Manhood Restored: A Review of Eric Mason’s New Book

It sounds like the beginning of a politically incorrect joke.

A Black Nationalist, a psychologist, and a preacher walk into a bar…. In this case, however, they are all the same person. His name is Eric Mason. And he has written a book, Manhood Restored: How the Gospel Makes Men Whole, drawn from that eclectic background that delivers a much-needed message to men in Christ’s church today: Rise up, men. The world is waiting.

Eric Mason is a former Black Nationalist and holds a degree in psychology. But his focus these days is serving as the founder and lead pastor of Epiphany Fellowship in inner-city Philadelphia. His varied background and experience growing a church that intentionally crosses ethnic lines gives him a unique perspective on the topic of manhood and how the gospel  can make men whole.

What He Means by “Restored”

Mason’s style is eminently pastoral, the tone of a fatherly teacher, faithfully expounding and applying the Word of God. It isn’t overly simplistic, although the message is clear enough. Adult males need to have their perception of themselves restored by understanding God’s design for them through the gospel. His image of a sculptor resonates well:

I asked (a sculptor) about his technique and his response stuck with me: “All I’m trying to do is get to the image by removing everything else in the way.” That is what God does through the process of restoration. We have been restored already, and yet we are still being restored…. Furthermore, it is the work, particularly in men, that has been neglected. (46)

Where Have All the Men Gone?

One of Mason’s core concerns is that the Church today has been feminized to such an extent that restoring men has become extremely difficult. He argues that “the church is still primarily built on engaging issues that are more pertinent to women…. Like it or not, men view the church as irrelevant because much of what concerns men is either not addressed or when it is talked about it is done so in a feminine manner.” (47)

In his church, Mason goes so far as to ban plants and flowers from the pulpit area so as not to present a distraction to men coming in to worship. And as for men and the modern worship music service?

Effeminate musicians might be the most visible means by which men are turned off to the church. Perhaps you’re thinking this is a little nit-picky on my part, but I would maintain that a man, when leading worship, has the power to distract with his worship expression, conversation, mannerisms, and even dress. It is a pink elephant many times that the church won’t deal with. (170. Emphasis mine.)

Do we really think that songs like “hold me,” “rock me in your arms,” “you are beautiful,” and “you are so sweet” appeals to men? Our insistence on these kinds of songs points to the ongoing over-feminizing of the church.” (174)

Amen. I like him already. [ See my post Why I've Stopped Singing in Your Church]

From the Inside Out

At the core of Mason’s approach is a call to lead men to be transformed from the inside out instead of from the outside in. (78) To that end, he offers insights with teeth in a number of critical areas.

His chapter on restored sexuality is a straightforward truth-telling session that speaks candidly to men about sex — and challenges the church to do the same. Restored vision also encompasses a number of areas neglected in teaching to men, in Mason’s view, including  Godly decision-making and character.

His chapter on family is one obviously born of years of practical experience in ministry as he gives a clarion call: “Be home, men! Our presence sets the culture of the house…. What should the memory of a father and husband be like for his family? This is the sort of burning question men should think through each day in the home.” (143)

Lest any be concerned that Mason’s work is just a rant against what ails the church, I assure you it is packed with practical theology and gospel application. It’s terrific book for use in discipleship for men’s ministries in the church or even for one-to-one mentoring. It might even make a good read for a father and older teen son to tackle together.

A valued addition to the vital topic of restoring manhood in our culture, families, and the church, Manhood Restored: How the Gospel Makes Men Whole by Eric Mason will help make you whole.

And that, I think,  is one of the best things any author could hope for.

In case you missed it, a related guest post recently from Kendall Lyons — Act Like a Man: A Call to Biblical Manhood.

 

About Bill Blankschaen

Bill Blankschaen is a writer, author, and communicator who empowers people to live a story worth telling. As the founder of FaithWalkers, he equips Christians to think, live, and lead with abundant faith.

