Embark on the life-changing adventure that is Wild at Heart.
Existing fans and those new to John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart lessons will benefit from his new A Band of Brothers Small Group DVD series. This Participant’s Guide follows the eight 30-minute episodes, providing additional information and discussion questions designed to help small groups grow spiritually and bond with one another.
Together, you will discover how God can heal your hearts and learn how to become the men God wants you to be.
Formatted for easy group study, Eldredge’s inspiring Wild at Heart: A Band of Brothers Small Group DVD Series has been the catalyst groups use to help them discover how God defines authentic masculinity.
|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)|
About the Author
John Eldredge is a bestselling author, a counselor, and a teacher. He is also president of Ransomed Heart, a ministry devoted to helping people discover the heart of God, recover their own hearts in God’s love, and learn to live in God’s kingdom. John and his wife, Stasi, live near Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Read an Excerpt
Wild at Heart PARTICIPANT'S GUIDEA Band of Brothers
By John Eldredge
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2009 John Eldredge
All right reserved.
Chapter OnePART 1
The heart of a Man
Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. -Genesis 1:26-27
Most of us know the oil level of our cars or the state of our investments better than we do the vitality or desires of our heart. And it's completely understandable; there are many things set against you, many distractions and demands upon your life. But these distractions come at a cost: as we tend to our daily demands, we ignore our masculine heart.
In the first session of our series, Bart, Morgan, Craig, and Gary joined me for a day of horseback riding up in the Colorado Rockies and talking about the heart of a man.
WATCH PART 1: THE HEART OF A MAN
KEY THOUGHTS This session corresponds with chapters 1 and 2 from Wild at Heart. The major points of these chapters are summarized here.
* * *
God made the masculine heart and sets it within every man he creates.
There is, therefore, something deep and true and universal to the masculine heart. And it's been lost-or better, driven into hiding.
You cannot get your masculine heart back through duty and obligation. You must pursue it with your deepest desires. What makes you come alive?
Somewhere down in your heart are three core desires: a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.
God, too, has each of these longings lodged deep in his heart: the yearning for a battle to fight is deep in the heart of God. He, too, longs for adventure and risk-far more than we do. And he has a beauty to rescue, whom he pursues with amazing passion.
After watching the DVD segment, it should be clear that the men in this group have varying levels of comfort when it comes to riding horses. Some of us had a lot of experience on horseback. A few of us were very anxious about the day.
* With whom did you identify most when it comes to riding horses? Why? * As you listened in on the conversation these men were having about the true nature of the masculine heart, what struck you as the most important, the most relevant point they made?
* The major theme of this book is the core desires of a man's soul-at battle to fight, an adventure to live, a beauty to rescue. Can you identify these in your life? Where or how?
Craig talked about his boyhood neighborhood and how he and his friends loved to play army. His little platoon defended the neighborhood with popguns and tangerine grenades.
* What adventures or games did you play and love when you were a boy?
In the same way God called Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted and took Elijah into the wilderness to find his true destiny, he calls a man out of his comfort zone to discover who he is. It is in the wilderness that God shows us we have what it takes to live the very life for which God created us. Unless we step out into that adventure God has for us, we will never learn it anywhere else. It cannot be learned on the sofa.
* What comfort zone is God calling you out of?
* What adventure is he leading you into?
* Is it a tame, controllable adventure or a wild and unpredictable one?
* Walter Bruggerman describes God as "wild, unfettered, dangerous, and free." Is that how you would describe the God you've been told about?
"Desire" is central in mapping out your masculine journey. Don't ask what the world needs; ask what makes you come alive: that's what the world needs!
* Consider what makes you come alive. With that in mind, finish this sentence: "For the rest of my life, I want to _____________."
* What, beginning this week, would that look like?
Turn to the Lord in prayer, giving him the desires that have lain in your heart for years or asking him to reveal the desires that you can't seem to put your finger on. Trust him to show you the way to start your journey.
