I was privileged to receive a pre-publication copy of Mark Driscoll’s forthcoming book, thanks to the good folks at re:Lit. It should be appearing soon at all good booksellers, so here is my review to whet your appetite.
In this book, Driscoll explores what it means to be a “real man”, lamenting the fact that too many Christian guys have got completely the wrong idea about how they should behave. He exposes the lie that manhood is somehow all about courage and strength, and calls us to lay down the tough guy exterior to reveal your “inner sweetheart”.
The book is organized into three main sections, each exploring a different facet of biblical manhood:
A moving chapter on John 11:35 demonstrates that real men cry. Lots. He tells the tragic story of one pastor who was so hard-hearted he remained dry-eyed right the way through Sleepless in Seattle. He explains how in choosing Peter, himself a cry-baby (Matt 26:75), Jesus shows the type of sensitive soul that he is looking for in church leadership.
The way some people talk, you might think that being a man is all about feats of strength and endurance, winning wrestling matches or climbing mountains. But Driscoll shows that the real way to be a man is to care for beauty. Those men closest to God have always enjoyed what some might consider “girly” interests. He illustrates this with examples of Calvin’s love for poetry, Stott’s love for bird-watching, and Don Carson’s gift for interpretive dance.
One of the real problems with being a macho man, is that by confronting problems you could get hurt. And God doesn’t want any of his little preciouses getting hurt, does he? Driscoll shows how the great masculine heroes of the Bible knew when to run and hide. The great apostle Paul set the example for us by hiding inside a basket rather than facing up to his opponents (Acts 9:25).
Of course, the greatest example of what it means to be a man is Jesus. Driscoll unpacks from Matt 12:19-20, the need to avoid conflict, speak quietly, and have gentle and soft hands (he recommends this hand cream).
Verdict: This makes essential reading for Christian men, who are so easily made to feel ashamed of their love for lime green cardigans and herbal tea, and suffer under the crushing pressure of being expected to achieve things or take a lead. Driscoll sets us free from all that false guilt, and proves once and for all that the true symbol of manhood is not the sword, but the daisy.