Owen Strachan – The War on Men: Why Society Hates Them and Why We Need Them

In this episode of The Shaun Tabatt Show, Shaun sits down with Owen Strachan to discuss his new book The War on Men: Why Society Hates Them and Why We Need Them.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Amazon | YouTube | RSS | Google

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Connect with Owen Strachan:

Episode 901: Owen Strachan - The War on Men: Why Society Hates Them and Why We Need Them

Shaun Tabatt: Hey there, podcast family. Shaun Tabatt here recording an intro for my latest episode outside. My temporary office space is still in the house, and with all the kids in there and the dogs, it's darn near impossible to find a quiet moment on a Saturday. So hey, we'll do this intro outside. You know, we've got birds, we've got cicadas, we've got traffic noise, but it's still a little bit quieter than the chaos that sometimes ensues inside the house.

I was finally able to get another episode recorded this past week. My podcasting time continues to be pretty hit-and-miss. We're in those latter days still of my wife's cancer journey. We don't know if the Lord's going to call her home to Heaven in the next few days, the next few weeks, the next month or two. And so we're just taking it one day at a time. We are so thankful for all the support and the encouragement and the prayers that you all continue to send. Please continue praying for us as we just do our best to finish this part of the journey well, walk this part of the journey out well.

I was able to sit down this past week with Owen Strachan. He has an important new book called The War on Men: Why Society Hates Them and Why We Need Them. This is published by our friends over at Salem Books. And again, I've been so impressed with the volumes coming from Salem and Regnery. Josh Hawley's new book Manhood came out a number of months back. I would also recommend that one.

 With Owen's new book, I just really appreciate his Gospel-centered perspective on manhood, why manhood is important. And while many throughout culture say that manhood is the problem, it's the patriarchy, it's the man that's trying to bring everybody down, Owen presents a perspective, a very biblical perspective on why biblical manhood, good, solid men is actually the solution to so many of the problems that we're facing throughout society, throughout the world. As I was able, I tried to relate a bit to my own journey, just some of the things that I've learned this past 13 months having to wear all the hats, taking care of my wife and my kids, doing all the things. I've really had to step up and look at what it means to be a man in a whole new way. And so you'll just get a few of my hopefully deep thoughts throughout the interview.

I wanted to also make mention that Randy Kay's and my new book Near Death Experiences: 101 Short Stories That Will Help You Understand Heaven, Hell, and the Afterlife. That is going to be releasing on October 3rd. And so if you haven't preordered a copy yet, Randy and I would love for you to head over to Amazon or your favorite retailer and preorder Near Death Experiences.

We are gearing up to do some online events. We're going to be doing a bunch of interviews and such, so you'll be hearing us talk about this book a ton over the next several months. But again, if you haven't preordered it, we would so appreciate it if you went out and did that today.

And in terms of the book, the launch, please cover it in prayer. There was a lot of hard work, especially on my part. For me, this book was birthed out of great adversity. I finished writing this book, it came out to 382 pages, in the midst of my wife's cancer struggle. And even though I've finished three books in the past year, this was the most difficult by far. It was only the Lord carrying me through that got this one to the finish line and I'm just so excited by what we were able to accomplish.

The big thing that I've gotten the most feedback on for Near Death Experiences is we include a framework within which you can process, talk about, understand all the different stages that somebody often has in a near-death experience, an afterlife experience. And while a framework for thinking about and processing these afterlife encounters is very typical in more mainstream books talking about the afterlife, we haven't seen that as much in books coming from the Christian publishing space. And so I hope what we introduce with that framework is going to be revelatory, that it's going to be a help to people who maybe had their own near-death experience and they want to figure out how to kind of structure, talk about it, share the story. Or if you just are really blessed by these stories, like to share these stories with others, just having kind of a framework to talk about it within, unpack it, process it within, I would say you're going to find that helpful as well.

So, October 3, Near Death Experiences. Preorder wherever you like to order your books from.