* * *
O Lord, open wide the eyes of my soul that I might see the true yearnings of my heart. Uncover my desire for adventure, battle, and beauty. Begin to dismantle all the messages that have challenged and assaulted your design of me. May your invitation to life as a man be forever before me. I accept the invitation to live from my deep heart. Father, use the words of this book and the meditations of my heart to guide, shape, and direct me in this journey that I might be the man you designed me to be. I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
If you truly want to embrace the untamed journey Christ has planned for you, you won't be satisfied thinking about this just once a week. This section is designed for you to study the topic further on your own after your group meets. So make some time throughout the week (on your lunch break, instead of watching TV at night, or in the early morning) to read through these questions and consider what God is saying to you here.
* * *
It can be very awkward for men to share their hearts. It's slow going and uncomfortable-territory we're not used to traversing. But the alternatives are to hide in isolation or live as an impostor, and who wants that?
* How did the group conversation and interaction go when you met? Did you find yourself reluctant to share your thoughts? Did you temper them, or do you regret saying too much?
* What did God say to you as you were meeting with the men? Did he impress anything on you during that time?
* What do you hope to achieve in this group? Do you have a goal in mind? Are you willing to let God change that goal, if that is his will?
There is the life we were meant for and the men we were created to be ... and then there is the life we have and the men we find ourselves to be. They are often worlds apart.
* How is the man you find yourself to be different from the man you were created to be?
* At this stage of your life, what is your great battle? Is it on the surface (making more money, getting the kids to behave, reducing the hassles of life?), or is it deeper? Are you willing to share it with the men in your group?
* Where is your great adventure? What real risk have you been swept up into? (Is anything in your life more compelling than watching sports, following stocks, or viewing the adventures of others on TV?)
* And who is the beauty you are fighting for? (Is there a woman in your life who stirs you to leap through a ring of fire to win her?)
Dr. Tremper Longman III, the coauthor of Bold Love, wrote, "Virtually every book of the Bible-Old and New Testaments-and almost every page tells us about God's warring activity."
* Have you ever considered the Bible to be an account of a great battle that God himself is fighting?
* How does this help you interpret all that's going on around you in your life today?
Go back to God and talk with him about where your heart is on all you've discussed and thought about this week. End your time here praying, in your own words, the prayer on page 15.
Next week your group will discuss the second DVD segment, "The Poser and the Question." In order to be prepared to share your thoughts with your group, read chapter 3 from Wild at Heart this week prior to your group meeting.
The Poser and the Question
I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid. -Genesis 3:10
What kind of life would you have to live to eliminate all fear or risk? No matter how many insurance policies you purchase, helmets you wear, personas you create, or doors you lock, one of the certain lessons life teaches us is that there is no escaping fear and risk.
In this DVD we'll be talking about our deepest fear while rapelling a one-hundred-foot cliff. But our fear isn't heights; the central fear all men share is that we will be exposed as an impostor, a poser, a man who doesn't really have what it takes.
WATCH PART 2: THE POSER AND THE QUESTION
This session corresponds with chapter 3 from Wild at Heart. The major points of this chapter are summarized here.
* * *
The world is filled with caricatures of masculinity-posers- but very few real men.
And every one of us posers shares a deepest fear: to be found out, exposed as an impostor.
The reason, in part, goes back to Adam's fall-and the way every man since him has also fallen to the temptations of sin.
Men handle their fallen nature by either becoming violent (driven) or retreating (passive)-we mishandle our strength.
Each of us had our turn rappelling. Even a couple of the experienced guys admitted that anytime you step backward off a one-hundred-foot cliff, you feel a bit of the "pucker" factor.
* How would you do rappelling?
A man is fierce ... passionate ... wild at heart? You wouldn't know it from what normally walks around in a pair of trousers. If that's true, how come there are so many lonely women, so many fatherless children, so few men around? Why is it that the world seems filled with "caricatures" of masculinity? How come when men look in their hearts they don't discover something valiant and dangerous, but instead find anger, lust, and fear? Why is that?
In last week's "Going Deeper" section, you were asked a question about vulnerability. The success of this group is based proportionately on the willingness of everyone to be honest and open with one another.
* Do you feel you were an open book last week?
* Did you write down a goal you have for this group? If so, what is it?
