888 of 974 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2004
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
As I looked over the reviews of this book, I noted a real polarization: guys either loved or hated this book. Any book this polarizing, I thought, must at bare minimum be bold. And this is a bold book.
On the positive side, the basic premise, that men need to embrace masculinity instead of apologizing for it, is great. It is true that many (unfortunately Eldredge says, "the church," which is tough to prove since he has not been in every church) churches do embrace a feminized Jesus and seem to push an agenda that feminizes men. As a pastor of 25 years, I have noted this tendency in many (perhaps most?) congregations (but I can honestly say that this has not been the case in the two churches I have pastored). Though common, this problem is not always present.
Eldredge argues that men should feel free to be "wild at heart," and that a deep relationship with God and the security that comes from realizing one is truly a man is a key to a satisfying and meaningful life for a man.
He recognizes the "wound" that men have, the importance of having a battle to fight and a beauty to rescue, themes dealt with about ten or (or more) years ago (by the likes of Gordon Dalbey, Robert Hicks, etc.); but his work is a current volume, and this material needs to re-circulate for the upcoming generations.
On the negative side, however, this book is reactionary. It addresses all men as though they were of the same temperament, namely that of the author. Besides watching way too many movies, the author enjoys the great outdoors. But he has forgotten that God does not only bless the Esaus, but also the Jacobs. And some of us guys don't even like movies (sorry, but there is nothing masculine about having to be entertained visually). Many men have died for their country, saved lives, reared masculine sons and feminine daughters and been bold warriors for the kingdom on God and yet did not enjoy repelling or hunting. I fear we learn a lot about John Elderedge and about men LIKE him (and there are many,perhaps even a narrow majority, although I wonder) than men in general; those of us who love the great "indoors" are virtually ignored or relegated to a category (by default) as less than masculine (although I do love the outdoors, just not hunting or repelling; I am a hiker).
The author is unusually weak in Bible interpretation, but he is no heretic. He does, however, point out that Adam stood silently alongside Eve while she ate of the fruit (he gives credit to, "The Silence of Adam," by Larry Crabb); on that interpretation, he is right on. And that is a key and crucial thought. He is weak in the interpretation department elsewhere throughout the book. Unfortunately, many of his points come from popular movies, great illustrations for the men who probably need the book most (those who live life vicariously through movies and TV). But again, a segment of us (who would rather play cards or take our wives dancing rather than tube out) were left out.
The first half of the book disenchanted me; the second half was much better and worth the reading. His comments about spiritual warfare need contemplation.
For men who have temperaments like Elderedge (the restless, deep feeling, and aggressive kind) or who have been stifled and intimidated by a feminized version of Christianity, this book is bold and radical enough to wake you out of your stupor. But it is not an "on the mark," response, but a reactionary (and overly emotional) one. If that's what floats your boat, you'll love it. If you are a bit more laid back (like myself and many other guys), you will not enjoy this book as much. Of course, if you are a passive wimp, you NEED this book, whether you will like it or not!
Some other books I would recommend (as better) in this genre include Gordon Dalbey's, "Father and Son," Robert Hicks, "The Masculine Journey" (if you can find it; this is an excellent book), and Robert Lewis', "Raising A Modern Day Night" (on bringing up boys). To my way of thinking, these are less reactionary and right on the mark.
So is this a good book or a bad one? It is certainly not a bad book. And though it is not truly Scripturally based, it is not heretical (just extra-scriptural). If you share common frustrations and experiences with John Elderege, you may find really enjoy it. For many guys, this would be good medicine; for others of us, it is at least thought provoking.
125 of 140 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 2003
I can understand and agree with all the negative criticisms that people are writing about this author's books, but there's a catch: Their anger is misdirected. Like any advice/teaching/ whatever you want to call it, you are going to have certain people completely misunderstand or misinterpret said teachings and do what they want with it.
I find the author makes some very good points for which I feel vindicated personally on several levels.
I am 27 years old, a single Christian male, and have felt a lot of the ways this author talks about. And it's not wrong. I want to be loved and to love an amazing Christian woman. I want my life to be so much more than being stuck in a gray box with floursecent lights all day and then come home to another box at night and repeat ad infinitum. Is that all life is? I'd honestly rather be dead if that's all there is....and that's what this author is trying to dig at.
