regarding the Eldredge books

During a conversation with friends this weekend, several expressed surprise that I find the Eldredge books problematic. What follows is a brief, and slightly ranty, explanation:

In many ways, I find the Eldredge books frustrating because they are so close to being really good. On many levels, evangelicals in particular need to have their imaginations fired and to learn that the imagination and the heart are as much a part of our selves and our faith as our minds. So good for the Eldredges for recognizing that.

But it's the attempt to vault from that into universalizing ideas of what it means to be masculine or feminine that sticks in my craw. Whatever Stasi Eldredge's own particular experiences, I'm sure God has used them to speak to her, and that's great. But when she attempts to draw universal conclusions from them, things get yucky very quickly. Just read the introduction to Captivating. Sorry, Stasi, but I never played "Kidnapped and Rescued" as a little girl, and I have yet to talk to anyone who did. That's also an example, I think, of a certain tendency to impose culturally specific ideas universally; it's easy enough (I guess) for a girl who lives in a relatively safe and affluent society, and whose ideas of bad kidnapper types and heroic rescuer types comes from fairy tales and PG Disney movies, to have fun imagining herself in that situation. Somehow, I don't think a 12 year old girl in Uganda who travels across the wilderness every night to avoid being captured and sold into sexual slavery is very likely to make kidnapping the subject of her girlish fantasies, since it's already an hideous feature of her stark reality.

As for Wild at Heart, my primary issue with that book is that it ultimately requires women to be passive. Sorry, but I'm not waiting around for a man to rescue me so he can know how "powerful" he is, or know that he "has what it takes." I don't believe God makes people suffer so other people can undertake a wonderful journey of self-actualization vis a vis being the hero for the suffering. Anyway, I'm generally irritated by that brand of soft patriarchy
-- not only for being patriarchal, but also for being so half-assed about it. I wish he would just admit he thinks the Man Should Be the Boss, instead of trying to fuzz it up or make it more palatable. It's not, no matter what form it takes.

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