Journey allows no alcohol on premises? Give strong drink to the one who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress.
Perhaps the one thing that men need more than an adventure, beside a stiff drink so they might forget the pain, is balance. Journey provides Eldredge’s message it doesn’t provide balance, and apparently, neither does it provide wine to make the heart merry. It is geared to those who have cash- those who can afford to get drunk on themselves in ways that others cannot, but it offers no Scriptural solution to what men need most. It appeals to those who are dissatisfied with life, and offers just another quick-fix remedy to a best life now. In short, it is a self-improvement program that centers on the narcissistic tendencies of people. Surely, one cannot think this plays well to those who live in poverty, or those who live in inner-city blighted neighborhoods, or those in countries where mobility is limited by governments so that people cannot use the wilderness? There are dozens of scenarios where men could never avail themselves of anything like what is offered by Journey. Most men will never leave their communities, not out of choice, but by necessity dealt to them by the circumstances into which God has placed them.
The sight questions whether it is good to continue to instruct men on original sin and offers instead the alternative instruction on men’s original glory that can be found within. What original glory? Man’s heart is desperately wicked, without remedy, what man can understand it, Scripture says. And it instructs us not to look for the things this world has to offer, but to seek His heart and his glory. Beside, what was man’s anointed duty? Adventure? Glory seeking? Hardly. It was to be a caretaker of a garden. He was given charge over it, and was to prosper in it, multiplying, finding the joy of serving God in God determined circumstance. He was to live in God’s glory, not his own. No great adventures, no glory except God’s and that reflected in the good creation.
I would ask also, what is original sin? Is it important to instruct men in it? How can men find glory without recognition of who they are now? Or, perhaps, some think they’re not still under the effects of the noetic consequences of the fall? What is meant by the fall? If there is any glory in man, it cannot be found this side of the resurrection when we will be made like the One who is truly Glorious, can it? No, Scripture promises glory when we are in the presence of the Glorious one, and that in the resurrection, not before. Until then, noetically speaking, we can’t really know what it meant to be a man, originally.
One thing I do agree with, men have more often than not been made the fall-guys for every complaint of the feminized church. And it is tiring. But doesn’t Eldredge offer merely the satisfaction of being what is demanded by others? So, what is the difference, isn’t measuring up to some standard that is not being met the object of Journey? Journey offers the solution to the complaints, but the solution is just another capitulation to the demands of judges of appearance, judges no better, and no less full of pride than themselves. Both men and women are failures, that is the default position of Scripture. That is the only option, we can never quite measure up, and that because of original sin. Which is why we must emphasize it and teach it clearly. Humility, not self-glorification, paves the road to grace. To know ourselves truly, is the only way to recognize what we truly need.
As Isaiah reveals, we are men who are unclean, and the only solution is not a grand adventure to find our inner glorious man, but to humbly throw ourselves upon the mercies of God that he might lift us up to glory- that he might send help to the helpless. The glory which is spoken of in Scripture that we will have is that which is sent to us, which we are clothed in by another, into which we are being transformed, and of which belongs solely to God, alone. How childlike we should be then, for we cannot even dress ourselves. It is a shallow and empty belief that finds its hope in this life and what it offers. Even if a man could be set free by Journey’s offer, he would still be without hope and to be pitied. What man can offer men is only what men have, filthy rags and not the vestments of kings.
It is a curious thing that Journey offers freedom in their alternate religious pursuit when Scripture declares it is truth that will set men free. And the truth is, men, even those who are saved, are still sinners, inglorious in and of themselves. But that is original sin in its out working. If we are not to teach it, we will never know that it is Christ who provides the means to glory, and not some four-day adventure. Think of the usurpation- Journey claims it sets men’s hearts free, not Christ. The only way to Him is to accept what he says of us, not to perfect one’s manhood at a four-day retreat.
Compare the apostle’s vision of manly maturity with John Eldredge’s famous sine qua non of manhood.” Eldredge says, “Deep in his heart, every man longs for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.”
That is a little boy’s lie. That’s the stuff of children’s fantasies. You simply won’t find a description of manliness like that in Scripture. Instead, Scripture says what motivates real men is a love for the truth; a contempt for error; and a passion for being used by God in the work of snatching people from the grip of the father of lies.
I keep hearing about churches who (in order to appeal to ostensibly “masculine” instincts) have moved their men’s fellowship to the pub, where they discuss theology as a hobby and share their views on life as Christian men over beer and cigars.