Darrin Patrick was very intentional with how he wrote this book. You can see that even from the endorsements on the back of the book: there is very little mention of “God,” “Church,” or “Jesus.” With that said the majority of Patrick’s book is void of this language as well. The first ten chapters of “The Dude’s Guide” dives into systematically thought out topics which are essential to manhood. Patrick shows the dangers of over emphasizing or under emphasizing each of the attributes, but warns men from living below their “masculine privilege.”
There is very minimal, if any, reference of the gospel in these 10 chapters. Given what I have heard about the book, it is because Patrick is writing this book to un-churched and un-engaged men. These first chapters are to engage the man at a moral level, and proposes challenges which can be burdensome and overwhelming. But that’s the point. Starting in chapter 11, and climaxing in chapter 12 Patrick shows that while all of these traits are important, they can only be done from a posture of repentance, and acceptance of Christ. He then walks through the previous chapters in light of what Christ changes (law/gospel change).
Patrick actually presents a really solid and balanced view of masculinity, but I wrestled with the delivery. I know Patrick treasures the gospel deeply (I have been a fan of him for a while), so I can say that it was not that he “lost” the gospel through most of the book, it wasn’t an afterthought. It was part of his plan to poke and men, and then club them with the late breaking curve ball.
Unfortunately I think that the book matured too late. I read it with the intention of using it on a men’s retreat with young college guys, but have chosen to go a different route. This book is a great tool for evangelism, in that it is a great entry point into Christian dialogue, but there are better gospel heavy resources for working with men who already have a framework for gospel language.
What the book does well: Engages men who are unaware of the gospel, and introduces them to a gospel centered language and thought process.
What the book does poorly: Push men who are already aware of the gospel. It’s not that these men don’t need to know about these virtues, it’s that the virtues can be better tied to a gospel indicative for more transformative results.
You can see this review, and follow other books I’m reading on Goodreads.