Average Joe by Troy Meeder is a book written to men to help them rejoice in the fact that they are just ordinary. Or maybe I should say that God uses ordinary men to accomplish what He wants to accomplish. On the surface, this is a great concept. Yes, I believe God uses the ordinary men in ways that are extraordinary. Yes, we need more men in our world to fulfill their calling in their homes, the church, & their community. But what started out as a good concept, honestly, left me empty after finishing the book.
Let me say this at the beginning: It was not a bad book! There was really nothing in the book that was unbiblical or heretical. It's just that a book about the average Joe turned out to be average itself. Maybe it is because of the number of books I find myself reading these days, I am looking for the next great book. Maybe I am the one who needs to realize that most books are average (including my own writings). It is not bad, but it does not change lives.
Meeder begins with the premise that as men, our lives have not turned out the way we thought they would. I guess, I am not like most men then, for I think at this point in my life, it has been what I thought it would be. He says, "I worked hard, trained, planned, dreamed. Yet for some reason my life--and your life--turned out differently from what we anticipated. We've given it all we have, only to seemingly fall short" (11). I guess, I understand what he is saying, but I wonder if assuming every man had the dream of being a rock star, cowboy, or professional athlete is a bit presumptuous. I don't think I ever did, or at least really thought it would happen.
The book is filled with stories of men that have impacted him or of things he has done in his life. Those stories are used as illustrations of basic principles Christian men should be seeking to apply to their lives every day. I believe the two most helpful chapters are Chapter 9: "The Friend" and Chapter 10: "The Test."
In the chapter about friendship, Meeder hits home and says that most men do not have good friendship because men do not work at their friendships. He says they do not try. They do not ask the hard questions to each other. (on a side note, I think men do not ask hard questions to others because they do not want those questions asked back to them). Men, we need friendship!
In the next chapter, he talks openly about how his marriage almost ended. I appreciated his openness and how candidly he discussed the issues that led to that day when it all blew up. He puts the main responsibility upon the man to shepherd his family. He says, "Within the context of marriage, no failure in a relationship is one-sided. It always takes two. However, I strongly believe that the health of a marriage is directly related to the spiritual health and leadership of the husband, the 'pastor' of the home" (94). Men, do you see yourself as the pastor of your home?
The book is a quick read. If you are looking for the book to change your life, I don't think this is the one. But if you are looking for a book to introduce some basic men's issues, you might enjoy it. But just remember, it is an average book about average men.
I received a copy of the book: Average Joe by Troy Meeder from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for review.