Monday, April 18, 2011

Not a Tame Lion

I'm pretty much winding down as far as talking about Eldredge's "Wild at Heart" except for a couple things.

One of the phrases that Eldredge uses is from C.S. Lewis's "The Chronicles of Narnia". Aslan, the representation of God in Narnia, is a lion which is symbolic of Jesus being the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. One of the things that is said about Aslan is that He is not a tame lion. And Eldredge uses this to refer to men, that like Aslan, men were not created to be tamed and controlled by culture and civilization.

The saying about Aslan was that He was not tame, as in controlled. But He was good. Very, very good. And Eldredge uses this to call men to be their own wild and free selves, yet to remember that they are to be good in this deliriously wild freedom.

I have difficulty with this, not because Eldredge tells men they don't have to be 'tame' and controllable but rather that the implication that can be picked up is that women ARE to be tame and controlled. Whereas men can represent themselves in God's image as a lion, women are left to represent God as lambs. And this is a completely false correlation. Both lions and lambs come in male and female versions.
Jesus is referred to as both a lion and a lamb. Both men and women are referred to as sheep in the Bible. And both men and women can think of themselves as being as bold as lions when they walk in the righteousness of Christ.

Certain men, with itching ears, do not have the right to claim "lion" status for themselves while relegating women to "lamb" status. Men who do this are creating false structures that nature, God's own creation, witnesses against.

I'm not a tame lion either. I'm not subjugated and controlled by the men and culture of this earth. I run wild in the lioness freedom that Jesus, the Lion and the Lamb, my older Brother... I run wild in the Spirit Wind freedom that He bought me. And I'm not going to let arrogant little whelps tell me any different. Those that try to take my lion status away in order to give me a lesser role are preaching a different gospel.

Now, after this rant, you may think that I really do hate Eldredge's book. But I don't. I only hate what others have done with it and how they have misused it. The next post is about the good in his book and why my love for it eventually does win out over my frustration.


Bethany said...

You may have addressed this elsewhere, but have you read Captivating? That was the first Eldredge book I read, and I really did NOT get the sense that women were being asked to be 'lambs' in any way. The recurring image in Captivating is that of a warrior princess, in fact. Personally, Captivating is one of my favorite books, and I wish I had read IT when I was a young teenager, instead of the patriocentric legal manuals my head was filled with!

To each his own, though, and I understand that the message of 'wildness' that WaH promotes could be taken for very ill by some men. I just don't think that Eldredge's message for men in any way negates his [their] equalling freeing and empowering message for women.

Mara Reid said...

No, I never did read Captivating. I have friends who loved it and friends who hated it. My friend Charis (a.k.a. Gem) loved it.

I got what I needed from WAH. And like you, at my first reading I didn't get that women were to make themselves less. It's just when you mix it with comp doctrine and gender roles mania, it can take a person to a bad place. So I felt the need to disagree with the foundation of men were made outside the garden and women, inside.

My next post will talk about my place of agreement with Eldredge and my defense of his book against those who call it 'shallow'. It absolutely isn't shallow. It deals with the deep places of the heart, a very hard place for men to go.

Gem said...

The first time I heard of ezer/helpMEET as anything other than a servant/doormat kind of thing was when I read "Captivating" and it was profoundly refreshing! Click Here for the section in the preview at google books.

Gem said...

And I had written more about the books but the comment was lost in cyberspace. (((Sigh)))

I don't identify with the adventure themes, and I am movie illiterate, so their use of movies to make theological points just loses me entirely. I've had too much "adventure" following my husband around the world to pursue his elusive fulfillment (moved 25 times, 2 foreign countries, 6 states, with the complications of a growing and growing and growing family. Children crying themselves to sleep after being uprooted AGAIN. . . ) Give me STABILITY!

My husband picked up WAH but was turned off because he is not the macho hunting, sword battle, warrior, video gaming type. I think he needed the healing of childhood wounds which the Eldrege's emphasized but he did not need any more justifications for his propensity for wildness.

IMO, men like my husband need more teaching on the necessity to receive influence and correction from their God Given ezer than they need teaching on their "freedom" to do whatever (the hell) they want to do. So, it was good that my husband didn't latch onto it as I think it might not have been in his best interests.

Gem said...

Interestingly, the Eldredges are ummmm. . . demonized(?) by both CBMW and CBE:

Mara Reid said...

It is very interesting about CBMW and CBE. Actually might be a good indicator of how balanced it might actually be.

And I guess the adventuring side isn't what I needed either. I just needed to know that it was for freedom the Jesus set me free. And if the word 'freedom' has lost it saltiness in Christian circles, then it took the word 'wild' to push me into the actual freedom the God calls us all to.

Gem said...

ITA (I totally agree) that the two poles both objecting indicates BALANCE! :)

I know from experience that people can use anything to justify bad behavior, even the very words of Christ from Scripture. In some cases, I consider the criticism of a popular preacher as kin to an endorsement. eg. John Piper tweets "Farewell Rob Bell", so I bought Bell's book. :)