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More Books on Male Spirituality

This list has been graciously provided by Rev. Jim Love of Vancouver, B.C., Canada. It has short reviews and comments from him, and information provided by the publishers.

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Jim Love's reviews of MenWeb-selected titles
Boyd, Redeeming Men
Carmody, Toward a Male Spirituality
Culbertson, Counseling Men
Dittes, Driven by Hope and Men at Work
Krondorfer, Men's Bodies, Men's Gods
Milton, Man to Man
Nelson, Sexuality books The Intimate Connection and Sexuality and the Sacred

Male Spirituality


Arnold, Patrick M., Wildmen, Warriors and Kings: Masculine Spirituality and the Bible. New York: Crossroad, 1991) Order on-line

Here's Rev. Jim Love's short review of this book:
This book draws upon the Patriarch, Pilgrim, Warrior, Magician, King, Wildman, Healer, Prophet, Trickster, Lover, and Christ archetypes in the Hebrew/Christian Narrative, to assist men in their masculine spiritual journies. Arnold pulls no punches in challenging the misandrism of extreme feminists in the church, while at the same time strongly affirming feminism as a positive and inevitable direction for the Church. His chapters on "Misandry: The Hatred of Men" and "The Crisis of Men and the Church" are very insightful. Although I am not a Jungian, I found this book supports the value of Hebrew and Christian stories in the development of masculinity. Arnold reclaims the stories of scripture as being highly relevant to the lives of todays men. Strongly essentialist in his approach.

Back cover endorsements by: Henri Nouwen, Robert Bly, National Catholic Reporter, and Library Journal.

Patrick M. Arnold S.J. taught scripture at the University of San Diego and for years was involved in ministry and spiritual direction. Arnold died shortly after the original publication of this book.

The Wild Man's Journey

Richard Rohr and Joseph Martos, The Wild Man's Journey: Reflections on Male Spirituality. (Cincinnati, OH: St. Anthony Messenger Press, 1991) Order on-line

Here's the information Rev. Jim Love has pulled together about this book:

The Promise Keepers, a Christian men's movement, is helping men find direction again. In a new Introduction to The Wild Man's Journey, Father Richard Rohr acknowledges the movement's contributions and analyzes its weaknesses, tracing the journey of a man's life and offering seven promises for Catholic men.

"The Wild Man's Journey is absolutely the book on the topic, if what you want is a healthy Catholic perspective."
- Praying

"Every man who seriously desires to appreciate masculinity and to face reality, his own soul, his place in the Gospel and in society, as well as his need for conversion and growth will be charlonged by this book."
-Pecos Benedictine Book Nook

"A provocative experience for Christian men who are looking for an affirmation of their maleness from their tradition."
- The Journal of Men's Studies

"The focus throughout is on the difficulty of men finding mentors for our spiritual journey and the presence of the spirit to help us.  I like the simple way the book invites us (men and women) to use our gender awareness to further our growth spiritually."
- Mennonite

RICHARD ROHR, is a Franciscan priest of Our Lady of Guadalupe Province in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is founder and former codirector of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque. He has preached around the globe and written numerous books and articles, including Jesus' Plan for a New World: The Sermon on the Mount with John Bookser Feister (St. Anthony Messenger Press).

JOSEPH MARTOS is director of the Russell Institute for Religion and Ministry at Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. He holds an S.T.B. degree in theology from Gregorian University in Rome as well as a Ph.D. in philosophy from DePaul University.

The Men We Long to Be

Steven Blake Boyd, The Men We Long to Be: Beyond Lonely Warriors and Desperate Lovers. (Pilgrim Press, 1997) Order on-line

Here's Rev. Jim Love's review of this book:

An excellent book on the need for a Christian men's movement. Boyd argues very strongly and convincingly that the church needs places in the Church for men to find the healing necessary to move out of dominating forms of masculinity into healthy masculine identities. Boyd's book is both pro-feminist and male-affirming. If I recommended one book to read for those new to men's issues, this would be my current choice.

Note: This book would make a good study for a group of men.

Back cover endorsements by: James B. Nelson, Michael S. Kimmel, Philip L. Culbertson, Margaret Miles.

Stephen B. Boyd is Associate Professor of Religion at Wake Forest University.

