So I just started reading this book last night, and I couldn’t put it down. Having read several books on “living like a man,” I was actually kind of skeptical about what more I could learn – I mean, I am the epitome of what it means to be a man, right?Even though I’m sure this topic hasn’t fully been exhausted, I wasn’t sure what a new book on the topic of Christian manhood would bring into the arena that hadn’t been brought before. But I have to say that Patrick Morley pretty much rocked my socks off with “Man Alive: Transforming your 7 Primal Needs into a Powerful Spiritual Life.”
I started with the assumption that he was going to lead me in a seven step process to a better life. One the one hand, it’s nice when people spell things out for you in small steps – I teach math, and I’m a big fan of the step process. However, that step process doesn’t always transfer over into the real world (much to your teachers’ chagrin). But Morley’s book is not about steps, but about 7 areas where men can and need to be transformed. He identifies areas in men’s lives that were built for strength, yet, have been attacked so much as to become areas of weakness. The “primal needs” he breaks down are:
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 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.
In order to back these needs up and show the way that God looks to transform men into fulfilling those needs, Morley uses a slew of allegories, Biblical references, and person experiences. As a reader, I never felt as if he was preaching something that he wasn’t living out himself. Through his many years of men’s ministry he has obviously learned a great deal and has chosen to share that insight with the rest of us.
I don’t want to break his entire book down into small points, because that can leave you with the idea that his book was simple or basic. His concepts were easy to understand, but highly challenging. Morley’s contention is that many men in the Church – and society at large – are living half lives, lives of restlessness or discontentment. They feel called to live a purposeful life, but don’t necessarily know how to walk that out. The purpose of Morley’s ministry is to show men that we “don’t have to settle for being half alive.” Obviously, not every man is the same, and not every man is going to fall into this “half alive” category. Yet, Morley makes a compelling case for ways that each man – no matter his age, social situation, or position within the church – can step into the role that God intended for them.
I would HIGHLY recommend this book for any: male who feels like they are living less than what God has intended for them, husband who wants to become a better husband, and father who wants to become a better leader of his children (he has some great ideas on how to instill the love for Bible-reading and church involvement in your children). And I don’t think the readership should be limited to men. Ladies, get this for your husband, son, father, brother, etc., but also give it a read yourself. It’ll give you some great insight, and there’s some stuff for you to apply, too.
“Man Alive” is perfect for just a personal read, but it is designed for a Small Group setting. I’ve read it personally, and I guarantee you I’ll be using it for a guys’ Small Group. There are questions at the end of each chapter that would make it perfect. There are 8 chapters, which sets it up perfectly for an 8 week course.
If, like Steve Jobs, you want to “leave a dent in the universe,” then rush to your bookstore now and reserve your copy! (It’ll come out January 17th)
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I don’t have to give a positive review. But if you want your socks to be shredded by a good book, then this is the one. Do the right thing.