Wild Rereading

By Tim Butler | Posted at 12:25 AM

I started reading Wild at Heart, by John Eldredge, a few years back; some things happened, and I put the book down for about six months after the first 50 or so pages. I then picked it back up on a week that turned out to be immensely wild and therefore only got 20 more pages read before I moved on to something else. Given that I couldn't remember what the first 70 pages said, I started over the other day, after finishing Philip Yancey's Rumors of Another World (an excellent book, by all counts, I would say).

I'm not sure what to make of Eldredge's book. I like parts of his thesis and he is a pretty decent writer (though not a Yancey caliber one), but too much of it centers on our problems of the present being the fault of someone else. Particularly, he talks about a man's need to get The Answer (“do I have what it takes?”), and our fathers' general failure — actively or passively — to answer that, giving us The Wound. The Wound, he says, is then attempted to be cured through various means such as becoming a type-A personality, becoming a Nice Guy or seeking out a woman to validate where the father failed to.

The problem, I think, with Eldredge's idea is two fold. First, he makes the Wound and its symptoms/cover-ups so broad that every man turns out to have it. Second, I'm uncomfortable with how he links so many people's major problems all to their fathers. No doubt neuroses do come of our relationships with others, especially parents and family, but one must be careful to avoid making one cause too broad of answer. Ultimately, all of the things he discusses come from our fallen nature; the inevitable problems between a child and parent are simply part of that larger issue.

Still, I'm not done with the book, so we'll see how he wraps things up in the back 100 pages.


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