For today's entry in the Friday Five interview series, we catch up with Eric Mason.
Eric Mason is pastor of Epiphany Fellowship in Philadelphia, PA. He is the author of Manhood Restored: How the Gospel Makes Men Whole. Eric is also the President of Thriving, a ministry that equips ethnic minorities for ministry in an urban context.
Today we chat with Eric about manhood, intentionality, and fatherhood.
Manhood is a rising topic in the church today with a handful of popular books in the last few years. Why another one?
My desire was to play the role of engaging both the theological issues and practical issues that men cross-ethnically are dealing with. In addition, I wanted to add a cultural engagement component to the resource. Prior to this, ethnic minorities were yearning for the subject to be communicated in their heart languages. Moreover, I wanted Manhood Restored to transcend multiple socioeconomic and ethnic contexts.
My hope is that it could be a discipleship tool for men to disciple men while bridging generational connections at the same.
You minister in an urban environment where the fatherhood crisis seems most acute. How does this shape your perspective?
The fatherhood crisis was a deep burden for me as I wrote. My desire is to engage people who deal with fatherlessness on differing levels. I wanted to show how Jesus solves the issue of fatherlessness. Where I am contextually, we must have theological and practical solutions for this. That is why I did the "Daddy Deprivation" chapter. I have received stories of guys from drug dealers to cooperate businessmen being in tears about this issue while going through this in a community of men. I am thankful for the Lord's grace in this.
Some criticize the manhood movement as being overly masculine, as if to be a godly man is to imitate William Wallace of Braveheart. Is this a fair critique?
Maybe, I know in my chapter on "The Restorer of Manhood," I try to reflect Jesus as the ultimate man in sensitivity and the powerful overcomer. My desire was to make sure that it is a biblically rooted book versus a cultural preference book with eisogetical proof texts. Striking that balance can be a challenge but is attainable. Men's Fraternity, Tony Evans, John Piper, and Wayne Grudem all avoid this trap well. I followed all of these men in their landmark works on manhood as I write. None of which reflect the A part of the question.
To be honest, people are turned off and can spot macho-center manhood resources from a mile away. And at the end of the day, they don't work.
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