American Evangelicalism has become an increasingly emasculated form of Christianity. Tender love ballads to Christ and a feelings-based theology have been a turn off to many males that crave a connection to God.
An article by Frederica Mathewes-Green that appeared in the December 2007 issue of The Word magazine spells out the masculine appeal of Orthodoxy to males seeking a more rugged, disciplined faith.
Mathewes-Green says that the trend toward a feminized Christianity is not new, however, and not an American invention:
In the 12th-13th centuries a particularly tender, even erotic, strain of devotion arose, one which invited the individual believer to picture himself or herself (rather than the Church as a whole) as the Bride of Christ. “Bridal Mysticism” was enthusiastically adopted by devout women, and left an enduring stamp on Western Christianity. It understandably had less appeal for guys. For centuries in the West, men who chose the ministry have been stereotyped as effeminate. A life-long Orthodox layman says that, from the outside, Western Christianity strikes him as “a love story written for women by women.”
In contrast, Orthodoxy offers a challenge to men: master yourself and your passions, through the grace of a conquering Savior:
A convert priest says that men are drawn to the dangerous element of Orthodoxy, which involves “the self-denial of a warrior, the terrifying risk of loving one’s enemies, the unknown frontiers to which a commitment to humility might call us. Lose any of those dangerous qualities and we become the ‘JoAnn Fabric Store’ of churches: nice colors and a very subdued clientele.”
“Men get pretty cynical when they sense someone’s attempting to manipulate their emotions, especially when it’s in the name of religion. They appreciate the objectivity of Orthodox worship. It’s not aimed at prompting religious feelings but at performing an objective duty.”