Friday, May 25, 2007

Book Review: Wild at Heart, by John Eldredge

This was a good book that tries to get at the core psychological issues facing men today. Men aren’t acting like men as God created them to be. God is wild and free but much of the church today preaches a tame view of God and thus men in the church tend to be bored since being a Really Nice Guy is not very exciting.

Every man (and woman) is made in the image of God. When God created Adam, He bestowed upon him the divine image. Any honest reading of the Bible shows that God is far from tame. From cover to cover He is a dangerous God. Almost the entire Bible is about God fighting the forces of darkness. From the flight out of Egypt, the conquest of Canaan all the way up to the ministry of Jesus and the mission he gives the apostles, God is clearly contending against evil. In each of us is that innate desire for a battle to fight. We are called to fight with God against the forces of evil in “this present darkness.”

Eldredge speaks about the wound that most men receive that makes them internalize that they are not really men. Usually this wound to a man’s pride is dealt by his father whom the boy looks towards for confirmation of his masculinity. A lot of the time the father gives a negative or equivocal response the shatters the world of the boy. Personally, I think Eldredge might be going too far in this generalization. I think ultimately the responsibility lies with the individual because only with the individual and God can the situation change. I wholeheartedly agree with Eldredge that bestowal of masculinity ought to reside fully with God.

By asking the right questions to God and seeking after Him can we find out our true name. Our false self is built around the fears that we’ve accumulated through the old wound that we’ve received. Only through God, who sees into a man’s heart, can one be saved. Eventually the false self is found out and exposed. Like a man who has cheated on his taxes for years finally got caught one day, our lives eventually force us to face the truth. C.S. Lewis said that, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts at us in our pain. It is his blow horn to rouse a deaf world.”

Later in the book, Eldredge speaks about spiritual warfare. Like Jesus who rebutted the temptations of the devil with Scripture, we are called to do the same. By following the guidance of God revealed in the Scriptures, we are able to overcome the Enemy. I think the danger of “spiritual warfare” talk is in the words of one of my friends the speaker could start thinking of himself as God’s “power ranger.” I think we ought to take our cues from Scripture on this subject without overly dramatizing it. Scripture is sparse on details instead speaking about spiritual realities. Let’s take the latter to heart and avoid the former.

After the spiritual warfare section, the book got more boring but I did get some good advice about choosing a career/life path that may prove quite invaluable. Since this book is psychological in nature, I endeavor to journal about it when I get the time. Overall, I recommend this book, although I wish Eldredge went a little lighter on the movie references.

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