The author is not advocating contradictions to Jesus's teaching, but is presenting an idea that, if you are trying to walk in the Lord's path, there are certain innate desires that every man and woman has. Excitement, variety, challenge, love...these are the kinds of things that men and women naturally desire, and these desires are not wrong and should not be choked down.
In several of his books, the author tries to dissect how and why men (and even women to a limited degree although his focus is on men) feel certain ways about certain things.
I was so depressed after graduating college and now I finally know why. I don't want to be just some "nice guy" that everyone looks over and forgets. I am a nice guy, but I am so much more than a cog in some machine. That's what this is about! This is really about how the Christian life isn't supposed to be endless rote and repetitive duty until we drop dead. It's supposed to be joyous service to the Lord, and by extension, each other.
The author is rightly asking: How many of you actually feel joy, or do you certain things "just because it's the right thing to do." Life's got to be about more than that!
658 of 779 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2001
John Eldredge's WILD AT HEART is one of the most refreshing and radical books that I have read. Why are so many men unhappy, un-fulfilled, in jobs they hate, and in marriages that are dead? WILD AT HEART seeks to answer those questions and restore the passion and God-given masculinity that so many men in today's world, and church, are missing.
Some wrongly criticize WILD AT HEART, believing Eldredge is offering up macho, dim-witted masculine bravado, or they believe that this work will be a free pass for men to leave marriages in the dust on a search for lost dreams. Eldredge will have none of that, and says himself in the book that such men are "deceived about what it is they really want, what they are made for." Don't be fooled by the various criticisms that ignore Eldredge's real meaning. A real man's desires are shaped by the Lord.
Instead, WILD AT HEART is about restoring a Godly dream in the soul of a man. A desire to truly be a man, rather than a softened-neutered-nice-but-restrained-guy that the world has somehow dictated that Christian males should be. Nice men may be socially acceptable but in creating them we have snuffed out the very fire that God would have us fan in our pursuit of Him.
This is an attempt to re-kindle that flame. To restore the three longings that are at the core of each man: a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue. Eldredge's arguments are firmly planted in Biblical principles, as well as his past personal experience. His writing style is very easy going, and he uses a lot of illustrations from popular culture, which makes the reading fun. I believe this book is an awesome wake up call to the church. For too long men have weakened themselves by ignoring our God-created passions. WILD AT HEART shows us how to restore them, and challenges us to take the right risks and live the adventure. It may be a bit scary (after all, did God give Abraham a risk-free offer on his call to leave Ur?), but there's no other way to reach the real fulfillment that God would have us find. I'm not a big fan of "men's books," but this is one that I am so glad that I did not miss. You shouldn't either. FIVE STARS.
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on April 9, 2001
John Eldredge first captured my interest (along with Brent Curtis) with The Sacred Romance. He enthralled me with the challenging Journey of Desire. Now he has confronted me with his Wild at Heart. Very few men will be able to read this book without recognizing "the poser". We live our lives responding to the beck and call of the world, all the while knowing that we are selling out on our truest self. Eldredge is bold in his challenge for men to quit posing, and encouraging as he calls each of us to live as the men we were created to be. To know our truest self, we must know the Creator and trust that He created us to live a life full of adventure and mystery, rather than lives of tedium and boredom.
Eldredge does not hold back in his assessment of the malaise that encapsulates so many men. His take on masculinity flies in the face of many of society's politically correct definitions of manhood, but my gut tells me that most men will know that Eldredge is right. This is a challenging book that will cause most men to squirm in recognition of how much we have given away. The book is ultimately uplifting in its call to authenticity. I have read a number of "men's books" and this one is one of the best.
74 of 87 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2006
This is a very entertaining book with lots of fun stories and anecdotes, but it brought up some real concerns for me as well. Here they are........
#1, Eldredge thinks Christian men should stop being just a bunch of "really nice guys". While I agree the Christian life is much more than merely being nice to other people, the NT clearly makes love the defining characteristic. Love of God and love of others should be the defining mark for any believer -- male or female. However, after reading this book a person would be more inclined to think that being wild, passionate and free should be the defining marks. They may have a role, but I suggest they are secondary.
#2, Eldredge claims that Christian men are 'bored' and that they need more adventure. However, based on my own experiences boredom is not due to a lack of entertainment and adventure, but it arrives when there's a lack of purpose. Boredom comes from exhausting my passion for myself instead of seeking after God and becoming a man after God's own heart.
