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Manhood Swept into the Currents of a Changing World
Carolyn Custis James
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Malestrom builds on and expands previous books by Carolyn Custis James to explore the idea of manhood, a growing issue both in the wider culture and in the church. Until now, the entire discussion has been largely reduced to Western conceptions. Instead, James here shows how our culture’s narrow definitions of manhood are upended when we consider the examples of men in the Bible and Jesus’ gospel. Together, they show a whole new Kingdom way of being male and forging men and women into the Blessed Alliance.

About the Author

Carolyn Custis James (MA, Biblical Studies) travels extensively as a popular speaker for women's conferences, churches, colleges, seminaries, and other Christian organizations. Her ministry organization, WhitbyForum, promotes thoughtful biblical discussion to help men and women serve God together. Carolyn founded and is president of the Synergy Women’s Network. She is a consulting editor for Zondervan's Exegetical Commentary Series on the New Testament and author of When Life and Beliefs Collide and Lost Women of the Bible. Carolyn and her husband live in Sellersville, Pennsylvania. They have one grown daughter.


Unchristian patterns of culturally conditioned models of masculinity are the norm for many Christian men, with disastrous and, far too often, tragic consequences. By surveying the diverse biblical landscape with wisdom, insight, and conviction, Carolyn Custis James calls for a Christ-centered understanding of ‘male,’ where men and women are equal image bearers of God, truly one flesh, and thus coworkers in the mission of God on earth. James’s Malestrom is a prophetic and healing voice. -- Peter Enns, Abram S. Clemens Professor of Biblical Studies, Eastern University

Carolyn Custis James writes with urgency, clarity, and meticulous research about issues that don’t just concern every man, but relate to the health and stability of the entire church and our wider world. This is a call for men and women to live in the health and freedom of God’s calling for both genders. -- Ed Cyzewski, author of A Christian Survival Guide and Coffeehouse Theology

Women aren’t the only ones bombarded with conflicting and harmful messages about their identities. More than ever men face an onslaught of expectations, both from the culture and the church, about what it means to be a ‘real man.’ Through this treacherous landscape, Carolyn Custis James proves a trustworthy guide. With her characteristic warmth and wisdom, she examines manhood through the lens of Jesus Christ and offers a better way forward for men, a way characterized by partnership, joy, and humility. There are few writers who bring as much clarity and conviction to their work as Carolyn Custis James. This book is biblically faithful, immensely timely, and delightfully readable. Every last page is charged with healing power. -- Rachel Held Evans, author of A Year of Biblical womanhood and Searching for Sunday

This is the book I’ve been waiting for --- as a wife, as a mother of a son, as a woman committed to the blessed alliance God intended between men and women. This book will be healing and restorative for so many. It’s a beautiful invitation to manhood in the Kingdom of God. -- Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist and Out of Sorts

In Malestrom, Carolyn Custis James takes us by the hand and leads us through the story of how God dismantles patriarchy in the Bible. By the time we’re done reading, a new space has been cleared. Men can now be men. Women can now be women. And together we can live God’s gendered salvation. It is a remarkable accomplishment. -- David Fitch, B. R. Lindner Chair of Evangelical Theology, Northern Seminary

With wisdom and fresh imagination, Malestrom challenges business-as usual patriarchy and calls men and women of faith to a deeper and richer Blessed Alliance. In this inviting and absorbing book, Carolyn Custis James probes the narrative of Holy Scripture and concludes that patriarchy is ‘in, but not of’ the Bible. As I read, I began to envision what masculinity might mean when redefined from a kingdom perspective that inverts the social pyramid that so distorts our gendered lives. With more in mind than just a kinder and gentler patriarchy, James opens up the Scriptures, directing the reader through the pitfalls of traditional thinking about men, women, power, and hierarchy. As you turn pages you’ll meet anew people like Abraham, Judah, Barak, Boaz, Matthew, Joseph, and pivotal women of the Bible who, through God’s grace, come to stand against the malestrom and enter into the new hope of Jesus of Nazareth. A bracing book for an embattled world; I read hungrily and came away nourished. -- Matthew S. Vos, Covenant College, Department of Sociology

Men have indeed lost sight of who God created them to be as human beings and as men! The signs of this reality are visible all around us. From bloody violence on an international scale to the abuse of the most vulnerable little child in the privacy of a home, from ‘fatherless’ children to abusive marriages, there just seems to be no end. Malestrom does a masterful job of first articulating the catastrophic mess we are in, and then walks the reader through a journey unfolding God’s divine vision and plan for man through an engaging study of the men of the Scriptures. I simply could not put this book down. Does it offer a final and definitive solution to the problem that began in Genesis 3? Perhaps not. Has it begun a conversation in my mind? You bet! And this conversation is long overdue within the global church today. A timely, well-articulated, and thought-provoking book! -- Abraham George, Director of International Church Mobilization, International Justice Mission

God’s intention for the appropriate flourishing of human life has been severely thwarted by culturally captive expressions of masculinity that have oppressed both women and men. Malestrom offers us a reminder from Scripture that God’s intention for men was not for a dysfunctional masculinity that devastates the image of God within us. Thank you, Carolyn Custis James, for your historical and theological insights that will reshape how I live out my faith in the world. Thank you for a book that benefits both my son and my daughter. -- Dr. Soong-Chan Rah, Milton B. Engebretson Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism; author of The Next Evangelicalism

Malestrom is not of this world, just like God’s kingdom to which it bears witness. Carolyn Custis James is a modern-day Deborah, whose work serves as a prophetic challenge to all men to image Jesus. Against the backdrop of patriarchal and radical feminist perspectives that degrade and discount men, James invites Adam’s progeny to display profound courage and dignity as they gain a biblical sense of their true identity. This is not a book for the faint of heart: liberated male readers will join forces with women to conquer despair and celebrate the transformative power of God’s cruciform and unifying love. -- Paul Louis Metzger, Professor of Christian Theology, Multnomah Biblical Seminary/Multnomah University

Malestrom takes a close and provocative look at the dangers of patriarchy by taking a close look at what Scripture says about it. This book will lead you to ponder the type of person God asks all of us --- male and female --- to be. It is a good question to meditate on. -- Darrell L. Bock, Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

Finding a crack in the door of patriarchy, which still patterns the life of both the church and the world, Carolyn Custis James swings it wide open, redirecting the gender conversation towards its rightful focus: the malestrom. Through careful biblical exegesis and an intersectional awareness of the actual social currents that daily sweep over men and boys, this book rightfully articulates a vision for men rooted in the imago dei particularly revealed in the life of Jesus Christ. The church is indebted for this resource for opening up a new set of questions at an accessible level, and for remembering that ultimately what makes something Christian is its ability to conform image of the Son. -- Drew Hart, writer for Taking Jesus Seriously, a Christian Century hosted blog

  • Product Details
  • Page Count: 224
  • Format: Hardcover, Jacketed
  • ISBN: 9780310325574
  • Release: June 2, 2015