If you're a Christian talk radio listener in the greater Chicago area, chances are you already know about Mark Elfstrand. Soon, men across the rest of America will be familiar with Elfstrand and his heart for a rediscovery of manhood thanks to his new book 10 Passions of a Man's Soul (Moody Press, 2006). Building upon the insights and expertise of recognized Christian leaders, Elfstrand jumps right into the issues that really drive a man.

Earlier this month at the International Christian Retail Show in Atlanta, Mark took time out of his busy schedule to squeeze in a discussion about the book between his remote radio broadcast and an interview with Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy.

Mark, your book has been called, “A tool for men to check themselves for hidden danger zones.” Can you elaborate on that? How so?
Well, every one of the 10 passions can be a danger zone for a man, and let’s just start with the first one, which is purpose. I just noticed an article that came out on one of the religious websites over the last few days talking about the importance of a man having purpose, or the risk he gets to the end of his life and [experiences] the feeling of emptiness. Well that’s not a good feeling to have for a man! So, when you think about the idea of “purpose,” the danger zone is that it never enters the man’s mind that that’s even an issue.

A man of adventure – what happens when he loses sight of adventure? His life becomes boring, and drab. He loses the beauty of what God has created for him. And a man can become depressed about that as he goes along.

So that can be a danger zone. So, really I think all 10 at some point can become danger zones. That’s why the book is a guide through manhood of what to watch out for.

Speak to this identity issue of manhood. What is it? And what struggles do we have with identity in today’s culture?
Yeah, this is perhaps the biggest thing, the biggest piece, the reason why I got involved in this at all. And it really started a few years ago (I tell a little bit of that story in the book). A friend of mine from Dallas-Fort Worth came up and did a men’s retreat for us, a men’s weekend. And he had written a book called Things Only Men Know. Most women think it’s a short book [laughs], but it’s really not, it’s got a lot of pages in it.

And so he came up and did the retreat, and at the last session I was gone that night; I had another commitment that I had to attend. So the next day we had lunch and I said, “What happened last night?” And he said, “Well, I did something, Mark, I’ve done a few other times, I said to the men, ‘There are men in this room who’ve never felt embraced by manhood.’” And these are not guys in their teens or twenties. These are men all over 30, all of them, and several of them over 40 and 50.

So he says this to them, and I go, “Oh, my goodness.” I’m embarrassed, you know. “What happened?”

He said, “Well, Mark, again I’ve done this in several other places, and I got the same results with your men as I did when I’ve done this before.”

So I’m on the edge of my chair. I said, “What happened?”

And he says, “Half the men in the room stood.”

I have sales and marketing as my background. You don’t have to be a Marketing major to figure this out. But if he’s getting about that same response [at every venue], this is a significant issue. In fact, it is the significant issue.