Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Wild at Heart?

Ok that’s book number nine so far this year. Since my last blog I finished The Trespassers by DH Lawrence and all I would say about that book is that if you are having an affair with someone and you think you might find kindred spirits in Sebastian & Helena you will be sadly let down.
'I did not have sexual relations with this woman'
My last post was more about the author than the characters, and it’s not really a book which particularly grabbed me and bettered me in any thought provoking way, so, not for the first time, it simply became a challenge to get through it as quickly as possible, so as not to waste too much of my life which I sense is now in the latter half of its course!

I’d only read one Christian book this year, so when I received a gift from a wonderful hero of mine which was the latest offering from John Eldredge, I was keen to promote it to next on my list. Eldredges finest hour was a book called ‘Wild at Heart’ which I confess I have read four times as I had never encountered writings which so summed up the challenges, hopes and dreams that a man has, but who also wants to know more of his creator. In a nutshell, we are all wearers of masks, as a way of protection against ever having to address the wounds that we carry from our Fathers.  

No seriously, I'm fine!
I know many people who have changed their lives on the back of that book!

Funny, I didn’t feel the need to address my wounds with my old man. He’s eighty something for goodness sake, does he need me dumping guilt on him in the name of catharsis? Don’t think so!

Anyway, it’s still a good book, and it’s just good to read a Christian writer who empathises rather than preaches or prescribes.

Okay Okay, i believe!

In fact apart from Philip Yancy, Eldredge was the writer I would most seek out. That is, until the awful ‘Way of the wild heart’ and that cringe wrenching moment when he describes his sons thirteenth birthday when he writes of  presenting the young boy with a gun, followed by a sword, and then some cake. That’s the moment when you realise why about three quarters of the worlds population hate the yanks! I mean, I know plenty of really good American people, but they’re not English are they! We would settle for cake.  

So, I hadn’t read anything for a few years, and reading ‘the Utter relief of Holiness’ was a bit like getting a letter from an old friend. However, I’m sorry to say that Jay EE has regressed into the prescriptive camp, and his examples were all pretty standard with the proximate cause of the exampled problem typically being previous sexual abuse or some drunken Dad. I didn’t feel any kind of connection, and I’m not convinced that we can blame al the ills of the world onto our folks. That’s simply not fair. However I do believe JE has the right to blame all his ills on his drunken dad, and that’s fine.  

It’s weird that I write so cynically having just spent the weekend in one of the most spiritual & scenic places I know (& a little closer to me than Lindesfarne) Once a year I visit a retreat in Ely with some other guys. The city is about the size of Harpenden, so it has no reason to be called a city but for this incredible Cathedral which, because of the flatness of the surrounding area, can be seen for miles. You really get a sense of historic  pilgrims journeying there and catching their first glimpse from many miles back. 


I have returned refreshed, and challenged about certain areas of my life. As always, when men find the courage to speak up about their weaknesses and fears, they invariably find they are not on their own. Of course, openess, weakness, fear are not ‘manly’ so it can be difficult to remove the mask and reveal the real you. Hey, I’m sounding like John Eldredge! Perhaps I better read his book again? 

On a completely different note, what fantastic news that Mott The Hoople are reforming for a tour including a London date. But the O2? They’re not Take That FFS! Seventies bands should play seventies venues and for me, the Hammersmith Odeon (Apollo to younger readers) IS the definitive seventies location. It worked so well in 2009, and they sold out all four nights. Methinks this has something to do with age, and it being easier to do one gig than four in the smoke, but guys, sorry but it’s a bit of a sell out. You are often quoted as being a big influence on the punk scene that followed you, but this action is definitely punk-less.  


I’d love to take a stance, but with Ian hunter now 73, and the drummer Dale Griffin too ill with Alzheimer’s, you have to throw your principles out the window and buy (4) tickets. This really could be the last time I ever see them.

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