Not Afraid to Shout
Towering palm trees provide the only respite as the deserted tropical island bakes in the noonday sun. Dirty, alone, and ready for rescue, Bear Grylls sits alert, intently reading a book. Suddenly, something in the distance grabs his attention. He cues in on a helicopter passing overhead. Grabbing his pack and tearing through the tangle of vines and undergrowth, Bear throws out on obvious yet often unheeded tip.
“You get a chance to be saved, you gotta grab it.”
Reaching the edge of the jungle, the survival expert doesn’t hesitate for a moment and launches himself off of the cliff. Pounding through the aqua-blue surf, he swims strongly for an open beach where he can start a signal fire and affect a rescue. Finally, he hauls himself out of the water, dripping wet, and declares that preparation is the key.
"And the rest,” he says in his signature out-of-breath wheeze, “is about keeping your faith and hope alive.”
Sound like the typical ending scene of a Man vs. Wild episode? Not exactly. The situation becomes a little clearer when Bear uses the glossy back cover of his field Bible with a giant white cross on the front to signal in the rescue chopper. Then, the camera pans out to reveal Bear’s announcement scrawled in the sand: “I DID ALPHA.”
As a British Special Air Service Combat Survival Instructor, one of the youngest men ever to climb Mt. Everest, and a Black Belt in Karate, Bear Grylls is not what you would call a shrinking violet. In fact, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that in every aspect of Bear’s life he has taken the bull by the horns and charged ahead. His quiet confidence and willingness to take risks has turned him into an international celebrity. And, as it turns out, Bear approaches his faith in much the same manner.
Bear’s support of ALPHA, a course he attended that changed him significantly is just one example of his eagerness to share with the world what he calls “the backbone “of his entire life. Yet because he doesn’t flaunt it in a way that seems more advertising ploy than heart felt authenticity, Bear’s faith and family focus is subtle.
You wouldn’t necessarily know just by watching one of his survival specials that Bear’s relationship with God underpins everything he does. Yet unlike some celebrities, Bear is not afraid to proclaim his faith in interviews, books, and through groups he supports off the screen. In fact the only thing more impressive than his list of expeditions and survival episodes are the multitude of philanthropic organizations that he supports.
It is refreshing to see such a well-known personality, who ironically relies on his own knowledge and instincts to survive, acknowledge publically the very source of that strength - and is not afraid to Shout! about it.
So when we thought about who should be on the cover of the inaugural issue of Shout! Outdoor Lifestyle Magazine, Mr. Grylls leapt to mind. His life embodies the goals of this magazine; to celebrate the outdoor adventure lifestyle while reflecting on its innate ability to affect our faith in a profound way. Incredibly approachable, we were more than excited to get the opportunity to ask Bear a few questions.
One of the most anticipated parts of your show each week is “what will Bear eat this time?” How much preparation goes into that, and have you ever suffered any prolonged effects of eating something out-of-the-ordinary?
I eat what I find as long as it is going to help me keep moving! Occasionally it has gone wrong – because that is the wild for you, but most of the time it works out. (Although, when it doesn't - it always goes in the show, unfortunately for me!)
Your well-publicized parachuting accident left you with a broken back and a goal of climbing Everest. Where were you mentally during your rehab and did you ever lose that hope that you talk about as so important in a survival situation? If so, how did you regain it?
I was at a pretty low ebb to be honest and it was a dark time for me, but I learnt to lean on my family and my friends and my Christian faith that helped me trust that there will be a purpose through the pain
In our society, claiming to be a man of faith can bring connotations of weakness and meekness. As a well-respected adventurer and someone that no one could possibly put in that category, what would you say to men who shy away from discussing their faith because it seems somehow a less than manly thing to do? What allows you to be open with your faith?
Faith is personal and intimate and things that are personal and intimate can sometimes be hard to share. But at the same time, it is hard to keep joy down! I feel natural talking about my faith because my faith isn't religious and preachy, it is about finding home and finding the ultimate source of strength. Everyone is seeking that - it is just that sometimes it takes people a while to find that real deal.