Under Construction


Under Construction
by Gareth Brandt, Herald Press, 2009.
Find this book at here.

Gareth Brandt does a noble job of giving a counter-narrative to today’s male spirituality. He challenges the popular images of men as warriors and knights who rescue princesses in distress. By doing so, he offers 10 images of men’s spirituality based on the life of Joseph. These metaphors are: beloved, dreamer, wounded, journey, sexuality, gifts, builder, reflection, reconciliation, and legacy.

Brandt shows how each of these worked out in Joseph’s life and how they can make their way into ours. He confronts the disconnect of our culture calling men to be strong, dominant warriors, with the call of Christ for us all to be peacemakers who work for justice and reconciliation. In the end, Brandt acknowledges that male spirituality is still under construction. We are all still working to figure out what it means to be the men God created us to be.

This is the kind of message that bring new life and energy to those men who are frustrated with the cultural narrative of toxic masculinity and are searching to go deeper in faith. This is a well written book with a good paraphrase of Joseph’s story. It is holistic and refreshing. Brandt also offers quite a bit of poetry which provides a creative way to engage the topic.

Notable Quotes:

“Spirituality is the quest for relation to the Other. To be spiritual is to be in touch with the self, with God, and with others.” (p.23)

“If male spirituality is based on the medieval king and warrior, it is a spirituality that is paranoid in its quest to hang on to power and to conquer whoever might be labeled the enemy.” (p. 34)

“The incarnation is about God becoming human, not about God becoming a human male.” (p.45)

“All men, regardless of their relationship with their earthly father, can experience being the beloved of the Father. This is initiated by God and therefore transcends any lack of a human father.” (p.62)

“…men need women and women need men as they practice their gifts. Being different is an essential part of being the body of Christ…” (p.130)

“Male maturity is more about the wisdom of building peace than about the wildness of making war.” (p.173)