David C. James, What Are They Saying About Masculine Spirituality? (New York, NY: Paulist Press, 1996) Order on-line

Here's Rev. Jim Love's review of this book:

"Masculine Spirituality is rapidly emerging as a new direction for men on "the God path".  Birthed out of the Men's Movement, it takes seriously the ways that God and men are revealed to eachother through theology, scripture, behaviour sciences, anthropology, history, and the countless shared stories of men who gather together to discover authentic masculinity.  Masculine Spirituality asks the question, "How can a man live a vibrant spiritual life, embracing all of his capacities for connection with God, and yet, not diminish the life that women are discovering on their own path?

   With an introduction by Richard Rohr, O.F.M., this work is a review of the writings of authors on the major themes or "movements in the symphony" of masculine spirituality.  The first chapter is a review of current psychological and sociological understandings of masculinity and manhood.  The second chapter delves into the theological debate about the validity of masculine and feminine images of God, and the impact of patriarchy upon them.  The third chapter explores current reflections about the multi-dimensionality of man's psyche, soul, and spirit.  In the fourth chapter the integrating practices of masculine spirituality are reviewed.  Finally, in the fifth chapter, the value of communally-based masculinity is examined in some depth."
- from the back cover of the book

"Books like this give me hope.  Not only is it written by a man who is willing to 'hang in there' and trust in the Spirit, but David enthusiastically invites other men to join him in the great adventure that is the search for God. Let's Go!"
- Richard Rohr, back cover endorsement.

This book represents an execellent concise overview of men's spirituality in the late ninties.  It covers the emerging directions that men's spirituality is taking and provides a brief critique of them.  This small book would be a good start for those new to the emerging richness of this area of spirituality.  David C. James is clearly committed to the healing of men and I hope he writes more books in this area.
- Jim Love.

Boyd, S.,Longwood W., Muesse M., Redeeming Men: Religion & Masculinities, Westminster John Knox Press, 1996 Order on-line

Contributors to this book - historians, biblical specialists, theologians, ethicists and scholars of comparative religions - examine the relationship between religious tradition and manhood. The essays cover a broad range of topics - from the dynamics of power in shaping masculine identity, to the role religion plays in shaping masculine identity, to the experience of myth, ritual, spiritual discipline, and community in the lives of men.

"This book establishes the study of men and religion as a serious scholarly field and rescues it from the flashy best-sellers). The collection of solid and probing essays demonstrates the important issues in men's studies are being seriously and productively addressed by religious scholars. - James Dittes, Professor of Pastoral Theology and Psychology, Yale Divinity School.


    This book contains a series of good quality essays on Men's Issues as they relate to religion. The essays tend to focus on profeminist positions and tend to support social contructionist theories of religion.  One may anticipate a bit more Christian focus in this book given the word "Redeeming" in the title. This book presents challenges to current religious thought as it relates to masculinity, although a few of the essays fell into simplistic oppressor/oppressed quasi-marxist interpretations of patriarchy and the Christian tradition.

    From an intentionally particular Christian perspective, I found the conclusion and focus of the essays to generally support what I would call a religious constructionist position (Religion as only a human construction).  At times I wondered if God was an "active reality/person" or just an idea upon which we could construct a "just, equitable, and mutual" religion.

    These criticisms aside, this book still presents good scholarship and is a good read.  It was exciting to see reflections on theologicans like Luther or Thurman as they relate to issues of masculinity. This book demonstrates the growing possibilities of scholarship that are unfolding from recent men's scholarship.

    I would invite Christians who have read the book to email me and discuss your impressions of it - Jim Love

Stephen B. Boyd is Associate Professor of Religion at Wake Forest University.
W. Merle Longwood is Professor of Religious Studies at Siena College.
Mark W. Musse is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Rhodes College.

- overview from WJK Press Catalogue 

Carmody, John, Toward a Male Spirituality, Mystic, CT: Twenty-Third Publications, 1990 Order on-line

"Passion for God and for the spiritual life - an emotion unfamiliar to most men? In this intriquing and profound work, John Carmody argues for the development of a male spirituality based upon experience and potential.
          In Toward a Male Spirituality, the author speaks from his own struggles and hopes, and introduces men who similarly share their thoughts and feelings. Key spiritual topics, such as prayer, work, and love, are dealt with and analyzed in terms of an enriching Christian approach.
           Unlike others who have attempted to develop a spirituality for men, Carmody stresses the theological, rather than psychological, underpinnings of such a spirituality, and offers a clear appeal for a more open, emotionally-informed faith among men.
            There is a rich theology behinf Carmody's words. He uses themes put forth by theologians Karl Rahner and Edward Schillebeeckx as a basis for exploring a relationship with God. His methods are both creative and deep, enabling readers to find their own way to envision God, and establish a workable, day to day connection with the Trinity.
             In the conclusion of Toward a Male Spirituality, Carmody writes: "Christian spirituality, for men and women, is never about worthiness. Always it is about grace. What God has done in creation, salvation, and divinization is always undeserved ... The spirituality of men that I am most interested in helping develop pivots on such a meaning." Here, men will find the paths to a life-enhancing and fulfilling Christian Spirituality." - from the back cover of the book

John Carmody was the author of numerous books on spirituality and theology, and was nationally known as a gifted speaker and workshop leader. He died Sept. 23, 1995.

