Take Francis Chan’s living-on-the-edge-by-faith message in Crazy Love and combine it with John Eldredge’s be-a-real-man-and-go-skydiving-for-Jesus philosophy in Wild at Heart. Shake in some quotations and discussion questions, and presto! You now have Wild Goose Chase.
I’m sure that Francis Chan, Mark Batterson, and John Eldredge are all a bit offended at that recipe. I can almost picture Eldridge sharpening one of his Braveheart swords now. But as I read, it felt like those two books, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. I agree that we must avoid the comforts of “safe faith” and also that we should live out our God-created masculinity. Even though it is familiar ground, I enjoyed this quick read.
Batterson frames his book with six cages that we put ourselves in that prevents us from partaking in the “wild goose chase,” supposedly what the Celtics call the Holy Spirit. These cages are ones that we can all relate to: cages of responsibility, routine, assumptions, guilt, failure, and fear. While the image of the “wild goose” is too flimsy (and tiresome) to use as a conceit throughout, the cages provide a better structure for the message.
Like the other two books I mentioned, Wild Goose Chase is filled to the brim with anecdotes about people who are on this chase, or ones who are not pursuing it. These were the strongest parts of the book. Another strength was the end-of-chapter discussion questions. These are useful to reflect over the reading privately, or to use as discussion starters.
I’ll end with one of my favorite images in the book that I hope I remember: Batterson writes about the majesty of a bus ride through Ecuador. Driving at 12,000 feet and above the clouds, he was in awe of the mountain peaks. These are the places on earth that the Celtic Christians referred to as thin places, moments in our lives where heaven and earth seem to touch, “the natural and the supernatural collide.” It’s a great image, and helps me to look for these thin places in my own life.