Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Play the Man: Becoming the Man God Created You to Be (2017) by Mark Batterson, Book Review

Play the Man: Becoming the Man God Created You to Be (2017)
by Mark Batterson

Before I read it, when I first saw the title of this book, it reminds me of many Bible verses such as 2 Samuel 10:12 where Joab told Abishai, “Be of good courage and let us play the men for our people…”; 1 Kings 2:2 when David encouraged Solomon to “be strong and act like a man…”; and 1 Corinthians 16:13 as Paul reminded the Christian men at Corinth to “be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men…” It also reminds me of the Church fathers such as Polycarp when he was about to be executed a voice from heaven said to him, “Be strong, Polycarp. Play the man.” When Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley, and Thomas Cranmer were also persecuted for their faith, Cranmer said to Ridley for the last time, “Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man.” Play the man, act like a man, being a man. I’m so pumped up by the title of this book that I bought it without first browsing it through. To buy the book (and desire to read it), I thought, is already a manly act!

Play the man. Somewhere along the way, our culture – even our churches – has lost its definition of manhood, leaving generations of men and men-to-be confused about their roles, responsibilities, relationships, and the reason God made us men. “The white noise of cultural confusion coupled with the deafening silence of the church has left us insecure and unsure of our manhood,” observes Mark Batterson. “So we settle for something far less than what God originally intended.” It’s in this much-needed message that Batterson declares his mantra for manhood, one that we all men must aspire to act: Play the man!When you play the man,” he writes, “you are lighting a candle for the next generation – a candle that shall never be put out.” Oh, where are men of God today?

Batterson from the beginning mention that Jesus Christ is the archetype of manhood (or manliness), “He is the Lamb of God and the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. He is a gentle Jesus, meek and mild. But meek isn’t weak, and Jesus definitely had a wild side! He was tough as nails, seven-inch nails that pierced His hands and feet. But He was also man enough to cry.” He continues, “Jesus is an enigma, the Enigma, and that is because He was fully God, fully man. Yes, He is the omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent Son of God. But for 33 years, Jesus played the man… Like us, He had to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic. And He had to discover His destiny, His identity, and His masculinity. Of course, after discovering it, He defined it.” Once that is established, Batterson then lists down Seven (7) Virtues of Manhood where he creatively unveiled it one by one through Biblical, personal and historical perspectives and stories. What I like about Mark is that he writes with such scholarly-passionate, humorously-serious, practically-doable, and theologically-clear. Right after I finished reading this book, I prayed:

Lord, by Your grace, I want to play the man!

This 200 pages book is divided into 2 parts and 10 chapters:

Part 1 Play the Man: The Seven Virtues

1 Tough as Nails: Virtue #1 Tough Love
2 A Gentleman and a Scholar: Virtue #2 Childlike Wander
3 Unbroken: Virtue #3 Will Power
4 The Three-Headed Dragon: Virtue #4 Raw Passion
5 Sockdolager: Virtue #5 True Grit
6 Born for the Storm: Virtue #6 Clear Vision
7 Call of Duty: Virtue #7 Moral Courage

Part 2 Make the Man: The Rite of Passage

8 No Man’s Land
9 The Discipleship Covenant
10 The Rite of Passage

I wish every man to read this book or at least this kind of book on manhood – books that are written by men for men. But that in itself is very challenging. Why? Because most men didn’t like to read books… Maybe the first virtue should be #1 Teachable or Learner.


Other books on Manhood that I’ve review and recommend:

#1 Finishing Strong: Going the Distance for Your Family (1995) by Steve Farrar (http://richardangelus.blogspot.com/2018/07/finishing-strong-going-distance-for.html)

#2 Tender Warrior: God's Intention For a Man (1993) by Stu Weber (http://richardangelus.blogspot.com/2018/07/tender-warrior-gods-intention-for-man.html)

#3 Tough and Tender: What Every Woman Wants In a Man (1981) by Joyce Landorf (https://richardangelus.blogspot.com/2018/06/tough-and-tender-what-every-woman-wants.html)

#4 Healing the Masculine Soul: How God Restores Men to Real Manhood (1988, 2003) by Gordon Dalbey (https://richardangelus.blogspot.com/2018/04/healing-masculine-soul-how-god-restores.html)

#5 Book Review: Wild at Heart, Discovering the Secret of A Man's Soul (2001) by John Eldredge (https://richardangelus.blogspot.com/2017/12/book-review-wild-at-heart-discovering.html)

#6 The Hidden Value of a Man: The Incredible Impact of a Man on His Family (1992) by Gary Smalley and John Trent (https://richardangelus.blogspot.com/2017/12/book-review-hidden-value-of-man-1992-by.html
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