Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wild at Heart: Biblical Evidence? Part 2

On Page 5 we find the following quote (the second use of Scripture):

"Adventure, with all its requisite danger and wildness, is a deeply spiritual longing written into the soul of man... Where, finally, the geography around us corresponds to the geography of our heart. Look at the heroes of the biblical text: Moses does not encounter the living God at the mall. He finds him (or is found by him) somewhere out in the deserts of Sinai, a long way from the comforts of Egypt. The same is true of Jacob, who has his wrestling match with God not on the living room sofa but in the wadi somewhere east of the Jabbok, in Mesopotamia. Where did the prophet Elijah go to recover his strength? To the wild. As did John the Baptist, and his cousin, Jesus, who is led by the Spirit into the wilderness. Whatever else those explorers were after, they were also searching for themselves... Who am I? What am I made of? What am I destined for?"

Observation #1: There are very few things that scripture tells us is written on the hearts of men (Jer. 17:1; Rom. 2:15; 2 Cor. 3:3 to name a few). Adventure is not one of them.

Observation #2: While Moses was certainly in the desert, that's where he lived. His encounter with God was not on an adventure trip, but while he was working. The reason he wasn't in Egypt was not because he was trying to escape comfort and ease, but because he feared for his life after murdering a man.

Observation #3: Jacob also wasn't on a weekend adventure trip searching for his soul. He was on his way back home with dozens of people and his family. His encounter with God wasn't on the living room sofa because he was caravaning.

Observation #4: While it is true that Elijah, John, Jesus, and others went to the wilderness to rest, avoid people, and pray, Eldredge is making up the idea that they were going to search for themselves. There is not a single verse regarding any of these characters where they are trying to figure out how to be a man, who they are, and what they're made of. It definitely appears that Eldridge conveniently slips that in there unnoticed (by most), but he has no basis for saying it.

Eldredge's second attempt to use scripture to support his idea comes up short, in my mind. I do think that there is something about camp fires, hiking, and doing devotions on a lake that is quite special. But on the same token I can have just as good times with the Lord in my living room. Somehow he forgets that there is a major cultural aspect that must be considered. In our day there are designated areas set aside for wild habitat, parks, and forests. Back then the wilderness was everywhere you turned. For someone in the OT to be in the "wild" was no more abnormal than for us to be on the highway.

Tomorrow I'll be posting on his contempt for Christianity and the church "as it currently exists." And how in making his point, he ignore scriptures that teach what he despises.