A Quick Review of "The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry"

"How are you?" "Busy." 

That's one of the most common "conversations" we have these days. It seems as if we're all in a hurry, too busy for what we know is most important. Too busy to rest. Too busy to pray. Too busy to worship. Too busy to enjoy the moment. Too busy to enjoy our families.  

In The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, John Mark Comer diagnoses the rot in our souls and prescribes a simple cure--ruthlessly eliminate the hurry in our lives. This book came highly recommended by a number of trusted ministry leaders in my orbit, and for good reason. We pastors (especially solo pastors) wear quite a few hats and are pulled in many different directions. While we "only work one day a week," the reality is that you're always on call and never quite able to hit the off switch. Most pastors can relate to the canceled vacation, the late night phone call, the unexpected counseling session.

In short, Comer calls Christians to slow down the crazy busy pace of our modern lives. It's bad for our souls, our mental health, and our relationships. Technology is a contributing factor. To combat hurry, we need to follow the way of Jesus, particularly by implementing the practices of silence/solitude, sabbath, simplicity (living with less), and slowing. 

I needed this book. I tend to waste too much time on social media, be distracted and fragmented, and always thinking about the next thing and the next thing and the next thing. This book has helped me consciously slow down and be in the moment. It included numerous practical suggestions, such as the twenty suggestions for slowing in the chapter by that name. I loved the chapter on sabbath in particular, as well as the observation that a "day off" is not the same as sabbath. Other practical suggestions: take one day a month to just be alone with God. Ensure you have daily times of solitude in God's presence. Limit the intrusions of technology with your family.  

I was disappointed in the lack of gospel in the book. Jesus was presented as a great teacher and example (which He is!) and Christianity as our best to follow His Way (which it has partially is). Missing was the truth of Jesus' deity or the fact that we can't follow the way of Jesus without a new heart. While Comer's applications were helpful, they were like a building without a foundation, a tree without roots. Jesus was quoted as a great teacher, alongside various mystics and gurus. To be clear, I don't think that Comer rejects the gospel or the deity of Christ; it just was germane to his argument. 

While it might have them as tertiary implications, Matthew 11:28-30 isn’t primarily about getting off Twitter and having a vacation. It’s about resting from our own efforts at self-justification and salvation. It is only when we settle the fundamental restlessness in our souls, the restless that is rooted in our lostness, that we can truly move forward in enjoying holistic rest in every area of life. 

What does a man profit if he un-hurries his whole life but loses his soul?

3.5 stars.


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