Book Review: Wild Goose Chase

A while back Adam sent me a free copy of Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson.  Since Adam thought the book important enough to give away, I though I would respect that and write a review it for you all.  I just finished it last night so I'll review it while it's fresh on my mind

I'll start by saying that I've never heard of Mark Batterson before I got this book in the mail.  He is the pastor of National Community Church and he also wrote In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day.

The thesis of Wild Goose Chase is that Christians (in the West, I assume) are not followers of the Holy Spirit, but rather we have told the Spirit to follow us. Therefore, we are bored in our Christianity. He then suggests six “cages” that limit, and keep Christians from following the Holy Spirit. The cages are responsibility, routine, assumptions, guilt failure and fear. The balance of the book is discussions of each cage, why it limits, and how to escape from the cage so that we feel free to be fully devoted followers of Christ.

About the title - the best way to explain that is just to quote from the first paragraph of the book:

The Celtic Christians had a name for the Holy Spirit that has always intrigued me. They called him An Geadh-Glas, or ‘the Wild Goose.’… The name hints at the mysterious nature of the Holy Spirit. Much like a wild goose, the Spirit of God cannot be tracked or tamed. An element of danger, and an air of unpredictability surround Him. And while the name may sound sacrilegious at first earshot, I cannot think of a better description of what it’s like to follow the Spirit’s leading through life than Wild Goose chase.

That’s the explanation, and throughout the balance of the book I don’t think he ever refers to the Holy Spirit again – only the Wild Goose. For me it was quite distracting. I believe with the explanation over, he defined his title and could simply call the Holy Spirit the Holy Spirit.

As far as the content of the book I would describe it as good. (How's that for vocabulary skills) For me it was nothing revolutionary but I believe he is on to a lot of truth and has probably rightly diagnosed the major woes of Western Christianity. I particularly agreed with the following quote from the chapter on the cage of routine. “If you’re in a spiritual slump, let me give you a prescription: Go on a mission trip. There is no better or sure way of coming out of the cage of routine.” (pg.50)

I was also very intrigued by his thoughts of vision as a cure for sin. He puts it this way.  "The way you stop sinning is by getting a God-sized vision that consumes all your time and energy." (pg 160-1)

I wrote approximately 10 notes throughout the margins of the book. (I do that to interact with the book.) Most of the notes were agreement or that I found a point interesting. That’s about once every 18 pages. Quite a lot less than I interacted with say Simple Church, but more than I often write.

If you find yourself bored in your Christianity or if you believe that you are particularly trapped in one of the cages I would recommend this book. It is easy to read, probably about a 3 hour book, clear and interesting.  It would be worth your time.