His next book entitled Live a Story Worth Telling: A FaithWalker's Guide is scheduled for release in May 2015 from Abingdon Press. His writing has been featured with Michael Hyatt, Ron Edmondson, Skip Prichard, Jeff Goins, Blueprint for Life, Catalyst Leaders, Faith Village, and many others who shall remain nameless.

Bill is a blessed husband and the father of six children with an extensive background in education and organizational leadership. He serves as VP of Content & Operations for Polymath Innovations in partnership with Patheos Labs. He is the Junior Scholar of Cultural Theology and Director of Development for the Center for Cultural Leadership. He works with a variety of ministries including Equip Leadership (founded by John C. Maxwell) when he's not visiting his second home -- Walt Disney World.

  • Guest

    I love hearing of anything that speaks of the restoration of manhood and the role and importance of husbands and fathers (men, in general) in the framework of family and all aspects of life and church life.

    I have to raise the question, though, that most of the churches that you or Mason may be referring to, that may appear to be “feminine” in nature, are most likely led and pastored by male pastors and maybe dominantly so. Just an interesting thought to bring up. I wonder if the pushing down of releasing women in ministry may also be a part of the problem. An imbalance of the sexes working together?

    Another thing I’d like to point out… some of the most masculine and strong church leaders I have met have been without the prayer movement (ie: International House of Prayer), with men who are raising amazing children, who are standing in as loving husbands and fathers, and taking a real stand for righteousness in the Body of Christ. THESE VERY SAME MEN are also the ones most focused on what many of you may say is “very feminine worship” as they will sing boldly and unashamedly to worship songs based on the Song of Songs, and songs that speak of Jesus as their bridegroom and lover. Yet they also sing of the power and majesty of God. In my opinion, the fact that a real man is able to sing so wholeheartedly to such intimate worship songs with such intimate language is testimony to their real manhood, and not something that takes away from their masculinity.

    If the church strips its worship times from this type of seeking of intimacy and intimate language, I fear you will strip a man of the very Superior Pleasure he was made for. Total communion with Jesus Christ, the church’s bridegroom whom we will all marry at the end of the age!

  • http://twitter.com/alisonjoyful Alison Lam

    I love hearing of anything that
    speaks of the restoration of manhood and the role and importance of
    husbands and fathers (men, in general) in the framework of family and
    all aspects of life and church life.

    I have to raise the question, though, that most of the churches that
    you or Mason may be referring to, that may appear to be “feminine” in
    nature, are most likely led and pastored by male pastors and maybe
    dominantly so. Just an interesting thought to bring up. I wonder if the
    pushing down of releasing women in ministry may also be a part of the
    problem. An imbalance of the sexes working together?

    Another thing I’d like to point out… some of the most masculine and
    strong church leaders I have met have been within the prayer movement
    (ie: International House of Prayer), with men who are raising amazing
    children, who are standing in as loving husbands and fathers, and taking
    a real stand for righteousness in the Body of Christ. THESE VERY SAME
    MEN are also the ones most focused on what many of you may say is “very
    feminine worship” as they will sing boldly and unashamedly to worship
    songs based on the Song of Songs, and songs that speak of Jesus as their
    bridegroom and lover. Yet they also sing of the power and majesty of
    God. In my opinion, the fact that a real man is able to sing so
    wholeheartedly to such intimate worship songs with such intimate
    language is testimony to their real manhood, and not something that
    takes away from their masculinity.

    If the church strips its worship times from this type of seeking of
    intimacy and intimate language, I fear you will strip a man of the very
    Superior Pleasure he was made for. Total communion with Jesus Christ,
    the church’s bridegroom whom we will all marry at the end of the age!

    • http://www.BillintheBlank.com/ Bill Blankschaen

      Thanks for the comment, Alison. I don’t think suppressing women has much to do with the issue of effeminate men. Back in the day when women had even less of a voice in the church, the effeminate issue wasn’t really an issue. Although, to be candid, women have always had more of a voice than they are given credit for having.


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