I have read several Christian books dealing with Men’s issues. And, of all the books I’ve read, Man Alive by Patrick Morley is one of them. There were some aspects of the book that resonated with me, and others that did not.
There were a couple of things that simply did not sit well with me. First, I thought Morley’s statement that “as many as 90 percent of Christian men lead lukewarm, stagnant, often defeated lives” is likely a great overstatement. I agree, however, with his response that men “don’t have to settle for being half alive.” The other thing that did not connect with me was Morley’s approach of describing man’s emptiness and longings as unmet “primal” needs. I don’t disagree with the particular needs Morley describes. Perhaps it is the language of “primal” that sounds a bit too much like John Eldridge’s Wild at Heart for my comfort.
There were a few nuggets I took away from the book. First, I appreciated the challenge for every man to get connected with other men for fellowship, encouragement and accountability. We simply cannot live our lives as Christian men in isolation from each other. Second, I appreciated the perspective that “Christianity is heart transformation , not behavior modification.” (32) Third, I appreciated Morley’s stinging admonition that “Evangelism without discipleship is cruel.” (71) Fourth, I appreciate Morley’s realistic portrayal of man’s weakness and need for surrender to God’s leadership in our lives: “Most of us are just one step away from stupid.” (88) Fifth, and finally, Morley holds out what is both a stated reality and a challenge to men: “we will feel most significant, alive and happy when we are doing what God created us to do.” (167)
While this book may not connect with every man, it will certainly be helpful for some. The format of somewhat short chapters followed by discussion questions at the end of each chapter is great for men to work through the book in a one-on-one mentoring relationship or as a part of a small accountability group. If men will use the book to grow in their relationship with Christ and to help another man grow in his as well, the kingdom will be advanced and God will be glorified. May it be so!
(FTC disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for free in exchange for writing this unbiased review.)