Cover Image: The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry

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Member Reviews

John Mark Comer’s fifth book is due to release on October 29, 2019.
You may be familiar with John Mark Comer through the wildly popular podcast which he co-hosts with Mark Sayers, pastor and cultural commentator from Melbourne, Australia, ‘This Cultural Moment’. If you aren’t familiar with Comer, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry will be a great introduction.

Comer takes us through the jungle that is our digital age and tries to help us recover our very selves; our bodies and souls.

“If you want to experience the life of Jesus, you have to adopt the lifestyle of Jesus.”

John Mark Comer, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry

Part 1 looks at the problem of hurry as a disease and the way it has infected our modern world where no one, especially clergy, are exempt.

Part 2 looks at the solution and this is where Dallas Willard, Henri Nouwen, John Ortberg, Richard Foster, and Ronald Rolheiser come through beautifully. If you’ve never read any of the aforementioned, this book will whet your appetite for such giants of the faith that really were/are not giants at all, but humble men who sought/seek to be close to Jesus, the lover of their souls. (Dallas and Henri have gone to be with the Lord).

Finally, Part 3, takes us on a tour through four embodied practices that can help us cultivate a life of unhurried passion for the deepest and greatest things of life. So much so, that I stopped half way and purchased an alarm clock so as to not rely on my phone in the morning and thereby being sucked into the vortex that is social media/news as the very first thing. Comer invites us to experience the life we are meant to live by practicing 1) Silence & Solitude, 2) Sabbath, 3) Simplicity, & 4) Slowing.

At the very heart of this book is Comer’s realisation through his own pathological busyness, that if we are to be transformed into the image of Jesus, we must adopt the lifestyle of Jesus; take up, read, make some hard decisions (which in time will be experienced as doorways to grace), stay low and close to Jesus and buy a few of these to give away.
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The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer is a combination of a book on slowing down and a book on the spiritual disciplines. Comer calls them spiritual practices. “Discipline” is an offensive word today. Of course, the spiritual disciplines force us to slow down, so the combination works well. Western culture in particular loves the idea that the secret to life is ambition, assertiveness, busyness, multitasking, and constant hustling. There’s no time to sleep or rest. However, the truth is we live in a culture of low-grade exhaustion and anxiety. Something is missing, and no matter how hard we hustle, we can’t quite grasp that elusive happiness hustling and grinding promises. That’s where the spiritual practices come in. Comer calls them “the way of Jesus.”

Comer bases his premise on Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28-30. “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Jesus calls the weary and burdened and promises them rest. How do they get it? Take up His yoke and learn from Him. Comer writes:
What if the secret to a happy life—and it is a secret, an open one but a secret nonetheless; how else do so few people know it?—what is the secret isn’t “out there” but much closer to home? What if all you had to do was slow down long enough for the merry-go-round blur of life to come into focus? What if the secret to the life we crave is actually easy?

I’ll admit as I read The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry I thought to myself, “This is all great stuff, but I’m really not that busy. Life is pretty relaxed.” Funny how God works. Almost immediately after finishing the book I was asked to teach two classes, coach my son’s team which practices 4 days a week, and take care of the lines on the team’s field, all in addition to my full time job. My schedule is now full. There are moments where I have this impending sense of not having enough time to get it all done. I keep coming back to Comer’s book and the spiritual practices he lays out for our hyper world.

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry clearly lays out our modern problem using a variety of sources. The quotes alone are brilliant and pointed me to great sources for additional reading. The book lays the groundwork for the solution based on the way of Jesus, and then offers four practices to help unhurry your life. Comer’s writing is smart and engaging. He says he wants you to feel like you’re having a conversation with him over coffee. I think he succeeds. I highly recommend this one.
 
John Mark Comer also cohosts the This Cultural Moment podcast, which is very smart and helpful. Check it out.
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This has been one of the greatest lessons for me over the last 20 years of my life as a Christian.  I have always busted my tail-end for the sake of others while I am dying on the inside and my walk with Jesus is dry.  WIthin the last 2 years though, I have learned the art of slowing down and now I feel like my walk with Jesus is so much deeper and my ministry is so much more fruitful.  Reading this books inspired me more so and gave me more resources to why I need to slow down.  I feel that the author totally related to my life both as a pastor and a father.  I loved the book because I felt like i was sitting with someone who understood my struggle and pain with this issue and was able to graciously speak into my soul.  It was so good for me.  Thanks.
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In this book, John Mark Comer offers proof and personal anecdotes describing the benefits of living a less hurried life. I was personally convicted by his assertion that you can only live a peaceful life when your schedule reflects your values. This was a very helpful book, and I highly recommend it.