We are made in the image of the Lion of Judah to fight great battles, take great adventures, and rescue the beauty. When I asked the guys if that's how they feel inside most of the time, Gary admitted that in a variety of circumstances, what he felt most was fear. It's the fear that comes from not knowing what to do and being afraid to ask.
* Describe how you feel inside most days. (Strong, unfettered, free, alive, adventurous, fearful, apprehensive, hesitant?)
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, "Where are you?" He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid." -Genesis 3:6-10
* How do you feel about the fact that Adam was standing right there when Eve was being tempted, and he didn't do a thing?
* Can you see that same passivity in your own life?
Men are geniuses at designing elaborate fig leaves, brilliant disguises that we call "personality." Like Adam, we are afraid we aren't what we should be. So we create "The Poser" to hide behind. When we ask ourselves, "Have I got what it takes?" we fear we don't, and the poser is born. But this disguise has become so second nature to us that most men are only half-aware of the ways they hide.
* How are you hiding these days? How do you pose?
* Has it worked/ been effective?
God comes to all of us as he came to Adam-calling to us, asking us to come out of hiding, to face our fears, to walk with him into our true strength. It's in the intentional movement away from hiding and into honesty that we discover our true selves. But to move away from the safety of our effective hiding feels about the same as jumping off a cliff: counterintuitive, unnatural, wrong!
* What is the cliff God would have you "jump off" as a man? (If your reaction to jumping off this cliff is "Oh, my God, help me," it's a real cliff. Anything else is posing.)
* What's the first step you will take to come out of hiding and reveal your true self to the others you're "doing life" with?
It's scary, but we have to go there. Only when we leave the poser behind will we begin to live as men, and in doing so find real strength, adventure, and beauty. Ask God to give you the courage to take those first steps today, even within the next hour.
Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my fearful thoughts. Reveal to me the ways I pose and hide, and O God, lead me in the everlasting way, the way of truth and strength. May I live with passion and zeal; may my soul be captured by you for something big, noble, and worthy of your kingdom. Remove the quiet desperation of my soul. Chase away resignation, anger, and the addictions I run to. Free me to be a strong, passionate, and dangerous man ... as you created me to be. Draw me beyond the battles I know I can win; lure me to larger adventures ... speak with power those words I long to hear: "You have what it takes." I ask all this in Jesus' name. Amen.
Read through chapter 3 from Wild at Heart again, and answer these questions on your own during a lunch break, over a cup of coffee in the morning, or at the end of the day.
* * *
* This was your second meeting-how did the group conversation and interaction go today? Did you feel an internal (or external) pressure to pose or to hide during the discussion time?
* What did God say to you as you were meeting with the men?
As you enter into what may be your first really candid picture of yourself as a man, consider two things. First, this isn't the end of the story. We're only in the second session, and if there weren't hope for us posers, I wouldn't have written this book. Second, this isn't going to be helpful if you try to sound like a better guy than you really are; nor is it helpful to assume a false Christian humility because that's the "spiritual" thing to do. As David says in Psalm 51, God desires truth in our inmost being. Be honest-no more, no less.
* What is your definition of a "man"?
* How do you measure up to that definition? (Write a simple, candid description of yourself as a man. You don't need to show this to anyone.)
Excerpted from Wild at Heart PARTICIPANT'S GUIDE by John Eldredge Copyright © 2009 by John Eldredge. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Part 1 The Heart of a Man 9
Part 2 The Poser and the Question 23
Part 3 The Wound 35
Part 4 Healing the Wound 47
Part 5 A Battle to Fight 61
Part 6 An Adventure to Live 75
Part 7 A Beauty to Rescue 89
Part 8 A Band of Brothers 105
A Note from the Author 119
Appendix: A Daily Prayer for Freedom 121
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I am very thankful for the recommendation to read this book. This book deepened my understanding of myself and my life in many profound ways. Out of the heart are the issues of life and this book proves to be most useful in understanding the masculine heart. The wisdom inherent in this read freed my soul and helped facilitate a deeper unity between my mind and my heart. This book gave me perspective to better understand other guys as well as many historical movements. Although I feel this book is very sound in its empirical wisdom and heart, I found the book did lack a certain intellectual refinement and accuracy. This, perhaps, is only because I'm an engineer who graduated at the top of my class and am accustomed to very accurate and educated intelligence. In this regard the room for improvement does not detract from my high recommendation for this read. Essentially, there are other aspects of manhood that this book neglects. For instance, consider also reading "The American Gentleman." In my opinion, much of the problems facing the modern world stem from a lack of good men. So many people focus their efforts on improving systems and structures forsaking effort on the people behind everything. I hope and pray that more men will rise up in future generations and lead with their wild hearts. I'm an intelligent, well-read, wise and strong man of 26. All in all, this book is easily one of the BEST books I've ever read.
