Book review - Men Firing Through All of Life
This 160-page book tackles the thorny issues of the ageing male with verve, humour and wisdom. Al Stewart poses the questions many men ask as the greying temples announce themselves in the mirror. What is life all about? What do I do with the second half of my life?
He gets stuck into marriage, family, career, success and failure. He tells us how men search for happiness with possessions, pornography and adultery and he writes about the frustrations men feel in middle age when life fails to live up expectations.
He has many anecdotes and illustrations about the rich and famous who have not found happiness with wealth and status. The book quotes authors like Steve Biddulph and Robert Bly who have tackled some of these subjects.
Al Stewart gives lots of useful information and suggestions, two excellent appendices on exercise, physiology and sex, and some wonderful insights from the Bible. Yes, the words of Solomon resonate with stunning relevance from two and a half millennia ago. In Ecclesiastes we hear about ‘meaninglessness’.
Al Stewart asks: ‘are we living for things in life that are worthwhile?’
For a bloke who had unimaginable wealth, Solomon discovered that a close relationship with God gave meaning to life. He writes of the importance of friendship, and giving time and money to help others.
He challenges us to find the adventure in life by following Jesus, his message being that we find meaning in life by serving Jesus, and then others; living for something that is bigger than ourselves.
Al Stewart: what are his credentials?
Well, he is in the right age bracket, has four children, and is still married to Kathy after many years. He believes in regular early morning exercise either running or weights at the gym.
He runs half-marathons with some of his mates, and goes off once a year to spend a week in the bush pig-shooting. It is his contribution to eco-tourism and helping the environment, by reducing the number of feral pigs.
And yes, he is also an Anglican bishop in Wollongong, NSW.
Definitely a dynamic Christian man
This book is hot-off-the-press contemporary, relevant, interesting and helpful. Recommended reading not just for men, but also for the women in their lives.
Men Firing Through All of Life by Bishop Al Stewart of Wollongong. Published by Blue Bottle September 2007
Review by Phil Thomson