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The Church Impotent Paperback – July 1, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-1890626198 ISBN-10: 1890626198

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Richard Vigilante Books (July 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1890626198
  • ISBN-13: 978-1890626198
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,065,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"This groundbreaking book should be read by everyone concerned about the future of Christianity." -- St. Anthony Messenger

"This volume will certainly invite an important discussion." -- National Catholic Reporter

From the Publisher

LEON J. PODLES, a native of Baltimore, earned his bachelor's degree at Providence College and his Ph.D. in English at the University of Virginia. He later studied Old Icelandic at the University of Iceland. He has worked as a teacher and a federal investigator and is now the president of the Crossland Foundation. Among the numerous journals for which he has written are America, American Spectator, Crisis, and American Enterprise, and he is a contributing editor of Touchstone. Dr. Podles and his wife have six children and live in Naples, Florida, and Baltimore.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Anthony M. Esolen on September 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
There is a scene in C.S. Lewis' Narnia Chronicles in which one of the children says to another, about the Christ-figure Aslan, "After all, you know, he isn't a TAME lion." And I believe it was Lewis also who said that perhaps Goodness was a more terrifying thing than we had imagined. Mr. Podles' book reminds us of at least one reason why men do not go to the modern mainline and Catholic churches: it is because those churches have tamed Jesus Christ, and NO LONGER TREMBLE BEFORE HIS MAJESTY. Those Churches are, fundamentally, not serious about what they are doing.
How many people realize that, in the whole of the Gospels, aside from his greeting Nathaniel with the words, "Behold, an Israelite in whom there is no guile," Jesus never praises his disciples, never says that they are good people, never allows them to celebrate themselves; he promises them rewards, but those are for giving up all they have and following him. Indeed, Jesus is often quite sharp with them: "If you, WHO ARE WICKED, know how to give good things," "Get thee behind me, SATAN," "O YE OF LITTLE FAITH." Yet the disciples follow him. Why? Mr. Podles knows why -- men look up to those who love them enough to strengthen them, to discipline them, to make them undertake the arduous adventure. Podles' description of the Penitentes in New Mexico made me wish that I, too, could show my love for Christ in such a drastic way; it nearly made me weep.
But I suppose what most endears this book to me, and what most infuriates me about the rather niggling criticism it has received in two of the reviews here, is that it bothers to take the winning of men's souls seriously, something which the Churches, in their lukewarm love, have found too inconvenient or upsetting to do!
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61 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Ruth Sprague on December 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The author of this book writes from a Catholic perspective (very definitely Roman Catholic, not the Orthodox churches), and there are times I feel that he totally ignores the rest of Christendom. The entire book is often written for Roman Catholics, with little or no regard for evangelicals, Pentecostals, etc. I do believe, however, that this is a book that is long overdue.
Having been raised in a strict Pentecostal church, as a young child I would see a sea of elderly women in the pews, with maybe one or two men here or there. The pastors were men, but it was remarkable to me how few men there were in the audience. I realize that women outlive men for various reasons, especially the elderly, but I do believe there are some real shortcomings in the Western World when it comes to total commitment on the part of men to the Christian faith. The author, L. Podles, concentrates on western Christianity, and compares it to the eastern Orthodox churches and non-Western churches to show how much more "masculine-involved" the non-Western churches are. I believe that this is a little unfair, for you can attend a Russian Orthodox church (or Greek church) anyday and find elderly women and young children "ruling the pews", so to speak. You only need to see pictures of the Orthodox church in Russia to see many elderly women in the congregation, with almost no men. The only men around seem to be the priests.
I blame part of this on the women, for many are church-goers with no real solid Christianity to begin with. They go because all their women friends are there, and it is a great place to meditate and get "away from it all".
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Mark A. Tusken on August 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
Why is a woman more likely involved in Christendom than a man? That's the question. Chapter six suggests that for the first thousand years men and women were equally involved in the life and leadership of the church. Through the influence of the Scholastics and their Aristotelian reasoning a feminization begin to take hold. That's the answer. Podles has a Ph.D from Virginia in English and it is clear he has done his homework. I highly recommend the book. I gave it four stars instead of five because I am not sure the book will convince anyone or change any minds! I read it as a conservative and resonated with it. But I had to ask myself what would be the reaction of my more liberal thinking friends. I do not think it will change their minds about much. This is a book for everyone. Conservatives will enjoy his answers and liberals will enjoy his questions! And all of us need to ask, along with the author, "If Jews Muslims and the Eastern Orthodox have solid participation from men, how can the church impact men in western Christendom?"
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A. N. Smith on September 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I found this book shortly after completing my MA in Biblical Studies. I was impressed by Leon Podles accademic competence, his brilliant insight, and logical train of thought. This book is a must read for all men in the Christian faith. Not only does it deal with a long running issue dating back to the Middle Ages, it also offers some brilliant insights into the male and female mind; a factor that proves critical in our method of approach to the Christian faith.

Leon Podles writes in a long over due attempt to re-balance the masculine side of Christianity, long since missing, but entirely present in the New Testament era. This book is a blessing to Christian men, I thoroughly recommend it.
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