“The Dude’s Guide to Manhood” by Darren Patrick (Book Review)

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With a society that targets whomever will listen to it’s humanistic rhetoric, now more than ever, we (as believers) need to be chest deep in resources that speak against the culture. When society says “me, me, me”, we have to say “God, God, God”. Society’s message isn’t for the faithful – it’s for the faithless. However, the believer’s message is for the faithless – to show them to whom we must be faithful. 

Fortunately, there are counterweights that give men a picture of to whom we are called to be faithful. I would wholeheartedly include Pastor Darren Patrick’s book, “The Dude’s Guide to Manhood”, on the list of resources that should be used as a counterweight.

When I started the book, I did not immediately like it. Don’t get me wrong; I didn’t think the book was bad. It’s not slow moving by any means – with 12 short chapters, the book can be read in a decent amount of time with a bit of effort. And it’s not hard to read – it’s written in a very down to earth and accessible way. I think I was just expecting more out the gate. Looking back, I think was looking for some scripture-saturated, theologically sound advice on how to be a “dude” after God. I mean, the book is written by a Pastor – how else would he present the material.

I was wrong.

Yes, the book is theologically sound, but it’s not saturated (read: dripping) with scripture. And I think that’s by design. I think Darren purposely wrote this book to appeal, not only to believers, but primarily to those who don’t have an interest in being “preached to” in every other sentence. As it turns out, that is one of the reasons I find this book so appealing.

If I’m honest, this book snuck up on me. As I said, I was looking for one thing, but I was taken in another direction. Darren doesn’t beat the reader over the head with scripture. He doesn’t show you how theologically astute he is in matters of the faith. I honestly can’t remember a time that he referred to himself as “Pastor”. He really just comes across as one of the guys. Someone from the block that’s just cool to hang out with.

For the believing man: if you’re someone who has studied scripture for many years and you feel you know your way around the Bible pretty well – this book is for you. Or – if you’re someone who is new to the faith and you’re still learning how to pronounce certain books in the Old Testament and names of some of the characters mentioned in it – this book is for you.

For the unbelieving man: if you don’t like church, don’t think you ever will and you much prefer to relax on the couch as watch ever sports game that is televised on Sunday – this book is for you. Or – if you’ve somehow lost your faith and find yourself returning to the question of what “all this” means – this book is for you.

Additionally, this book meets the reader exactly where he is – as broken man who is trying to do right, but just doesn’t know how. As a man who feels he has it all together, but can’t shake the feeling there is something more. And, the man in the middle who knows there is someone he is called to be and something he is called to do, but can’t figure out how to discover either one.  Darren helps the reader with these uncertainties. And in identifying these uncertainties, Darren graciously tells to reader that it’s not just them. It’s all of us. We all need Jesus to know what is right, to realize how much more is out there, and to discover our calling!

Each chapter contains example after example of everyday situations that all men can relate to. Darren uses everything from sports metaphors to movie references to “water cooler” office talks. Although, I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite chapter, as I probably have at least three or four that I can see myself returning to at a later time for refreshment, I’ll mention two.

Chapter 3, “Train, Don’t Just Try: Become a Disciplined Man” – phenomenal chapter. This chapter was quite an eye opener. It addressed issues I was familiar with, but did so in a refreshing way. A few topics include 1) how pornagraphy is so detrimental to manhood, 2) why we should avoid procrastination, and 3) how being disciplined should “bleed out into every area” of your life, and much more. Here’s a small quote –

“Most men would rather be entertained than be a part of transforming the world, and that erodes manliness and undercuts our confidence. If we can’t control ourselves, then we will be  controlled by everything else.”
Yeah…take some time to let that sink in.

A second chapter I enjoyed was chapter 5, “Get Satisfaction: Become a Content Man”. This chapter is excellent in encouraging the reader regarding what true contentment looks like. I think when we, as men, are truly content in what’s important – namely the glory of Christ – then that contentment will blend into other areas of our life. Here’s one quote from this chapter – 

“At the heart of contentment is an embrace of the present and a willingness to enjoy the good things we have right now. Contentment is freedom from the cares of the past and concerns of the future.”
As the book comes to a close, Darren sums up everything he’s written, and explains how everything he wrote is on display in Jesus Christ – the ultimate “Dude”. This is yet another reason I like the book and would recommend it for man’s unbelieving friends. The unbelieving reader isn’t “pounded” with the Bible as soon as he opens the book. There’s no talk or tone that would lead him to feel as though he is being talked down to for not believing in Christ. There is such grace in this book, that by the time the reader reaches the end of it, there is no doubt about a man seeing his need to stop trying to go it alone…and go with Christ.

Pick this book up – for you and the brothers in your church’s men’s ministry. Use it in a men’s book study. Pick it up and give it to unbelieving family and friends. If you can afford it, hand some out at your next cookout. Whatever way you decide to use it, just make sure you use it for the glory of God and the edification of your fellow men, because I truly believe that is why Darren wrote it.

Grace and Peace,

John 

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