Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Healing the Masculine Soul: How God Restores Men to Real Manhood (1988, 2003) Review

Healing the Masculine Soul: How God Restores Men to Real Manhood
by Gordon Dalbey (1988, 2003)

After I read John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart last year (CLICK HERE to read my review), I try to find another book on manhood. And thank God I found and read this book! I was deeply moved by this book and I wholeheartedly recommend this wisdom and truthful teaching to all fathers and sons, and every husband and brother – all men! I underlined so many and wrote notes here and there (so, I will not lend it) because this book speaks to me personally as a man who needs to see God as the loving Father in order for me to be a real man of God. Dalbey writes, “[If] we dare to respond as Father God calls us out to become His men, if we allow Him to nail our pride and our plans to the cross, we’re eligible at last to receive His Spirit and do our appointed task in restoring His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.”

This book is divided into 15 chapters. I want to make something different here. Instead of sharing what the book is all about, I will share some of my favorite quotes for each chapter (including Introduction and Epilogue). Enjoy!

Introduction: Recognizing the Wound

“In the Bible, godly exhortation finds its mark only after encounter with the Living God”; “[Brokenness in men is due to] the fact that boys lack sufficient contact with their fathers to generate a healthy masculine self-image”; “A war has many battles… but let’s not ignore the primary front itself, namely, the wound in the masculine soul.”

Chapter 1: The Lion Speaks

“Authentic manhood seeks men”; “True manhood is not something to be sought, but to be revealed”; “Even as we misperceive the lion, therefore, I believe that what we truly experience among other men is not the power to destroy, but to create – the pure courage and strength that God manifests in masculinity”; “The power to honour the truth – to speak it and be it – is at the heart of true masculinity” (Leanne Payne); “If truth is the power that God invests primarily in masculinity, then we fear being with other men because together the uncomfortable truths about us shall be revealed”; “…no man can outrun God.”

Chapter 2: Out From the Womb

“The first woman a male ever loves is his mother, and that relationship shapes his later expectation of what it’s like to love a woman”; “…my life depends on the Lord, not on her… letting go of the mother/woman as source of life”; “The man who has surrendered his life to Jesus belongs to the Father alone, and therefore cannot be owned by the woman – nor by any other man”; “…in order to exercise saving manly power in the world and bond with a woman, a man must first have separated from his mother and bonded with a masculine one who is greater even than his own father.”

Chapter 3: Come Out, Son of Our People!

“It is the Spirit who initiates the call to manhood”; “Until he’s secured in his manhood and the fellowship of men, a man will fear his mother’s power to draw him back into boyhood. As a Christian, he cannot keep the commandment to honour her, but can only withdraw from her”; “Your father is not the oppressor, but a fellow victim”; “It is the Father God who calls the boy into manhood”; “What might an authentic Christian male initiation look like? Surely, it must be termed a sacrament, namely, the outward and visible sign of the inward and spiritual grace of godly manhood”; For boys who have no father available, godly men are appointed as surrogates”; “Father God is calling you out.”

Chapter 4: She Left Me!

“Never marry someone to do her a favour”; “Many men today, however, bear deep wounds caused by demanding mothers or passive fathers”; “She needs a capable man, willing to wield the sword of truth with a manly sensitively…”; “…without a father to stand with him [boy] in manly truth, he can only abdicate his strength to the woman”; The man must “surrender to the Father in order to let go of her and pursue his own, authentic manhood – trusting God to bring his ‘suitable companion’ (Gen. 2:18) in due time”; “The world cries out for such masculine presence, and ultimately only men surrendered to the true Father of all men can offer it. Yet, too often the church has not offered men the true picture of Jesus in His manly strength.”

Chapter 5: From Love Bug to Faith: Sexuality and Spirituality

“[The] human creation began when God split His own image into two separate parts, male and female, and that is why a man and woman are moved toward one other: to reunite and become one flesh, in the original image of God’s wholeness”; “In protective love, God forbids fornication”; “[If] you want your marriage to last and stay exciting, you’ve got to think about what you want to accomplish together”; “From a Christian perspective… marriage requires not equitable independence; but rather mutual submission – which begins with each partner’s being submitted to Christ”; “I give myself to You first, Lord – not to her; make me the man You want me to be.”

Chapter 6: To Corral the Stallion

“Private morality has profound public consequences”; “Today, more and more men are willing to risk destroying family, career, ministry, nation – and themselves – all for brief physical gratification”; “The Good News of Jesus Christ… proclaims that Father God confers masculinity upon the man who humble himself in response to Jesus’ posture on the cross”; “Without the earthly father to call the son out into manhood, the boy grows up seeking manly identity in women”; “Freedom to choose sexual purity… is not about conquering your desires, but rather about surrendering to God”; “In biblical faith, sexual fidelity is first and foremost faithfulness to God, not to the woman”; “May we submit our male sexuality to Jesus, who offers us the ‘yoke’ (Matt. 11:29).”

Chapter 7: Lost Among Men: A Non-political View of Homosexuality

“Carl did have a very real physical need for another man – not just any other man, though, as in the homosexual impulse – but one particular man: his father”; “The boy who fears his father must fear manhood, and withdraw from it; the boy who hates his father cannot embrace and celebrate his own manliness”; “It’s not about avenging the father who caused your wounds, but learning to trust the Father who heals them”; “Unable to bond with either a woman in marriage or a man in healthy friendship, he then may fall prey to homosexual impulses”; “Every man is a son in search of his father’s affection and approval”; “From a spiritual perspective, homosexuality reflects a deep inner brokenness that only Father God can heal”; “When men are healed, the healing of women will naturally follow.”

