I first thought about writing a book when I was in high school. My parents had just bought our second computer, this one equipped with the newest space-age technology, a CD-rom. In multiple trips I carried the old computer, with its lightning fast 486 DX processor that topped out at a whopping 33 MHz of computing power, up the stairs and put it on my desk; the whole desk because the stinking thing was larger than a dorm room refrigerator – and heavier. But I was going to write. I remember the first idea I had for a book. Retelling the gospels in a narrative, easy to read format.
I still hold to the idea Eugene Peterson incepted me to get the idea for the Message.
I don’t know what happened after that, but I stopped writing. At least writing with the idea that others would read what I wrote. Plus, as you know if you have been reading the blog for any length of time, I’m horrible at grammar. So I never considered writing a part of my future. See, I’m not sure if a comma goes after the “so” in the previous sentence or not. My wife will read this later and laugh at me. And correct me. But mostly laugh at the fact that somehow I’ve become a writer.
I started this blog with the hopes of sharing what I was learning about being a pastor and leader. What I’ve learned, and am learning is that to be a good pastor I had to become a good human. As authentically as I can, that’s what I continue to work out. Things have shifted a bit and I write less about leadership and more about being human. Often, how we maintain our humanity as we sort through current issues.
Somewhere along the way publishers began asking if I had ever considered writing a book. The prospect of actually getting to do this both excited and terrified me, but I kept walking forward in the process following the advice of my friend who says, “Do it scared.”
I began to have conversations with publishers and agents and, over the course of those conversations, and a couple of brainstorming sessions began to dream about a book that would talk about masculinity in a different way. Honestly, this was the last thing I thought I would ever write on. It was always the idea at the bottom of the list. There are many reasons for that, but the main one is quite simple: I didn’t feel like I was enough of a man to write about being a man.
Which is exactly the kind of book about being a man I ended up writing.
Most books on masculinity talk about the wildness of men. Or the strength they should exhibit. They exhort men to be warriors, protectors, and truth-sayers. They are written by alpha dogs, for alpha dogs, calling all men to be alpha dogs.
I’m not an alpha dog.
I’ve been called tender-hearted for as long as I can remember. I’ve never been in a fight. I love sports, but I’m not the best athlete. Reading books on masculinity, Christian books to be more specific, always made me feel less than manly. I couldn’t measure up to the image they painted. Nor did I want to. Okay, I wanted to, but only because that’s what I thought I was supposed to be. After all, they were the big named author writing the book. Surely they knew what a man was supposed to be.
But the books weren’t satisfying. They didn’t offer me freedom, quite the opposite. They seemed to be forcing me into a box.
I began to wonder, what would it look like to set men free from stereotypes that, for most men, are unattainable? What does the Bible really say about what it means to be a man? And most importantly, when we look at Jesus, what do we learn about being a man?
Those questions led me to some pretty surprising insights into masculinity. I won’t ever claim to have it figured out, but I know I understand masculinity more than I did two years ago. More than that, I am convinced the gospel has so much to say to men that has been previously glossed over. We’ve ignored how the gospel can stabilize and secure a man’s identity because we’ve been too preoccupied with making sure our men our manly. We don’t need more manly men. We need more human men. And it begins by letting men know they are already Man Enough
The book releases September 29.Over the next couple of weeks there will be more information coming out about how you can help me get this book into as many people’s hands as possible. I’ll share more thoughts connected the book, some content, and there’ll be ways to get involved! Stay tuned!
It’s also on sale right now at Amazon! You can pre-order now at the sale price and get it delivered when its out!