ISBN: 0-89622-410-4

Philip Culbertson

Culbertson, Philip. Counseling Men. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1994

Short notes:

"Counseling Men opens the way for men to discuss and discover their fears, and losses in conversation with clergy, pastoral counselors, and lay caregivers. ...

Philip L. Culbertson is director of Pastoral Studies, College of St. John the Evangelist, Auckland, New Zealand.  He is the author of New Adam: The Future of Masculine Spirituality (Fortress press, 1991) and co-editor, with Arthur Shippee, of The Pastor: Readings from the Patristic Period (Fortress Press, 1990).


Dittes, James, Driven by Hope: Men & Meaning, Westminster John Knox Press, 1996Order on-line

In this book, James Dittees invites men to embrace and celebrate their spiritual - and decidedly masculine - way in the world.

"This profoundly male-affirming book breaks fresh ground with its alternatives to conventional wisdom about men ... Behind men's sometimes destructive behaviour ..., James Dittes finds deep spiritual sorrow and enormous spiritual hopefulness. His suggestive images of men as priests, pilgrims, and sons are filled with stunning psychological and theological insights." - James B. Nelson, Professor Emeritus of Christian Ethics, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities.

"Dittes dares to suggest that the notable features of masculinity so often treated as unbearable faults - restlessness, drivenness, unsettledness, endless 'on duty' time - may indeed be part of a manly vocation rooted inescapably in biology .... What may matter most in his fresh thinking is the grace-filled affirmation he offers whereby sacramental appreciation may displace self-hatrd and sometimes savage rejection." - Walter Brueggemann, Professor of Old Testament, Columbia Theological Seminary.

James Dittes is Professor of Pastoral Theology and Psychology, Yale Divinity School.

- overview from WJK Press Catalogue 

Dittes, James, Men at Work: Life Beyond the Office, Westminster Joh Knox Press, 1996 Order on-line

Many men define themselves almost exclusively in terms of their work. Often their relationship to work resembles a one-sided love affair: they give their work absolute devotion in hopes of finding wholeness but instead find only disillusionment. In this book, James Dittes helps men define the proper place of work in life and recognize unhealthy dependencies to work. Offering more than a how-to book on overcoming workaholism, Dittes instead provides spiritual support for men as they reevaluate and reclaim the rest of life's possibilities.

"A superb treatise on grace. Dittes looks at work honestly and insightfully. He knows its worth, its satisfactions, its idolatries, and its self justifications. He knows well both the Gospel and the male predicament. The result is a gripping invitation into the core of men's lives." - James B. Nelson, Professor Emeritus of Christian Ethics, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities.

James Dittes is Professor of Pastoral Theology and Psychology, Yale Divinity School.

- overview from WJK Press Catalogue

Krondorfer, Bjorn, ed. Men's Bodies, Men's Gods: Male Identities in a (Post-) Christian Culture. New York: New York University Press, 1996. Order on-line

This series of "body theology" essays are useful in pointing out the value of men's experiences of their bodies to theology. The essays cover a wide range of views and men's experiences. The quality of the essays varies significantly. The essays are generally social constructionist and strongly Experiential-Liberalist. Strongly pro-feminist, gay-affirming and rabidly anti-patriarchical. Some of the essays I found overly critical of male experience a bit too negative for my tastes. Although I am not as liberal as this collection of essays and find social constructivism to be generally naive, the essays are generally valuable in showing the current range of body-theology scholarship. Includes an excellent essay on friendship. This is not a book for those new to men's body theology. Read James Nelson's "Body Theology" and "Intimate Connection" first. This is also not a book for those uncomfortable with talking frankly about sexuality issues.