It's time for another episode of The Shaun Tabatt Show, a podcast where I connect you with thought leaders from across the globe, digging into some of my favorite topics like personal development, marketing, spirituality, and pretty much any other shiny object that happens to catch my attention. Today my special guest is Owen Strachan, and we're going to be discussing his brand-new book, The War on Men: Why Society Hates Them and Why We Need Them. Owen, it's always a joy to see you, my friend. Welcome back to the show.

Owen Strachan: Thank you so much, Shaun. Thanks for having me back on. I think you were the first interview I did two years ago for this book, Christianity and Wokeness, and the first of like 100-150. So you have a special and very warm place in my heart in that respect.

Shaun Tabatt: Well, I was glad to be that first brave soul that got the ball rolling. And then look at where you are now, 150 interviews later, who knew? But it's been a bit and the audience is always changing and growing, so let's kick this off... Maybe, I know at NRB I always do truncated interviews, so I don't even remember if we had the origin story question. So this could be a first, but let's kick this off by having you share a bit of the Owen Strachan origin story. We'd love to hear about superpowers, special abilities, crazy secrets, whatever you want to share to give us context for you.

Owen Strachan: Oh, my. Wow. Well, I am from Maine, so there's my superpower. I was born in a dark and shadowy place on the coast of Maine, and that honestly shaped me, Shaun. You and I were talking about me tackling hard topics, some in my writing. And I think, honestly, having the wind in my face, both physically and figuratively in Maine, growing up as a Christian shaped me, and it gave me an early taste of what a ton of Christians across the denominational spectrum, across the range of backgrounds, are now experiencing in 2023.

Not that I have some unique gift here or anything, but I just grew up in a very hard place where basically 1% of the population even claims to be Christian. And that really shaped me and it prepared me in good ways. God used it to help me understand that being a Christian wasn't necessarily going to make you popular. And I think there's been a lot of reckoning and grappling with that among our generation and younger in recent years and decades. And the church is really feeling again that wind in our face. And it's caused different people to go different ways. Some people to downplay truth, some people to try to think that they can be winsome enough to keep their foothold in American culture. Some people thinking our call is to be popular. We can go on. But all this to say, I grew up in a tough place. It shaped me. And it's shaped even the writing of this book, where being an advocate for strong manhood does not put you in the good graces of our culture. It puts you in the cultural penalty box. But I really believe firmly, Shaun, that strong biblical manhood is not the problem before us. Strong biblical manhood is the solution powered by the Gospel of grace.

Shaun Tabatt: Thanks for giving us a little peek into your background, that's helpful context. And man you're already getting us into talking about the book.

In terms of the story behind the book. As a publishing guy, I'm always kind of curious, man, how did this get started? Now, on the one hand, and I've noticed this through the years I've been at this a decade plus, and I feel like God breathes on a certain theme and you'll all of a sudden see two, three, four or five books coming out in a season. You all didn't contract your books at the same time. You all didn't come up with your ideas at the same time, but you'll usually see God's like, okay, we're going to move this on some different fronts. And so Josh Hawley's recent book on manhood was phenomenal. Before we got into the interview, I mentioned Carrie Gress's book, The End of Woman. Phenomenal kind of tackling this patriarchy and feminism subject. And so, you know, for obviously your last book, we talked about controversial, important theme to be talking about in culture. Why was manhood the next place for you to give your input into the conversation?

Owen Strachan: Yeah, great question. Men are under fire today. Men are considered toxic. To be a strong man, to be aggressive, assertive, a risk taker, not show emotion. Say to other men the dread words man up or act like a man or something like that. All of that, again, puts a target on your back today. And so what our culture has said is fundamentally bad, many of us are recognizing as fundamentally good, from a range of backgrounds and belief systems. You think about a touchstone figure like a Jordan Peterson that has been referenced on probably every podcast ever made. But you think about how Peterson both stood up in our culture against things like forced pronouns for so called transgenderism, and then also has talked about manhood in a positive way, Shaun and doing know roughly five to eight years ago made him basically the most famous intellectual in the world. He was this rare breed who was willing to defend manhood.

