Scholars have been producing excellent books about gender equality for years. But J. Lee Grady, an award-winning journalist, minister, and CBE advisory board member, says we won't change the culture until we climb down from the ivory tower to reach the "common man." That's exactly what he aims to do with his new book 10 Lies Men Believe (Charisma House, $14.99). We talked to Grady about the new book and his passion to confront gender prejudice on the front lines.
Arise: What prompted you to write a book aimed at men?
Grady: My book, 10 Lies the Church Tells Women, published in 2000, offered healing to women who have been marginalized or abused. I've dedicated my life to confronting this problem. But I realized immediately that I couldn't address abuse simply by offering healing to the abused. I also have to confront the abuser.
I spend a lot of my time in the developing world. It became obvious after I preached at a few women's conferences in Guatemala that after the women were healed, they still had to go home to face abusive husbands. So I asked the Lord to help me write a book directed at men.
Arise: Do you think abusive men are actually going to buy the book?
Grady: Well, first of all, the book is not just about wife-beating. It deals with many of the issues men face in today's culture--pornography, substance abuse, fatherlessness, homosexuality, loneliness, and marital breakup. But we also zero in on issues relating to men's attitudes toward women. I use the Scriptures to confront male pride head-on.
The book is designed to be used in a group study, and it includes discussion questions and prayers. Men who go though this book together could be transformed, and the study will end up being a positive bonding experience for them.
As to the question of whether abusive men will buy the book: I predict that a lot of women will buy the book first, and then insist that their husbands read it!
Arise: What kind of men do you hope to reach?
Grady: I am called to reach the average Joe. Many Christian men today are defeated spiritually because they don't know how to break free from sinful habits. Many are plagued by guilt because of an extra-marital affair, a porn addiction, an explosive temper or even buried memories of sexual abuse. They need to have an encounter with God in order to find true freedom.
Meanwhile, the evangelical church has not helped the situation when we offered patriarchal teaching that tells men: "Be tough--you are the head of the house." That's silly. A man who is in bondage to pornography does not need to be told that he will be a "real man" simply by ordering his wife around. That man needs to humble himself, repent, and learn to be a servant instead of a dictator.
Arise: So it sounds like your book is quite different from most typical Christian men's books?
Grady: I am not aware of any Christian men's book that confronts physical and sexual abuse like 10 Lies Men Believe. That's why I wrote it. We've been ignoring this problem for too long in the church. Christian women have been getting black eyes and bruises for years, and yet we were telling their husbands to "act tough" and to make sure they are "in charge." That is a recipe for more abuse!
What we really need to do is bring men into a close encounter with Jesus Christ. Men need to know that Jesus was strong, yet He protected women, empowered them, and even sent them out to preach. Jesus taught us that if we really want to be strong, we must learn to serve. We need to teach men that if they want to be real men, they love their wives sacrificially and respect them as equals.
Arise: And the book is already available in Spanish?
Grady: I spend a lot of my time in Latin America, and I have a special concern for that region because there is so much abuse of women there. So Charisma House agreed to simultaneously publish the book in Spanish and English. I'm so excited that we have a resource we can offer these men.
Arise: What do you hope will be the result of this book, and how can we pray for you, Lee?
Grady: Many pastors today are frustrated because the men in their churches are spiritually defeated. I believe 10 Lies Men Believe is an answer to this problem. It is a discipleship tool that can help men overcome their marriage problems and sinful habits. It will also be a great tool for those who work in rehab centers, counseling centers and prisons. I want men to find the real freedom that Jesus offers.
I appreciate my CBE family and the way you have prayed for me in the past. My biggest prayer request is that the Lord will help me launch several relief projects in the developing world. I have already identified 17 projects in Latin America, Asia and Africa that will offer education and aid to girls and women who suffer from abuse and gender discrimination. Please agree with me in prayer that God will provide the needed funds.