The Map by David Murrow is an interesting mix of fact and fiction. I have nothing but respect for an author who realizes that important truths can be well conveyed through fiction. What if Madeline L’Engle had just written a nonfiction book about the timelessness of God and His Word? What if Tolkien had written a nonfiction book about how the righteous remnant will conquer the evil horde? There would be huge gap not only in literature but in our understanding of these subjects.
I definitely admire Murrow for whetting a reader’s appetite for truth by couching it in a fast paced adventure novel. The first part of the book is the novel, and it’s worth a read for sure. The second part of the book delves into the truth of “The Map” which is actually an outline of Christ’s work on earth as told by Matthew—a map to manhood. (If you end up skimming the second half, be sure to read Epilogue which adds to the novel part of the book!)
I have to admit I skimmed the how-to-be-a-man part. (Insert wry smile here.) But I did read enough to know that I agree with the author’s overall premise, though I have some doctrinal differences with him. The overall premise is that “feminine qualities” (which is just a broad term that Murrow uses to mean things like submission, communication, family, nurturing, and harmony) are a part of a man’s spiritual journey, but only a part. The other part is to emulate Christ’s strength—His ability to get in a Pharisee’s face when the moment called for it or overturn tables when His anger was righteous. These strong spiritual men, Murrow argues, are lacking from the Christian church.
Murrow seems to be pointing to that idea that I have spoken of several times on this blog—that we modern Christians do everything we can to make Christianity seem safe, harmless, and harmonious. I have argued that this leads to disinterested and rebellious teenagers. Murrow argues that it leads to disinterested and feminized Christian men. We must as a culture admit that sacrifice, discomfort, and all-out war on sin are a definite part of the true Christian life. We must teach that surrender and love and relationships are a necessary part of the Christian’s spiritual journey, but they are not the end! They are the fuel that leads us and spurs us on to building the Kingdom with all the muscle that the Holy Spirit can supply.
So yes, I recommend it--mostly for the men and husbands out there. Read it through the lens of Scripture, read it with an open heart, and then go and use the strength of the Holy Spirit in your own lives!