The Men We Need: God’s Purpose for the Manly Man, the Avid Indoorsman, or Any Man Willing to Show Up

Reviewed by:

Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.

Title:

The Men We Need: God’s Purpose for the Manly Man, the Avid Indoorsman, or Any Man Willing to Show Up

Author:

Brant Hansen

Publisher:

Baker Books

Publication Date:

March 29, 2022

Format:

Paperback

Length:

256 pages

OVERVIEW

As concerns about toxic masculinity and absent father figures continue to plague American culture, the question is, “what will produce better men?” Brant Hansen argues the answer lies outside some of the stereotypical images that churches talks about. The goal should not be to produce more men who are car mechanics, boxers, or other classic male stereotypes. The goal must be to produce men who may be outdoorsmen or indoorsmen, breadwinners or stay-at-home-dads… but who each understand how to be protectors and mentors. Hansen describes six choices that men need to achieve this goal:

– Forsake the Fake and Relish the Real

– Protect the Vulnerable

– Be Ambitious about the Right Things

– Make Women and Children Feel Safe, Not Threatened

– Choose Today Who You Will Become Tomorrow

– Take Responsibility for Your Own Spiritual Life

Men’s help books tend to swing between two extremes. On one end are authors who cast big poetic visions, usually with lots of anecdotes about hunting, fishing, rock climbing, and so on. John Eldredge’s Wild At Heart is the most famous example, though it also includes writers like Randall Wallace (Living the Braveheart Life), Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop (The Soul of a Hero), and Tim Clinton (Take It Back). These books can be helpful, but the writers’ examples usually only help readers with similar experiences/hobbies. Any other reader gets left wondering how to apply the advice.

On the other end are writers who don’t have an overarching poetic vision, but they provide little bits of useful advice for contemporary situations. This camp includes writers like Martin Saunders (The Man You’re Made To Be). These books don’t require readers to buy into a “manly man” image, but they can feel a bit scattered.

Hansen creates something that leans toward one end of this spectrum, but without falling into the classic problems. He admits in the first chapter that he’s not a stereotypical “manly man”—he’s not a great outdoorsman and he has nerdy hobbies. So, this won’t another Wild At Heart. His style resembles Saunders—humorous anecdotes, poking fun at himself when he’s failed. However, Hansen maintains that there is a necessary vision for manhood: men are protectors. He makes it clear that protecting doesn’t mean stifling people: he admits the bad reputation that toxic masculinity has created in American culture. However, he argues the true solution is protectors who know how to be humble, when to step in without taking stupid risks, and how to make others feel valued. Passivity creates chaos. Intentionality creates order.

Hansen pulls off this balancing act beautifully. He also achieves nuance without making the book too dense. Like Kevin G. Harney’s book No Is a Beautiful Word, the chapters are short (some only 2 pages), and the style is to-the-point. All told, Hansen gives readers an accessible, wise book on masculinity.

ASSESSMENT

Rating (1 to 5 stars):

5 stars

Suggested Audience:

Christian men seeking a practical, useful guide to understanding their roles as fathers, husbands, or how to be responsible single men who live out their passions.

Christian Impact:

Hansen describes manhood in terms of what God calls men to be, and the need to serve God. He also highlights the difference between men doing risky things to help others and doing risky things purely for the thrill.

The Men We Need: God's Purpose for the Manly Man, the Avid Indoorsman, or Any Man Willing to Show Up

https://www.christianbook.com/

https://www.amazon.com/

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