I read this book during a troubled time in my marriage, and though I won't say this book saved my marriage it did go a long way to helping me understand my husband. I think every man who is struggling with connection or emotion should read this, and frankly every single woman on the planet should read it in order to understand men a bit better. There is more to a man than most of us give them credit for!
Wild at Heart by John Eldredge is, as much as a Christian book can be, a cultural phenomenon. It seems everyone has read that book. I know people who loved it, crafted a way of living because of it. And I know people who hated it, disagreed with almost every word between the covers. So, when I saw it on the free books for bloggers list at Thomas Nelson, I snatched it up immediately. This new edition is "revised and expanded" although I suspect that's just publisher speak for "Look, something you thought was old is actually new and shiny." But since I haven't read the first edition, I can't prove my hunch. Wild at Heart is based on the idea that men are really, well, wild at heart, that they yearn to be unshackled from the tedium of nice-guy living, to roam the plains bucking like the broncos God made them to be. I don't intend even a smidgen of sarcasm there. I feel like that's exactly what Eldredge is saying, and, to a certain extent, I agree. This book was written for men and as I'm not a man there are certain judgments I'm not equipped to make. I can't verify the validity of his sweeping assumptions about men-I can, however, say the assumptions are sweeping and perhaps too categorical to fit every kind of man. Honestly, I was far less interested in Eldredge's comments on what makes a man than I was in his thoughts on women-thoughts I was shocked to find especially close to my own heart. I have NEVER considered myself to be a stereotypical woman. I've dismissed many traditional gender assignments and wriggled in agony during my fair share of women's conferences and events. So, when Eldredge starting talking about saving the princess I wanted to gag. Until I realized I was a princess needing saving. His three questions that every woman asks had me crying: "Will you pursue me? Do you delight in me? Will you fight for me?" I loved this paragraph, too: "If masculinity has come under assault, femininity has been brutalized. Eve is the crown of creation, remember? She embodies the exquisite beauty and the exotic mystery of God in a way that nothing else in all creation even comes close to. And so she is the special target of the evil one; he turns his most vicious malice against her. If he can destroy her or keep her captive, he can ruin the story." Thing is, I'm not positive this is totally true-I felt that way a lot while reading this book. But I like it. Whether or not Eve is the prime target, I think Eldredge would benefit from seeing himself in the princess role, too. He envisions men as warriors (which sometimes they're called to be-and sometimes I'm called to be, too) but I think he misses their role as a part of "the bride of Christ." Still, this chapter is packed with good stuff-his description of sex as a spilling of one's strength is awesome and his argument that women want "a lover and a warrior-not a really nice guy" is too easily proven to even be debated. This chapter also has super insightful info on spiritual warfare. The next chapter "An Adventure to Live," is even better. It's all about embracing risk, living freely and dangerously-which, as you start to see from the buckets of scriptures he incorporates, is totally Biblical. Right now, I'm flipping through the chapter looking for a quote to give you but I'm finding so many I can't pick one. You need to read this chapter, even if it's just this chapter. What Eldredge does so powerfully in this book is to inspire his reader to live a
This book has really inspired me and help me to understand why we man think and act the way we do. This book, backed by Scripture, has a lot of truth and valuable information that every man must know. Great book this was well needed in my life
I loved this book. It speaks to a man's heart and encourages me to be a true man of God. Adventurous, Strong, Wise, and striving to be Right before God. All men should read this book.
