A wise man once offered these words:
In the larger-than-life people I have met, I always find one common denominator: in some sense, they have all died before they died. At some point, they were led to the edge of their private resources, and that breakdown, which surely felt like dying, led them into a larger life…. Instead of avoiding a personal death or raging at it, they went through a death, a death of their old self, there small life, and come out the other side knowing death could no longer hurt them.¹
What if all new life in us can only come through a process of a smaller life being put to death and a truer life being resurrected through immersion in a wider Reality?
What if the mystery of recovering a life that is truly life could be known through a vision of the Gospel as a process of whole-person masculine initiation?
In Fathered by God, John describes the first step of honestly admitting our current condition as unfinished men and opening ourselves to the process of God’s fathering and initiation:
We aren’t meant to figure life out on our own. God wants to father us. The truth is, he has been fathering us for a long time—we just haven’t had the eyes to see it. He wants to father us much more intimately, but we have to be in a posture to receive it. What that involves is a new way of seeing, a fundamental reorientation of how we look at life, and our situation in it. We need a process, a journey, an epic story of many experiences woven together, building upon one another, in progression. We need initiation.²
All true initiation embodies the themes of both agony and ecstasy, triumph and defeat, pain and pleasure. Would it be worth the cost if you could know, really know, through a process of initiation, the joy, happiness, and soul satisfaction manifested in the lives of the heroic men we encounter through the stories of ages past?
I want to suggest that this process of initiation and the discovery of an indestructible Life is available.