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What it Means to be a Man: God's Design for Us in a World Full of Extremes Paperback – May 1, 2013

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Editorial Reviews


Being a man in contemporary culture can be extremely confusing.  Rhett Smith brings light to the subject in, What It Means to Be a Man. I highly recommend it.

Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages

This book moves beyond the rah-rah Braveheart masculinity. Rhett Smith is aware of the deadly symptoms that plague men from being 'men', but wisely directs men toward core issues beyond adrenaline-based masculinity. This book is accessible for readers and non-readers alike and also brings the ideas down to earth through practical application in each chapter. I know plenty of boys who need to become men and this book will help.

Sean McGever, Area Director at YoungLife

What It Means to Be a Man is my favorite kind of book, the kind that sets you on a journey of self-discovery. This book is a bridge between the man you are and the man you're becoming - read it.

Scott McClellan, author of Tell Me a Story

In this simple, honest book, Rhett Smith paints a gracious portrait of masculinity and how it relates to the spiritual life. The conversations that result from his stories and wisdom are exactly the ones we need to be having.

Jason Boyett, author of O Me of Little Faith and A Guy's Guide to Life

Sometimes you read a book and think the person really had two chapters of good material and spread it over eleven chapters. In this case, Rhett doesn't waste the reader's time or energy. Short chapters, easy to read, relevant material, and straight-to-the-point reflection questions make for fruitful reading and meaningful on-ramps for group discussion time.

Keenan Barber, Pastor of Youth and Young Adults at Bel Air Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles

Simple and to-the-point, What It Means to Be a Man is a practical conversation starter for men (and women, too!). I deeply appreciate how Rhett consistently brings the focus of masculinity back to the relationship God the Father has with his Son, Jesus. After working with teenagers for the past 12 years, I could see this book becoming a great resource to give to guys as they head off to college.

Emily P. Freeman, author of Grace for the Good Girl, creator of the blog, Chatting at the Sky

Understanding the "fix it now" attitude with which most of us men attack life, Rhett meets every man right in this place by succinctly capturing the core pain we feel inside.  Then, he just as succinctly offers us real tangible "fixable" challenges for change. As a man, I like that. This book reads like a "cookbook" for how we as men can recognize, call out in ourselves, and do something about (i.e. fix) the obstacles that hold us back from living out of the truest calling as husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, bosses, and friends.

Todd Sandel, LMFT, Executive Director of LifeGate Counseling Center in Atlanta, Georgia

The issues that Rhett addresses have always been very complex to me, and I couldn't figure out how he was going to address them in one book!  After sitting down to read the first chapter, I was moved by the mastery and talent of Rhett's insight and writing. This is a masterful book that outlines clear ways for men to grasp the possibilities and responsibilities to live our lives fully, through our brokenness-as God intended for us.  I know every men's group that I am involved with now and in the future will see this book as a required reading resource.

Kary Miller, founder and principal of Whetstone Inc. 

Manhood in the church today is fraught with confusion from a variety of voices. Rhett Smith is a qualified guide to help remedy that. What It Means to Be a Man undermines stereotypes in church and society that ensnare men with false expectations and unhealthy souls. It offers a roadmap to spiritual healing that is simple in the reading and profound in the application. The small group guide alone is worth the price of the book.

Dale Fincher, author and president of Soulation

With a unique perspective born of both his hard professional and personal work, Rhett Smith offers men 'cairns for the journey' and a vision of masculinity that is missing in so many places today-not least the church. Rhett's own vulnerability, humility, and wisdom are rare in a younger leader.  His wisdom and insight reveals a teacher's heart and healer's soul.  There is much to learn here.

Tod Bolsinger, Ph.D., Senior Pastor of San Clemente Presbyterian Church, author of It Takes a Church to Raise a Christian

As a man, I am glad Rhett has written this book. With Rhett's background in psychology and his Christian worldview, I think this book is a must read for men who want to know more about what lies inside.

Darrell Vesterfelt, President of Prodigal Magazine

From the Back Cover

We hear the story of David and Goliath and wonder, "Do we have what it takes to slay the giant?"

Men today are confronted with many different expectations of who they're supposed to be and what role they should be filling. By looking at history, the clichés of manhood, and what intimacy with God looks like, this short book will help men (and women) rethink what it means to be a man in today's culture.

Counselor and pastor Rhett Smith works through tough questions such as: How can men look up to role models without following their flaws? Is it possible to strike a balance between passivity and aggression? How can men speak up, find intimacy, and take care of others without neglecting themselves?

When Christ calls us to follow Him, He paves a path that is different than our cultural expectations, a path that leads us to a relationship with Him and to true knowledge of what it means to be a man.



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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Moody Publishers; New Edition edition (May 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802406688
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802406682
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #829,701 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rhett Smith is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MDIV, MSMFT) in private practice at Auxano Counseling in Plano, TX and is a therapist on staff at The Hideaway Experience marriage intensive in Amarillo, TX. He served as the college pastor at Bel Air Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles ('01-'08) and served on staff at Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Dallas ('08-'11) where he taught parenting classes for the youth ministry.

Rhett is the author of What it Means to be a Man: God's Design for Us in a World Full of Extremes and The Anxious Christian: Can God Use Your Anxiety for Good. He is a contributing online writer at his blog rhettsmith.com as well as for publications such as Relevant Magazine and the Fuller Youth Institute. He also co-authored Outspoken: Conversations on Church Communication and The New Media Frontier where he wrote on the topic of "New Media Ministry to the MySpace-Facebook Generation.

