I’ve been reading John Eldredge’s newest book, “Walking with God,” in which John lets us listen in on his walk with God for a year, using journal entries and the rhythm of his own life as a teaching tool. It’s kinda like a blog in print. Eldredge has been one of my favorite authors; “Wild at Heart” changed my life. “Epic” changed my ministry. Both put into words what I had known deep within me.
But alas, now, in “Walking with God,” Eldredge and I must part ways. There’s some good stuff in there, I must admit. God used some of it in my life. But now a couple of comments.
First, this is the guy who told us that our lives are part of an epic adventure God is unfolding throughout the aeons. And so far at least, his life seems… well, small. Petty, even. Sure, he prays with some folks, but mostly his life is about not getting to go fishing or not finding antlers to hang in his living room. His section on loss, I’m not kidding, is about when the family dog died. Come on, John. You diminish “real” pain like human death, cancer, war, and so much more. There is no sense of faith impacting the larger world in his book. Of witness of any kind. His is a glorified hermit’s life, disconnected, it seems, from the epic story he claims he’s part of. A trout fisherman, not a fisher of men. Walking with Jesus always takes us to the lost. Follow him around in the gospels, and you can’t avoid it.
Second, and this is so ironic, right there on the pages, early on even, God is trying to get through to him, to help him rebuild his life on the love of God instead of a “get it done” mentality. He says this clearly. And then he goes on to rebuild a more spiritual sounding “get it done” life based on his own diligent effort. And then God convicts him again later in the year, and again he misses his own point: That his weariness is because of his view of the Christian life! The more I read, the more I’m glad I’m releasing my book, which unpacks the “new and living way” opened to us by Jesus, a life free of the endless striving, thirsting, seeking, and fighting Eldredge calls us into. It’s a life built on simple trusting, enjoying, loving, and reigning. A life sprouting from the gospel that wipes away “the old way of the written code.”