Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Way of the Wild Heart

The Way of the Wild Heart by John Eldridge

This book is a continuation of the topics covered in the book Wild at Heart and has good expansion and further development of the themes. Eldridge's basic premise is that there are 6 stages of the full masculine journey in life. That of the boy, cowboy/ranger, warrior, lover, king, and sage. In each stage the boy/man walks through crucial elements in his development as a man.

The boy stage is when he is young and enjoying doing boy stuff like playing outside, exploring, climbing trees, basically having fun and being delighted in by his parents and family.

The cowboy/ranger stage is when the boy moves more into the young manhood stage where he goes out exploring on his on and begins learning the things of the masculine world such as how to fix a car, working with power tools, going on backpacking journeys in the woods either alone or with some of his friends. This could also include such adventures as backpacking across Europe. The main part of this stage is his learning the answer to the question "do I have what it takes/can I handle this?"

The warrior stage is when the man is beginning his quest and mission in life which may include beginning a career such as a teacher, lawyer, doctor, consultant, mechanic, salesman, or becoming a missionary overseas. This is the stage in which he is finding his cause to fight for and the things that are important to him and what he will work towards during his life.

The lover stage sometimes crosses over with the warrior stage. This is when the man is learning to appreciate beauty and how to love. It is not necessarily when he pursues a woman and learns to love in that sense but can also include the awakening to the beautiful things in life such as nature, art, and music. Full development in this stage will include learning to love and be loved by God in an intimate way. Something Eldridge said which makes sense is that it is best for the man to have established himself as a warrior before entering this stage. Many women can be frustrated with the men they marry who don't seem to have a sense of purpose to their lives and Eldridge indicates that it is best for the man to come to the woman from a state of strength and having journeyed through at least parts of the warrior stage.

The king stage is when the man becomes responsible for leading others. This might include being the head of his household, becoming a manager at work, or a coach of a team. During this stage, warriors may be working for the king.

The final stage is that of the sage. This occurs when a man steps down as a king but does not fade into the distance. He will commonly be an adviser to kings and provide the wisdom that comes only through years of living through the various stages. Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings trilogy would fit this category.

During each of the stages, the man will likely experience parts of all the stages but will generally be centered upon one of them. I highly recommend this book as an excellent understanding of the development of a man and what makes a whole and complete man.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...