Backcover endorsements: Jennifer Manlowe, author of Faith Born of Seduction: Sexual Trauma, Body Image, and Religion, Christine Downing, author of Myths and Mysteries of Same-Sex Love and Gods in Our Midst

Bjorn Krondorfer is Visiting Assitant Professor of Religious Studies at St. Mary's College, Maryland, USA.
Link: His Web Page

ISBN: 0-8147-4669-1
- overview by Jim Love 

 Milton, Ralph, Man to Man: Recovering the Best of the Male Tradition, Winfield BC Canada: Woodlake Books, 1993.
"Little boys never grow up.  Their toys just get more expensive."   Not true.  Little boys can grow up to be real men -- men who are respected and loved by the women in their lives, by their children -- men who respect themselves.
    Many men feel the feminist movement has changed all the rules about how to be a real man.  It 's like driving down an unfamiliar road, without a map, and you can't read the road signs.  But there is much that is good and wise in the male tradition.  And the feminist movement calls men to recover that male wisdom in order to be strong, real, and loving.
    Author Ralph Milton, who has read and written extensively about men's concerns and has led many workshopd on the subject, looks into the roots of men's common experience to find out what's valuable there, what's worth preserving.  Being a man today does not mean throwing out all we have ever known about ourselves and starting over again, and it does not mean becoming a carbon copy of women.  It means retrieving the best of what we are and have always been.
    Israel's great King David struggled with the same strengths and failings that modern men encounter.  To help us discover what we might change, and what we should hold onto, Ralph retells the story of King David as only he can tell it -- with humour and passion.
    Highlighting the text are delightful drawings by Ralph's son-in-law, Don McNair.

Ralph Milton (left) is one of Canada's best-known religious communicators.  He is the author of seven previous books, including This United Church of Ours and the children's Bible story book, Living God's Way.  He is often in demand for speaking engagements across Canada and has lead many workshops on humour and story telling.  Ralph particularly enjoys telling and dramatizing biblical stories such as the saga of King David.  This book is illustrated by Don McNair (right)

ISBN: 0-929032-81-0

Nelson, James, The Intimate Connection, Philadelphia:Westminster Press, 1988 Order on-line

In this short book James Nelson discusses the relationship between male sexuality and male spirituality. Nelson honours the particularity of the male bodily experience and how that experience informs our theology and our relationship with God. He discusses how the genitalization of sex has worked to narrow the range of intimacy men experience. He discusses difficulties men have in being intimate in ways that will allow for friendships with women and especially men. He also discusses the need to know the transforming love of God - to experience God's friendship. This is still an excellent book to read.

Backcover endorsements by James W. Maddock, PhD., President, American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists. William R. Stayton, Th.D., Human Sexuality Program, graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania.

James Nelson is a Professor of Christian Ethics, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities.  He also leads men's workshops in the area of men's spirituality and men's sexuality.  He is one of the main writers in the area of "body theology".

ISBN: 0-664-24065-8
- overview by Jim Love (I used some of  W. Stayton's words on the back cover of this book for part of this overview) 

  Nelson, James B. & Longfellow, Sandra P., Sexuality and the Sarcred: Sources for Theological Reflection, Westminster John Knox Press, 1994 Order on-line

"What does human sexuality mean?  This key issue, as well as the fact that sexuality can be viewed as a critical part of divine revelation, is addressed in this comprehensive resource.

This volume is rooted in two convictions: first, sexuality is far more comprehensive and more fundamental to our existance than simply genital sex, and second, sexuality is intended by God to be neither incidental nor detrimental to our spirituality but a fully integrated and basic dimension of that spirituality.  The authors address what our sexual experience reveals about God, the ways we understand the gospel, and the ways we read scripture and tradition and attempt to live faithfully.

In addition to James B. Nelson, the contributors include Carter Heyward, Lisa Sowle Cahill, L. William Countryman, Margaret A. Farley, Audre Lorde, Paul Ricoeur, John Giles Milhaven, Joan H. Timmerman, Toinette M. Eugene, Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, Beverly Wildung Harrison, Mary D. Pallauer, Mary E. Hunt, Philip Culbertson, J. Michael Clark, Marvin M. Ellison, Karen Lebacqz, Monica Furlong, Jack Dominian, Janie Gustafson, Penelope Washbourn, Grace Jantzen, Earl E. Shelp, Marie M. Fortune, John Boswell, Rosemary Radford Ruether, and Dan Spencer." - from back cover of the book

James Nelson is a Professor of Christian Ethics, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities.  He also leads men's workshops in the area of men's spirituality and men's sexuality.  He is one of the main writers in the area of "body theology".

Sandra P. Longfellow is a freelance theological writer and editor in St. Louis Park, Minnesota

ISBN: 0-664-25529-9

Jim Love

This section is based on the excellent bibliography by Rev. Jim Love of Vancouver, B.C., Canada. He has his own Web site.

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