John Eldredge is the kind of man that other men who love the great outdoors can really relate to. He has great insights into what it is to be a real man. This book was recommended to me by a dear friend I have known for years who said I should read 'Captivating' by John and Staci Eldredge and also 'Wild at Heart' by John Eldredge. To say it was highly anticipated by me is putting it mildly. I ordered the book from the library and picked it up this past Sunday. I sat down in the library and read 'Wild at Heart' in four hours cover to cover. What a page turner! To say the least this book exceeded my expectations. Though it is directed towards men, this is a great book for singles both male or female. John Eldrege is a man's man. He likes to hunt and fish. He is married with three sons. This book says it is a book about healing a man's soul. But it is much more than that. In our search for truth we search for the truth about life, others and ourselves. This is a great book about all of the above. The search for the truth about the meaning of life. The adventure it is meant to be and the battle it has to be. It is a book about the search for the truth about the different motivations of our hearts depending on whether we are a man or a woman. It is about the search for the real self which is hidden behind a false self and the exciting adventure and battle for the transformation of ourselves from the false self to the real self. I was truly moved by this book at my deepest levels. My own struggle to be transformed to my real self was brought into focus more clearly. My desire to have the man I love experience the type of transformation John Eldredge speaks of from false self to real self was also awakened in my heart. I also gained valuble insights and understanding the differences in men and women and how we can relate to eachother better. This book also asks a man to consider 'what makes you feel fully alive' and suggests they pursue that as their career choice. Great advice. It also explores the idea that a man is out there to save the fair maiden and rescue her. But his explanation of fighting for the fair maiden is different than the fairy tales you have read. I don't want to spoil it for you, so I won't go into detail. You have got to read it for yourself. This book has an exciting and life changing message that both men and women will appreciate. I consider it a 'must read' for all men and women single or otherwise. On a scale of one to five stars I give this one five stars!
An amazing look at the heart of man. If Christianity seems dull to you, check out this short read from John Eldredge. He delves deep to let us know what being a man truly is, and how to live that our through the eyes of faith.
I was sucked into this book. It helped answer do many questions that i struggled with my relationship with my masculinity and with my dad. I couldn't put it down. It gave me a permission slip and validated my desire to hunt and do manly things. I thank God he wrote this book. I shared it with my wife when i was done and she absolutely loved it. I would call the book transformational in its message. I'm surprised there are people that find or boring or irrelevant. I took a half day off just to process what it meant for me, I'm not kidding. I don't second guess decisions i used to question and i feel at peace doing the many things that i want to do that to dubs may seem like childish, boyish pastimes. This book provided me with that permission slip.
Wild at Heart by John Eldredge is a creative and bias book about the masculinity of men. I read this book for a college writing class this year; although before I read it I had many friends that recommended it. It’s all about how troubled a man’s heart can be, especially when he has no father figure in his life to show him how to be a man. I believe Wild at Heart was an out of the ballpark book. It shows many ideas to why the man is so struck with brokenness. Moreover, the ideas are logical and strong. I was enlightened when I read the book because of how many thoughts and arguments that lined up to my life. It’s a highly relatable book for men above the age of 17. Furthermore, John Eldredge brings opinions to the table, and backs many of them up with scripture. One that stuck out was the interpretation of Adam and Eve in the garden when Eve at the fruit. Eldredge points out that in scripture, Adam was standing silent right next to Eve when she ate the fruit. Then Eldredge goes on to say that men are weak and troubled just like Adam was when he was in the garden. In addition the quote “Deep in his heart, every man longs for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue” by Eldredge shows an opinion that I agree with. More importantly he shows his heart to the readers about masculinity and gives reasonable examples for each of his findings. This book has helped me unify my heart and my mind. I loved the book and I would recommend it to any man who has a heart problem, and in my opinion all men do.
