It is commonly observed that when it comes to anything beyond work, weather, or sports, men don’t talk much. Into this vacancy, Wes Yoder has declared war. Bond of Brothers(Zondervan, 2010) is an unabashed examination of the inner-workings of a man. “The things men don’t talk about are some of the most important things in life,” Yoder writes, and Bond of Brothers is an important salvo on shallow-speak.
The book’s title and subtitle are a bit misleading, however. From it, I expected to read another treatise on the importance of accountability groups to create bonds of male friendship. But my misgivings quickly vanished. Yoder rightly observes that most men’s groups are not even close to being honest; his delineation of why accountability groups are a farce is a refreshing and important perspective. No, this book is less a narrative on how to strengthen bonds between men, and more about the important conversations in which men can and should engage. The bond of brotherhood becomes a natural byproduct of that dialogue.
To that end, Bond of Brothers is a helpful catalyst for meaningful conversation. Yoder ruminates on a variety of topics apparently gleaned from his own bond of brothers dialogue, referred to simply as “Dinner and Conversation.” That they engaged each other’s souls is never in doubt. The longing for a father affirmation; the deceit of sports; conflict in marriage; sorrow; mid-life uncertainty; the irrelevance of church; it’s all there, in unvarnished transparency. Each of these important “conversations” is throughly seasoned with personal story and biblical truth to make it a valuable conversation catalyst for your men’s group.
“No man who reveals only his strength is showing his complete manhood,” Yoder writes. By this measure, Yoder is a man’s man, offering in his book not only wisdom for life but a good dose of his own shortcomings along the way. By the time I had finished this book, I felt that I knew something of the man Wes Yoder. As I set the book down, I found myself longing for another conversation with him.
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