Missing From Action
A Powerful Historical Response to the Crisis Among American Men

© 1996  Weldon M. Hardenbrook

with Terry Somerville

Conciliar Press, Ben Lomond, CA

All rights reserved. Used by permission. No portion of this online edition of Missing From Action may be reproduced or stored in any form or by any means, except for brief quotation for the purpose of review, comment, scholarship, or ministry presentation without written permission of Weldon Hardenbrook.


Subjects: 1. Men (Christian theology); 2. Men United States
BT703.5.H37 ~ Dewey: 261.8/3431 20 ~ LCCN: 96-014877 ~ OCLC: 34549076 ~ 316p.

Missing From Action is presently held by 107 libraries including Harvard University and the Los Angeles Public Library.

Table of Contents

Back Cover of the Book


Preface       7

Part I: The Problem

Chapter 1: The Forgotten Male       13

Statistics We Could Do Without; The Unknown Man;
Pointing the Finger

Chapter 2: Models of American Masculinity       22

The Tough Guy; Archie Bunker; The World-Class Wimp;
The Athlete Almighty; An Identity Crisis

Chapter 3: Absentee Dads       42

Phantom Fathers; The Divorce Dilemma; Visible but not Present; Children of AWOL Dads; Dads and Daughters; Shattered Sons; Why is Johnny Nonacademic?; Coach Sam; Crime and the Father Factor

Part II: The Causes

Chapter 4: When Manhood Came to America       75

Colonists and Politicians; Theology: A Manly Topic; Family Matter; Chaos or Contentment?; Fathers and Sons; Dating and Mating; Extended Families

Chapter 5: From Patriarch to Patriot       94

The Price of Revolution; Independence Goes to Church; . . . and the Home; . . . and the Economy; the New Prodigals; A Change in National Conscience; Women: From Producers to Consumers; Finney and the Second Great Awakening; A Mixed Heritage

Chapter 6: Victoria's Secrets       119

Steps in the Process; The Erection of the Pedestal; The Moral Surrender of Men; Women Take Over Home, School, and Church; The Elevation of Motherhood over Fatherhood; Women Take Responsibility for Public Mercy and Moral Reform

Chapter 7: Wine, Women and Psalm       138

From Moderation to Obliteration; Enter the Ladies; The False Premises of the Abstinence Movement; Temperate Drinking and Drunkenness; The Manly Virtue of Self-Control

Chapter 8: Hope for the Crisis in Black America       167

When Black Men Came to America; A Surprising Trend; Why African-Americans Are Turning to Islam; Mohammed and Islam; Islam and Slavery; Jesus or Mohammed?

Part III: The Cure

Chapter 9: Father Is Not a Four-Letter Word       195

A Man as Father; Celibacy; The Father of Christ; What's in a Word?; The Forgotten Father; Let's Get Theological!; The Point of Great Debate; Life with Father

Chapter 10: Faith of Our Fathers       217

Our Turn; Who Are Our Fathers?; The Mind of the Church Fathers

Chapter 11: Even Fathers Need Fathers       230

Fathers in the Scriptures; Spiritual Fatherhood; Imitating the Saints; Living Links

Chapter 12: An Archetype of Fatherhood       250

A Sense of Continuity with the Past; A Close Relationship with His Children; Being a Father to the Fatherless; A Thirst for Justice; Godly Mercy; Being Respected by Others; Stability and Rootedness; Wisdom Gained by Fearing God; Pursuit of God

Chapter 13: A Father's Love       272

A Love that Commits; A Love that Unifies; A Love that Sacrifices; a Love that Is Zealous; A Love that Models; Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Chapter 14: The Essence of Fatherhood       288

Prayer; Fasting; The Giving of Alms; Confession; What to Do; Back in the Battle!

For Further Reading about the Historic Church       309

List of References       312

Back Cover of the Book

Here's what people had to say about Missing From Action:

"Author Weldon M. Hardenbrook examines the decline of the American male's role and tells how men might seek to regain their place as leaders in the home, church and society. He concludes that men must commit themselves to restoring stability and peace to the suffering homes of the land."

                    — Focus on the Family
                        (referring to their reprint of a chapter from the original version of
                         Missing From Action)

"A pioneering treatment of the feminizing of American men and of American Christianity that is of the greatest importance. It opens for debate in a clear and dramatic way what is a major crisis in our society today — the crisis of manhood . . . "

                    — Paul C. Vitz
                        Professor of Psychology, New York University

"Hardenbrook explains how and why contemporary Christianity has become feminized and how and why we Christians have come to replace the robust absolutes of Scripture with pre-Victorian sentimentality. Missing From Action is a brilliant analysis of one of the greatest social pathologies of our times — the gender wars. For those with ears to hear, Hardenbrook points us back to sanity."

                    —Frank Schaeffer
                        Author of Dancing Alone, Portofino, and Letters to Father Aristotle

"I only wish there was some way [this book could be] required reading for all of Christendom — and non-Christendom for that matter! Genuinely fresh . . ."

                    —Thomas Howard
                        Author of Evangelical Is Not Enough and Christ the Tiger

"Because the women's movement springs, I believe, from men's having abdicated their God-assigned responsibility, it is high time somebody reminds them of what that is . . . Perhaps [this book] will help men to be men again, and women to be glad of it for a change."

                    —Elisabeth Elliot
                        Author of Passion and Purity and The Mark of A Man


   People who write books all by themselves must have incredible talent. This book, to be sure, would not exist without the inspiration and hard work of numerous dedicated people.

   I wish to acknowledge the work of Monk Gregory Niklasson in Chapter 8, "Hope for the Crisis in Black America," of Richard Ballew in Chapter 9, "Father Is Not a Four-Letter Word," and of Ballew and Joseph Copeland in Chapter 11, "Even Fathers Need Fathers." I have borrowed heavily from the work of Thomas Hopko in Chapter 14, "The Essence of Fatherhood." Thanks are also in order to Douglas Pritchett for his assistance on Chapter 2, "Models of American Masculinity," and to Stephen Golay for his helpful research for Chapter 8.

   My thanks to Terry Somerville, who sat by my side from beginning to end, writing, researching, and expanding on my assessment of the predicament of the American male. In addition, I am grateful to my secretaries, Martha Golay and Crystal Dunniway, who in the midst of many tasks were always willing to transform my barely legible notes into marvelous computer print-outs.

   I am indebted to Peter E. Gillquist for the editorial and publishing assistance he has rendered. The labors of Katherine Hyde, Shelly Houston, Ray Zell, Carla Zell, and all the other good folks at Conciliar Press have make this book a reality.

   Thanks to Mike Hyatt for originally insisting I commit my ideas about American manhood to writing.

   My old friend Jerry Munk made the observation, over a decade ago, that the men of this land are feminized. This remark became the catalyst for my research and, ultimately, led to the book you are about to read.

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To the two most important women in my life, my wife Barbara,
and my mother Marjorie who passed from this life as I was completing this book

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