22 January 2011

Remember Permission

There’s a place near the end of The Legend of Bagger Vance where Will Smith (playing the Holy Spirit) tells Matt Damon that in order for him to move forward he needs to go back and ‘remember.’ To remember what it was that he was made for in the first place – something he’s clearly forgotten.

I’ve been writing on this blog for years now and a lot of it has either been directly about or derived from a book I read many years ago called Wild at Heart. Since 2006 I’ve also been a part of a ministry called Boot Camp Northwest that is a deliberate spin-off of the Wild at Heart Boot Camp events Ransomed Heart Ministries does up in CO. I’ve never been to a RH boot camp but a donor recently pitched in some money and I get the chance to go see how John Eldredge and his crew do these things in March. As part of that, I’m going back and re-reading Wild at Heart 7 or 8 years later – to remember.

Line two in the intro says “we [don’t] need another book for men...we need something different. We need permission. Permission to be what we are – men made in the image of God.”

It’s the first line ion the book and I remember how invigorating that concept was when I read it. It spoke to a promise that the rest of the book indeed carried through – that it wouldn’t be about tips and tricks and techniques to read more pray more worship more. No – in fact the whole thing rests on an entirely different presupposition. That when we are saved by Christ our fallen hearts are made new and that there is goodness in us that needs to be let out far more than any wickedness needs to be suppressed. I remember in the early days of BCNW when we would get a question from the campers there were a lot of times when the answer was “walk with God” - in other words, “You don’t need me to answer that. I trust you to find your strength and your answer in your own walk with the father.” Sure, it was in some cases a bit of a cop out on our parts when there were questions we simply didn’t know how to answer but most often it was a “I know you can do this – I believe in you” kind of thing.

Lots of time and more experience has indeed led to more knowledge and more answers (after a fashion), though as I read this first page again I’m struck by the fact that more knowledge on our part may in fact lead to less freedom, less trust, and less empowerment that we’re giving to our campers.

They don’t need our answers.
They need our permission.