#3, Eldredge claims God designed men to be 'dangerous'. I'm still trying to figure out how this fits in with the fall. What I mean is, before the fall (before Adam sinned) was Adam created by God to be 'dangerous'? If so, then who was Adam to be dangerous towards -- himself, his wife, God? If God did not design Adam to be dangerous, but danger is now a characteristic in men, then that must have come from the fall, and is a result of sin? If so, then embracing this danger cannot be glorifying to God, because it is a result of sin.
#4, Eldredge encourages men to come to grips with their "secret longings". Boy, I have some secret longings which would be disastrous for me to pursue. The only secret longing which can be pursued without qualification is God. To hunger and thirst after Him as the sole desire of our heart should be the goal of every Christian man. The purity of heart is to will one thing and for the Christian that's willing God's glory and finding my rest in Him. Eldredge hardly introduces this. It's not clearly stated and our own passion for adventure clouds the purity of a heart after God.
#5, Eldredge weaves numerous stories, movie quotes, pop music lyrics and other tidbits in with the selected Bible passages. This is something I noticed in the Sacred Romance - his other book. He mixes pop culture in with the Word, and bounces back and forth between the two. I truly don't think it's unfair to say a person ends up with the impression that both are equally valid teaching tools or lesson providers. There's no qualitative distinction between the two. He doesn't say, 'OK this is what the world thinks, now let's contrast that with what God has to say.'.....instead he lays them side by side and promotes both as sources of truth and guidance.
#6, Eldredge emphasizes freedom as an end. Freedom is a means, but is never an end. It is the means by which one chooses either to believe God or not believe God - to live a self-centered life or a God-centered life. I wish Eldridge pointed this out. Instead he exaults the morally nuetral term of 'freedom'.
#7, Unfortunately the book becomes anthropocentric or egocentric. Yes, it uses a bunch of Christian lingo, and uses some Bible verses, but for the reasons above it ends up focusing on human passion and desires, and not a godly passion. (although the latter is mentioned)
#8, Eldredge encourages men to become like 'little boys'. This reminds me of Pauls contrasting words in the NT encourageing Christians to leave childish things behind. Eldredge asks men to go backwards in order to go forwards. I'm not sure where he's getting this from.
#9, If you want good stories read this book if you want good theology read the NT.
#10, It would have been helpful if Eldredge had included a section on the dangers of following our hearts and listening to our hearts. Furthermore, it would have been great if he would have touched on Christian self-denial and how to live a life of service for others and primarily for one's family. Self-sacrifice isn't popular, but it is what leads to a truly fulfilling life, not self-gratification. It's a hard subject to write on and it's an especially hard subject to sell many books with, but it is so needed today.
108 of 133 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2010
For the last year I've been writing book reviews for Thomas Nelson Publishing and I will admit it's been quite an enjoyable task to undertake. My most recent request was for the book "Wild at Heart," by John Eldredge. Though the book has been in print for nearly a decade, a revised and expanded issue has just been released. I was a junior in Bible College when I was first introduced to this book. It was given to me by a friend who had just read it and has some serious concerns about its message, and he wanted me to read it to see if I came to the same conclusions. After making my way though the book I came to the conclusion that the book, while well intentioned, did have some serious flaws, ones that could be quite detrimental, especially to those with limited biblical knowledge. I have always been the type of person who tries to find some redeemable factor in anything that I read, and thought I have some serious issues with the book I will admit that I do agree with the basic premise of the book; that men are told to be a certain way by our society, and what we are told is destructive to the way God has wired us.
Now like Eldredge, I will admit that I'm drawn to adventure, excitement, and to some things that some would even consider to be downright dangerous. Outside of the excitement that I find in preaching the Word of God, I've found that I have felt most alive when duty called me into hostile situations, from which an ordinary person would flee. I think this explains why I enjoyed being a firefighter so much. I loved the adrenaline rush that came from going into a burning house... sounds crazy and it probably is... but I loved it. Now I am the father of a very adventurous 2 year old littler boy, and I'll admit that I want my son to be a real man, a man as designed and purposed by God, not shaped and molded to fit the model of the world. I want him to be brave, noble, and yes even more adventurous than is already is. So this is an area where I can find some common ground with the book, but that being said the masculinity and adventure one reads about in the book may come across in a way other than intended. We read of Eldredge's own adventures in hunting, fishing, rock climbing, whitewater rafting etc. Though he doesn't directly make this claim, one may come away with the message that if they aren't engaged in such activities then they're not a "man".
