Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Men for God. Where are you?

Northern men are known for being straight talking. This works well sometimes in sales and advertising. The most successful UK football managers usually come from northern England or Scotland, for example Brian Clough, Alex Ferguson, Bill Shankley, Bob Paisley, Laurie McMenemy, Jack Charlton. Rightly or wrongly, up here, a Southern accent is greeted with mild suspicion whereas people tend to warm to a Yorkshire or Scottish twang. Northern stands for honesty, friendliness and trustworthiness, Southern the opposite. Some Essex children who lived near us were mercilessly picked on at school for their accents, while my Yorkshire daughters did just fine.
I could spend a long time discussing why, but I'll get instead to my point, which is this. I rarely hear the gospel effectively preached by someone with a Northern Accent. When I do, it does something for me. An example would be Leonard Ravenhill, who originates from Leeds which is the nearest big city to where I am from. Ravenhill talks properly! His blunt, Yorkshire delivery adds authority to his message and I almost tremble with fear when I hear him. To you American friends, I'm attaching a clip of him, so you know what a Leeds accent sounds like. Oddly enough, the same principle applies with North American accents in the UK. Southern American accents are greeted with more caution than a Midwest, Canadian or New York accent.*
A similar situation seemed to occur when Jesus walked in the flesh.  The northern Galileans were away from the more spiritual south ('Can anything good come out of Nazareth?').

When I wander around Tyne and Wear and interact with the men, I see fellas who like their beer and their football, but who are lost, weary and hopeless. They have many doubts and fears, many vices. Many of them can't hold a long term friendship together, let alone a marriage. And that's just the blokes in the church! Northern men who are the spiritual leaders of their families, who know their scriptures, who can pray fervently and preach the gospel with authority are virtually non-existent. It is as if a spiritual plague of locusts has swept across the land leaving only desolation in its wake.
A high proportion of men up here enlist for the armed services. But they won't come to church. Why not? Are we fighting for the gospel or not?
I could weep. Lord, please raise up - and bring in - men who fear nobody but You.

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