Sunday, October 2, 2011

Manly Book Club: September 2011 Book Review: Wild At Heart

For those who might not know Finding The Man has a monthly book club.  A book and a movie are chosen for each month and if you would like you are invited to read the book and watch the movie.  At the end of the month you will have an opportunity to share some of what you learned, so...

The book for September was Wild at Heart by John Eldredge. This is my second time reading this book and both times I have gained mountain of knowledge that has helped me better understand myself.  I think the lesson that really stuck out to me this time around is that we as men have all been wounded and we need to accept these wounds for what they are.  Too many men hide their wounds because that's what a "tough guy" does.  We try to act strong when in reality we are hurting deep on the inside.  The most powerful quote from this book for me is;

“It was not your fault and it did matter. Oh what a milestone day that was for me when I simply allowed myself to say that the loss of my father mattered. The tears that flowed were the first I’d ever granted my wound, and they were deeply healing. All those years of sucking it up melted away in my grief. It is so important for us to grieve our wound; it is the only honest thing to do. For in the grieving we admit the truth – that we were hurt by someone we loved, that we lost something very dear, and it hurt us very much. Tears are healing. They help to open and cleanse the wound….. Grief is a form of validation, it says the wound mattered.”

Emotions are our body's way of healing the wounds of our soul.  Just like our body heals a broken bone or a cut, our body also heals our damaged soul.  When we deprive it of this by stuffing our feelings it is like keeping the two parts of a broken bone apart so healing cannot take place.  The problem with this kind of wound is that it is easy to hide especially when we use alcohol, drugs, sex, or other addictive behaviors to numb the pain.  So in a nutshell the biggest lesson I am walking away with is that it is okay for me to admit I have been hurt and to allow myself to feel the pain of that. 

The movie for this month was Braveheart.  Now this movie is just plain awesome and manly to the core.  It demonstraits the raw emotion of a man who has been deeply hurt and shows what a man who is dedicated to a cause can do.  Stop reading if you have not seen this and plan to.  My favorite scene is just after William Wallace has lost his new wife to a soldier in the kings army.  Wallace had merely been trying to protect the virtue of his love and this act of "defiance" cost her life.  In a true display of masculine anger Wallace walks back into the village and with just his hands and make shift weapons (a deer antler) he starts an uprising.  His action says " you have messed with the wrong man."  You really get the feeling that these soldiers have opened a wound that has a driving force that will take a bunch of farmers  to take on the greatest army in the world.  

So that's what I got from them, now it's your turn.  Let me know what you thought of them and please feel free to discuss anything I have already touched on.  

October's book will be announced shortly.


  1. My favorite parts were when he talked about how fighting, wrestling, getting dirty, and just not being "prim and proper" are all part of man's energy and are perfectly normal. I love the idea that adventure and danger are promoted and not shunned. I also agree with Danny, the concept that all men have a wound helps me to not feel ashamed of mine.

  2. I couldn't have thought of two better choices for starting out your book/movie club! I was given WaH by my father in 2001, at a point where the last thing I wanted to read was something my dad gave me. Two years later, at the encouragement of a friend, I picked it up and started on a journey that ultimately led to incredible freedom and personal growth. Just this past spring I read it again for at least the third time with a group of brothers. The lessons now are so much deeper and richer.

    This time around I was struck by the concept that God knows my name, my true identity, and that He has affirmed each of us as men - the entire spectrum of masculinity - not just the stereotypes that the world recognizes as manly. I learned how to reject the lies I had agreed with and stand in integrity as the man God made me to be.

    Braveheart!!! I love the inspiration of William Wallace's bravery and leadership, but for most of my life, I identified more with Robert the Bruce. My favorite line is where he realizes how his father has led him to betray a noble, courageous man for his own gain. That's when he stepped into his birthright as a leader of men.

    Robert the Bruce: "I have nothing. Men fight for me because if they do not, I throw them off my land and I starve their wives and children. Those men who bled the ground red at Falkirk fought for William Wallace. He fights for something that I never had. And I took it from him when I betrayed him. I saw it in his face on the battlefield and it's tearing me apart."

    Robert's Father: "All men betray. All lose heart."

    Robert the Bruce: "I don't want to lose heart! I want to believe as he does... I will never be on the wrong side again."

    Thanks, Danny! Let's do this again this month!

  3. I too love that this book gives us permission to be men rather than stifling us like society tends to do. It feels good to stand and be the men that God intended me to be.

    I love your insight into Robert the Bruce. I too feel that I have at times been much more like him than William Wallace. I think that recognizing that is the first step.

  4. I loved this book. Made me realize how wild and dangerous God is, yet how that allows him to still passionately love.

    I certainly can see that all little boys are wild, and find myself inwardly repulsed when I see adults 'taming' them. No wonder so many boys have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD.