Don’t just spiritualize the wilderness

A yurt.
Credit: Diamond Moutain,

Wilderness is a necessary crucible for adult spiritual development.

Don’t you dare spiritualize this, you soft city-dwelling fucks.

Yes, there are wildernesses of alienation and despair in many other places in our lives and world. Yes, we can be transformed by them. Yet real wilderness teaches different lessons.

In my life, I’ve spent more than a thousand nights sleeping out in wild places. I know from experience that wilderness exposes the false self: obsessions with self-importance, addictions to comfort, illusions of control. Once you adapt and thrive in the wilds for weeks at a time, you become more fearless; you learn to trust in God’s abundance and the untamed gift economy of creation. So gain the clarity to defect from Empire, practice creative cultural resistance, and reclaim the radical stance of the prophet that God wants you to become.

Todd Wynward lives in a yurt (at an elevation of 8,000 feet) near Taos, New Mexico, where he nurtures intentional community, land-based living, school reform and watershed discipleship.

Issue 32

This article first appeared in Geez magazine Issue 32, Winter 2013, Thirty more sermons you'd never hear in church.

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Issue 32, Winter 2013

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