Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Review: Wild Goose Chase

I've read Mark Batterson's blog for about a year now, but I hadn't read his last book, “In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day.” So all I knew of his writing were short reflections and leadership lessons. I was curious about Wild Goose Chase because I have heard his name along with his first book more and more often. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about

Wild Goose Chase is about our need for something worthy of our lives. We need something that won't disappoint us because we found it not worth the pursuit. We need an adventure. Batterson says that if God is our goal, we should have no fear that we'll reach him one day to find him disappointing, not big enough.

He then describes six cages that keep us from following God and the adventure that he has for us. He names things like assumptions, fears, failures, guilt, and routine as things that hold us back from following God.

The book is not long and can be read in one sitting. My favorite chapters were on fears and unrealized dreams.

Batterson's writing is simple and to the point. He doesn't waste time. He says what he means.

One thing he does well is tell stories and include anecdotes to motivate and challenge. He doesn't use normal stories to make his points. He often uses scientific studies and facts to explain and support himself. That brings a freshness to the book because I had no idea where he was going next or what story he might tell. His love of brain science is especially obvious.

Like Rick Warren, he likes slogans and sayings. The book is filled with one-liners meant to distill the challenge to something memorable. Since most of his slogans are new, I didn't mind too much.

The biggest test that Wild Goose Chase passed was that the book's content has stuck in my brain and colors a lot of my thoughts. I've found myself challenging others to take risks, asking them to question the definitions of happiness that they embrace, and to go with God wherever that takes them. I've found myself more ready to stand by my choices because God has put passions in my heart and opportunities in front of me.

My favorite quotes:

"Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is just hang in there."

"When did we start believing that God wants to send us to safe places to do easy things? God wants to send us to dangerous places to do difficult things."

"What makes you cry or pound your fist on the table?"

Initially, I started reading Wild Goose Chase to give a good, balanced review. But I started writing and realized that other people can pick the book apart if they want. I really liked it.

It's a book I would recommend alongside Andy Stanley's The Best Question Ever and John Ortberg's The Life You Always Wanted as easy to read, helpful, and motivating on what it means to follow God. It's a book written for me and all the other regular people I know. One of my friends once said of Ortberg's book something that I think applies to Wild Goose Chase as well, “He makes me feel like I can do this, like following God is doable.”

*You can find out more at www.chasethegoose.com

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