Saturday, September 12, 2009


A student ministries pastor, and friend of mine, Jarm Turner, sent me this:

We are kicking this “WE” series off this week in Crossings and we are using this story of “Into the Wild” as an illustration. Great Book Great Movie if you have not seen it. VERY POWERFUL STORY of a young man who thought it best to go at it alone and right when he had enough of isolation and tried to get back to the relationships he left behind – he found himself trapped in the Alaskan wilderness.

Here is the clip of his final moments depicted in the movie:

Here is the story: Great stuff when talking about community and isolation:
In 1990, Christopher McCandless was just a recent graduate from Emory University. After leaving Atlanta following his college commencement, Chris set out on a quest for independence. He changed his name, cut off contact with his family, donated all his savings to charity and abandoned his car. Inspired by writers like Jack London and Henry David Thoreau, Chris thought that if he set out to live in the wilderness of Alaska alone, he would experience freedom, achieve the ultimate, complete independence from people and a pure union with nature. After hitchhiking and journeying south, west and north, he ended up at the culmination of his dream—in the wilds of Alaska, on the Stampede Trail. He brought ten pounds of rice, a .22 caliber rifle, a camera, several boxes of rifle rounds, some camping gear and a journal. He didn’t take a map or a compass. In his mind, this was as authentic a trip as he could make to experience the ideals of the wilderness. And he thought the truest expression of this would be to do it alone.

Chris lasted 112 days in the Alaska wilderness. He was dead for two and a half weeks before his body was found in early September by a group of moose hunters, and even then the cause of death was uncertain. Apparently Chris either died of starvation or from eating a poisoned seed plant. His story is the literal picture of our inability to do life alone. In the bestselling book Into the Wild (1996) by Jon Krakauer, where Chris’s story is told, the reader gets the impression that towards the end of his life, even Chris started to realize the need for people. Just days before dying, after having finished the reading and rereading of some of his favorite books, Chris writes, “An unshared happiness is not happiness . . . happiness is only real when shared” Just days earlier, Chris had made his first attempt to leave his campsite only to find himself trapped by a raging river moving too fast and being too cold to swim. He confessed in his journal to being scared . . . afraid . . . and lonely. At one point, Christopher felt as though being alone was the best way to live. He felt that being in the wild completely alone was true freedom. He was convinced that by escaping the real world, government, society and people, he would be able to find answers and a better, easier life. But his journal, his books, his notes seem to suggest he didn’t die thinking this way. They seem to hint at the fact that shortly after it was too late, he understood the need for people, the comfort of community. Christopher McCandless is remembered as a failed attempt to make it alone.

"Ask me how you can be a voice for the next generation."
Jarm Turner
Student Ministry Pastor
St. Mark's Church
336-584-8983 Ext 13 - Office
336-693-6755 - Cell

1 comment:

John Carlisle said...

I'm the online editor for Church Solutions, and I'm perusing the blog to see if there's anything we can use on our guest blog. I was thrilled to come across this "Into the Wild" post. This is one of my favorite books -- and the film is terrific, too.