were referring to anything else, I'm out of explanations (and starting to feel like I'm the only one in the room who appreciates my sense of humor, which is a good sign that it's time to fall silent).

Edited by SDG

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Hi SDG...

Thanks for that last note. We can agree to disagree at this point. I have mixed feelings about it, but thought the positives were well worth noting. That said, I am probably more cautious than most on comedic observations that paint something as a negative, for fear that I am missing a deeper point. It's how I'm wired.

Get some rest, and watch "Die Hard" later.

Nick

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Greg P   
That, my friend, is a failed evangelical outreach.
And that sir, is a redundant sentence.

A few years ago, a white, middle-age evangelical pastor I know started "Hip Hop Church". I sh*t you not. I had to do a double take on the Man Church site and look at the ministers involved, because it sounded so... like him. Alas, my friend has nothing to do with Man Church. But without question, Man Church will meet the same speedy death as Hip Hop Church. And for that we can all praise Jesus.

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Dude, are you still jetlagged?

I am always jetlagged. But that has nothing to do with the attempted Zen humor of my closing line, if that's what you're referring to (it was meant to be a sort of "Wherever you go, there you are" thing). If you don't find it funny, it isn't because I just got back from Europe. If you were referring to anything else, I'm out of explanations (and starting to feel like I'm the only one in the room who appreciates my sense of humor, which is a good sign that it's time to fall silent).

Referencing the Europe trip crosstabbed with the voluminous dissertation on Man Church. Like killing an ant with a sledge hammer.

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That, my friend, is a failed evangelical outreach.
And that sir, is a redundant sentence.
Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. There have been many successful evangelical outreaches throughout the last century. Time will tell.

A few years ago, a white, middle-age evangelical pastor I know started "Hip Hop Church". I sh*t you not. I had to do a double take on the Man Church site and look at the ministers involved, because it sounded so... like him. Alas, my friend has nothing to do with Man Church. But without question, Man Church will meet the same speedy death as Hip Hop Church. And for that we can all praise Jesus.
For the analogy to hold, and for the prophecy to be true, the pastor behind "man-church" has to be as disconnected with the unchurched guys he's trying to reach as this "white, middle-aged evangelical" was with the whole hip-hop scene. Maybe he is, maybe he's not. Have you heard anything in this person's sermons to indicate how out-of-touch he was?

A very successful program right now is "Men's Fraternity", which seems to employ this exact same model. More people attend this particular church in Little Rock, AR, on a Wednesday early morning (6am), than Sunday mornings. All men. No singing. It has been copied and disseminated to hundreds of churches across the country, and through talks available for free in iTunes. Basic Christianity, but tailored (to the best of their ability of understanding) men's longings. Although I did not subscribe to every theological tenet shared in this program, I thought it quite strong. Hearing from those who had never set foot in a church, how this appealed to them, and taking the radical steps that they have been doing, signify that this is an outreach that has actually outreached.

If not for you, no prob. Welcome to the free market. Would you be interested in going to a Catholic liturgy that has been around since Christ instituted the church on Peter?

Nick

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SDG   
Referencing the Europe trip crosstabbed with the voluminous dissertation on Man Church. Like killing an ant with a sledge hammer.

Maybe I am still jetlagged. When did I reference the Europe trip? My initial comments were meant as idle stones tossed at an anthill. Nick kept saying, "No, you missed!" and I went with bigger and bigger rocks until finally it came to sledgehammers.

A very successful program right now is "Men's Fraternity", which seems to employ this exact same model.

And which does not have the branding problem of Man Church. "Men's Fraternity" = no branding problem. "Man Church" = branding problem. It is a subtle point. You see it or you don't.

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Referencing the Europe trip crosstabbed with the voluminous dissertation on Man Church. Like killing an ant with a sledge hammer.

Maybe I am still jetlagged. When did I reference the Europe trip? My initial comments were meant as idle stones tossed at an anthill. Nick kept saying, "No, you missed!" and I went with bigger and bigger rocks until finally it came to sledgehammers.

That's okay. I'm not harmed. Embrace the suck. Then all will be well.

A very successful program right now is "Men's Fraternity", which seems to employ this exact same model.
And which does not have the branding problem of Man Church. "Men's Fraternity" = no branding problem. "Man Church" = branding problem. It is a subtle point. You see it or you don't.
I see it, but I agree to disagree. Because I don't see Church = Woman's Purse, or Church = Cupcakes. Edited by Nick Alexander

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SDG   
That's okay. I'm not harmed.

You're okay, but the vicinity around the anthill is battered to hell. :)

It is a subtle point. You see it or you don't.

I see it, but I agree to disagree.

In my country, we say "Yeah. I don't see it." :)

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It is a subtle point. You see it or you don't.

I see it, but I agree to disagree.

In my country, we say "Yeah. I don't see it." :)

Smiley notwithstanding, you snipped off my last statement. Which is the crux as to why I have the sledgehammer at the ready.

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SDG   
you snipped off my last statement.

I didn't snip off the last statement. I included the bit I wanted to comment on. Cheers.

Edited by SDG

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you snipped off my last statement.

I didn't snip off the last statement. I included the bit I wanted to comment on. Cheers.

Like faith and works, both were needed, or else my comments are misconstrued. Family Ties.

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SDG   

dude. I assume your comments can speak for themselves. I didn't go into your post and edit your comment. You said you were unharmed. Are you sure?

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