Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wild Goose Chase

While "wild goose chase" is a familiar phrase to most people, it is also the title of a book by Mark Batterson. Oddly enough, he uses this title apart from the meaning of running around like crazy. Instead, he borrows a Celtic translation of a phrase that refers to the Holy Spirit, and uses "wild goose chase" to describe the activity of a Christian seeking the power of the Holy Spirit. Personally, I think he could have picked a better title since the only bird the Bible uses to describe the Holy Spirit is a dove.

The basic point of the book is that following God should be an adventure. The book provides six "cages" which keep us from seeking the true adventure that God has for us. Each "cage" receives a full chapter of treatment.

I was not terribly impressed with this offering from Batterson. He re-tells some stories from the Bible, but with quite a bit of interpretive lee-way. He does a good job of encouraging people to "be all you can be." He also has a talent for turning out good phrases and sentences. Here are some samples that I appreciated:

"I would rather fail at something I love than succeed at something I don't enjoy." p. 23

"When I fail to pray, the best I can do is the best I can do . . . But when I pray . . . The best I can do is the best God can do." pp. 85-86

"The grace of God is the difference between drowning in guilt and swimming in gratitude." p. 115

"Failure handled improperly can be devastating, but failure handled properly can be the best thing that can happen to us." p. 118

"But sometimes a closed door is the very thing that gets us where God wants us to go." p. 122

"sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is just hang in there." p. 138

This book is an easy and interesting read. It is more in the lines of a motivational book rather than anything else. I would have liked to have seen a stronger connection made with the gospel. I would have preferred him to take fewer "interpretive liberties" with the stories of the Bible. I would have suggested a completely different metaphor for the book. But I hope that God will indeed use what has been written to challenge people to be active in their life of faith.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you enjoyed the book Dave. I would completely agree with what you've written here. This one was actually better than his "In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day" which was more like psycho-babel for the Church (that matches more of the model current in many church sermons) rather than a truly Gospel centered Biblical-text grounded homily. He was at least quotable, but the depth of this book leaves one wanting something more (but maybe that's the point of his analogy of the goose chase ;-).