All this "grunt-grunt-manly-fish-and-hike-and-shoot" writing of John Eldridges sort of pisses me off. (For those of you who have no connection to the USAmerican Christian subculture and don't know this author, my apologies. You might want to check him out). The writing often seems one-dimensional, over-simplified and ignorant of or damaging to women. It paints a picture of manhood and life that feels like it owes too much to western romanticism and the military. It rankles my anabaptist roots. It drives the wedge between the genders deeper by confirming stereotypes and painting women as passive, men as active.
That being said, one of his books is currently being both helpful and challenging to me. (Go figure). In "the Way of the Wild Heart" Eldridge describes overarching metaphors/cycles/stages of a man's life -- beloved child, cowboy/robin hood, warrior, king, sage.
His idea is that something different is formed in us during each phase, that we often miss out on some or most of the process depending on our situation, but that God is at work giving us opportunities to return to those phases in small ways to be formed in ways we missed out on the first time (as a beloved son, an adventurer, a wise ruler, etc).
I'm recognizing gaps in me, as well as becoming grateful for the opportunities and gifts I've been given by parents, friends and mentors. My life is sort of like Eldridges' writing -- frustrating, beautiful, challenging, helpful and incomplete.