Play the Man ★★★★☆

playtheman (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Play the Man
Series: ———-
Author: Mark Batterson
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Inspirational Non-Fiction
Pages: 224
Format: Hardcover




Synopsis taken from the book:

“Somewhere along the way, our culture lost its definition of manhood, leaving generations of men and men-to-be confused about their roles, responsibilities, relationships, and the reason God made them men. It’s into this ‘no man’s land’ that New York Times bestselling author Mark Batterson declares his mantra for manhood: play the man. In this inspiring call to something greater, he helps men understand what it means to be a man of God by unveiling seven virtues of manhood. Mark shares inspiring stories of manhood, including the true story of the hero and martyr Polycarp, who first heard the voice from heaven say, ‘Play the man.’ Mark couples those stories with practical ideas about how to disciple the next generation of men. This is more than a book; it’s a movement of men who will settle for nothing less than fulfilling their highest calling to be the man and the father God has destined them to be. Play the man. Make the man.”


My Thoughts:

I read this book over the course of July for our men’s group at church. One of the reasons there were so many “man” posts in July.

It started out a bit rough. I felt like it was an updated version of John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart and I didn’t find that particular book at all helpful. But once Batterson got into the 7 Virtues of Manhood, things turned around.

The specific 7 Virtues didn’t really enter into the equation. I was more encouraged in how Batterson showed that being a Man of God was something purposeful, something you had to set your mind to. It was goal oriented and something that will last for your whole life. Just because I’ve done X, Y and Z in the past doesn’t mean I get to slack off and coast later on. A Godly Man is always striving after God and since God is Infinite, our striving will never end. Some days I might have found that thought discouraging, but not during this book. It reminded me of just how great our God is and how much He loves us.

Batterson also goes into Jesus as Man a little bit and that was good too. Too often I think of Jesus as a superman just gliding through His life, snapping His fingers and making everything work. It was good to be reminded that He had to learn to read, that He pooped His diapers (or whatever the equivalent was in 4BC) and that He had hormones too. And yet through it all, He was Perfect.

The final thing that really made this work for me was that Batterson isn’t trying to change the whole culture with some “7 Virtues” program. He doesn’t say that this book will change the whole nation if only we all follow it. He presents it as something that each man must do on his own and must pass on to his sons. He makes being a Godly Man that individuals responsibility. He looks at the building blocks. If the foundations are solid, you can then build a good house. He also practices what he preaches with his kids and I found that immensely encouraging as well.


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12 thoughts on “Play the Man ★★★★☆

  1. I frequently refer to the internet as ‘the god machine’. The internet is not organised in that sense, of course, though many organisations deliberately manipulate it. At a time when the majority view science as ‘magic’, it’s no wonder the internet is increasingly resembling a secular ‘religion’ – with its high priests making all sorts of pseudoscience promises and predictions for it. We must debunk these people! They’re so self-centred shits…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve never tried Eldridge’s “Wild at Heart.” I don’t generally fit the aggressive “manly man” stereotype that he seemed to be playing to, so I never had any interest. Is this book a bit less “all men want to be big macho heroes”? What are the seven virtues?

    Also, the story of the martyrdom of Polycarp is one of my favorite early Christian writings outside of the Bible. Staring death in the face, knowing you can escape by denying your faith, and declaring “Eighty-six years I have served him and he has never done me wrong; how then can I blaspheme my King and Savior?” is the kind of “manliness” I admire.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Batterson starts off rather macho and that is why I thought I was getting Eldridge 2.0 but he’s really good about staying away from specifics for everyone and just gives examples of what he did with his sons. He was big into sports in his young days and the things he and his sons chose to do are NOT things I’d ever go with, but he doesn’t make the error of saying “A REAL man runs a marathon in his lifetime” type things, which is what I remember Eldridge doing.

      I’m not quite the target for this book, as the last 1/4 is about passing manliness on to your children but it was still applicable in dealing with teens at church and stuff.

      I did do this as a group for wednesday meeting for a month, so I’m not sure how that changed things instead of me just reading it on my own.

      It felt more like a reminder than anything new to me though.

      7 Virtues are:
      Tough Love (but more in the sense of Christ staying on the cross when He didn’t have to than how James Dobson popularized the phrase with his book)

      Childlike Wonder

      Will Power

      Raw Passion

      True Grit

      Clear Vision

      Moral Courage


    1. This book is predicated on the fact that men and women are different, that God created us that way.

      It’s not so much that they don’t apply to women as that they distinctly do apply to men.

      I listed what those Virtues are under my comment to Joelendil. Batterson spends a chapter on each one. He goes over what that virtue is and then shows in Scripture his reasoning for including them in this book.

      Hope that helps. Let me know if you have more questions and I can try to answer.

      Liked by 1 person

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