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC. All opinions are my own.
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For those who find themselves overwhelmed, worn out and weary, or constantly turning to a to-do list instead of rest, this is a book you can't afford to miss. Practical, honest, down-to-earth, encouraging and challenging, John Mark Comer has written a book that we desperately need in a culture that prides itself on busyness.
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Absolutely amazing! I flew through this book. For anyone who has a background in spirituality, you have heard of these things before, but the way John Mark Comer says it, amazing. I enjoyed reading this, and I believe it'll be a book I'll read again.
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I have loved John Mark Comer's books and teachings for a few years now.  He has beautifully mastered the art of using his own unique voice when writing, making deep or hard topics seem easy to read.  This book is no exception and, honestly, may be one of his best works.  I felt convicted yet encouraged, exposed yet freed.  

We live in a world that highly values productivity and hurry, celebrating the people who can "do it all".  The church, sadly, often shares this same value. Yet this way of living has left nearly all of us, myself included, feeling empty, burned out, and weary.  In this book, John Mark weaves teaching and insight with his own story of the struggle between the desire to prove his worth/do it all and the desire to actually enjoy his life, his ministry, his family, and, mostly, being a disciple Jesus.

This book has showed me a better way, and it's been like a breath of fresh air to my soul.  There are definitely sections that felt heavy because they hit so close, exposing parts of me that I've hid for a long time behind the mask of busy-ness.  Yet every thread he pulled unraveled things in me, giving me words for things I didn't quite understand yet and methods to finding rest and slow again.  I honestly believe that every person needs to read this book to find a new way!
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Definitely on trend and yet a refreshing read on the topic. I just loved it; both the content and the conversational prose.  The author leverages his story as a pastor of a Megachurch to communicate why hurrying just cannot be a sustainable lifestyle, if one is looking to have a spiritual life, if one is looking to develop and grow a relationship with God one needs to spend time with Him, we need to allow Him to talk to us, to guide us. In describing his lowest point and the journey he has taken since then, the reader is encouraged to make important changes in one’s life. 

It resonated when the author indicated that Hurry kills relationships, gratitude and joy.  Having already embarked on the journey of slowing down, I concur.   He invites us to savour and enjoy the now, to slow down and simplify our life. He quotes Anne Lamott,” No, is a complete sentence.”  How many of us need to learn how to say no, kindly but firmly in order to achieve the life we really want?

Rather than being disciples, he describes the followers of Jesus as apprentices! He reminds us to live into both our potential and limitations. He asks how many of us are prepared to adopt the life of Jesus? While we aspire to His leadership style (He is about love, joy and peace. He is about example and invitation), while we admire who He is, the lifestyle He practised is not one that we naturally look to emulate. There is just too much pressure to give in to worldly pressures, to pursue worldly goods.  I enjoyed this thread that ran throughout the book. It is both challenging and reassuring to consider that a balanced lifestyle is based on biblical truth.  However, the author is not shy of leveraging other sources to build his arguments. He also quotes studies and research that dovetail with these spiritual teachings.

I have read that boredom is a catalyst to creativity and here the author describes moments of boredom as opportunities for prayer. It’s so contrarian to how I was raised (ie: The devil makes work for idle hands) 

The value of the Sabbath was espoused and it becomes quite clear that this is so much more than just taking a day off. The busier we get, the more effort we need to make to ensure we have enough quiet times for prayer and to stoke our spirits. We need the time to breathe.

There is a chapter full of rules/suggestions on how we can make changes that will help us to slow down.  While helpful, the gentle and humorous writing style ensured that I digested them in the way they were intended, with a couple of chuckles along the way.  Oh, how I wish checking email once a week was a possibility! Not in my chosen profession, but I can schedule times to pay attention to mail and use the time in between to work on projects and not be distracted!

I highly recommend this book and am sure I will revisit its contents.

With thanks to NetGalley, WaterBrook & Multnomah and the author for my free copy to review in exchange for an honest opinion.
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My review of John Mark Comer’s “Ruthless Elimination of Hurry”.


