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Posted April 23, 2002
I am a Christian man who is currently about seven weeks away from wedding. As one is such a position any material that will help to encourage and develop prayer between partners is certainly worth the time to digest. The book in question certainly can't be denied as to having such intentions, it is not this area of criticism that has brought criticism to surface, but instead the book's blatant communication of an unacceptable amount of overly stereotypical, culture friendly and simplistic assumptions. The paradigmatic husband that the text assumes as audience is immediately addressed as being either entirely self-consumed, a mindless statistic regurgitating sports fanatic, ignorant or completely outside any spiritual gifting promised by the Holy Spirit. The author finds it necessary to spend a significant amount of time congratulating the men to even think of beginning to pray for their wife, let alone finding the courage to fight against the genetic bondage of their maleness and attempt alas to read and comprehend. An example from the text follows as the author compassionately addresses men in her usual style of gross generality, 'Try to understand that as men you have simple, clearly defined needs... Your wife on the other hand, is a complex being.' It cannot be denied that contemporary pop culture has painted a portrait of the father and husband as emotionally dead, socially helpless and without any hope of discernment or logic in their ability to make decisions. Between 'Everybody Loves Raymond' and 'Tool Time', the husband becomes the essence of a shamefully idiotic entity, whose witty and lovingly sarcastic wife does all she can to brighten his eyes to the light of social reality. The text itself is laden with a number of scriptural references with fall far outside contextual or historic consideration. The biblical view of a Christ fearing man's natural strengths, roles and weaknesses are abandoned to the serpentine glance of pop culture and comedy routines. In essence, a man must take himself seriously before he can seriously value his relationship with Christ. A man who fails to seriously value his relationship with Christ will certainly fail to pull much from scripture or texts that attempt to apply commentary to it. The first step then to making prayer a pragmatic as well as aesthetic addition to a marriage relationship is for a man to learn to value himself as a potential picture of God's strength, love and glory. Embracing a book then, that holds to media's suggestion of contemporary maleness instead of the vision painted by the word of God is syllogistically counterproductive and logically unsound, leaving one feeling more impotent and incapable than empowered and willing.
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