Cover image for The church impotent : the feminization of Christianity
The church impotent : the feminization of Christianity
Podles, Leon J., 1946-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Dallas : Spence Pub., 1999.
Physical Description:
xviii, 288 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


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BT702 .P63 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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The current preoccupation with the role of women in the church obscures the more serious problem of the perennial absence of men. This provocative book argues that Western churches have become women's clubs, that the emasculation of Christianity is dangerous for the church and society, and that a masculine presence can and must be restored.After documenting the highly feminized state of Western Christianity, Dr. Podles identifies the masculine traits that once characterized the Christian life but are now commonly considered incompatible with it. He contends that though masculinity has been marginalized within Christianity, it cannot be expunged from human society. If detached from Christianity, it reappears as a substitute religion, with unwholesome and even horrific consequences. The church, too, is diminished by its emasculation. Dr. Podles concludes by considering how Christianity's virility might be restored.In the otherwise stale and overworked field of gender studies, The Church Impotent is the only book to confront the lopsidedly feminine cast of modern Christianity with a profound analysis of its historical and sociological roots.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

In searching for ways to attract men back into the church, Podles has produced a dangerous misogynist tract that calls for an uncritical remasculinization of Christianity. He laments the feminization of the church and the emasculation of Christian doctrines, and claims that only the reassertion of a machismo (that trains boys to be independent of their mothers, for example) will overcome the "armies of women" who have conquered and weakened the church. Chilling in its glorification of patriarchal domination, in its virulent attacks on all types of feminism, and in its homophobic (and sometimes homoerotic) rhetoric, this book is a frightening valorization of a crusading church that stitches the cross onto a banner of militarism. Perhaps Podles really believes that his reactionary apologetic for patriarchal renewal might bring men back into the fold of the church. But the price is too great--holding women responsible for men's departure from the church simply replays an old ideology that blames women for men's sin. Accessible to general readers, but recommended for none. P. K. Steinfeld Buena Vista University

Table of Contents

Introduction: A Personal Notep. ix
1 Armies of Womenp. 3
2 Can a Man Be A Christian?p. 27
3 What is Masculinity?p. 37
4 God and Man in Judaism: Fathers and the Father-Godp. 60
5 God and Man in Early Christianity: Sons in the Sonp. 74
6 The Foundations of Feminizationp. 102
7 Feminized Christianityp. 113
8 Countercurrentsp. 139
9 Masculinity as Religion: Transcendence and Nihilismp. 164
10 The Future of Men in the Churchp. 196
Notesp. 209
Bibliographyp. 256
Indexp. 280