A Guy’s Guide to Life: How to become a man in 224 pages or less by Jason Boyett is an attempt to help guide teenage boys along the path to manhood. The text is broken into a look at the mind, body, and soul. Presented in a flowing, humerus, vulgar (as in the common people’s language) way, the book is filled with tips and helps. They range from tying a necktie to politeness and dating to the importance of one’s family and faith. The chapter on Your Neighbor in particular is very useful.
While the author does a commendable job staying focused on the target age group, the writing style was a bit lacking (almost dumbing things down too much). The book reads much like a stereotypical youth pastor’s sermon. At times I was somewhat offended, wondering, “Is this really how to communicate with teens these days?” Remembering back to when I was a teen, facing the same sorts of turmoil and change discussed in the text, I would not have read this book. Perhaps if this was intended for a small group study for teen guys; otherwise, this book could be a dust collector desiring to be a mentor. Overall, there are some gems (e.g. politeness, The Real Deal tips), especially the chapter “Your Neighbor” (though it fails to discuss the idea of loving our enemies so core in Christ’s teaching). But individual parents or church leaders would understand better to know if the style of writing would fly or fall flat with their teens.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
But Jesus called them and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions use their authority over them. It must not be this way among you! Instead whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant” (Mt. xx.25-26)
John Howard Yoder produced an excellent commentary on the above passage.
After perfection the next trait is servanthood, or renouncing lordship. In all of the Gospels, in different ways, Jesus tells his disciples to be servants. In the first three Gospels this teaching is given in very parallel ways, although reported in different places within the story: Jesus says, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them. . . . Not so with you” . . . Jesus does not say that the fact that rulers exercise dominion over their subjects is a bad thing, as if it could be done away with through some kind of anarchistic development that his followers would promote. Neither does he say that it is a good thing, so that it should be blessed and supported by Christians in an active way, as they did beginning with Constantine. Jesus merely says that it is the case: rulers do dominate. We might call him positivistic. But while not saying it is either good or bad, he says that it is not for his disciples. They have a different task, namely to be servants. The reason they are to be servants is that he is servant. Thus this second mark of the Christian style of involvement in conflict is derived not from an analysis of the stakes or the setting but from a reflection upon the style of Jesus as a person in society. He did not avoid conflict. In fact, he sometimes even provoked it. Yet within it he renounced, intentionally and not merely out of weakness, the temptation to impose his will upon others through superior power. – John H. Yoder, The War of the Lamb, 147
Jesus renounced the idea of having power over, of enforcing our own will—e.g. the Christian will—on others. We are not to have or seek the seats of control and power: “It must not be this way among you!.” The Way of Jesus is different from the way of the kingdoms of this world.
In a bit of cool news, I ran across this article at MSNBC.com:
The earliest known icons of the Apostles Peter and Paul have been discovered in a catacomb under an eight-story modern office building in a working-class neighborhood of Rome, Vatican officials said Tuesday.
The images, which date from the second half of the 4th century, were discovered on the ceiling of a tomb that also includes the earliest known images of the apostles John and Andrew. They were uncovered using a new laser technique that allowed restorers to burn off centuries of thick white calcium carbonate deposits without damaging the dark colors of the original paintings underneath.
The history, the technology. This is pretty slick.
This is a very interesting video. A group of Christians attempt to hand out English-Arabic versions of the Gospel of John outside a Muslim festival. After being detained, they are told they must be over 5 blocks away to do so legally.
I’m not big on the over-hyped, scare the Christians sort of thing. And I’m not posting this to promote the idea that Christian liberties are on their last legs. But it’s important to think about what we do as we present the Good News of Jesus.