We don’t know much about stages of development in our instant culture. We have someone else make our coffee for us. We no longer have to wait to have our photos developed—not even an hour—for now we have digital cameras that deliver back to us the image, instantly. We don’t have to wait to get in touch with someone—we can e-mail them, page them, call them on a cell phone, instant-message them this moment. We don’t need to wait for our leather jackets or our jeans or caps to age to get that rugged look—they come that way now, prefaded, tattered. Character that can be bought and worn immediately.
But God is a God of process. If you want an oak tree, he has you start with an acorn. If you want a Bible, well, he delivers that over the course of more than a thousand years. If you want a man, you must begin with the boy. God ordained the stages of masculine development. They are woven into the fabric of our being, just as the laws of nature are woven into the fabric of the earth. In fact, those who lived closer to the earth respected and embraced the stages for centuries upon centuries. We might think of them as the ancient paths. Only recently have we lost touch with them. In exchange for triple-venti nonfat sugar-free vanilla lattes. The result of having abandoned masculine initiation is a world of unfinished, uninitiated men.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. We needn’t wander in a fog. We don’t have to live alone, striving, sulking, uncertain, angry. We don’t have to figure life out for ourselves.
And that’s the memo.
By John Eldredge