The subject of what it means to be a man in the modern world fraught with difficulty. We mix up ideas of gender, personality, aggression, control, authority, biblical understanding and more.
Rhett Smith, author of the highly recommended book, The Anxious Christian, and a family counselor tackles the concept of manhood in a very readable (and short) book that is perfect for discussion.
I (sort of) participated in an online discussion group about this book that Rhett hosted. (I am horrible with book clubs that reads a book slowly, I want to read it straight through and discuss it).
Rhett said that he intentionally kept the book short so that there would be little reason not to read it. The shortness makes it great for discussion groups, but has less detail than I would like.
As a man that hates sports, has worked as a nanny, has a degree in social work (a decidedly female leaning profession) I bring some issues into the manliness discussion. Manliness in a lot of the Evangelical world is more equated with Mixed Martial Arts fighting and uncontrollable lust.
Rhett focuses on what makes a man, fathering, introspection about real issues (depression, anxiety, loneliness, vulnerability, etc.) and the movement into becoming a better man. I think the method and writing style lends itself to teen and young adult readers, but as someone in the decade of his 40s, I think most men will find value in it.
In many ways, I think older men will get more out of it, if they read it intentionally with one or more people of a younger generation. Becoming a man is more about mentoring and development, then knowledge or skill. So no one has achieved a perfect on their ‘man card’. And part of becoming a man means helping others become a man.I hope this book gains a wide audience. Being a man in a world that both defaults to them and under values their uniqueness is difficult. As Christians we have something particular to say about manhood, and it is not centered around MMA, sex or authority over women. It is about fulfilling our calling as followers of Christ.
The author provided a copy of the book for purposes of review.