I was in college when Wild at Heart hit the Christian world by storm. I didn’t read it until I had graduated and wanted to see what all the buzz was about. After finishing it, I wondered if I would ever get married – if this was the man Christians longed to be, I was not interested. The book so stereotyped men I did not know and boxed in our personalities, I wrote a 7 page, single-spaced letter to John Eldredge telling him exactly why he was wrong. (Thankfully, I did not mail it!) I’m glad to say that, while his book was important to some men, it wasn’t defining for all men. And, while I married a man who loves hiking and adventure and “manly” activities, he is also gentle and caring and an amazing dad to daughters.
When I first heard about Nate Pyle’s book, Man Enough: How Jesus Redefines Manhood, I was excited to see that someone had finally written a response to the wild man stereotype. But, Pyle’s book isn’t just a response and he doesn’t swing to the other side of the spectrum – that men should be passive and uncaring. No, Pyle says that men need to embrace their own spirit. So, if you find joy in going to the shooting range, do it. If you find joy in painting, do it. If you find joy in hiking, do it. Recognize that God is bigger than just one type of man – that we are all created in His image and that looks like a wide spectrum of personalities and interests.
Pyle does an excellent job of weaving his own life experience, scriptural references, and his experience as a pastor to encourage men to seek their own true identity. And, while this book is written for men, I found its message universal enough to appreciate and learn from it as well. Pyle writes for men but doesn’t forget that women are also created in God’s image.
I’d highly recommend this book, but especially for men who don’t connect with the wild, mountain man expectation that many churches present. This book gives men permission to be themselves, and by doing that, being more masculine than they could be by pretending to be someone else.
Let’s play into stereotypes: Would you rather be out hiking on an adventure or snuggled up at home with a good book?
GIVEAWAY! I am giving away my copy of Man Enough. Leave a comment telling me whether you are an adventurer or a homebody and I’ll randomly select a winner on Friday, October 9, 2015. (United States addresses only.)
I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.
13 thoughts on “Review: Man Enough by Nate Pyle + Giveaway”
I’m a homebody for sure. My husband is a mix of both. He enjoys sports and loves to play every now and then, but needs down time as well. I never read Wild at Heart, but I have read Captivating and felt the exact same way. I thought he and his wife were stereotyping women and I didn’t agree with it at all. Good to hear that an author is breaking away from the stereotypes!
I shied away from Captivating for that same reason… It’s hard to connect with generalizations.
Yay! You won my copy! 🙂 Send me your address at email@example.com
I’m glad you wrote this, Annie. I’ve always had a problem with “Wild at heart”…and with some of its detractors, who seem to go to an opposite extreme.
The whole issue really becomes one of posturing; we all do it to some degree, but it’s particularly bad when the posturing is intended to impress ourselves.
So some me will go to the chest-beating, men’s-retreat-drumming-and-chanting ‘cave’, while others will affect what they consider ‘meekness’ that becomes a bit revolting.
I’ve had a life that probably had more adventure than was healthy, but it was always a means to an end. What they now call ‘extreme hiking’ was good training for getting out of places where one is not welcome more quickly than those who might wish to catch up with you. But doing it for its own sake, for fun? That’s idiocy.
But that said, things like that are paying off now, when the pain and weakness that come with illness are accelerating. I know that I am capable of much more, both physically and mentally, than I might think. Pain and discomfort, once tolerated in the extreme, set a new threshold of tolerance, and it doesn’t quickly fade.
And now…I am largely a homebody. I can’t go out and do things; even a trip to McDonald’s for coffee is out, because riding in a car hurts too much.
There’s learning in a good book, too. learning that helps prepare me for tomorrow.
There’s learning in helping a small dog whose back was broken…carrying her outside so she won’t foul her crate. She asks – she knows she needs the help.
In the end it’s not about ‘doing guy stuff’ or not. It’s about doing what’s necessary to the best of one’s ability, and not looking in every mirror you pass by.
We’re the ones that are supposed to be mirrors – reflecting God.
Yes – mirrors reflecting God. And, the care of animals, of humans, of self is more masculine than society leads us to believe. (Pyle talks a lot about Jacob – the ultimate wrestler of God – and how we first meet him at home, cooking…) It’s interesting reflecting back on life and seeing how seemingly crazy experiences prepare us for the road ahead – in completely unexpected ways. Prayers for strength and for tolerance. I’m so glad you’re finding comfort in reading and learning.
Thanks for sharing! It definitely looks like a book worth reading. Wild at Heart was super impactful for my dad and he gave it away to a ton of people because that was the culture I grew up in. But I’ve never been a super masculine man and never felt the need to be. I like being outdoors and hiking and have grown more into my masculinity but I spent most of my school years writing poetry and reading books which got me weird looks and comments. I look forward to reading this book when I get a chance.
I think you’ll definitely identify with the message of this book. Pyle talks about how we put the outdoors in the “masculine” category, and yet women enjoy hiking and backpacking, too. Just like some of the most famous poets and artists are men, not women.
I’ve read Nate’s blog a few times and have liked his writing. I’m glad to hear you describe the view he provides in this book. I never read any of Eldredges books though I remember them being quite popular. I had to giggle at the thought of you writing a 7 page letter to Eldredge. That’s great! I liked reading the other comments too. Interesting topic. I especially enjoyed the way the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were portrayed in The Shack. To limit God to one set of gender-defined characteristics is limiting to one who knows no limits.
Are you surprised at my lengthy rant. 😉 Thank goodness I wasn’t blogging then! I totally agree – if we are created in God’s image and God isn’t limited to gender then where does that put our views on gender roles? I like that Pyle doesn’t discount the differences between men and women, but he certainly attributes our perception of them to society and not to creation.
I’ve heard so many different things about “being a man.” And we as women, have to be careful not to feminize the men in our lives and encourage them to be like us. God made them different. When He puts men and women together, they reflect His image. And I loved what you said about encouraging men to be who God designed them to be. Be it painter, hiker, sky diver, or something else.
I like a little bit of both: adventure (not crazy adventures) and I like cuddling up with a book. I don’t get time to do much of either, so that may be why both resonate with me. 🙂
Great post, Annie! Don’t put me in the drawing for the book. 🙂
I agree – and think that’s what I liked most about the book. He reclaims manhood and personhood as in God’s image – not ours, not the same, but all God’s. Made me think about how we view gender…
I’m a little of both. I love a quiet evening at home with family but I also love hiking and the outdoors. I’d move to Colorado in a heartbeat if it didn’t take me away from family and support networks.
Colorado is awesome, but community is definitely more important than amazing mountains! 😉