And, yeah, I do think it's taken some time, but there have come a number of different figures and voices who are trying to speak to the issue of manhood all at the same time. It's weird because with the wokeness thing, Christianity and Wokeness, my prior book with Salem. Voddie Baucham, at the exact same time I was, was developing his book Fault Lines and trying to get it out, and others were as well. But that's one example at the same publishing house. We didn't plan anything, we didn't coordinate anything, we didn't know the other person was doing it. But our books became a bit of a one-two punch that in the church represented kind of a serious pushback against woke ideas. Something similar has happened, you're exactly right with manhood, and I'm thankful to see it. And I think it's really going to touch a nerve.

I have no idea how my book is going to do, of course, but I think it's touching a nerve. And men are tired of being told they're toxic, Shaun. Men are sinners. Men need the grace of Jesus Christ, so we're not like soft-pedaling the struggles of men. My book is very honest about four major types of sinful manhood that men often practice, but fundamentally to render boys and young men as toxic by virtue of being aggressive or assertive when they are wired by God with, on average, 2000% more testosterone, that's the way God made them. Something is off and so people are listening now.

Shaun Tabatt: Let's pull a little bit more on that thread of man up in terms of mixed messages and just confusion. We have rampant fatherlessness and divorce and everything. A lot of us, even growing up, my parents were never married, didn't have good examples of what it means to be a husband and a father in the home.

So somebody says, man up. How am I supposed to figure out what that means? We look at all how poorly men are portrayed throughout culture, TV, movies, what have you, just even something as simple as man up. Talk about some of the confusion of, well, not even young men. I mean, I'm a Gen Xer at 45. I look at my own kids who are in their twenties, and some of the guys coming up behind us in their 30s, if I say man up, they look at me like a deer in the headlights. They don't know who to even look at to have an example of what that means. What's the problem? How do we start to fix that?

Owen Strachan: Yeah, that's a great question. Fundamentally, I don't know exactly what to know when there's no father in the home. What we need to do is rebuild a culture of fatherhood in America. And I will say this, I do know to point to this. The local church is supposed to have strong men leading it. There's disagreement who's a pastor and who preaches and these sorts of things. But local churches depend upon a culture of strong men. It depends upon elders and pastors who stand up 1 Timothy 2, 1 Timothy 3 and shepherd the flock. And so there's supposed to be a built in group of men that young men can look to and go, okay, he may not be a superstar, he may not be some amazing athlete or something, but that guy is a steady, dependable Christian man. He works a job, he's faithful to provide, he's a protector of his family, he's a leader of his home. When I go over to their house to play with their kids, the dad gathers the family and prays before the meal, nothing necessarily very fancy or complex in terms of spiritual leadership, but nonetheless, there's something about that guy where he's a Godly man. He's kind to me, he listens to me, he's nice, he's fun, and then, yeah, he's strong, and he knows the Bible and these sorts of things and tries to help his kids understand Jesus Christ as the center of all things and become a disciple of Jesus Christ through saving faith given by God.

That's the type of man our churches need. That's the type of man, though, that the culture is trying to not produce, is trying to squelch. And so we need to recognize that many boys and young men, as you rightly pointed out, have very few role models. If I could speak English, and that's a real challenge, Shaun. That's the heart of the problem, is I'm working in the teeth of the culture. And I'm trying to say don't make soft men culture. Don't do this. Our boys need strong men. They need strong examples. One thing I would say, this is going to sound a little strange in a show about a book that's about biblical manhood. The War on Men is my book. I would say as your boys get older and it's age-appropriate, show them Gladiator, show them these pictures of strong manhood, The Patriot or other movies. Master and Commander is a masterpiece, by the way. Show them Russell Crowe, really in the 98 to 2006 period, roughly. And you'll start to also connect them in a kind of very lesser way, but to men who are good men, Cinderella Man. And that's helpful as well. But the Bible, of course, is the center of what we point them to.

Shaun Tabatt: Well, I've said this a million times in interviews over the last couple of years. So much of the difficulty I see throughout culture is related to a lack of identity. People are being told your family of origin is bad. The faith that you grew up with is bad, your country is terrible. And so I feel like so many kids who are coming up and even many adults, they're just listless. They don't know where they came from. They don't know where they are now. They don't know where they're going. They have absolutely no story to write themselves into, let alone role models.

