When author John Eldredge lived like millions of other white-collar Americans, his wife dreaded calling him at the office. He would answer the phone in his "work voice": blunt, tense, and in charge. During those years, Stasi Eldredge says, her husband told laundries to load his shirts with extra starch. Stasi gave his alter ego a playfully derisive nickname: Mr. Crisp.
Today Eldredge would rather emulate William Wallace, the sword-brandishing hero of Mel Gibson's film Braveheart, or Maximus, the single-minded warrior of Gladiator. Eldredge prefers wilderness to office space and risky adventures to living-room couches. He believes that men, as creatures made in God's image, have a God-given heart for adventure—usually starting with adventures in the outdoors, but working up to the adventure of loving a woman, even when she's furious, and the ultimate adventure of trusting God on uncertain paths.
When describing God, Eldredge often quotes the adjectives favored by biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann: "wild, dangerous, unfettered, and free." When speaking of Jesus, Eldredge describes a vigorous man of action, C. S. Lewis's untamed lion, one who would infuriate enough people to get himself crucified. And in describing the Holy Spirit, Eldredge favors a phrase from the mystics of Iona: He is the Wild Goose, always ready to lead us into uncharted and exhilarating territory.
To compare the disappearing Mr. Crisp to the man Eldredge is becoming, begin with the dust-jacket photo on his most popular book, Wild at Heart (2001). Standing amid the red sandstone bluffs at Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, looking like he's pausing from a vigorous hike, Eldredge wears an improbable light blue dress shirt with a button-down collar. ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 63+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more