From my perspective, as both a man and a Pastor the primary issue that I have with this book is Eldredge's mishandling of scripture. This sad reality is evident from the very first page of chapter one, where he changes the text of Proverbs 20:5 to fit the theme of the first chapter. Eldredge writes "the heart of man is like deep water," however the actual wording of the text is "a plan in the heart of man is like deep water, but a man of understanding draws it out." (NASB) The subject of the verse was changed from "plan" to "heart" to suit the theme, without giving any clue to the readers that the verse has been modified in such a way. Scripture is ours to "proclaim," not to "modify," regardless of how well intentioned our motives may be.
Though I could spend a great deal of time and effort raising areas of concern with Eldredge's advancement of thoughts that are contrary to scripture, with the constraints of time and space I will only draw out what I consider to be the most obvious issues found in the book.
(1) Open Theism - Though he denies that he's an open theist, his own words give evidence to the contrary. On more than one occasion he speaks of God in ways that can only be explained if you hold such a view; he writes "it's not just a battle or two that he takes chances with..." (pg. 33) but the truth is God doesn't take chances... knowing the outcome removes all consideration of chance.
Eldredge also takes the bold step of "humanizing" God, by making the statement; "It is amazing to me how humble, how vulnerable God is on this point." (pg. 37) To be "vulnerable," means to be susceptible to injury, attack, or criticism, or being liable to succumb to temptation. I am assuming that Eldredge's point is that God is open to the pain of rejection. While that may be true in a limited sense, we must remember that God is not caught off guard and unexpectedly hurt by human reactions.
(2) View of Jesus - We are presented with the idea that Jesus failed at something He attempted. When He encounters the guy who lives out in the Gerasenes tombs, tormented by a legion of spirits, the first rebuke by Jesus doesn't work, (pg. 168) and He needed more information to address the situation. (Luke 8:26-33) Even a cursory reading of the passage shows that these demons never resisted, or even questioned Jesus' rebuke. The demons knew exactly who He was, and they knew they had no choice but to obey His command.
(3) View of Sin - This is probably the area where I draw most of my contention with this book. Eldredge does his best to disassociate the individual from their sin. He does this by presenting a clearly non-biblical picture of the condition of the heart of the believer. The statement is made "Sin is not the deepest thing about you have a new heart. Did you hear me? Your heart is good." (pg. 136) Moving forward several pages he again addresses this idea; "To put it bluntly, your flesh is a weasel, a poser, and a selfish pig. And your flesh is not you. Did you know that? Your flesh is not the real you." (pg. 146) Adding to this he makes the statement; "But what Paul concludes is just astounding: "I am not really the one doing it; the sin within me is doing it... Hey I know that I struggle with sin. But I also know that my sin is not me - this is not my true heart."" (pg. 146) and "The Big Lie in the church today is that you are nothing more than "a sinner saved by grace." (pg. 146)
Now I could write a book on how these statements are contrary to the teaching of scripture, but I'll only make a few pertinent comments. First, to say that the heart of the believer is "good" is not even biblical language. We are born pure, but when we sin, our heart ceases to be "good." Scripture clearly attests that the "heart" of man is not good but wicked (Ecclesiastes 9:3, Jeremiah 17:9, Mark 7:21-22, Romans 7:18) Saying that our sin is "not us" begs the question... then who is it? Does my sin belong to somebody else... NO our sin is indeed us, it is part of us. If we aren't our sin, then what reason would there be for trying to resist it? If we aren't our sin, then there would be no penalty for us in committing that act of rebellion. Eldredge claims that the "big lie" is that we are sinners saved by grace. Is this statement a lie, hardly, this is one of the foundational principles of scripture (Romans 5:8) In all of this it appears that Eldridge is propagating the idea that once we're saved we can live a sin-free life, which is complete non-sense. Can we resist sin, yes we can, and we should. (1st Corinthians 10: 13) but to advocate that we somehow have the ability to never sin again is ridiculous, this being seen in the fact that no one outside of Christ Himself has ever lived a sinless life. Even Paul, who was a giant of the faith struggled and succumbed to sin. (Romans 7:19-20) To those who think they do not, or have the ability to not continue to sin I would remind them to consider 1st John 1:8 which says, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." For the Christian, though not under the law, and not unregenerate, there is no absolute exemption from temptation nor the consequences of the sin that come from yielding to that temptation.