I find it fascinating that we're in a place where people not that people are illiterate, but they're not reading the great old books and connecting with real people from history who did really important things. They're identifying with comic book characters and movie characters. And not only do we need maybe more solid physical role models at church and in the home, but actually the people we look to throughout history, let's look at real people and emulate those things rather than emulating just people that are a figment of somebody's imagination.

In terms of God's design for men biblically, Old Testament, New Testament, are there some characters we can look at? I mean, the good thing about the Bible is you have characters who are like, yeah, maybe that's a bad example. Here's another great example. But as we're trying to pull from the scriptures for things that maybe we can emulate or things that we should probably avoid, give us some examples that will help us paint that picture.

Owen Strachan: Yeah, one bad example would be Samson in Judges 13-16. He's what I call an exaggerated man. He fits the type that you see in popular culture on Instagram and elsewhere of an Andrew Tate or someone like that, or a very sin-driven athlete who's famous and lives the kind of lifestyle that a lot of men want to live in our flesh where he beds women, he goes out and gets what he wants. He's got these strong appetites, Samson does. And he's driven by his appetites. And that's how many men want to live in our flesh. And those are the fantasies we live out on social media or in movies or whatever we pursue. We want to be an exaggerated man. We want to be seen as maximally strong. But what you see in the tragic story of Samson in the Bible is that exaggerated manhood, again, as I call it, doesn't get you anywhere good. It ends up in chaos and pain and destruction.

A better example of someone to point to is the figure David in the Old Testament. David stands down Goliath though a tiny guy when no one else will. There are all these Israelite warriors going out against the Philistines in 1 Samuel, and none of them want to fight Goliath. None of them want to put their life on the line, but David does for the honor of God. David sees that there's a cause greater than his own safety. And we're told today to pursue safety basically above all else. Be safe. Be safe. Oh, please be safe. We say to each other and you know, I don't train my kids to run into the middle of a highway for fun. We do want to be safe at a certain level, absolutely. But there's something greater than being safe, Shaun. There is something more that life is about than safety and comfort and ease and having no arrows shot at you. And it is living for the glory of God. It's defending the truth of God. It's standing for the honor of God. And that's what David does.

And that points us ahead to the New Testament, where there's the greater David, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is true manhood, exemplified and lived out. Jesus is tender. Matthew 19, when little children are brought to Him, He doesn't go, I'm an alpha male. I don't have anything to do with kids. I don't want to see these kids, get them away from me. That's how religious leaders treated children in Jesus's day. Even in the Jewish tradition, the high leaders didn't they didn't want to be among children, shoo them off, take them away. That's what the disciples initially do in Matthew 19:13-15. Jesus is different. Jesus is tender. He's kind, He's loving, He's approachable. He cares about people, ultimately in a GoGod-centered way. And so He welcomes the children to Himself. So there's a beautiful example of masculine tenderness.

But he's also tough, isn't He? In John 2:13-16, Jesus cleanses the temple because people are making it all about money and profits. And so Jesus turns tables and makes a whip of cords in John 2. And that shows us that Jesus is tough. Jesus is not one or the other then. In a lot of traditions, He's one or the other. He's super tender, and that's all. That's it. He's got sap pouring out of Him. He's so nice. And in other traditions, He's this kind of alpha male, and there's no kindness to Him, there's no humility to Him, and neither gives us the true biblical portrait of Jesus. He's the God-man. He's truly God and truly man. He's the warrior savior. The ultimate reason He has come is to make a people for Himself, atone for our sins, and destroy the devil. And so, man, in this book, The War on Men, I try very hard to show that it's not some celebrity or athlete or fictional character in a comic book or movie or whatever. We can enjoy those. But ultimately, it's Jesus that boys need to be captivated by and young men need to be transformed by.

