I get nervous when I hear several good reviews of a book. I worry that when I actually get around to reading it, my expectations will be so high that I will end up being disappointed. I didn't have that problem with Wild Goose Chase. All the great things I heard about the book were absolutely true!
From the very first chapter, Mark Batterson's words are challenging and inspiring. He describes churches filled with Christians who are bored, cautious and safe. I have to admit, I really thought I was living a life led by the Holy Spirit. But then I was struck by these words: “If you would describe your relationship with God as anything less than adventurous, then maybe you think you're following the Spirit but have actually settled for something less” (p. 4). I realized that it's been a while since I thought of my life as an adventure. Somewhere along the way, I got comfortable.
Batterson's language is not accusatory or judgmental – it's empowering. He describes the things that hold us back as 'cages' and he tells us that it's time to be set free. Like an old friend, he speaks in gentleness and truth. “You've been comfortable long enough, haven't you? Isn't it time to come out of the cage?” (p. 170)
Batterson never tries to convince readers that following the Holy Spirit is easy. There's no sugar-coating or down-playing what we're up against. In fact, every chapter describes a different obstacle that we need to overcome. Batterson uses examples from his own life to describe the different cages we encounter. His transparency and willingness to share his own stories show that he is not talking down his readers as someone who has all the answers. He is talking to us as a fellow believer and imperfect person.
One of my favorite things about the book is the constant use of scripture. In “Christian” books, I sometimes find that the use of scripture seems unnatural. The flow of the story stops and a passage from the bible is stuck in. That is not the case with Wild Goose Chase. Batterson moves back and forth between his own words and scripture references with ease. The ancient stories we've read over and over are offered as new examples of the kind of dangerous living Batterson is calling us to strive for.
I can see it being a useful tool for any church/ministry leadership team to read together. I have recommended it to the leadership of my church and I'm psyched to see how it changes the way we do things! No matter what, if you are trying to follow the Holy Spirit's leading in your life or you're tired of being comfortable in your faith, go out and grab a copy of Wild Goose Chase.