Mark Chanski, Calvary Press, 2004, 247 pages, 3 of 5 stars
Mark Chanski is a seasoned pastor and father of five, and may have penned this while wearing a hunting knife and camo. He’s a tough guy with a soft heart. He gives the kind of wisdom your father did while chopping wood: work hard, career-plan early, don’t be a perfectionist, rear your children, think clearly, learn a trade. The teen and grandfather would equally benefit. Some chapters are only three pages long.
The best section was on “vocational laboring” but a survey of his 31 chapters shows the author’s wide swath of subjects: “Our Sinful Children”, “Evaluating Dating”, “Assertive Talking”, “Family Devotions”, “Job Hunting”. His excerpt from John Abbott’s The Mother at Home (©1833) was a gem.
Chanski shines in his section on decision-making. He blasts the subjective leading of the Holy Spirit. “Asking God for life directing impressions, is asking God for fresh special revelations. This is wrong and unbiblical.” (86) Since we all know of people who are so heavenly minded they are no earthly good, Chanski tells the humorous story of going to a wooded area to cut trees and his partner said: “Don’t you think we should first pray and ask God which tree we should cut down first?”
In sum, this book motivated me to be a better husband, father, and Christian. I learned nothing new and the well-turned phrases were few but the content was winsome, true, and masculine. I’ll give this book to my sons when they turn thirteen. I’ll read it with them, too.
- Unemployment can mentally, emotionally, and spiritually shake a man to his foundations. A man without work can become like waters without current. Standing water soon putrefies into a scummy pond. (68)
- Though carnal sounding, cash is the fuel that runs the kingdom machinery. Many kingdom ships that could be launched end up rotting in the harbor due to lack of funds. Were it not for generous financial supporters, the great missionary Adoniram Judson would never have set sail for Burma. (78)
- [Quoting John Murray] This view of the Holy Spirit’s guidance [i.e. feelings, impressions, convictions] amounts, in effect, to the same thing as to believe that the Holy Spirit gives special revelation. (88)
- The lives of many women have become barren wildernesses because they’ve been neglected by uncommunicative husbands; men who indulge themselves in selfish silence, men who are stingy with their words, men whose typical answer is one of no comment, men who like Adam in the snake infested garden leave it to their wives to do the talking. (179)
- Do you really want your children to experience everything you’ve experienced? Most of us believing parents, whose youth mirrored [promiscuous teen years] are ashamed of many of our actions, and can only marvel at God’s grace that kept us from destroying our souls. In reality, we’re just the survivors, and some very scarred survivors at that, while many of our peers passed through this cultural minefield and lost their souls. (234)