I chose to re-read this book because many years had passed since I had read it the first time, and when it was re-released, I wanted to see if it had been updated. I had seen the movement that it created among men and the way it resonated with so many men in its aim to connect them with God’s grand adventure for their lives.
My original problem with the book is that, originally, I found that it was built on a faulty premise (that being a mis-application of Proverbs 20:5). I didn’t resonate with the concept of a “father-wound,” nor the universality of every man needing or desiring a beauty to rescue.
In the years that passed between the original publication and the update, I’ve found myself more convinced than ever that the Proverbs 20:5 error is a real, important premise-troubling problem. I’m more accepting on the idea of a “father wound” (though I still reject the indictment of all fathers…but I’m willing to allow that my own prejudices against the notion keep me from appreciating Eldridge’s position on it), and I’m not as dogmatically opposed to the “beauty to rescue” idea being an “every man” motive. For me, it’s just not a “main thing” when it comes to the spiritual formation of a man.
So what does that leave me with all these years later? Simply said, not that far from where I was when the book was originally published. I think its very well-written and it has a message that connects with a certain subset of men. And that’s cool. I’m happy that God has used this to speak into their lives. I just don’t personally identify with the majority of the text…perhaps because I’m not enough of an adherent of the mashup of psychology and spirituality.
I agree with some broad strokes of Wild at Heart…that men long for an adventure, that there is a battle being waged for men’s souls, that many men are enslaved to their lust, that too many churches seem satisfied to make men “good” rather than to set men free, and that the faith adventure is messy and exciting and unpredictable. For that, Wild at Heart has a message worth exploring. I recommend it as part of a broader faith development, not to be consumed on its own. In fact, I think it’s best explored in the company of other men who have themselves embarked on the incredible journey of chasing after Christ and are equipped to guide them on the adventure marked by faith and grace.
note: I’ve reviewed this as part of the BookSneeze team.