In 2014 I hope to bring back my frequent reading digests (likely on Saturdays). So, well, here we go!
Books I’m Reading
- Through New Eyes: Developing a Biblical View of the World by James Jordan (1999)
- How Football Explains America by Sal Paolantonio (2008)
- Galatians (BECNT) by Douglas Moo (2013)
Books I’ve Read
The Dude’s Guide to Manhood: Finding True Manliness in a World of Counterfeits by Darrin Patrick (Thomas Nelson; Jan. 7, 2014).
I read the manuscript before the foreword by Willie Robertson was attached. It’s a very good one that will prove to be a useful evangelistic tool among men, at least among men who still read books. Eric Mason has recently written a similar book to this same end, addressing men on manhood and working up to the gospel (Manhood Restored). As an aside, I talked with Mason about how discussions over masculinity are opening new avenues to reach Muslim men in his community (listen here).
Needless to say, there’s a growing strategic need for books like Dude’s Guide and Manhood Restored both inside and outside the church.
In Dude’s Guide, Patrick spends the first 10 chapters addressing struggles faced by modern men (absent fathers, finding purpose in the world, work issues, laziness, porn, marriage, and conflict in the home, etc.). He then turns to the truly “heroic man,” Christ (ch 11), and then concludes with a chapter on Christian manhood, or how manhood is live out in Christ (ch 12). Most of the theological substance of the book is reserved for these final two chapters and the flow of the book works really good to this evangelistic end.
Irrespective of the cover, the common cultural tokens of masculinity (like beards) play little role in the book.
“Jesus is the true man, but he’s also the true God. And when we trust in him, we are given the gift of salvation. We are also given real power to change our lives because we have been given a divine power source — the Holy Spirit. In giving us himself, God gives us new life. And that gives us hope that we can be different as men. We don’t have to be trapped in the same patterns of rejecting our responsibility, of laziness and sloth, of anger, fear, and frustration. The life Jesus gives us is true life, eternal life, but also just life. It’s freedom, joy, peace, love, courage, and whatever we need to be like him.”
“Men consumed with filling their own emptiness rather than acknowledging it cannot be taught. If we spend our time and energy posing and posturing, we’ll only hear the criticism and not the constructiveness. Instead of craving help, we reject it because it feels like a threat to our manhood. The very thing we need most to enter into true manhood is the very thing we can’t stand.”
A breakdown of some common terms and phrases in the book (by word count):
- 208 work
- 78 God
- 75 Jesus, Christ, Lord (chs 11, 12 = 71x)
- 74 wife, spouse
- 51 lust, porn
- 50 children
- 49 sex
- 45 joy, happy, rejoice (ch 11 or 12 = 6x)
- 41 pride
- 41 fight
- 39 control
- 26 (biblical citations; ch 11 or 12 = 21x)
- 19 church
- 16 mentor
- 7 gospel OR cross
- 3 guilt
- 1 beard