Shaun Tabatt: Well, I love that you mentioned that idea of exaggerated manhood. So much that we see online Instagram elsewhere. It's a public persona or perception. It's a caricature. It's all fake. So much of it where it's just I'm portraying something, but if you get behind the scenes, you see how much of that is often so much of our social media. There's a lot of green screens involved to make things look really cool. But the reality is real manhood, being in the trenches, it's often lived out in secret without a lot of fanfare, and you're just doing what needs to be done, and nobody's giving you a high five or saying, like, way to go, buddy. It's just you're doing what needs to be done, being the man who really mans up in that moment.

Talk to us a little bit about tackling the challenging things, the personal hardships. Culture says, you know what, brother? This is the age where you can live a life of ease. You should do whatever you want, whatever makes you happy. But the reality, as we take on those mantles of being a husband and a father, we're going to have to face hard things on behalf of our family, maybe on behalf of the people, you know our neighbors, whoever it might be. Talk to us a little bit about really embracing those hardships as something to shape our characters and something we're called to tackle versus gosh. This is just terrible because I've been promised this life of ease.

Owen Strachan: Yeah. The culture wants us to live a plastic life as men today, where we make no real commitments. We live our lives on screens. We don't go outside. We don't have any real risks around us. If we keep a steady job, you know we're just always by our lonesome. We don't encounter flesh and blood. We don't build anything. We don't risk anything. Nothing costs us. And men are called to be single or married. There's not one form of the Christian life that is the acceptable form.

There are lots of different vocations out there to do. A good number of us do make our living literally engaging with computers and technology and these sorts of things. So that's not necessarily bad in my book. But what we do have to do is reject a plastic life, Shaun. We have to reject a riskless life, and we have to say, okay, many of us are called to marriage and family. This is going to cost me. This is going to cost me dearly. The culture is telling me if it costs me a lot, it must be bad, because I can have a virtual wife through pornography. If I'm even vaguely spiritually inclined, I don't have to commit to a local church. I can just do that online for 45 minutes and then I'm done. I can have my friends and my relationships on my phone, call them and then be done. I don't have to make or build or do anything that's very hard. And the biblical call is not to live a plastic life. It's to live a real, authentic, dirt under your fingernails life. It is to, whatever your job is, computer or not, provide for your family. It is to protect your family. It is to lead your family.

It's not to love a virtual woman who's at your beck and call and responds to your every whim, because, by the way, she's not real. She's pretend. She's something presented to you virtually on a screen. No, you love a real flesh and blood woman as you're called to marriage. It's not easy. You're a sinner redeemed by grace. She's a sinner redeemed by grace. The years are tough. Pregnancy is hard. There's all sorts of challenges that come up with the kids. They have medical conditions. They have learning disabilities. You and your wife hit hard parts in your marriage. You've got stuff to work through. It's extremely hard to communicate. Sometimes the hardest thing to do in marriage is just to communicate, just to literally talk to each other. So I could go on and on here, but the point, I think, stands. God calls us not into a plastic life, but into real life.

But here's the thing, Shaun. That's not the bad life. That's the good life. That's where God gets so much of the glory. He gets it in sacrifice. It's in things costing us. It's in giving of ourselves to others. It's in, for example, digging in with our kids and trying to disciple them, to know Jesus Christ, shepherding them. It's in wrestling with our boys. It's in having tea parties with our girls. It's in getting up a little bit earlier in the morning so that we can talk with our wife before the day slams into us all. And so we're on the same page. It's in teaching each other to reconcile when sin happens in a family, as it regularly does. And we can't be functional perfectionists, pretending that if we just teach the Bible, our kids are magically going to be perfect. No, they're not perfect and we're not perfect. I'm going on a jag here, but all of this feels like defeat and we're tempted to think, man, I wish I could have that careless life, that easy life. But no, this is so much of where God gets glory in the thick, in the mess and the chaos, and it's good. And so we've got to lead in that as men.

