Bear Grylls Takes Celebrities Into the Wild: 'I Love Jesus... He Was 100% Free'
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When you hear the name Bear Grylls you think survival, adventure, and extreme. Yet much of his hunger for wild adventures is fueled by his love of Christ and a knack for survival that he credits to God.
"There is an element, I think, of faith when we're put under fire or we're scared or we're grieving or we're facing some illness or whatever, and in a way those are the times when the fluff gets blown away and the religious stuff gets blown away and the really important stuff, which is, 'I'm beside you, I will help you, I will hold you,' which is what the message of faith is," he told CBN News.
"It's about what's in here and trying to connect with what's up there and walk in that," he continues.
Grylls is now teaching those survival skills to a group of high-profile celebrities who will overcome some of the most extreme conditions for 48 hours.
On the newest season of Nat Geo's "Running Wild with Bear Grylls: The Challenge" Bradley Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cynthia Erivo, Russell Brand, Troy Kotsur, Rita Ora, Daveed Diggs and Tatiana Maslany will put their survival skills to the test.
On the first day, Grylls teaches key skills — climbing techniques, water-finding tips and fire-setting, among them — and then the guest must do them alone the second day.
Kotsur, who won an Oscar for "CODA," was tested in the Scottish Highlands, descending 2,500 feet across eight miles of harsh terrain and freezing rivers, including a 150-foot rappel down a waterfall. Because Kotsur is deaf, the two men used rope tugs to communicate. Kotsur's reward: haggis, a Scottish delicacy in which organ meat is put inside a sheep's stomach and cooked.
Diggs, a city kid, found himself in the inhospitable Great Basin Desert in Nevada.
"I don't know how this is going to go and that's why I'm doing it," he said. Diggs learned how to use anchor points, track a target and make a signal fire. His dinner was a tarantula.
"It's not what I was hoping for, I'm not going to lie to you," Diggs said.
And Cooper leapt onto a hovering helicopter, rappelled down a 400-foot cliff and pulled himself across a 100-foot ravine in one of the harshest climates in North America.
Grylls shares the best guests are always those who come with a willingness to go with it, not to look good.
"The wild is so unpredictable and stuff is always happening. You can't look cool all the time in the wild," he said.
Grylls also gets his guests to open up about their upbringing and beliefs.
"The wild strips us all bare, doesn't it?" Grylls told the AP. "It's like a grape when you squeeze us, you see what we're made of. And that's always the appealing part of 'Running Wild' — getting to know the real people."
The Christian adventurer meets people where they are at and he believes Jesus does the same thing.
Earlier this year, he took a moment to comment on an image of Jesus that had stirred a controversy, saying Jesus was actually his type of guy. He described Jesus as a "wild one...totally non-religious, 100% free, fun, loving & insanely generous and kind."
"This image of Jesus taking a selfie, created quite a storm when it first came out, but from what I have learnt about this refugee & renegade, is that Jesus truly was a wild one. He was totally non-religious, 100% free, fun, loving & insanely generous and kind. Wherever He went He healed and cared for the poor & sick. And He always hung out with those who society had shunned," he wrote.
He then quoted Matthew 9:10-13 in The Message translation.
Grylls continued, "I love these words that He said to the religious elite when confronted about the company He kept...'I'm after mercy, not religion.' I'm here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders' (The above story is another reason I love Jesus.)"
Last month, he told the Christian Post that believers need to be less religious for that reason.
"Our job in life is to stay close to Christ and drop the religious, drop the fluff, drop the church if you need to because that means so many different things to different people anyway," he said. "Keep the bit of church which is about community and friends and honesty and faith and love. All the masks, performances, music and worship bands and all of that sort of stuff — I don't think Christ would recognize a lot of that."
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