Chapter 8: Warrior Redeemed

“Manhood requires the warrior”; “Does Jesus exhibit the character traits of the ‘ideal warrior’? The Gospel accounts reveal Jesus’ courage… His righteousness… His fellowship… His discipline… His determination… His strength… His energy… His glory… His anger… His overcoming… and Jesus never killed anyone”; “[Jesus] send the Holy Spirit to the believers as ‘the Helper’, the text uses the Greek word paraclete, which… is an ancient warrior’s term… Greek soldiers went to battle in pairs… Your battle partner was called your paraclete”; “the Latin sacramentum, defined… as the military oath…’”; “Jesus as the Commander in Chief of God’s army.”

Chapter 9: Boots For a Working Man

“A man’s struggle for masculine identity through work is linked with his struggle to bond with the father, with the men from who he comes.”

Chapter 10: The Father and the Man: Of Fathers and Sons

“The average man today often doesn’t appreciate God’s priority in reconciling fathers and children until he begins to lose his family”; “The son longs to know his father loves him”; “We men often are not ‘good with words’…”; “Yet how much easier it is for a man to hold it all down deep inside; how much easier to kill than to confess you need someone else’s love”; “When fathers and sons directly express their love, each bears life to the other”; “No pain in this world strikes more deeply into a boy’s heart than being abandoned physically or emotionally by dad”; “Men today desperately need the saving truth and grace of the God who manifests as Father, in order not only to become secure in our manhood, but to come alongside and bless women as true partners in our common destiny.”

Chapter 11: The Father and the Man: Of Fathers and Daughters

“The first man every girl loves is Daddy, and the character of that relationship shapes her expectations of what it’s like to get close to a man later as a woman”; “…the hallmark of fatherlessness in a society would be gender confusion”; “Promiscuous fatherless women are desperately seeking love” (Jonetta Rose Barras); “In sexual landscape without any rules, girls lacking male approval are more often taken advantage of”; “In fact, fathers often seem to bond more readily with their daughters than with their sons. Could this be because the boy, who potentially bears manly strength, is perceived as a competitive threat to the father’s dominion?”; “The finest thing a father can do for his daughter is not to promise her protection forever, but to overcome his own ego and introduce her to the Father larger than himself.”

Chapter 12: To Know the Father

“…alcoholic men often suffer from their fathers’ emotional abandonment”; “The deepest human need: to be loved”; “The danger in loving relationships is… in believing that the other person is the source of that love”; “Often the most seductive promise to gain the favour of God and other men lies in religious performance”; “Clearly, Scriptures describe God as having all the characteristics of the father needed by the son”; “We are so accustomed to seeking love from other people that we don’t know how to approach Father God for it”; “Hence this prayer for all men: May we become so humble before our Father God in our own need, and so bold before others in His love, that we may indeed ‘love one another, because love comes from God.’”

Chapter 13: Where Are All the Men? Why Men Don’t Go to Church

“The ‘feminization; of the church” (Lyle Schaller); “Jesus met men where they were – even hanging out with tax collectors and prostitutes – but only in order to lead them where they need to god. And men clearly followed Jesus – real men, strong enough to haul heavy fishing nets every day of their lives”; He avoids God and, therefore, the church”; “Any lack of male participation in churches testifies that men will not be tamed by a program based exclusively upon feminine virtues”; “The church has done much over the centuries to encourage men to pursue feminine virtues. But we have not sought and portrayed Christ-centred ways to pursue masculine virtues”; “Masculinity is rooted in truth-telling”; “When a leader is real… real men will line up to follow him”; “Jesus is safe, but He’s not tame”; “Jesus, who alone is the Way… He alone is the authentic Man”; “Is church for ‘sissy’?” (There are more!)

Chapter 14: Rational and Independent, Faithless and Alone

“Our secular society sees men as created not in the image of God, but in the image of the world”; “Clearly, the faith in Jesus – and of those who would follow Him – rests upon relationship with God and relationship with other persons”; “Church does not exist to fulfil a duty, but to facilitate a relationship”; “Boys and men, that is, need to separate from Mom in order to feel masculine, but girls and women don’t need to separate from Mom to feel feminine”; “Clearly, natural human power can accomplish religion, but not spirituality. That’s why men are often more comfortable with religion that with spirituality”; “Life in the Holy Spirit of the Living God – not the written Law – was the hallmark of life in the earliest body of Christ.”

Chapter 15: An Ancient Mama’s Boy Is Called Out: Wrestling with the Father for New Life

“In the biblical tale of Jacob, we’ve got another unlikely match-up, with a God who also likes to get His fingers on the flesh and touch the bone”; “The God of Love reaches out and seizes and shakes up at the very core of our identities before blessing us with new life”; “The story of Jacob says that before you can love someone else, or be loved by someone else, you have to wrestle with that part of yourself that gets scared when love starts breaking down your defences. It’s the part that would sooner put an armlock on love and force other folks to be what we want them to be, to get what we want from them. It’s that part of us that’s determined to save face and stay on top, no matter how badly we hurt others – the part that sooner or later begins cheating or manipulating the people we care about most.”

Epilogue: The Mirror of Truth

A story about a lion cub. Very interesting, but too long to share here. In summary: We men must realize our potential, be manly in the group on men, don’t be distracted by caricature of manhood, and only the Lion of Judah can set us free from being pretension and be the lions that we are called to be.

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