Sunday, April 15, 2012

Book Review: Man Alive -- short and simple, leaves us wanting more

Author: Patrick Morley, 2012. (Multnomah Books)  

"I'd estimate that 90 percent of Christian men lead lukewarm, stagnant, defeated lives -- and they hate it." That is quite a statement, and it comes from Patrick Morley on the rear cover of this book. He probably should know, as he has written 17 books for men and has led a weekly Bible study for 5000 men for years now.

This intriguing premise sets the tone for the book. Morley describes seven symptoms that men experience of not feeling alive, symptoms that show they are settling for less than maximum living. Then he outlines the seven primal needs that form the skeleton of the book:
  1. To feel like I don't have to do life alone
  2. To believe -- really believe -- that God knows, loves and cares about me personally
  3. To believe that my life has a purpose -- that my life is not random
  4. To break free from the destructive behaviors that keep dragging me down
  5. To satisfy my soul's thirst for transcendence, awe and communion
  6. To love and be loved without reservation
  7. To make a contribution and leave the world a better place
Each chapter, after the first, addresses one of the symptoms and offers a solution. Most of the solutions are obvious, and that is clear from the very start. "Digging into the Word of God is easily the number one factor that differentiates men who have tapped into God's power" (p.8). The root solution is found in scripture. And from there comes communion with others, trusting God, becoming a disciple, repenting, loving, fulfulling the Great Commision (Matt. 28:18-20) and the Creation Mandate (Gen. 1:26-27).

Morley's book spans less than 200 pages and is a fast read. Full of anecdotes and stories, it skimps on the deep theology and focuses on the practical. Unlike his first and most successful book, "The Man in the Mirror," this felt like a reader's digest for a deeper book. I affirmed most of what he wrote, but was left wanting more.

Don't get me wrong. I am not panning the book. There is practical truth within these covers. Indeed, the chapter on love and be loved offers 10 very useful suggestions on how to show "love-is-what-love-does" to your wife and 10 more for your children. It is just that it feels like a mid-afternoon snack that is a foretaste for a sumptuous dinner that never shows up.

"No man should have to settle for half alive. You can become the man God created you to be," says Morley on his back cover. "Man Alive" will help you become fully alive, and perhaps that is good enough for this simple book.

Note: I received a free copy from Waterbrook Publishing but was not influenced to provide a positive review


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