Shaun Tabatt: Well, it's not often that maybe somebody we know gets a glimpse into our life and we get a glimpse into theirs. I have a really close friend who I've known since 6th grade, longer than I've known my wife, and my wife's had a lot of health issues this past year. And so he actually came down, he spent six weeks hanging out at our house, helping cart kids around, driving to the hospital, all kinds of crazy things. And on the one hand, I'm thinking, man, this guy can do whatever he wants. He's not tied down to a lot of things. And it was really fascinating by the end of the time he'd stayed with us we had a phone call a couple of weeks later, and he's like, you know, I hope someday I have what you have in terms of how your wife respects you and she loves you and what I see going on with your kids. He's like, man, I want that for my life someday.

On the one hand, as a guy with ten kids, my life is kind of nuts some weeks. And so I'm like, man, some of that freedom to just go hang out and do what I want, that sounds really exciting. But it was just very fascinating to me that he was like, man, the thing you have going on, the wife, the kids, all that, that's what's missing from my life. So that was really eye-opening to be like, wow, the grass always seems greener on the other side until you kind of share stories. And this call, I feel like, that God puts into each of us to move into where He's wanted us to be. If you're going to have ten kids, my wife and I would say that is a calling. That's a lot of work, but sometimes God calls us to do that.

And so just to get his outside perspective was very fascinating for me. In terms of, is this book for dudes? Should women pick it up? And I know the answer is women should read it, but talk a little bit about what women can expect to get from this book. And then as well, in terms of wives, mothers, girlfriends, all the things. If there's a man you're influencing in your life, how can you actually call the man you can influence brothers, significant others, whatever it might be How can you influence them to really embrace, go after manhood with a reckless abandon?

Owen Strachan: Yeah, well, life isn't vacuum-sealed for women here. If men are struggling and men are doing badly and men aren't growing up and maturing and taking on the kind of costs and the sacrificial cost of following Jesus. Literally being a follower of Jesus, is not having this plastic life. It is having a cross on your back. Now, not in the sense that you have to get yourself saved, but in the sense that there is a real charge in following Jesus to live according to His teaching and His way of life by the power of the Holy Spirit through divine grace. And so that is not the life that many men are urged to adopt today. And that leaves a lot of women, especially younger women, languishing. Since men are not going toward maturity and seeking to win a woman's heart, in many cases there's a strong place for single Christianity for both men and women. 1 Corinthians 7 for example. Jesus was single, in a sense. Paul was single, from what we can tell. So anyway, we can talk about that. And you could honor the Lord as a single man and a single woman. Absolutely. You can display that Christ is your identity.

You talked about identity a little bit ago, and that's a tremendous thing to image to the world. But for those who are drawn and called to marriage, you just have to recognize that if men are not maturing, women are going to languish. So women will want to read The War on Men because they will want to see what the Bible teaches about manhood. They want to breathe. I think a lot of them will, honestly, I don't have to convince them. They will want to breathe the pure oxygen of God's word and like, oh, this is what I see men struggling in and being drawn to. But this in the Scripture is so much better. Okay, let me pray for the men around me. Let me pray for my husband if they're married. Let me pray for young men around me. Let me pray for those in my church. This is the culture we want to build. I think this book is going to be honestly tremendously encouraging to women. And dare I say, if, let's say there is a situation where a woman knows her home is not going great, her marriage is kind of not in a terrific place, the kids aren't really getting shepherded a lot, and women are often the ones who see this and are honest about it first, more than men. Not that women are better than men in any sense, but you just often have this dynamic.

Well, this is a book that you can read with your husband, and I'm not going to punch him in the jaw because I think there's plenty of that going on. The War on Men is a book where I could go full throttle, vein in my neck, shouting at the men and just soft glove the women. That's not what I do. What I'm trying to say is, men, I want to help you, I want to encourage you, I want to strengthen you. A lot of men's books in the Christian market and otherwise tend to be shout fests. They tend to be trying to break the man down, you stupid idiot. Come on, do what you're supposed to be doing. I don't want to do that. I don't want to coddle men, but I want to encourage and help men, shepherd men in a small way through a book. So those are some ways this book can help. Men historically shy away from men's books. And I pray that even with the angle The War on Men, I'll kind of pique men's interest and go, wait a minute, maybe this guy isn't trying to flame me. Maybe he's actually trying to identify what I'm facing and help me because I am.

