Faith and relevance in the 21st century

Category: Books

Message to men: you have nothing to prove…

9780310343370_31_image-1024x886The last twenty years or so have seen an encouraging increase in the number of books being written focusing on what it means to be an authentic male in our culture. Ever since Steve Bidduph wrote his epic Manhood in the mid-1990s, the growth in the men’s movement has seen more men work towards becoming more emotionally centred and available to their families and other loved ones.

This life-giving trend towards becoming better men has been equally seen in Christian circles. Richard Rohr, Parker Palmer, John Eldredge and others have written and taught much on what a real man looks like in a culture that pressures men to be someone they are not.

Into this mix comes probably the best book I have read on being a man among men. Nate Pyle’s Man Enough: How Jesus Redefines Manhood is a breath of fresh air in the increasing volume of literature on men and their issues.

It is wonderful to see an author be so open and vulnerable about his own vulnerability about not feeling like a man for such a long period of his life. Pyle’s experience will resonate with many men in the Church, including myself. It is only in recent years that I have done a lot of work on what a genuine man looks like. Reading Pyle’s book has allowed me to breathe a huge sigh of relief that you don’t have to be a “warrior man” – as some Christian authors emphasise, to be a godly man.

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The Advocate – historical fiction at its best

advocate200I think more Christians need to read historical fiction. I know I do. Having recently finished Randy Singer’s The Advocate, I feel like I am only now re-emerging out of the Roman Empire of the first century back into life 2,000 years later.

The Advocate is the brilliantly detailed story of life under Roman rule as seen through the eyes of Theophilus, the “Most Excellent” one to whom Luke wrote his gospel and the Acts of the Apostles.

History doesn’t give us the luxury of knowing who Theophilus really was, but Randy Singer, using his creative imagination derived from real-life accounts, gives us an excellent insight as to how the life of this recipient of Luke’s writings might very well have played out.

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