Posted by Unknown |

This book that I am reading, Wild at Heart by John Eldredge, is an interesting book. It's about "discovering the secret of a man's soul". I'm reading it because I'm doing a talk next month called "Being a Godly Guy" and I thought I should do a little bit of research, because alas, I'm not sure I'm a godly guy. How does masculinity and godliness work itself out together?

So here I am reading this book, and it's encouraging me to be a real man. I started reading the book thinking "This book is fourth on the bestseller list at Koorong, I plan on not liking this". By the time I was at the second chapter it had sucked me in. It told me men were strong, and men were dangerous, and I'm thinking "Yeah, cool". I'm all up for being dangerous and strong.

Which would you rather be said of you: "Harry, yeah I know him. He's a real sweet guy." Or "Yes, I know about Harry. He's a dangerous a really good way".

I read that and thought "I'd rather be nice". But then I substituted "dangerous" for "kicks ass", and that sounded a bit better: "Yes, I know about Tom. He kicks ass...In a really good way"..

I'm all up for being an ass kicker, in a good way. And that's not ass kicking as in "cool", but ass kicking as in "sorts out messes, puts bad things right, fights injustice, is a superhero". Yeah, I wouldn't mind being that.

Eldredge told me that: the heart of every man is a desperate desire for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.

Is that me? Sure, I reckon. I never have a desire to go out and pick fights, but there is a desire to fight, fight something. I like making up battle analogies in my head, I like pretending life's a war, and I'm a master tactition. Spiritual warfare appeals because when else, as a Christian, do you get to fight? I hate making confrontation, but sometimes I'm itching for it. It's exciting when you find yourself in a conflict situation, and seeing what will happen, how will you go? What will you do? Can you kick ass? And when you have a righteous fight to fight, when it's time to stand up to evil, then I'm buzzing.

It's a little strange. I'm a pacifist. I believe in turning the other cheek. I hate war, but I love guns, and I love fighter planes. Why do I still get excited when I open my cupboard and find my stash of plastic guns? I'm like a little boy.

Violence scares me, but I'd rather avoid it because avoidance is right, not because I'm scared.

Adventures are great. I love exploring, I love finding someplace new, going somewhere challenging. Why do I like going hiking (not that I do it enough)? Because it's an adventure. Sure it looks good, the trees are pretty, and the air is clean, but the fun is in the adventure. Short bushwalks bore me. Where's the challenge?

Why do I want hobbit feet? It's an adventure. Why do I like road trips? Adventure. Same reason I like walking from the City to Hornsby, or the other way. And fire escapes, winding corridors, getting stuck in an elevator or busted by the cops? Adventure.

And a beauty to rescue? Well yeah. That's a mighty fine idea. "Get into my car and ride". Find Miss Beautiful, we fall in love, she becomes Mrs French, and we head off into the sunset and change the world. I guess I don't really feel like rescuing anyone. Although, I don't mind rescuing if it needs to be done. I don't think I'd be anyone's rescue, anyone's salvation. But I'm happy to rock someone's world, and I'd love for them to rock mine.

Now these traits may not be exclusive to men, they may not even be primarily in men. But that don't matter. They are in me, and so I'm going to subjectively pronounce the book right. The pop-Christian psychology book has won me over.

Except now he's talking about wounds. He's saying that all men are deeply wounded and that's why they aren't real men. We men all have gaping wound which must be healed if we are to be proper specimens of masculinity.

None of this wound stuff is clicking with me. I can't find my wound. I'm searching. I'm looking in my past. He said it's inflicted by my father. I'm looking, my father's done pretty good I reckon. I'm not a "real man" like the book says, but I don't think I'm wounded. As a result of our wound we have a false self which we present, so that no one will wound us again. Now I have at times been false. I'm still often tempted to present a false me. This is true. But I can't see a wound that's come from. I present false-Tom because I don't like the real-Tom. The real Tom isn't good, the real Tom is weak. Who wants to be seen as a sinful weakling? I don't think that's a result of a wound, I think that's a result of being like everyone else.

There are readers who even now have no-idea what their wound is, or even what false self arose from it. Ah, how convenient that blindness is. Blissful ignorance.

So now I'm wondering if the book actually is right. Perhaps I don't have a desire "for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue". Perhaps I have no masculinity to discover. The book's wrong, there is no wound, no real man.

Or maybe the book is right, and one day soon I will discover the hurts of my father, and he's not really the wonderful man I think he is (doubt that). I do remember once he was un-happy with me for not doing well at school. But I probably didn't, and anyway, I have no wound from that. I don't think I have "high achiever complex" or even a "low achiever one".

I think what I'll do is this: I'll finish the book. I'll fight the battles that I need to, I'll go on as many adventures as I can, and I'll keep my eye out for beauties, especially ones who need rescuing. And if I find my wound, I'll do what needs to be done to fix it. I'll get on with life.

And while I do all this, I'll do what I can to be more and more like Christ. And when I die, and get there, when I am transformed to be like Him, then I'll be a real man. And I can spend an eternity with God as His rescued beauty.