Thursday, February 10, 2011

author spotlight: john eldredge + way of the wild heart

Way of the Wild Heart is being
is bring re-released this spring as
Fathered by God.
To all the men out there,

Got a book recommendation for you.  I'm just finishing Way of the Wild Heart by John Eldredge. He's tackling a vital question: "How do we become men?"  It's not a book on pop psychology or child development.  It's a map.  A map of the masculine journey, its initiations, its struggles, the core questions we have as men, and the assurance that God wants to and is fathering us.

Here's a brief excerpt:
A boy has a lot to learn in his journey to become a man, and he becomes a man only through the active intervention of his father and the fellowship of men.  It cannot happen any other way.  To become a man--and to know that he has become a man--a boy must have a guide, a father . . . You see, what we have now is a world of uninitiated men.  Partial men. . . .  The passing on of masculinity was never completed, if it was begun at all. . . .That's why most of us are Unfinished Men. . . .
Masculine initiation is a journey, a process, a quest really, a story that unfolds over time.   
 Eldredge goes on to suggest that the broad brush strokes of the masculine journey might be described in six stages: Beloved Son, Cowboy (or Ranger), Warrior, Lover, King and Sage. I love it.  He then goes on to describe each stage in the following chapters.
One cannot pin an exact age to each stage.  They overlap, and there are aspects of each stage in every other.  Watch a boy for an afternoon (a very good idea, if it's been some time since you were a boy), and you'll see the Warrior, the Cowboy, the King.  Yet he is a boy, and it is as a boy he must live during those years.  
Each stage presents the potential for great growth and restoration, allowing us to become more fully the men we are designed by God to become. Unfortunately, each stage also has the potential for incredible wounding. We take the core questions of the beloved son and cowboy to our fathers. The reality is that many of us were never closer to our earthly fathers. Our most painful wounds come from this fatherlessness in our lives.

What I like most about this book is how Eldredge blends his thoughts, which are powerful, with examples from the Bible and from popular films and literature.  He often draws on Balian's journey in The Kingdom of Heaven and various characters in The Lord of the Rings.  It never became boring for me.  In fact it was deeply thought-provoking.  Honestly, if you're a man: read it.  It's worth every penny.

Or, if you're curious but aren't much of a reader check out Eldredge's free podcasts describing the six stages on the iTunes store.  For more on the book click here, or to check out John Eldredge head over to  Ransomed Heart.

There's so much more I wish I could say about it, but it'd make this post too long.  I might make a "Part 2" post where I go into the stages a bit, or maybe I'll just pick it up again some other time.  Until then, I hope it can inspire you as much as it has impacted me.

Be well,


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