Book review: The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry

Written by John Mark Comer

Reviewed by Steve Braithwaite

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry cover image

It was the summer of 2020.  As a church we were halfway through the pandemic, and I was busy.  Not busy with one thing, but busy with the combined burden of family life, work, church and finding space for personal time.

Then one Sunday after our morning service had finished, a dear friend approached me, handed me a book, and said “Steve, I think you need to read this”.  The book was The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer.

I’ll be honest – I put the book on my bedside shelf and that’s where it remained for nearly a year.  Then one day when I had some time (how ironic) I picked it up off the shelf and read it.  The book gripped me, and I read it in three days (that may not seem fast for you, but it is for me!).

The subtitle for the book is ‘How to stay emotionally healthy and spiritually alive in the chaos of the modern world’.  In a clear, biblical, and pragmatic way, John Mark Comer details firstly the problem and then the solution.

In a nutshell, the main problem is that we are busy to the point of distraction, and as a result we are distracting ourselves into spiritual oblivion. 

As John Ortberg has said: “For many of us the great danger is not that we will renounce our faith.  It is that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we will settle for a mediocre version of it.  We will just skim our lives instead of actually living them.”

The solution isn’t more time.  In proposing a solution John Mark Comer suggests four practices for unhurrying our lives:

Silence and Solitude
Sabbath
Simplicity
Slowing

How has it impacted me?  As a start, I’ve removed all social media and email apps and accounts from my phone so that they’re much less accessible.  If I want to access this stuff I need to be sat at a laptop. I can honestly say it’s been great, and I feel much less hurried and distracted.  Folks who contact me via social media or email have to wait a bit longer for a reply, but that’s okay.

I pray that I won’t settle for a mediocre, lukewarm walk with Jesus.  It’ll take more than deleting a few apps on my phone, but I hope it’s the beginning of a less hurried and distracted way of life where I have time to hear, process, meditate and apply how God is calling me to live each day.

John Mark Comer’s approach and style is really accessible.  In a busy, hurried, and distracted world I enthusiastically recommend this book to you.

Header photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

Article published 30 April 2022