While reading "Average Joe," I was amazed at Troy Meeder's insight into life. Truly the real heroes are the Average Joes, and any man with determination and integrity, regardless of age, can be a hero rising to the rank of Average Joe.
This is a book every man should read, even if you think you are above average or like me, less than average. We have a great God and what matters is what He sees in us. He is our fulfillment.
This book would make a great gift for husbands and high school grads.
Troy Meeder is a cowboy in the Pacific Northwest, where he runs a ranch for at-risk teenagers, a wonderful ministry. I'm not sure why he doesn't share any stories from his many years working the ranch and, in particular, working the hearts of rough kids. Instead, he focuses on those men he calls "average Joes," men who have in some way influenced his maturity.
"Average Joe" is an attempt Ã¢â¬â at least from what I can gather Ã¢â¬â to encourage regular guys to make the most of life in their station, a far cry from something like John Eldredge's "Wild at Heart," which I recommend to any man. Meeder's content is inconsistent. At one time he seems to persuade guys to stay average and at another to fuel that "passion and desire to do something that will set us apart to face and survive an impossible circumstance."
Perhaps I just don't fit into the readership Meeder was addressing, for he tells a lot of stories about fishing and ranching. His affinity toward John Wayne certainly tells his age and also confuses his intended audience. Is he writing to younger men in the throes of building a career, a family, a marriage Ã¢â¬â not necessarily in that order Ã¢â¬â or to middle aged men discouraged concerning their averageness?
Meeder has a glorified image of military men, "This old cowboy tips his hat to honor them, the very best of us all Ã¢â¬â the soldiers, airmen, and sailors of the United States Armed Forces." Indeed, they may be brave, but I'm not sure I'd call them the very best of us all. What makes a man the best? That he dons fatigues and carries an automatic weapon?
Further, Meeder virtually deifies cowboys, at times conveying, though likely unintentionally, that a man's occupation defines the man. And he will not suffer anything less than his version of masculinity. For instance, in his chapter on friendship, he assures us that his idea of sitting down to chat with another guy doesn't involve "the cost of a designer coffee at some metrosexual hangout." Personally, I've had some amazing conversations with guys at such metrosexual hangouts.
If you're a rough, Folgers-only kind of guy, and over 50, you might appreciate Troy Meeder's take on being a man. My metrosexual friends and I would have a harder time gleaning the good beyond the macho. There is some there, but nothing that hasn't been written better or less objectionable to guys who like "designer coffee."
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
How many versions of your favorite movie would you watch?
Three? Five? Maybe even seven?
How about 71?
Since Chapman & Hall first published "A Christmas Carol" in 1843 by English writer Charles Dickens, this story about Ebenezer Scrooge has been told in some kind of movie or television format at least 71 times. It's an old story that people seem to never tire of, although some versions are better than others.
Troy Meeder's new book, "Average Joe: God's Extraordinary Calling to Ordinary Men" (published by WaterBrook Multnomah) reminds me of the constant telling of a popular story, but this time it's the usual stuff men's ministries are made up of, just a different version told fairly well.
Therein lies the value of "Average Joe."
If you've been in --- or even near --- a men's ministry, you won't find the overall content of Meeder's book to be anything new. From the focus of God doing extraordinary things through ordinary men, to a chapter making the classic pitch for men to be involved in a mentoring relationship, the message comprising "Average Joe" isn't anything original or different. But the stories Meeder tells in crafting his message are new and often captivating.
From the first five chapters of the book, I thought Meeder may have been unfolding a larger, overarching message for his readers. Then chapter six happened. That chapter was an odd break from the preceding chapters inserted simply to "tip his hat" to the men who serve in a branch of our country's military. Chapter seven was also a little odd as Meeder turned to the image of a cowboy to draw out his example for the "average Joe."
But Meeder's skills at story-telling, coupled with his fluid writing, brings out a strong message about friendship in chapter 10, an intensely personal story in chapter 11, and chapter 12 tells a story powerful enough to make a grown man cry.
"Average Joe" has common messages for men, being told once again here by Meeder. But the messages are well crafted, and the stories they are composed of are worth the read.
I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."