(4) Response to Attack - Bullying is a scourge in our society and we're always looking at appropriate ways to handle it, on a personal level and how we are to instruct those around us, especially our children, as how to handle it. Eldredge has only one solution: "hit him . . . as hard as you possibly can." I believe that in a real sense walking away from a confrontation shows greater strength than doe's physical retaliation? Should we allow ourselves to be taken advantage of or bullied, no, not at all. But it is wise to save physical action as a "final solution," one that is exercised with extreme caution. Let's remember Paul's words in situations such as this. "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:21)
I will openly confess that I struggled with this book. Knowing its intense popularity I wanted to find something redeeming about it, something that would set it apart from my last experience with it, but now having just re-read it, the conclusions that I have drawn are quite similar. Its foundation is very weak and Eldredge's views of femininity and masculinity are grossly inadequate. But the most disheartening aspect of the entire book is Eldredge's misuse of scripture. It's for these reasons that I cannot and will not recommend this book to others, and I would seriously caution any person or men's group against using is as a curriculum or bible study tool.
If I could give one piece of advice when considering this book, that has become so popular in Christian circles it would be these ancient and sobering words of wisdom:
"Error never shows itself in its naked reality, in order not to be discovered. On the contrary, it dresses elegantly, so that the unwary may be led to believe that it is more truthful than truth itself."
Irenaeus; Bishop of Lyons, 2nd Century A.D.
44 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2001
Following closely on the heels of his magnificent *Journey of Desire*, John Eldredge has written the "men's book" of the ages. In addition, female readers will not only gain insight into masculinity but will discover much about themselves and how God - and their men - play a role in their own personal dramas.
Much will be said and written about this book, but one aspect that merits particular emphasis is Eldredge's uncanny ability to discern from the play of children the immense "Story" that God has placed humanity in - a story filled with heroes and villains, damsels in distress, sacrifice, and a happily everafter. The author demonstrates to the reader how little boys and girls innately understand the power of (and need for) a "battle to be fought, an adventure to be experienced, and a Beauty to be won." Such is the life at the heart of the Christian gospel. After all, Jesus himself said regarding children, "of such is the kingdom of heaven."
Another key tenant of the book is that men and women must go to God individually, and not to each other, to gain validation. Eldredge stresses that true masculinity is "bestowed" from father to son. He poignantly explains, too, how Christ can take up the "initiation" of a wounded man into the fulness of masculinity (a special highlight is his inclusion of Ezra Pound's forgotten poem "The Goodly Frere", which offers an engagingly different picture of Jesus).
Along the way Eldredge summarily debunks the "precept and principle" philosophies (which includes Promise Keepers) that have unwittingly robbed the Christian faith of its vitality. No "twelve steps" here - the focus is on life, not formulas. Filled with humor and remarkable frankess, this is a heart-warming challenge to join God in a wild, gut-wrenching, but ultimately triumphant battle.
32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2001
Wild at Heart is, in a world of fruit drinks, a double gin and tonic! Powerful, warm, bracing, and permission-granting. This book takes a crowbar to the lid that religion and other domesticating forces have clamped on men (and women). At first impression, Eldredge seemed to be issuing a fine and compelling call to manhood, ala Braveheart (and, yes, even at that level, it�s a rollicking great book). Then I realized he is really confronting that androgyny which is inevitably produced by the forces of conformity. Here, he is operating on new ground: the contemporary church world has unwittingly pressured men and women to trade their sexuality for a third gender called "Christian." But, then, he surprises again by throwing back the curtain even further and revealing the throbbing vitality of a connection with the God. He designed men and women, therefore, only He can define and empower their roles. Men must take their strength to, not from, women! It�s time for men to unhook their little tubes from their mothers and wives and get reconnected to the Fatherhood of God. Readers of Wild at Heart are in for some delicious and even stunning passages. His view of Ruth and Boaz�s courtship is a vivid revelation of the essence of a woman; it is also thigh-slapping funny. The parable of intercourse(page 185!) is another revelation; it genuinely stirred me (it would make Aunt Bee reach for a fan)! Eldredge�s portrait of Joseph (Jesus� earthly father, not the patriarch) is moving and insightful. And, his explanation for pornography�s pull on men is crystal clear. Please understand: this is not a trendy nor iconoclastic nor macho manifesto for men. Eldredge�s heart is humble, his theology is surprisingly mature, and his mission is serious as a shotgun. Perhaps the most valuable cargo of the book is the way he challenges men to care and �fight for� their wives and children. Wild at Heart says much about the sad abandonment of women by their men, especially in those long marriages, where the initial glow has faded and couples find themselves in a malaise. Eldredge challenges men with �She�s still in there, but she�s captive. Are you willing to go in after her?� Men who have mounted their stallions and charged, dashingly, into a career need to turn around and ride back into the land where she fell, and sweep her up from the ground. Yes, she�s still there and waiting to be rescued!
