Converts: men vs women …?

A lot of people have remarked to me how unusual it seems to them that I would develop an interest in the church on my own, because in their experience of converts, most are men, and women tend a) to be more reluctant and b) to be initially introduced because of the interests of a significant other or maybe a parent. Of course, plenty of female converts later become just as enthusiastic if not more so, but at first glance, it seems that men in the US are more likely than women to see the appeal. 

I have no idea if this is statistically true, I am only repeating sentiments that have been expressed to me often, plus my own observations, followed by the question: why?

Why would Orthodoxy tend to appeal, among Americans at least, more to men than to women? It’s certainly true that I meet mostly families or single men who have converted, rarely single women. Also, many women have told me similar stories about how they were sort of begged to consider Orthodoxy and took a long time to embrace it, despite their husband or boyfriend’s almost immediate enthusiasm. 

And it doesn’t seem at all true that men are more dedicated to the faith once they have embraced it… the difference is in the initial interest. 

I wonder if this is an American thing? A Protestant thing, since most of the converts in question were former Protestants? I don’t know enough converts from religions other than Christianity, nor do I know enough about Protestant Christianity to make any thoughtful observation….

I will think about it more, because I can’t really form a coherent reasoning. I don’t think I’m very different from most women, including most female converts except that I have never been a Protestant or Evangelical. Therefore, the sensory experience of the Orthodox Church is different, but not totally unfamiliar to me. 

I have heard it suggested that Evangelical Christianity has been “feminized” and that in contrast there is a refreshing masculine quality for many converts in the Orthodox church. But based on my admittedly limited experience with Protestantism/Evangelicalism, I think Orthodoxy seems more feminine (although not to the exclusion of masculinity). Especially if we’re talking about “low church” Protestantism… absolutely nothing about that seems feminine to me. 

But, what do I know? 

Yes, it is a very light word that sounds playful.

Yeah, also a good description of falling onto one. Or maybe that’s just me… pouf seems like the appropriate verb for me falling onto furniture, because I never really sit down properly, another reason for anti-pew. 

That pouf would also be great for kneeling during Holy Week.

Yes! 

"Pouf" is a strange word, by the way. This is the first time I've seen a hassock called that. *Vocabulary expanded.*

It’s borrowed from French, I think. Kind of an amusing word, I just like saying it. 

better idea: pouf

if you really have to have seating it should be like this:

image

  • better than pews
  • looks better
  • you can kick it out of the way

If I sit in a pew, there is a 75% chance I'll fall asleep. I don't know why. I am fine in a normal chair, but pews put me to sleep. Pews are the enemy. D:

Right? I feel like I’m not as engaged and they’re also not even comfortable. 

If I’m in a church with pews I want to just stay standing even if everyone sits but then it will seem like I’m showing off. But I’m not, I just hate pews. 

I feel like whoever invented pews thought “we’ve decided to let people sit, but so as not to be too indulgent, we’re going to make sure it’s the worst seat possible.”

pews

Although I refuse to participate in the “pews are not Orthodox, is outrage” debate, I have to say, pews are really annoying.

(unless you really need to sit down)

They are in the way. Can’t move around, hard to do prostrations. I am a small child, I like to wander. I want to drift back to my place without awkward squeezing. Team anti-pews. 

أحب الصالحين ولست منهم

“I love the righteous, but am not among them.”

' ;

I've seen Evangelicals do it too. The trend comes from secularism becoming the dominant intellectual force in the world. Secularism tends to fight religion by dismissing any claim that is not based on "science proof." To try to "stay relevant," many religious groups (especially fundamentalist-influenced ones) downplay or abandon traditional criteria for Truth in favour of the secularist criterion of "scientific proof." The result is an odd syncretism between their old faith & secularism.

Hm. 

The worst thing about this, I think, is that the product is branded as “traditional” (even the term “fundamentalist,” although non-fundamentalists see it as a bad thing, suggests to subscribers that there is something original and traditional about their approach) so it has the potential to be a lot more damaging than innovations that make clear the fact that they are attempting to create something new. :( Really concerning.

… although, in Christianity there are ways to mitigate those forces of change,  i.e. even if there is a big movement toward this approach in Christianity, there is still the Church to preserve tradition for those who still seek it. Islam has no equivalent, so it is more difficult to preserve tradition in thought. There are the older scholarly writings, but some things can’t be preserved, I find, just through written tradition in the same way that Evangelicals have found themselves unable to re-create “the early Church” even when they have access to the writings of the Fathers. Perhaps that is why now there is a movement in Islam toward tradition in practice, even if the underlying thought is something different… trying to go back, but missing the fundamental problem that continues to move forward. 

I mean, regardless of the truth of Islam, in my opinion the changes it is seeing now in the west and has been for a generation are tragic. But on the other hand, maybe this is something that has to happen… I don’t really know how to feel about it.