Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Book Review: Wild at Heart

Thomas Nelson recently re-released John Elderedge's book, Wild at Heart. Having heard of this "classic", I looked forward to reading it.

Eldredge's premise is that "Men were created to be dangerous." He states that this book was written to give men "permission" to be men. Being a man is described in three ways; every man needs 1) a battle to fight, 2) an adventure to live, and 3) a beauty to rescue.

Unfortunately, says Eldredge, society does its best to suppress these needs in men. Worse, the church does as well; it tries to make us, "nice boys." Eldredge says that these three needs are "desperate desires", which, if unfulfilled, leads to dissatisfaction with life. Being a "real man" then, according to Eldredge, requires us to pursue these three desires.

Now, much of what Eldredge says rings true. Most young boys dream of being firemen, policemen, soldiers, etc. It is true that society, especially feminism, has caused many men to hesitate in their actions.

However, while I would agree with about 80% of the book, it is the other 20% that is somewhat troubling. Eldredge gives the impression that all men are made the same. You get the feeling that if you aren't rock climbing, deer hunting, or lassoing cattle that you are failing to be a man. I don't think that is accurate.

A second issue I had with the book is the humanizing of God. In his many pictures of Jesus as a man's man (which I believe Jesus was), Eldredge paints a picture of God as someone that needs to be loved. It's as if God is extremely disappointed and even depressed that we are not fully being what He meant for us to be.

A third issue was the many movies used as examples. I enjoy a good movie, but I did not feel some the examples used (Brave heart, 007, Die Hard, etc.) were necessarily appropriate movies to watch. I believe that most people allow too much of the world into their minds, so advocating R rated films was not appropriate.

Again, I did agree with most of what Eldredge wrote, and I would recommend the book-- conditionally: if you read it, please do so with some caution. The picture of a man presented may not fully apply to every man.

I received this book courtesy of Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an impartial review. The views and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

1 comment:

Trevor Raichura said...

Interesting review. It's probably been like 7 years since I read the book, so I would have to re-read it to further discuss it with you. Fortunately, I still have my copy. Unfortunately, it's probably #11 on my list of books to read now! But you never know... I might have to read it and post a real reply!