Goals of the Book:
Every once in a while, themes seem to develop across Christian publishing, wherein many publishers publish similar books at the same time. (Of course, this may be a bit of confirmation bias, but it could also be that Christian publishing is correctly identifying the pulse of culture and is addressing its issues with the gospel.) You might have noticed an uptick in books based on Charles Taylor’s book on secularism, usually coupled with discussions about Jamie Smith’s work on Christian formation. Related, but slightly different, we’re seeing books on reclaiming your life across the board. From Christian publishers like Moody (Your Future Self Will Thank You) or IVP (The Common Rule), to even non-Christian books like How to Break Up with Your Phone or Digital Minimalism, books across the board are showing us how to fix our rhythms, and, hopefully, reclaim our lives.

Enter John Mark Comer. A former pastor of a multi-site mega church, Comer knows what it is like to be busy. But one day, watching Keanu Reeves, he learned that he was too busy and was heading toward disaster. This led him to make drastic changes in his work life, the context of his life, and how he practiced his Christianity. He also learned that the whole world struggled in ways with how busy they are, how they prioritize their lives, and how this affects them mentally and spiritually.

What does this book offer the church?:
Hopefully, this book helps people get their lives back. The book is split into three sections: the problem, the solution, and a third section on spiritual practices. The first section is helpful, though some might not see the import right away. When you get backed into a corner, the best way out might be to trace your steps and figure out how exactly you got into this situation. Comer starts by tracing the development of our culture of speed, from the microwave to cell phones to 5G data, showing how we’ve become accustomed to getting what we want as soon as we want it. And, unfortunately, this is dangerous. He shows how this has a disastrous effect on our spiritual lives and suggests that it’s time to fight back and take these back.

This is where the second and third sections become important. He then points our attention to Christ, specifically his invitation to ease up and rest in Matthew 11:28-30. Our solution is not necessarily doing less or gaining more time in the day (as he says early in part 2), but following Jesus. He shows us how following Jesus bucks the trends of modern living and invites us into a deeper, yet slower, way of life.

How effectively does this book meet its goals?: 
This book, no matter how good it is (or isn’t), is vitally important for today’s Christian. I think we would all say that we are too busy; whether we have to be or not. When I was finishing up my graduate program, I was working full-time, volunteering part time, working two part time internships, and still doing ministry at church. I was vitally in need of learning how to slow down and tend to my spiritual health. This book can do just that.

There are times where chapters feel a bit long – this is written very much like a conversational blog post, so Comer doesn’t always get right to the point. Many paragraphs are only one or two lines long, which adds to the length of the book but sometimes hinders the reading experience. (Think Rupi Kaur or Rob Bell-esque formatting.) Books like this, or Common Ruleor Your Future Self, should be read slowly so that the content and appeals can make it to your heart. This formatting/writing style does not lend itself to slow reading. (I finished my copy in one sitting.)

But because it’s conversational, I felt much more inclined to listen to Comer and accept some of the advice that he had for me. Starting with a personal appeal/story rather than hard data helped, too. I would say that this book is worth checking out, but the current $22 price tag feels a bit high for the amount of content.

You can read more about The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry at the publisher’s website, or you can pre-order it now on Amazon ahead of its October 29, 2019 release date. (I received a review copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, not necessarily a positive one.)
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The “slow” movement is really catching on. Slow cooking. Slow crafting. Slow working. This book really lays out how to get rid of the pressure to rush and embrace life at the pace we are actually living it.
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LOVED this book. This book starts out with the "problem" of the culture of hurry and hustle in our current world. It then moves onto the "solution" with Jesus. John Mark then writes on four practices that he has found helpful to fight against this epidemic. He provides very practical steps to take to engage in the active resistance to what our culture is telling us. I felt so at peace reading this book and want to shape my life to be like John Mark's, who is shaping his life to mirror the practices of Jesus.
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The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry is a guide to discovering how to live a life like Jesus lived. The author' voice is engaging, his anecdotes filled with wisdom. I appreciated the interesting history of our present concept of time and how modern society has mangled the Sabbath. Society boasts of busyness. This book exposes the wisdom, grace, and power of patience, rest, and reflection. I will definitely read this again and again. Those looking to live a powerful life will enjoy this book. An added note: the index of referenced material is a treasure trove of additional reading on the subject.
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I cannot say enough good about this book! It was such an easy read with so much truth and practical application for living a life based on the practices and habits of Jesus. I found this book to be inspiring, perspective shaping and I loved the authors style of writing. He adds wit and humour to every page but it doesn’t take away from the very important truths expressed. I would recommend this book to everyone I know because “being busy” is an epidemic that needs some healthy perspective.
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