Last year, my wife read In the Pit with the Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson. She really enjoyed it. So when his new book came out last week, I ordered it for her. She was busy reading something else, and I was in between books, so I sat down and read Wild Goose Chase.
About the Author
Mark Batterson is the pastor and planter of National Community Church in Washington, D.C. The church meets in theaters at Union Station, near the Capital Building in downtown, DC. The church also owns Ebenezer’s Coffeehouse, which is the largest coffee shop in the Capital Hill district, and services are held there on Saturday evenings. They also have a great hot apple cider with caramel as both my wife and I can attest to.‚ Mark blogs at evotional.com
Wild Goose Chase is a call to “Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God” according to the subtitle. The title draws from the Celtic word for the Holy Spirit, An Geadh-Glas, which means Wild Goose. Batterson wants to “show you how all of life becomes a grand adventure when we chase the trackless, matchless Goose of heaven.”
The book takes a look at six cages that keep a person from being free to run with the Goose of heaven. The first is the cage of responsibility. Our responsibilities often become spiritual excuses that keep us from living our God-destined lives. The second cage is the cage of routine. Most of us during our Christian experience trade adventure for routine. The cage of assumptions is the third cage. We let assumptions like age or qualifications stop us from chasing the Goose.
Fourth, is the cage of guilt. When we are focused on the wrongs of the past, we do not have the spiritual energy to chase the Goose or dream God-sized dreams. Fifth is the cage of failure. Past failures keep us from allowing ourselves to take the risks faith asks of us. The final cage is the cage of fear. We too often live as if our life’s purpose is to arrive safely at death.
When I read the first part of the first chapter, I was excited. I thought it might be a book that would take a stab at working out the idea of Pneumanautics, which I have spent time on in the past at this blog. Unfortunately, it turned into more of a motivational book that can help us overcome our fears, routines, etc so that we can risk it all for Jesus.
That is a fine call to make, but this book was more “Christianity Lite.” One of the reasons I don’t care for books like this is that they ask us to overcome our fears but don’t really help us understand why we are afraid. True, that may be another book, but the reality is that our past controls us and if we are going to truly be free, we need to deal with the experiences of our past and their emotional impact on our lives. So when I read Wild Goose Chase, I see a book that just looks at the symptoms rather that the cause.
However, this doesn’t mean the book was devoid of value. He had many good things to say. In fact, I have four moleskine pages of notes. I will share a couple that I really like:
- We start dying when we have nothing left to live for. (pg 16)
- We really don’t start living until we find something we will die for. (pg 16)
- One of the greatest dangers spiritually is learning how and forgetting why. (pg 58)
- Faith isn’t logical. It’s not illogical. It’s theological. (pg 79)
Now I know Mark’s audience is a 20’s & 30’s group and for his target audience, I think this book would be good. It does challenge the reader to let go of their pre-conceived ideas and let the Goose lead them in the chase. But if you are looking for something deeper, this may not be the book for you.
On a scale of 5, I give it a 3.5.