Shaun Tabatt: And one of the things I'll say just broadly with your book and other books that are coming out on this topic a lot of them again coming from, interestingly enough, coming out of Salem and Regnery at this time. It's just that men are going to catch the vision of virtue and character and just start pursuing a devoted Christian life where not only are they finding ways to be discipled, but that's going to lead to them discipling their wife and their kids. And a lot of that stuff is just caught and not taught.

 And so if we're not living it out, it's really hard to give away what's not real in our own lives. So that would be one of my challenges, especially the men who watch and listen to this podcast, is maybe it's time you sit down and think about how could I improve. How could I do better? And I'm not saying that out of shame. I'll even relate this to my own journey as my wife's in cancer this past year. I've had to step up and wear all the hats and do all the things. And one of the real eye-opening things is I realized on the one hand how much I took for granted, but that there are so many things that I could step up and be better as a dad and a husband.

And while it's difficult just to take on more, at the same time the transformation in my family, how my kids see me in the midst of this fire. I have had so many kids, my kids tell me, Dad, I feel like I didn't even know you before, because I didn't take the kids with me to the grocery store. I've got a 60-plus hour-a-week job like a lot of us do. And so I've had to step into roles that maybe I never had to do for 25 years. But the kids are seeing me live my life out in a way that they really never had visibility to me. So on the one hand, I'm happy about that. But it was really eye-opening because I just assumed they knew me and saw me and understood who I was. And so you don't need to have a life crisis to do that. But if you could be intentional and just, hey, let your kids just go and walk by the wayside with you. You'd be really amazed at what kind of a difference that's going to make in them. And there's nothing better than having a child be like, Dad, I really feel like I know you. You're actually an interesting guy, kind of a thing. That's the sort of thing that's going to make you smile and make your day.

In terms of... Do you want to comment? Please.

Owen Strachan: Yeah, I just want to comment on that, Shaun, because that's a really important matter you just shared. Sorry to interrupt there, but what you went through, I'm so sorry about. And that's a real difficulty in a major sense and not a small thing. And I'm sure you do need rest, and you do need some times to get an hour of just rest and quiet here and there. And so let that be said.

But fundamentally, what I'm calling for and what we need to live out in the way you just described in your own life and what God often does with a lot of us men, a lot of, listen, don't think you can actually avoid struggle and complication and pain and hardship. The culture is lying to you. The culture is lying to all of us men and all of us people. When it urges this plastic life upon us, when it offers this seamless riskless life. No! Suffering is going to find you one way or another. This is a fallen world. We are sinners. We have a devil who's attacking us. We're caught between Heaven and hell. And so it's a spiritual battle out here.

What I'm trying to say to men is not simply develop virtue. There are other books that we've mentioned here on this podcast that are more oriented that way, and I appreciate that call, but that's not sufficient, actually. You can't just say develop virtue from a Christian standpoint, at the center of it all is the Gospel, it's being born again, it's knowing Jesus Christ as your Lord and your Savior, the cross of Christ washing your sin clean, the resurrection of Christ, giving you life after the grave, and believing in that and repenting of your sin on that basis. That's the Gospel. And that's what Peterson and Rogan and Jocko Willink and the gurus don't have. The manhood guys. The manosphere guys, they don't have, not just Christian virtue in a generalized sense. They don't have the Gospel of grace. And that is truly what men most need.

Men need to be remade by the power of God. That's what makes this book, The War on Men, stand apart. It's not just like life is going to be tough, be a Stoic, be a Spartan. There's stuff you can glean from different movements and histories. The Spartans are insanely tough. You can learn something from that as a Christian. But that's not the core. The core for us is the new birth, is knowing Christ and then God actually helping you. This is not putting law on men's shoulders and saying, do better. You just do better. Grit it out. This is saying, actually find your strength in God. You're not the end of all things. You can't fight your way through this ultimately. This is going to take you down if you try to do it in your own strength. If you're trying to shoulder all the things you've shouldered with your wife having cancer in your own strength, that will take you out. But if you're looking to God by His grace, you can get through it and not just get through it. You can actually show the world that God's glory is found in the hard places, not in avoiding them.

