Book Review: The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry

This is one of the last books that I’ll read in 2019, but it was certainly one of the books I needed the MOST! I will definitely be sharing copies of this one with friends! I’ve heard a lot about John Mark Comer’s latest work The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry and knew I needed to read it. Mostly because HURRY is one of the main words I constantly tell myself and my kids. And I’m tired of being in a hurry. With all the rushing around, I know we will miss the most important things. The start of Advent proved to be a fantastic time for me to sit down and SLOWLY read this one.

I highlighted several things while reading and have posted those notes below…

  • Why am I in such a rush to become somebody I don’t even like? Location 155
  • It hits me like a freight train: in America you can be a success as a pastor and a failure as an apprentice of Jesus; you can gain a church and lose your soul. Location 156
  • The Korean-born German philosopher Byung-Chul Han ends his book The Burnout Society with a haunting observation of most people in the Western world: “They are too alive to die, and too dead to live.” Location 212
  • “There is nothing else. Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”-Dallas Willard  Location 290
  • Hurry is the root problem underneath so many of the symptoms of toxicity in our world. Location 293
  • Corrie ten Boom once said that if the devil can’t make you sin, he’ll make you busy. There’s truth in that. Both sin and busyness have the exact same effect—they cut off your connection to God, to other people, and even to your own soul. Location 304
  • The famous psychologist Carl Jung had this little saying: Hurry is not of the devil; hurry is the devil. Location 306
  • The problem isn’t when you have a lot to do; it’s when you have too much to do and the only way to keep the quota up is to hurry. Location 319
  • Hurry and love are incompatible. All my worst moments as a father, a husband, and a pastor, even as a human being, are when I’m in a hurry—late. Location 335
  • To restate: love, joy, and peace are at the heart of all Jesus is trying to grow in the soil of your life. And all three are incompatible with hurry. Location 362
  • Here for the win, Walter Adams, the spiritual director to C. S. Lewis: To walk with Jesus is to walk with a slow, unhurried pace. Hurry is the death of prayer and only impedes and spoils our work. It never advances it. Location 368
  • As 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. Location 394
  • When the sun set our rhythms of work and rest, it did so under the control of God; but the clock is under the control of the employer, a far more demanding master. Location 434
  • Microsoft researcher Linda Stone said “continuous partial attention” is our new normal. Location 548
  • As Tony Schwartz said in his opinion piece for the New York Times: Addiction is the relentless pull to a substance or an activity that becomes so compulsive it ultimately interferes with everyday life. By that definition, nearly everyone I know is addicted in some measure to the Internet. Location 561
  • Because what you give your attention to is the person you become. Location 715
  • A discipline is any activity I can do by direct effort that will eventually enable me to do that which, currently, I cannot do by direct effort. Location 1243
  • Here’s Dallas Willard’s definition of a spiritual discipline: The disciplines are activities of mind and body purposefully undertaken, to bring our personality and total being into effective cooperation with the divine order.
  • They enable us more and more to live in a power that is, strictly speaking, beyond us, deriving from the spiritual realm itself. Location 1256
  • We now have access to infinity through our new cyborgesque selves, which is great, but we’ve also lost something crucial. All those little moments of boredom were potential portals to prayer. Little moments throughout our days to wake up to the reality of God all around us. To wake up to our own souls. To draw our minds’ attention (and, with it, devotion) back to God; to come off the hurry drug and come home to awareness. Location 1294
  • Once again, Andrew Sullivan, in his manifesto for silence in an age of noise, wrote this: There are books to be read; landscapes to be walked; friends to be with; life to be fully lived…. This new epidemic of distraction is our civilization’s specific weakness. And its threat is not so much to our minds, even as they shape-shift under the pressure. The threat is to our souls. At this rate, if the noise does not relent, we might even forget we have any. Location 1310
  • In seasons of busyness we need more time in the quiet place, not less, definitely not less. And if you’re running through your Rolodex of excuses right now—I’m a full-time mom, I have a demanding job that starts early, I’m an extrovert, I have ADHD, etc.—stop for a minute. Think about this: Jesus needed time in the quiet place. Location 1422  
  • In his masterpiece Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster wrote, “Loneliness is inner emptiness. Solitude is inner fulfillment.” Location 1469
  • Karl Rahner, who was one of the most important Catholic theologians of the twentieth century, had this haunting line: In the torment of the insufficiency of everything attainable, we learn that ultimately in this world there is no finished symphony. Location 1599
  • More recently, Dallas Willard put it this way: Desire is infinite partly because we were made by God, made for God, made to need God, and made to run on God. We can be satisfied only by the one who is infinite, eternal, and able to supply all our needs; we are only at home in God. When we fall away from God, the desire for the infinite remains, but it is displaced upon things that will certainly lead to destruction. Location 1618
  • Walter Brueggemann has this great line: “People who keep sabbath live all seven days differently.”8 It’s true. Watch out for the Sabbath. It will mess with you. First it will mess with one day of your week; then it will mess with your whole life. Location 1666
  • The Sabbath is how we fill our souls back up with life. Location 1749
  • One of the many reasons that happiness is dropping in the West even as the Dow is rising is because materialism has sped up our society to a frenetic, untenable pace. As Alan Fadling insightfully said, The drive to possess is an engine for hurry. Location 2159
  • Minimalism isn’t about living with nothing; it’s about living with less. Location 2276
  • What if you had only what you needed, and there wasn’t anything to organize? There’s an idea worth chasing down. Location 2283
  • Another fine definition comes from Richard Foster and Mark Scandrette: “Simplicity is an inward reality that can be seen in an outward lifestyle”38 of “choosing to leverage time, money, talents and possessions toward what matters most.” Location 2289
  • The goal here is to live with a high degree of intentionality around what matters most, which, for those of us who apprentice under Jesus, is Jesus himself and his kingdom. Location 2309
  • Remember, the world is constantly asking, “How do I get more?” But the apprentice of Jesus is regularly found asking, “How can I live with less?” Location 2400
  • A budget is far more than a way to stay out of debt, as vital as that is. A budget is to your money what a schedule is to your time. It’s a way to make sure that your “treasure” is going to the right place and not getting squandered. Location 2417
  • Our time is our life, and our attention is the doorway to our hearts. Location 2686
  • Or this from the legendary Walter Brueggemann: Multitasking is the drive to be more than we are, to control more than we do, to extend our power and our effectiveness. Such practice yields a divided self, with full attention given to nothing.14 Location 2698
  • I open with the customary “How are you?” He answers, “At this point in my life, I’m just trying to not miss the goodness of each day, and bring my best self to it.” Location 2817
  • I’ve reorganized my life around three very simple goals: Slow down. Simplify my life around the practices of Jesus. Live from a center of abiding. Location 2832
  • In the years to come, our world will most likely go from fast to faster; more hurried, more soulless, more vapid; “deceiving and being deceived.”14 Will you traverse that road? Will you follow the same old, tired, uncreative story of hurry and busyness and noisy, materialistic, propagandized living? Just try to add in a little Jesus as you careen through life? Make it to church when you can? Pray when you find the time? Mostly just stay ahead of the wolf pack? Or… Will you remember there’s another road, another way? Will you off-ramp onto the narrow path? Will you radically alter the pace of your life to take up the easy yoke of Jesus? Location 2941
  • Location 2973

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