If you're old enough, you'll likely remember the series of commercials, televised in the late '80s, for cars such as the brand-new snazzy Cutlass Supreme. Each advertisement ended with the words, "This isn't your father's Oldsmobile."

That tagline, slightly modified, aptly describes Christian Piatt's new memoir, PregMANcy: a Dad, a Little Dude, and a Due Date (Chalice Press). From the first page—indeed, from the first line—readers gather that this is no conventional Christian book on fatherhood such as the guides offered by Josh McDowell or John Fuller. Whereas McDowell's The Father Connection begins with the famous apologist's idyllic recollection of holding his infant daughter for the first time, the first sentence of Piatt's book is: "Screw it."

This isn't your father's parenting guide.

Piatt, the author of several books, including Banned Questions about the Bible and co-editor of the WTF? (Where's the Faith) series for young adults, is the epitome of a postmodern Christian man. He co-parents his two young children with his wife, a pastor, in Portland, Oregon. He shrugs off the usual tacit prohibitions in Christian publishing against such things as using the verb "to doink" for sex or admitting that he "hardly has his s--- together." He describes himself as an "author/speaker/antagonist/God nerd," and a "father, son, holy heretic." As a believer, he is far more likely to speak about "reconciling human brokenness in love" than to triumphantly proclaim that "we are more than conquerors."

In PregMANcy, along with his witty, sometimes coarse, always candid descriptions of his experience of his wife's second pregnancy, he offers genuine spiritual reflection. He writes, for example, about his discomfort with the theology being taught at his son's Christian school, which seemed to offer a gospel more based in judgment than the tolerant approach to which Piatt and his wife had exposed their son. In guiding his young son in his own Christian journey, Piatt asserts that "the best expressions of faith are not taught rhetorically," but that "kids learn more about loving our neighbors by watching us being loving toward them than by what we tell them."

"It's great to talk about Jesus to your kids, but it's more important to be Jesus for them," Piatt writes. "Big shoes to fill, I know, but lots of people call God 'Father' for a reason. Until they can understand the real one better, we're playing God in our kids' lives."

That Piatt is estranged from his own father adds gravity to this memoir. In the chapter titled "Daddy Day Conspiracy," he reveals how his wounds over that loss (Piatt told me that his father doesn't answer calls or emails) "boil up" one Father's Day.

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Just home after leading a weeklong youth retreat for 70 kids, Piatt's wife had not planned anything special for Father's Day. He admits to childishly "throwing a fit" about her oversight. Later, Piatt reflects on how his "family baggage" helped to create a "perfect emotional storm" that day, but also how that pain spurs him on in his quest to be a deliberate and committed father. He muses, "Whether that's enough to take from here forward and reinvent fatherhood as I want it to be is, I suppose, up to me."

Piatt claims that PregMANcy isn't a parenting manual, but in it he offers fresh and valuable advice on raising children. Consider yourself witnesses to your children's lives, he advises, "rather than the only one solely responsible for [their lives'] outcome." He directs fathers to "provide opportunities … that complement their abilities and passions, and try to guide them toward using their talents to make the world a better place." Again, his grief over the loss of a relationship with his father raises its hand when he pleads, "No matter what, love them through it all, and make sure they know it."

"Unless you're a complete tool, you never walk away from your kids," he writes. "It can be a lifelong gift or a lifelong sentence, depending on how you play it."

Wives who read the book may gain insight, be offended, or likely experience a combination of the two as they discover what their husbands may not have articulated to them about how they experienced the journey to parenthood. Men may focus on the additional financial costs of a child instead of swimming in awe at the prospect of bringing a new life into the world. They may feel distant from the developing baby while their wives pore over baby-name books and treasure every kick. And maybe, like Piatt, their husbands are secretly relishing their wives' burgeoning cleavage much more than the thought of becoming a father.

I know some men who are bowled over with the wonder and miracle of pregnancy. But Piatt isn't one of them. " … for guys, [the baby is] a total abstraction until you have more physical proof," he writes. "We men are fairly literal creatures when it comes down to it, and some bigger boobs, though wonderful, do not give us the emotional connection a woman has to some other living being, growing inside her womb."

Whether or not male readers are the "fairly literal creatures" that Piatt claims them to be, they'll likely find tidbits in the book that will help them welcome new life with grace, patience, and hearty laughter.

Jennifer Grant is the author of two books. Love You More: The Divine Surprise of Adopting My Daughter was released in 2011. Her new book, MOMumental: Adventures in the Messy Art of Raising a Family was published in May. Find her online at jennifergrant.com.