In the comments on hunting, a similarity between the New Age Movement and the current Wild at Heart movement was drawn. For those involved in or familiar with the present group, this may well raise some eyebrowes. Yet for those who have seen both up close, it is absolutely clear that they are parallel in both ideas, and sadly IMO, in fundamental error.
Both posit, at the core, that to realize or actualize their masculinity, men must return to the wild. Also, implied directly or indirectly is that they are most comfortable there once they realize it and that they must do so in the sole company of other men. These manly things, and the realities held therein, are solely for men and available only to those who ‘realize’ the reality of it. Strong words, but when you cut to the core in the both groups, that is where you end up. The classic humorous anecdote of course is about men in loin clothes running through the forest to find themselves. We may chuckle at that extreme, but the reality is actually just a more ‘civilized’ version with the same belief set.
The current Christian reworking of this belief set is VERY close the previous interation, a fact not realized by most involved, and which would no doubt upset them.
The entire mindset is a boys’ getto, both then and now. Though it seeks to find an ephemeral freedom in human roots (which could yield another interesting around Christian subscription to an evolution base paradigm), it in fact creates a very narrow world view. To suppose that our Lord created man with such a narrow vision for his potential just seems silly, to be honest.
Admitedly this view has some seductive qualities, mostly based in freedom from fear in a limited world. But those in the end this limit the potential of a man, not expands it.
Now, does this mean that I am disregarding the fundamental differences in the roles and functional capabilities of men and women as created by our Lord? Does it mean that I do not feel that that there are fundamental difference between them? Not for a minute. I am, in fact, arguing that within what the Lord created and modelled, men (and women) are not required to return to the wild to find actualization of their potential in the world or in relationships with the opposite sex.
In the secular New Age groups (as I have seen them), these limiting views do not build enhanced relationships between men and women. They segreagate them. In the Christian life, the acting out of the biblical model layed down for men and women neither requires nor is enhanced by segregation of experience as a preequisite to becoming whole. The bible would seem to indicate precisely the opposite in the case of couple who are “one flesh”.
Let me state clearly, however, that I am not discrediting wildness experience as a wonderful one, nor the company and fellowship of the same sex as less than encouraging to growth. But these experience are most certainly NOT the magic bullet to self and relationship to God that they are oft subtly presented as.
I would challenge men (and women) to examine what these world views are really appealing to and form opinions based on that.
So what, you might ask, of the seeminlgly built-in propensity we see in many (particularly the youth) for risk taking and extreme experiences? That we will explore shortly…