The Masculine Side of Worship

According to the origin of our word “worship” comes from combining the Middle English suffix “-ship”, which denotes a condition, character or office, with the noun “worth”, which can mean excellence of character or quality as commanding esteem.  Therefore our worship acknowledges the condition of excellence of character which commands our esteem.

Recently I have been led to wonder if our church culture places an imbalanced emphasis on what I am calling the feminine side of worship.  It seems to me that a large part of our worship focuses on love and adoration, which certainly is valuable and important.  But so too is the far less emphasised aspects of honor, respect, and esteem which resonates more deeply on the masculine side of worship.  I call it the masculine side of worship, not because it’s foreign to women any more than love and adoration is foreign to men, but rather because this sort of response is more typically associated as a masculine trait.

Let me illustrate.  I help coach a bantam football team.  When I see one of my boys really making an effort out there, courageously paying the price and sacrificing himself for the good of the team, where he’s running hard and hitting fiercely and making plays, where he drags himself off the field exhausted until a couple of plays later I tell him we need him out there and he resolutely puts his helmet on and goes out and does it again; when I see that it draws from me a powerful, right from my gut, emotional response of admiration, respect and honor (and usually a very loud yell of encouragement.)

That’s the sort of emphasis I think is under emphasised in our worship.  When the horde of men came to Gethsemane looking for Jesus to arrest him and he states “I am he!” with such boldness that it literally causes the lot of them to fall back; when he nobly made the way for his disciples to escape leaving him to face his accusers alone; when he stood up to the most powerful man in the country declaring that Pilate had no power but what had been given him by God; when he refused to give up and die till he knew everything had been accomplished.  When we recognize these sorts of actions that’s when worship of admiration and awe, esteem and honor are appropriate.

What courage! What valour! What honor!  That is my Jesus!  That is my savior! That is my God!


About David Berg

I live in a small town in Alberta, Canada. I pastor a small Baptist church and also work half-time on a local seed farm. It has been more than 25 years that I have been married to a most amazing and beautiful lady whose name is Wendy. Together we have three boys, and two beautiful daughter-in-laws. View all posts by David Berg

2 responses to “The Masculine Side of Worship

  • Lauren

    So have you written any songs that communicate the masculine side of worship? Is it just the lyrics that need to reflect those sentiments or do you think that a change in the worship form needs to take place?

    • David Berg

      Write lyrics? Oh my goodness no. I was hoping this would inspire someone with talent to do so! Lol. Seriously though let me first say that this wasn’t intended so much to be a criticism of current worship as expressing a realization that I had come to recently. In fact it’s really not even about “us” as worshipers, but about more fully giving Jesus what resonates with him.

      I was reading Love & Respect, a book by Emerson Eggerichs, which shows that men need and respond more deeply to unconditional respect and admiration from their wives than they respond to unconditional love. (Everybody should read this book) That got me thinking that Jesus receives from us lots of love and adoration in worship, but he also “needs” (or maybe more accurately deeply resonates with) admiration and respect.
      So to answer your question, first I want to be careful to say a change is needed as it would suggest we stop something, which I don’t think we should. I would say we should add, sure lyrics, even musical style that resonates with admiration and respect. As to worship form, I wonder if there was more of a focus on the masculine side whether new or adjusted forms would naturally emerge.

      I have only personally just begun to consider this whole perspective, so I’m glad you asked the questions to help me not just write about it and forget it. What do you think?

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