John Eldredge, the ultra-masculine author of the popular book and bible study series Wild at Heart, which focuses on “discovering the secret of a man’s soul” through camping, has released a second book and bible study series to further expound upon a subject which he calls “absolutely necessary for the future of testosterone in our Churches.” TTM caught up with Eldredge at his new U.H.C. training facility in Colorado Springs and was able to ask him a few questions about it.
His new book, simply titled U.H.C.: Ultimate Heart Championship, approaches the problem of androgyny in the Evangelical Church from a different angle. The subtitle, Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul through Biblical Violence, says it all, said Eldredge as he flexed his hand into a fingerless leather weight-lifting glove. “Men need a safe place to be vulnerable with each other, and the best place for that to happen is in the cage,” he said, motioning to a large octagonal fighting ring surrounded by a chain-link cage. When asked about what his basis for “Biblical Violence” was, Eldredge defensively responded “You know, Christian men need to stop being afraid. There’s a spirit of fear crippling the men in our Churches, and they need to just be like Samson and kick some butt sometimes.” In addition to kicking butt, U.H.C. also suggests that a great way for Christian men to fellowship is to “sit around with the guys and watch a good U.F.C. match and just drink some beers. Beer, violence, and theology are all crucial parts of the Christian man’s life, without which he becomes just another emasculated sissy girl that can’t take a punch” (U.H.C. pg 112).
Like his other book, U.H.C. also comments on how womens’ roles play out in relation to mens’ need for unadulterated violence: “Women have a deep void inside of their souls that is put there by God at birth. This emptiness can only be fulfilled by watching sweaty men wrestle and punch each other within some kind of eight-sided perimeter, preferably surrounded by chain links.” Eldredge refers to this need as “spectation,” and says that his relationship with his wife has benefited “in numerous, manly ways” from his matches in “the cage.” Eldredge’s wife Stasi is currently writing a book to complement U.H.C. called Spectating.
“Did Jesus just go up to sin and say ‘Hey there sin, I’d like you to stop afflicting my people and damning them to hell’? No He didn’t. Jesus took sin into the proverbial octagon and he put the spank down on sin! Heck yes He did! Sin tapped out after three days. This is the model that we use in U.H.C., except we don’t fight sin itself, we just fight the sin of being effeminate,” said Eldredge as he prepared a chocolate protein shake. According to U.H.C., the way for a man to tap into his “true Christian manhood” is to “repeatedly pummel the face of another Christian brother in love and gentleness.” Eldredge refers to this process as “violent edification” and he says that without it, “men begin to lose sight of the nature of their inner man-strength, eventually slipping into a state of weakness, pacifism, and hairlessness.”
A few of Eldredge’s “disciples” were also at the training facility and had this to say about U.H.C.: “Man, last week me and my accountability partner sparred here in the cage. I’ve never felt a stronger connection with my masculinity than when he dislocated my shoulder and broke my nose with his forehead. Before I wanted to be wild at heart, but now I want to be an ultimate heart champion!” U.H.C’s principles are quickly gaining popularity in many Christian circles as men gather around televisions to watch men beat each other into submission for the glory of the Lord.
Eldredge’s next project is a film based on Wild at Heart called Wildheart. The story is about a group Scottish of people in Colorado Springs who are oppressed by an evil English monarchy. Eldredge will play the main character, Bill Wallace, whom Eldredge describes as a “heroic horse whisperer who is the symbol of power and large nuttedness. He paints his face in scary blue and white, carries a claymore, and will be tamed by no woman.” The film is set to go into production in 2010.