John Mark Comer’s book, “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry,” is a tough one for me. On the book cover the word “Hurry” is crossed out. Gone. This kind of goes against my philosophy. I am always saying, go fast up that mountain.
Actually I am always rushing through things to the point where they are incomplete or shoddy (maybe even this post). I am not sure if I am hurrying toward something or away from something. But never mind that, let’s take a closer look at this book.
In just the first few pages the book taught me something about myself that I didn’t know. I am a “Level Seven.” That must be from these video games that the young whippersnappers play twenty-four hours a day. Ok, I confess, we even had levels back in “Space Invader” days. Anyway, Comer sounds a bit alarmed that he just hit thirty and that meant he was a level three. I am halfway into my seventies so I guess that makes me a level seven and maybe even a seven and a half.
What could be better than being a level seven? The higher the level the more of a master at whatever game you are playing, right? Thanks, Mark!
Hurry Hurry Hurry
Comer or should I respectfully say Pastor Comer, alarmed himself when he realized he was rushing through life. His mentors (maybe level sevens, you think?) told him that he should do everything he could to eliminate hurry in his life. One of the mentors, Dallas Willard, is quoted: “There is nothing else. Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” Sounds good on the surface.
Being a Pastor he says Jesus was unhurried and therefore if you follow his “Way” you should strive for that as well. Sounds good to me. Even below the surface. Hurry is the great enemy of the spiritual life as Willard says above. Well, can you imagine the current Dali Lama running someplace?
He goes on to make a real case for how unnecessarily hurried our society has become. Smartphones, crammed schedules, rushing here and there.
Comer asks if you think you might suffer from any of a number of things like irritability, hypersensitivity, restlessness, workaholism, emotional numbness, out-of-order-priorities, lack of care for your body, escapist behaviors, slippage of spiritual disciplines, and isolation. Guilty?
Comer provides you with a solution to all these problems. They are being silent and solitary once a week. It is called the Sabbath in religious terms. He makes a great case for it if you are Christian and I like to think I am one so of course, I feel guilty for not practicing it. We call that being “convicted.” Simplicity is the second. Have you heard of minimalism? Slowing is the third.
All these practices make sense for everyone, not just Christians. You all know about minimalism so I don’t think I have to belabor that. Sell or give away what you don’t need and don’t buy what you don’t need. Slowing is more interesting.
With “Slowing,” he suggests some practices. They include driving the speed limit, getting into the slow lane, get into the longest checkout line at the grocery store ( I tried, I really tried), get a flip phone or ditch your phone altogether, kill your TV (got that one right), walk slower (NO), and journaling (of course).
I left out a lot, but you get the idea. It may take me a while to implement more of these, but I think it will be worth the effort.