Rhett earned his Master of Divinity ('03) and MS in Marital and Family Therapy ('07) degrees from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA. He is a member of the The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, The Texas Association for Marriage and Family Therapists, and the Vice-President of The Dallas Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

Rhett lives in Mckinney, TX with his wife and two children.

For more information, please visit his website at www.rhettsmith.com

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 41 customer reviews
Having read the book, I can say that it certainly does.
Brian Kiley
This book has given me so many insights into the men in my life, I feel that I now have a better understanding of my husband, father, uncles and male friends.
T. Browne
This book is a very quick and easy read but packs a powerful punch.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brian Kiley on May 1, 2013
Format: Paperback
Throughout my time as both a lay person and I pastor I have seen all sorts of resources meant to help Christian men become better, more authentic, Christian men. Frankly, there are a lot of excellent products and resources out there. When I picked up Rhett's book I wondered if it would distinguish itself from the many other men's resources on the Christian market. Having read the book, I can say that it certainly does. Rhett's book is great for a number of reasons, including:

1) He packages his material is easily digestible chunks. It's a short book made up of short chapters, but each chapter really packs a punch. I know for many men reading a lengthy book chapter and then preparing to discuss it at a weekly small group is unrealistic. Rhett's chapters can be read quickly, but they contain plenty of meat for deep reflection.

2) He includes a study guide with helpful questions. I read this book on my own, but as I did I found myself frequently thinking that the book really shines in its ability to present solid content and THEN provide excellent discussion questions.

3) Even though it's a short book, he covers a surprisingly broad dimensions of manhood.

I get a little worn out by the way that, while there are many excellent manhood resources in the church world today, many of them borrow heavily from rather shallow definitions of manhood (violence, explosions, sports, big trucks, etc.). This book seems to cut through a lot of that stuff (not that they're all bad) and provide honest, practical, life-giving advice. I am currently leading a small group for college-aged guys at my church, and if I find myself in the same role for the next small group season, we'll be reading and studying What it Means to Be a Man. I highly recommend you give it a read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By BattleBornNV on February 14, 2014
Format: Paperback
Here is a quick thought about Rhett Smith’s book, “What it means to be a Man”, great. I enjoyed the concepts in this book; Men to need to be men and take care of themselves and their families. This book was read back to back with Dudes Guide to Manhood by Darrin Patrick and should almost be sent together. Each book is full of things men need to stop doing and what they need to start doing.

I liked tweeting about the last book and figured that this book needed similar attention. Every few chapters of this book were broken down into four sections. I tweeted my review/summary of each:

Part 1: #whatitmeanstobeaman #part1 its time to b aware & realize ur archetype, what side of the extreme u r on& what type of dad r u #battlebornnv

Part 2: #whatitmeanstobeaman #part2 as men we need to be honest w/ what we struggle w/. Trapped in anger, stuck in silence, move away from the "box"

Part 3: #whatitmeanstobeaman #part3 encounter the vulnerability by being known. It's time to open yourself up to others and experience intimacy.

Part 4: #whatitmeanstobeaman #part4 take care of yourself, be open to Gods calling. Create action. Men are never "done". #battlebornnv

I read this very quickly but it really made me stop and look at myself. Do I need to grow up/change? How can I move away from the “box.” That is why this book matters. You have to stop and think to yourself about the topics presented. If you just glaze quickly over them… what’s the point. In that case, put the book down and go take a nap… you aren’t doing yourself any favors.

Men it is time for us to stop this lazy, go do it for me attitude.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes by Moody Publishers. I was not required to post a positive review and the views expressed in this review are my own.

This review was originally posted on BattleBornNV website.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Taylor TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 21, 2013
Format: Paperback
"What It Means To Be A Man" by Rhett Smith is a good and brief title on the issue of God's desire for a man in terms of character, behavior, and other areas. The book is brief (just over 90 pages not including an accompanying study guide) and addresses such points as:

1. Our relationship with the Lord is the anchor of life that keeps us safe from the temptations we encounter in life.
2. We cannot experience pain without vulnerability, but neither can we experience connection. Following God requires vulnerability.
3. The importance of taking care of ourselves - we care for ourselves so we can be an encouragement to others.
4. God wants us to exercise the gifts He has given us so others will benefit.
5. There needs to be a balance between reflection and action.
6. Let your vocation flow out of your relationship with the Father instead of the other way around.
7. God wants us to form close relationships with others just as Jesus Christ did with His disciples and others.

As mentioned earlier, the book is brief and to the point. The title may be for individual or small group reading.

Read, enjoy, and be encouraged and challenged to be the man God wants you to be. Recommended.

*I received this book as a free review copy from Moody Publishers and was not required to give a favorable review.*
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By B. Lemery on April 24, 2013
Format: Paperback
In a culture of people projecting their views and opinions of what a male should be made of, Rhett Smith simply breaks down various issues and patterns that are prevalent among many males right now. When someone has the courtesy to not tell you how you should be a man but instead helps develop a conversation with you, you should take pause and listen.

One of my favorite parts of Smith's approach is his ability to deal with the external and internal factors males deal with and make them relevant to your everyday life. From the internal need for intimacy to the external understanding of our interaction with community. All of it is relevant and important to dealing with the holistic approach of men in general.

While this book has a Christian layer to it, it could be used in non-spiritual audiences also...in fact, getting a bunch of men together to talk about these issues could solve a lot more problems than you would expect. The book is priced right, well written and will help walk you through a personal journey of thinking through your own male values.
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