I won't have too many spoilers in this review, and it is pretty clear from the description (let alone the title!) that John Eldredge attempts to demonstrate how our lives form a part of God's great story, and this story itself is continuously replayed in all of the great works of art, movies and books. Understanding the dynamics of this ever unfolding plot, according to Eldredge, is absolutely crucial to anyone who desires to live a full life in God.
It has always been my feeling that all great books and poems essentially tell the same story. However, this story is not an epic. Instead it is a tragedy. The very purpose of epic literature, as far as I can tell, is to initiate a new member into a society. A classic epic, such as the Iliad or the Aeneid informs the reader of his race's great past, puts within his reach his ancestors' customs, beliefs and even their wisdom. What a classic epic story does not attempt to achieve is producing a visible renewal of the reader's heart, a complete regeneration of his inner self. In technical terms, the epic narrative is not meant to provide the reader with catharsis. That would be tragedy's job. I am afraid that having misidentified the broad genre of the Universe's plot, John Eldredge severely downgraded this great story. When placed on the same level with a vast array of modern books and feature movies Christianity probably gains appeal in the eyes of a casual movie-goer, but it loses any trace of uniqueness and meaning. Seriously, why not worship Gladiator or Frodo instead of Christ? Isn't all the same story anyway? As a result, Epic becomes an excellent example of post-modern Evangelism which is happy to present its narrative to the secular world, in hopes that the world will stick around for a while and maybe even share in it, but this is where everything ends. This version of the Christian faith will not even consider asserting itself as the one true religion.
John Elderedge Epic: The Story God Is Telling
Order vs. Complexity: A follow-up post
18 hours ago