While reading—and deeply enjoying—the book Mansfield’s Book of Manly Men: An Utterly Invigorating Guide to Being Your Most Masculine Self by Stephen Mansfield, the author mentioned another book: Wild at Heart (Revised and Updated: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul) by John Eldredge. I bought Wild at Heart and, after skimming through it, began to read it as well. It’s rare for me to be reading two books I enjoy so much at the same time. They compliment each other well and have a message that I think has been missing in the Church: men are supposed to be manly. What, to me, makes the message work is that it’s in the context of scripture. This book will be one I go back to reference often. Below is a short clipping from the book:
To put it bluntly, your flesh is a weasel, a poser, and a selfish pig. And your flesh is not you. Did you know that? Your flesh is not the real you. When Paul gives us his famous passage on what it’s like to struggle with sin (Rom. 7), he tells a story we are all too familiar with:
I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. (The Message)
Okay, we’ve all been there many times. But what Paul concludes is just astounding: “I am not really the one doing it; the sin within me is doing it” (Rom. 7:20 NLT). Did you notice the distinction he makes? Paul says, “Hey, I know I struggle with sin. But I also know that my sin is not me—this is not my true heart.” You are not your sin; sin is no longer the truest thing about the man who has come into union with Jesus. Your heart is good. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you . . .” (Ezek. 36:26). The Big Lie in the church today is that you are nothing more than “a sinner saved by grace.” You are a lot more than that. You are a new creation in Christ. The New Testament calls you a saint, a holy one, a son of God. In the core of your being you are a good man. Yes, there is a war within us, but it is a civil war. The battle is not between us and God; no, there is a traitor within who wars against our true heart fighting alongside the Spirit of God in us:
A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death . . . Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells . . . if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus . . . When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. (Rom. 8:2–3, 9–11 The Message)
The real you is on the side of God against the false self. Knowing this makes all the difference in the world. The man who wants to live valiantly will lose heart quickly if he believes that his heart is nothing but sin. Why fight? The battle feels lost before it even begins. No, your flesh is your false self—the poser, manifest in cowardice and self-preservation—and the only way to deal with it is to crucify it. Now follow me very closely here: We are never, ever told to crucify our heart. We are never told to kill the true man within us, never told to get rid of those deep desires for battle and adventure and beauty. We are told to shoot the traitor. How? Choose against him every time you see him raise his ugly head. Walk right into those situations you normally run from. Speak right to the issues you normally remain silent over. If you want to grow in true masculine strength, then you must stop sabotaging yours.
Buy the book. Read it. You won’t regret it.
Books are piling up everywhere in our house, particularly on our center table in the living room. There have been some subtle hints that it’s getting pretty difficult to dust that particular table. Taking the hint, I decided we need more book shelves in the house and I located a design that was close to what I need.
I had already modeled the project as it’s shown in the book Advanced Projects in Woodwork ©1920 so all the work was in modifying that original model. This wasn’t all that difficult thanks to Sketchup.
In order to allow for my 12-inch tall books to fit onto the shelves of the book stand, I had to move the lower shelf down and the upper shelf up to get adequate space. Once the modifications were completed I created scenes (views) in Sketchup, and exported that to Layout (included with Sketchup) to make my build drawings.
On the righthand side of this post you can see an image to the completed design in isometric view. If you’re interested in build drawings, they can be downloaded here: plate 18 – book stand (revision 1).
There has appeared in our time a particular class of books and articles which I sincerely and solemnly think may be called the silliest ever known among men. They are much more wild than the wildest romances of chivalry and much more dull than the dullest religious tract. Moreover, the romances of chivalry were at least about chivalry; the religious tracts are about religion. But these things are about nothing; they are about what is called Success.
…there is no such thing as Success. Or, if you like to put it so, there is nothing that is not successful. That a thing is successful merely means that it is; a millionaire is successful in being a millionaire and a donkey in being a donkey.
This is a definite and business-like proposal, and I really think that the people who buy these books (if any people do buy them) have a moral, if not a legal, right to ask for their money back.
Yet our modern world is full of books about Success and successful people which literally contain no kind of idea, and scarcely any kind of verbal sense.
— G. K. Chesterton, All Things Considered