31 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2013
We did this book as part of our men's group this spring. It is provocative, to be sure, but it is way too simplistic. Eldredge starts with the premise that modern men are no longer the men God meant us to be - that men have been tamed, and are therefore bored. In his view, there is nothing worse than being a "nice guy". You are either a masculine, warrior-prince, or a whimpering, nice guy with dad-issues.
His rationale is that as boys, we all pretend to be knights, sheriffs and fighters, but that we forget this part of ourselves as we grow up and become bored, office-cubical workers. We forget this because our father (or father-figures) don't teach us to be wild any more. We aren't initiated into manhood by anyone. Fathers that should be teaching us to be hunters and fighters are instead themselves bored and check out. Our "wounds" at their hands have crippled our manhood.
I don't think I've ever heard such utter junk.
There's some good stuff in here, but it's rare. He talks about challenging yourself when you are in a bad place, and being willing to take more risks. That's great advice, but he taints it throughout with his "William Wallace" imagery.
Eldredge is either trying to reach a particular demographic, or his world-view is way too simple. God did not make everyone to be a warrior. There are plenty of mild-mannered heroes in the world. Consider Neil Armstrong. A soft-spoken civilian scientist who is one of a handful of men to venture to the moon. He took the ultimate risk, but was one of the humblest guys you could ever meet.
The best lessons I learned from my "nice guy" dad were not where he wanted to teach me how to hunt, fish or work on cars, but how much honesty, integrity and care of family mattered. The first set of lessons were not what impacted me for my daily life. I never really took to them. What stands out to this day is the latter. When people who used to work with him tell me how much they relied on him and his word in their business - that is what impacted me the most about how to emulate him. Eldredge's nice guy model would dismiss him as a tamed, bored man who seldom took risks. To me, he is the best a man can be.
Being a man is not defined by the battles you fight, but how you face your life. A nice guy is just as capable of facing challenges as the warrrior-prince. It is unfortunate that the author chooses to degrade with simplistic imagery rather than finding a better way to communicate an important message. Instead of relying on boyhood dreams as his model, he would have done well to be mindful of this verse from 1 Corinthians: "When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways."
30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2004
The book certainly is a must read as it brings up some important issues about being a true man of God. It is important for men to know that they were not charged by God to be "wimpy Christians" and that we should not fall into the world's gender bending thinking. The "Metrosexual" is not a man after God's heart! A true man of God desires to be (and most women seek a man who is): bold, brave, a hero, willing to fight for his honor and stand up for God's truth and justice. This should be a wake up call to all Christians!
HOWEVER, read w/ some caution. One point I'd first have to make is that the term "wild" is not actually a term that describes a godly man, but a fallen man (or animal) who lacks knowledge of the wisdom of God. Wild probably best describes the fallen world, after sin entered the world. But we hopefully understand the concept of "free" and "fearless" he is trying to convey never the less. The book should maybe better have been titled "A Hero's Heart" or "The Fighting Heart of a True Man". Addressing the issues of men needing to rekindle their passion to live, their masculinity and to do what is right in the world. Man's "sin nature" is something Eldredge unfortunately seems to not address. Beating up a guy on the playground probably isn't something God would look highly upon, as Christ taught us to use truth to win our arguements in life without resorting to violence. As described in many other critical reviews, there are a few possible misinterpretations of who our sovereign God really is. Though we were created in God's image, we are not exactly like God. Not all the things that make us human are in the image of God, as we are not perfect. I caution readers only that, I worry some people might mistakenly feel the green light is on to embrace all of the longings and desires of the human heart, some of which come from our sin nature. We must still use the wisdom of God's laws and commands to rule our actions. A good verse to remember is: Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not with drunkenness, nor in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (Romans 13:14)