Four Pillars of a Man’s Heart, written in the mid-nineties, has long been considered one of the more influential books out there for Christian men. Much of what you find in Christendom on manhood will be along the lines of archetypes in the Christian sense—the warrior, the lover, the mentor, the sage, the friend, the king, etc. For Weber, Christian manhood can be summed up in four “pillars”—the warrior, the king, the mentor, and the friend. What I liked best about Weber’s book was his understanding about how to balance these aspects and what happens when something is out of balance. For example, when the “king pillar” is out of balance a man can either end up as an abdicator or a tyrant. These pillars are rooted in certain qualities namely, vision, strength, wisdom, and love.
It’s interesting to think that if we were to use this diagram to identify the imbalance we are experiencing in today’s society the result would probably be that our generation of men is stuck in the abdication-coward-dunce-loner rut. (Side note: I have no idea if Weber hints at the left vs. right or liberalism vs. conservatism ideologies in this diagram but it seems like it could.)
In my own book, Strong, I have identified seven manhood identities that are not archetypal but more qualitative in nature–leader, protector, provider, fighter, father, husband, brother.
Something that seems to be a frequent trend with Christian books on manhood is that I find myself wondering how the principles being taught are truly manly. And what I mean by that is how do they differ from the womanly? Most qualitative attributes presented in books on Christian manhood appear to me to also be applicable to womanhood. Women also posses wisdom, strength, vision, and love. Women, too, can be mentors, teachers, friends, etc. What men are looking for the most, I think, are the things that really identify them as men. That is, what exactly is it that sets them apart from women? We hear it all the time, “Men and women are not the same!” Well said, but I believe that men want to know the answer to the question, “How are we different?” even more.