Book Review: No More Christian Nice Guy

No More Christian Nice Guy: When Being Nice–Instead of Good–Hurts Men, Women and Children. Paul Coughlin. Bethany House Publishers, 2007.

Much as been written at the old blog about the general effects that both society and Churchianity have held upon men. The goals of traditional marriage and the instilling of traditional gender roles have been incredibly successful, leading to men who have not only given assent to female supremacy, but have bought into the whole concept whole sale by molding themselves into the docile follower, further demeaning themselves in the process. This “going too far” is what Paul Coughlin attempts to address in “No More Christian Nice Guy”.

Coughlin begins by describing the “Christian Nice Guy” (CNG), the typical “gentle, meek and mild” man who fears to live life, and sees his own life as worthless. The author goes on to assign a passive-aggressiveness to this man. Coughlin then describes the natural Jesus to extend from this, a meek and mild submissive Jesus and then contrasts that with an “unchained”, Jesus who was a “law-breaker”. He then describes the messages of the church given in order to reinforce submission and servitude in men towards women. The author then uses his own childhood abuse experience to relay the idea that children are taught to “live small”.

Coughlin then relates the CNG to marriage, describing how his passivity model is molded onto the expectations of men by the typical incorrect message of “sacrifice”. He goes on to explain the false piety connected to sexual expression, and how men are led to denying expression of intimacy that is natural to them. Coughlin then describes the neo-feminist view of masculinity, indicating that taking abuse has somehow been identified as Christian to men. He then moves on to describe the CNG at work. Coughlin then reiterates his points in an attempt to describe the journey from a “Nice guy” to a “Good guy”, provides advice in “facing one’s fears” and practical advice for going forward.

In reading through this book, I found myself frustrated in a number of respects. Coughlin brings up a few good points, such as the feminization of the Church, demonization of male sexuality, and the control of men in the church by women using shame and other tactics. Still, Coughlin retains a timid reserve in both stating them clearly and bringing them to their natural conclusion, betraying a nice guy behind the paper tiger he portrays, and leaving many topics with a non-definitive end. Others are shipwrecked either by contradiction or by plunging into other lies. For instance, the female Personal Jesus replaced with another Personal Jesus fashioned in the image of Tyler Durden. Still others are digressions into places that make no sense, like his diatribe on “family-owned Christian businesses”.

Furthermore, the lightness of Scriptural application and Coughlin’s reading of his Personal Jesus into it (p42), proclaiming Jesus a law-breaker (p47) is quite disturbing. Furthermore, Coughlin’s disorganized and scattershot way of writing (this is why I didn’t remember anything about the book – it took five pages of notes just to capture what he wrote about) services none of his points as much of what he has to say is cut off by himself to move onto other topics.

Overall, while this book had much promise, the goal it had became clear as soon as I read Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s forward. While Coughlin sniffed near a number of truisms regarding the real nature of traditional marriage and gender roles, much was squandered in the attempt to not “rock the boat”. It was quite clear that Coughlin’s “good guy” shares a number of commonalities with the “nice guy”, and to that end the goal was not to emancipate God-given manhood but to reel back the domestication of the male service animal, or for Coughlin to work out his personal issues with his mother’s abuse.

As I’ve seen personally, and as many of the other reviews of the book suggest, there are far better options for these topics than this book.

Rating: 4 out of 10.

Book Cover Image Source: Amazon

Book Review: The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands

The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands. Dr. Laura Schlessinger. HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2004.

Dr. Laura Schlessinger has gotten much attention over her radio show through the years. Naturally this has led into a number of books. The most curious title for the old blog as mentioned in the past has been “The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands”, which makes it a natural title for review and discussion. This book, presented with excerpts solicited from her radio show, aims to deal with problems she notices in wives with respect to traditional marriage.

Schlessinger begins by noting the resentment, disrespect, and disdain that husbands voice about their wives, noting that “a good man is hard to find, not keep”. She then notes a general insensitivity to a husband’s needs and feelings, while the wife has a hypersensitivity to any reaction or action from her husband. The author then addresses the issue of time in a woman’s life, repeating the typical mantra from traditionalists that a woman can’t have it all. Schlessinger then mentions the issue of nagging, nitpicking and criticizing, that men actually have feelings, men have different communication styles and directives, and that men need respect, sex, and guy time.

While Schlessinger brings up a number of important issues, she inevitably champions traditional (feminist) marriage, as the typical female sub-humanoid view of men is reinforced throughout the book. Amazingly enough, she is rather forthright about the models and aims of traditional marriage and traditional gender roles – that the husband is to worship the wife by bringing his oblations (“protect and provide”) to please her and the wife is to joyfully receive these things and rule over him (“receive and rule”). That she has a religious bent, calling out women for violating Commandment X (Exodus 20:17) regarding a traditional husband’s provision (p166), yet fails to see that traditional marriage at its core violates Commandments I and II (Exodus 20:3-6) by leading men to repeat the sin of Adam (Genesis 3:17) indicates her core morality in this book.

She reinforces this model throughout the book as she addresses the problems that she’s noticed from the callers of her radio show. As any Gribble does, she shows an astonishing proficiency at dealing with the “conspiracies” of traditional marriage, yet fails to call out the rather obvious white elephant sitting right in her midst indicating that what she is seeing represents features of traditional marriage rather than aberrations. Much of her advice towards wives in this book can simply be distilled into this: “Present yourself as the benevolent goddess he craves to worship and all will be well.”

I found the book fascinating in plumbing the depths of deception and how far it can go, lifting 44 passages for possible further discussion. While an incredibly useful resource in documenting the phenomena of typical female-led, male-submissive traditional marriage for those who have eyes to see, it functions as a terrible resource for those who actually want their marriages to give glory to God in all things.

Rating: 2 out of 10.

Book Cover Image Source: Amazon