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On the home front

Books on manhood and fatherhood

On the home front
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Becoming a King by Morgan Snyder: When Snyder experienced a season of pain and questioning in his life, he sought counsel from older, wiser Christian men. Consistent themes emerged from men who had reclaimed their identity, strength, and integrity by learning to become students, sons, and beneficiaries of the “slow and steady process of inner transformation.” Snyder calls this the “ancient path to becoming a king” whom God can entrust with His kingdom. The book beckons men of any age to consider what is standing in the way of their journey toward wholehearted apprenticeship to Jesus, who modeled a life of dependency, “harnessed strength,” and union with His Father. It includes helpful encouragement on fatherhood, sonship, marriage, and spiritual practices.

Dad Tired and Loving It by Jerrad Lopes: In pointing men to spiritual leadership in their homes, Lopes does not tout his own qualifications. He grew up without a dad in his life and writes with honesty and humor about his own journey and misconceptions about marriage and fatherhood. The book is conversational in tone, with Lopes inviting men to learn alongside him about the Perfect Father. He challenges dads to move beyond simply surviving to seeing their part in a bigger story of God’s work unfolding on the earth. Children naturally imitate their fathers and often follow in their passions. Lopes admonishes men to become disciples of Jesus and to prioritize spiritual growth in their families over raising the smartest, most successful, or most moral children.

Essential Dads by Jennifer M. Randles: Randles, a sociologist, draws from the stories of 64 marginalized men enrolled in a federally funded “responsible” fatherhood program. She provides a snapshot of the challenges and complexities for poor, never-married fathers of color who want to become more engaged parents and who do not fit the deadbeat dad stereotype. In telling their stories, Randles explores why dads matter and critiques the role of governmental fatherhood programs. She believes policy discussions and some fatherhood initiatives are “rife with assumptions” and cast men as “breadwinning-only” fathers, uncaring and emotionally distant. This book diminishes the roles of faith and gender, but it’s useful for Christians considering how to help marginalized fathers who are seeking a sense of self-worth in a society that “stereotypically casts them as parenting failures.”

Family Discipleship by Matt Chandler and Adam Griffin: This book is designed to help fathers and mothers create a plan for spiritual leadership in their homes. Family discipleship involves leading children into becoming friends and followers of Jesus. Chandler and Griffin believe discipleship is most sustainable when woven into the family’s already existing routines. The framework they provide focuses on three areas: time, moments, and milestones. Chapters conclude with practical examples from the Chandler and Griffin homes, along with charts, questions, Scripture, and quotes. For parents who are intimidated by family discipleship, this book is a simple and practical resource for one of the greatest tasks they will undertake: the spiritual upbringing of the next generation.

Mary Jackson

Mary is a book reviewer and senior writer for WORLD. She is a World Journalism Institute and Greenville University graduate who previously worked for the Lansing (Mich.) State Journal. Mary resides with her family in the San Francisco Bay area.



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