Shaun Tabatt: And I'm so glad this is kind of where you took us at the end of the interview, because I feel like so much of it. And again, a lot of the folks you've mentioned, I've read most of their books. I'm a fan of a lot of their work. And we can all benefit by making good changes, getting new habits, all kinds of things. A lot of that stuff can be very helpful. But I feel like so much of that material, it lacks that internal transformation that happens when we really encounter Jesus. We're no longer unequally yoked or however we want to describe it.

You rightfully pointed out the burden of walking out 13 months of this journey with my wife's cancer situation. People are like, how are you not a nut job and a crazy person? And I'm just like, Jesus, that's my only answer. How can I get up every morning and do everything we need to do and still hold down a job and all the things like, Jesus, I'm actually happy. I'm in a good place. We have a hope of Heaven, which we're so thankful for, and that's what keeps us going. If I had to face that without Jesus, I would be a very broken messed up person right now.

And so I'm glad you landed us here, but it's really that internal peace, that transformation that only comes by knowing and following the Lord, because, again, so much of the men's material out there right now for personal development and all that kind of stuff, it's lacking that ultimate transformation. A lot of it's changing habits, change how you look. Let's dress up and show that we're good and I'm changing and all these things. And again, that internal transformation piece, that only comes from one place. And so I'm glad you landed us there. Owen, in terms of people finding you on the web, connecting with you, all your books and resources, all the things. Where do we discover you on the web?

Owen Strachan: Yeah, I appreciate that. I'm on Twitter. That's probably the best place @ostrachan, @ostrachan. I'm on Instagram as well at @profstran.

And I would just say in conclusion to what you just said. That's what this book ultimately is trying to communicate. It's not saying there's these alphas who have done everything perfectly. And this is the way a lot of the men's movement stuff goes even today. A number of those voices you mentioned and I've mentioned are good voices in common grace terms. They have what we would call practical wisdom in a number of areas, some of them, some more than others to be sure. We can glean from that as Christians, we're not scared of that. If a guy's teaching, you know, be more disciplined in getting more sleep and then working out and these kind of things, life hacks, some of those are good, some of those are helpful.

 And I've even spoken already of how we're encouraged by a Peterson who's not a Christian that I know of, but he's courageous in the public square. So there's a lot more we could say about all of that. But I'm trying to say to men in particular, I'm not the alpha who's figured this out and now I'm a guru selling my plan to all you men who are lesser men. I'm trying to say we are all level, we are all sinners. Our only hope is the grace of God in Jesus Christ. And here's the deal. If you have faltered, if you've had a moral failing, if you blew up your marriage, if you're estranged from your kids, or if it hasn't gone that extreme. But you're not batting a thousand in life and there are challenges and complications and your job is hard. And marriage has gotten difficult. And you don't have great relationships with your family. And on and on it goes. And you're not in the church you love. I want you to hear, too, that God's grace is for you and that when God saves you and changes you, you're not going to become a superman. You're going to be just like the rest of us Christian men who are fighting our sin daily, who are striving to know Christ, who are trying to repent, who are trying to love our wife well, in a Christlike way, who are trying to press in with our kids intentionally. We all stumble in many ways. James 3:2, but the grace of God is here for us. And so that I'm trying to offer practical wisdom, Shaun, in The War on Men, this book, but ultimately I'm trying to say we're not supermen. I'm not a guru. I'm just another beggar telling you where to find bread. And His name is Jesus Christ.

Shaun Tabatt: Well, and we'll make it easy like we do with every episode. We'll have links in the show notes to places where you can buy your own copy of this new book, as well as places where you can connect with Owen on Twitter and Instagram.

It's time to bring this episode of The Shaun Tabatt Show to a close. Many thanks for being a part of my conversation with Owen Strachan. Once again, our book today was The War on Men. And, Owen, I want to say thank you so much for sharing with us today. It's been an honor and a pleasure to have you back on the show.

Owen Strachan: Thank you for having me, Shaun. Appreciate it.

powered by