I highly recommend this book to men, women, and parents of boys. I am a Christian woman who started out reading this book to gain a better perspective and understanding of the adult male psyche from a Christian viewpoint. I was in a great relationship with a wonderful man, yet something was missing from him that I couldn't fulfill. This book was recommended by a trusted Christian mentor. I began to read it and soon realized that it delved into more than just men. It dove into the hearts of boys and women and how the role of a woman affects the life of a man at various stages through out from boyhood to adulthood. It answers many of the "whys" we, as mothers, find ourselves scratching our heads and asking as our little boys begin the transition from boys to adolescents to teens to young adults. It explains so much of the DNA hardwiring that is engrained in them. "Wild at Heart" tells the story of God's creation of Adam in the Garden of Eden and how he chose Eve over God in that Garden. John Eldredge tells how that choice is engraved in every heart today of every man. He tells us how Eve's deception by the serpent has haunted every woman who has walked the earth since and will until the end. I believe that "Wild at Heart" is an excellent resource for any married man and/or woman. It is my opinion that if you are the parent of a boy, regardless of age, you should read and take to heart its contents. I feel that it should be re-read again later for a refresher if you have younger boys, just to be reminded. I know it could have saved me some "mom-guilt" had I read it sooner and helped me to understand some of the reasons why my son started to distance himself in some of the ways he did. As well, I could have known better how to respond rather than feeling lost and as though I was "losing" him. It is an absolute must read for fathers. I believe it should be handed out to all new fathers of sons in the hospital and they should read it every year as their child grows. That is how much I believe in this book. It is not someone's opinion. It is Bible-based and grounded in the Word. I cannot say enough about how much this book has helped open my eyes, heart and mind to see much clearer!
Wild at Heart was one of the rare occasions when reading for a class wasn’t just for homework, but because I was actually interested in the topic. In the book, Eldredge, gives his opinion on what makes men tick – what they’re thinking, why they act a certain way, and other subjects under that theme. It was especially interesting reading this book from a female perspective; specifically when Eldredge speaks about women’s rolls in a man’s life. He says that as much as women would like to, they cannot give men their masculinity. “A man needs a much bigger orbit than a woman. He needs a mission, a life purpose, and he needs to know his name,” (pg 97). This was a very cool thing to read, because I agree that men need to know who they are. Men, and women, need to decide what they want in life before they can be able to share their life with another person. One point Eldredge made that I was a bit skeptical about was that the Church wants men to be soft. I personally think Christianity calls men to be strong and confident, rather than just “nice guys.” He says, “Christianity, as it currently exists, has done some terrible things to men. When all is said and done, I think most men in the church believe that God put them on the earth to be a good boy,” (pg71). Yes, God wants everyone to be of good character and set a good example to others. This doesn’t mean men have to be passive, push-overs. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I would recommend it to any curious reader: male, female, Christian, non-Christian. Whether you agree with what John Eldredge has to say about men, it is interesting to see another perspective.
I truly loved this book. For women who don't understand why men are the way they are - you will have a better understanding after reading this book. For men searching for a deeper "inside look" about themselves, this is a must read. Eldredge did a great job of supporting his point of views with Biblical text as well as "visual" references, such as the movie "Braveheart." It helps create a better understanding of what he is trying to say. This makes it, in my opinion, an easy and interesting read. One thing to point out -- you have to read past the first couple of chapters before you can truly understand what he is saying. The first couple of chapters are filled with some “stereotypes,” but after that, you’ll realize that he’s talking about something different. So why only 4/5 stars? Well, though it is a good read, and his points can make sense, he can be single-minded. He stereotypes all men when talking about them, instead of just stating his opinion and point out that it may be different others. All in all, I would definitely recommend this book, especially to those whom are Christian and are looking to possibly understand a male mind. I recommend this to a Christian because Eldredge references a lot of biblical text.
After reading this book, I took a look at the life I lived. This book helped to bring me to Christ. I know not everyone will read it the same. And in no way do I consider John Eldredge a modern day prophet. But for me, I can't even explain how this book changed my views on life, family, and God.
John Eldredge does an excellent job of relating God's design and purpose for the modern man! I recommend this to high school Seniors and young fathers especially, but it's relevant to men of all ages!
I've been reading this book in my men's small group and I love it. It is a must for every man who wants to grow stronger and become more secure in his masculinity. It is also a must read to improve your relationship with your spouse or significant other.
