Friday, May 22, 2009

Men's Ministry and Women's Ministry

Alternate title: If your marriage sucks, maybe don't spend all your time with other men/women who's marriages suck.

Hear me: I'm not completely against men/women's ministry. I think they can be healthy and do a lot of great things. I do take issue with "Wild at Heart" and "Captivating" focused ministries, though. I think these books generally miss the mark, especially in their view of God. They also seem to spend a lot of the book building people up. If I have the potential to be completely awesome, why do I need God? A self-centered life is a lonely life.

"Wild at Heart" Excerpt:
"Deep in his heart, every man longs for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue. That is how he bears the image of God; that is what God made him to be." -John Eldredge

"Captivating" Excerpts:
"Sometime between the dreams of your youth and yesterday, something precious has been lost. And that treasure is your heart, your priceless feminine heart. God has set within you a femininity that is powerful and tender, fierce and alluring. No doubt it has been misunderstood. Surely it has been assaulted. But it is in there, your true heart, and it is worth recovering. You are captivating." -John AND Stasi Eldredge.

"How does a woman best love a man? The answer is simple: seduce him." -John AND Stasi Eldredge*.

These are the three things John and Stasi think all women long for:
1. To be romanced.
2. To play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure.
3. To unveil beauty

I was recently talking with some people about this, and here's my takeaway after thinking it over:

  • Even though we're all created by God, we're all different. There isn't one set of steps that will work for all of us.
  • Not all men will be better husbands after riding a horse or camping in Colorado.
  • Not all women have a deep desire to be a princess and to be rescued.
  • John Eldredge seems to have an unbiblical view of God and man.
  • Self-centeredness isn't going to make me a better woman.
Maybe there's something wrong with me. These books are pretty dang popular. They just don't sit right with me, I guess. I think most people read books like this because they want to be better people. I'm just not sure this book describes the kind of woman I want to become or the kind of God I am compelled serve.
*Seriously? she can't write it on her own? I guess that's about the whole, "play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure," thing.