Troy Meeder’s new book, Average Joe, is an interesting addition to the world of men’s spiritual literature. Meeder uses various stories from his own life and from the lives of impactful men who have shaped him. The reader will read accounts from gardeners, cowboys, soldiers, and pastors. The book focuses how an “average Joe” is the kind of man whom God needs for His kingdom.
Meeder offers some very honest views of men and their roles. He admits that as a fifty-something cowboy, he isn’t afraid to tell his opinions truthfully and bluntly. His open, conversational style is friendly and creates a connectedness between the author and the reader. The main content is split into three sections, where each chapter offers ideas that fit neatly into the overall heading, giving specific and easy-to-understand examples. A final plus is the study guide at the back, providing a few reflection questions and a recap of each chapter’s main points.
Despite Meeder’s strong points, his book often lacks a fresh approach to this topic. There are a number of points where his “average Joe” theme seems to be shoehorned into his points, or forgotten entirely. Many chapters feel unnecessarily padded, or the opposite, too short to make their point well enough. The examples he uses are interesting, but they seem more like affectionate stories than spiritual examples. Meeder adds spiritual elements to them, but they often seem strained.
Average Joe is in no way a bad book. Meeder does make solid spiritual points and shares powerful stories from his life. Yet, despite its strengths, Average Joe is a victim of its style. The content is generic, and most of his points seem like they’ve been said before, or are just common sense. Meeder makes a valiant effort, but ultimately comes a little short. I would recommend this book to seasoned men of the church, mostly those in the thirties and up. Average Joe is good, but there are better books out there related to male role modeling. – Todd Naevestad, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
“What is happening to my life?”
Have you ever honestly asked yourself that question? As young boys, we dreamed of being pilots, firefighters, doctors, and cowboys. Now we’re older, with a wonderful wife and kids, as well as a mortgage, a minivan, and a fulfilling but not-so-glamorous job. What happened? All the dreams that once inspired us have evaporated into traffic jams, computer screens, bills, and deadlines. Why is life so ordinary?
If you think your life is nothing special, take a look at it through God’s eyes.
The revealing truth is that God chooses “ordinary,” faithful men to do His most important work—regular guys like Peter the fisherman, David the shepherd, Stephen the waiter, Gideon the farmer, Paul the tentmaker, and even Jesus the carpenter. In this engaging book, Troy Meeder blends stories about biblical characters and contemporary men to show that an “average-Joe” life, an “ordinary” existence, shapes a man’s integrity, moral stability, resolve, and strength.
The world desperately needs an army of “average Joes.” Like you.
Includes a study guide for use by men’s groups.