I bought the book for my husband but began reading it first. We have a four year old son. We also have three grown daughters the youngest of which is 21 and raising her own son. This book helped me to realize how emasculating I and my husband have been toward our youngest. We have now stopped telling him to be calm and settle down much the way we raised our girls. I encouraged my husband to take a look at this book and he thanked me for buying it. He is reading it every morning and reflecting on the issues he has suffered by loosing his own father when he was eleven years old. It has helped us both to see and understand why our son likes to be a warrior, a gun-slinger, and even Spider Man and all the other hereos he mimics. The saying "boys will be boys" falls short of the true reason they actually should be treated as such. This book not only helped our family realize what Jesus meant when He said, "my Father and I are one" but to show all, especially men, how to allow God to Father us and draws us nigh unto Him and his blessings. This may seem like drivel to those who do not seek the Lord, but to those of us who do and who also dedicated our children to the Lord, this book definitely helped us to see our son, grandsons, and daughters for the uniqueness of both feminine and masculine personalities. God is not a wimp. And men do not or should not be either. Bravery is not foolishness, but a gift of God. It has lead to the ability to forgive our own earthly fathers for their failures and hurts toward us, and to heal; as well as draw us closer to our Heavenly Father. Mothers and Fathers alike would benefit from the reading of this book if only for the sake of their own sons and daughters.
Consider how young boys spend their leisure time. They pretend to be cowboys, police officers, fire fighters, or explorers - anything that involves a sense of danger, adventure, and fighting for what is right. They experiment, take risks, push boundaries, and wear their hearts on their sleeves. Contrast this with how adult males often behave: they are passionless, tame, mild-mannered, riskless, calculated, and bored. While many argue that life's experiences and responsibilities have caused these traits to surface, author John Eldredge argues that it is man's loss of his boyhood desires - "for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue" - that has caused him to live an unfulfilled, directionless life. In an effort to help men become the men God created them to be, Eldredge probes deep within man's soul to discover why men have rejected their calling, whether consciously or unconsciously. He argues that "this is every man's deepest fear: to be exposed, to be found out, to be discovered as an imposter, and not really a man." How a man handles this fear, for better or worse, determines how successful he is in living up to his God-given design. Indeed, Eldredge's primary goal in Wild at Heart is to challenge men to discover the kind of man God desires him to be through developing an intimate relationship with God. While many of today's Christian men have reduced "intimacy with God" to a series of formulas and doctrines, Eldredge advocates developing a deepening relationship with God by "an informal friendship," and by giving up our tendency to control - and this is indeed a tough trait to surrender - for "God's offer of companionship." For it is only through this relationship with God that men can live as God made them to live: as if life was an adventure. Eldredge laments that contemporary man resorts too often to living a calculated, comfortable life devoid of taking the leaps of faith that might ultimately lead him to finding greater fulfillment in life. He encourages men to leave the predictable and instead trek into the unknown with God serving as his guide and mentor. Throughout this book, I found myself challenged and encouraged by nearly every chapter. Eldredge skillfully describes the desires and fears that are hidden deep within the soul of every man. While reading this book, I found myself pausing countless times to reflect upon my own experience and discovered that sometimes I need to heed Eldredge's advice and "let people feel the weight of who you are and let them deal with it." Sometimes I need to take a step outside of my calculated comfort zone and chase the desires and dreams that God has placed within my heart, for God has not made man to be passive, meek, and mild but forceful, strong, and brave. I was most inspired by a quote by Gil Bailie, who shared a piece of advice from his mentor: "Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive." I know so many men, even Christian men, who appear so beat down by the things of life that they are like the walking dead. What our families, our schools, our communities, and our churches really need are not nice, content guys who are dead on the inside, but men - real men - who have a fire in their heart for living out their passions and embarking on a wild journey with God.
Look at your life and then picture what God made you to be. This is likely two polar opposites. Challenge yourself to be who God made you to be.
One of the many "pendulum swings" in our society involves gender-- differences between the two genders and the relative "value" in those differences. For years masculinity was, no doubt, over-estimated and over-valued; however, the modern feminist movement has surely led to the pendulum being swung too far the other way. Society at large is becoming more and more aware that masculinity has been under-estimated and under-valued; this message is also becoming apparent in religious matters, especially in Christianity.Over the past decade or so there has been a growing realization that the way that churches are set up and how churches counsel and develop men has become dangerously feminized. It is in such a climate of growing awareness that John Eldredge originally wrote Wild at Heart.Thomas Nelson has now released a revised and expanded version of Wild at Heart that includes a new preface and an excerpt from Eldredge's book Fathered by God. The majority of the rest, however, remains the same book as originally written.Eldredge's thesis is that the church has, in short, emasculated men, and he seeks to set forth a way of understanding how one can be both truly masculine and a believer in God. His analysis of churches attempting to develop men as "Really Nice Guys" is not too far off the mark. Blame is appropriately placed at the feet of feminism; the "feminization" of Christianity that has been going on for generations is also at fault (another helpful book in these regards is Why Men Hate Going to Church by David Murrow). Eldredge draws from Scripture, mythology, movies, and other similar stories to set forth three essentials for true masculinity: a conflict in which to engage, an adventure in which to participate, and a beauty to win. He shows how this can be accomplished in worldly pursuits, how these are often perverted by the world to lead to false forms of masculinity, and most helpfully, shows how these three can be accomplished in the realm of Christianity.Eldredge also spends much time discussing the challenges men experience-- the "wound" to their masculinity or inclinations toward true masculinity and how a man must overcome the "wound" in order to return to wholesome masculinity. He also shows how men misdirect their focus and attempt to find their true masculinity in the wrong places-- work, drugs, women, etc. He speaks of the need to develop a close connection with God and to live by true faith, overcoming the "wound" and becoming a fulfilled man in Christ Jesus.There is much to be commended in the book; one can see oneself and many of the challenges that one's fellow men experience through what is written. Nevertheless, there has been much criticism of the book, and some of it is warranted. Eldredge's attempt to use worldly wisdom to circumvent Jesus' instruction about turning the other cheek is itself unwise and not done well-- Eldredge would do well to understand the distinction between refusing to allow a bully to break the will and being a coward in the face of a bully, and to recognize that Jesus never commends or practices violence in order to counteract violence. Such is not the way of Christ. Sometimes it seems that Eldredge's basis for things is experience and movies, and while those can be helpful images for understanding, they are no substitute for revealed truth. On the whole, however, it must be recognized that what Eldredge is presenting is a good counterweight to many of the messages heard in religious circles. Cowardice hiding under the pretense of humility is not the way of Christ, and Eldredge is right to expose it. Nevertheless, what Eldredge teaches should not be taken to the other extreme, and it must be remembered that there is a reason why there are more exhortations to humility in Scripture than there are to the assertion of self and self-identity. It is also interesting to note that while Eldredge is writing as a man to men he often uses very soft and feminine language-- intimacy, rel
This is one of the best books for Christian men that I have read. It should be required reading.
A must read for all males. When the female comes to the point that she is at a loss as to why God created man the way He did - read immediately. It really isn't our fault entirely that we are the way we are. This book reveals some amazing insights into the male psyche. This book shows the marvelous purpose for the differences between the male and female. After God formed man from the dust and his mate from his rib, "Wild at Heart " helps fill the gap of misunderstanding about the function of each gender with common sense truth.
This book is based on the premise that many men have been emotionally "wounded" and therefore lost their passion and zest for life. The message is Christian-based and is used in some churches in workshops for men seeking more out of life while remaining loyal church members and devoted husbands. The book assumes all men are naturally aggressive but have been feminized by society. There are some good points here but I did not agree with many of them. It is suggested women read this to understand men.
I am not a fan of John Eldridge or this book. I do agree with some of his presuppositions about our culture but I believe this book takes an immature stance on solving those problems. I also think it creates unnecessary gravitas in young men searching for their place in our feminized society.As a Reformed Christian I find his theology iffy. I was especially distressed in a few of his examples from life in the book Sacred Romance. Great premise, bad solution.