The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer

I received this book for free from my school’s ASB, and honestly, it came at a great time. Despite having a whole ton of “extra” time at home during COVID, I’ve been experiencing a lot of stress to “be productive” with every day I get. Walking the line between productivity and rest is no easy task.

This book speaks to some of the deepest anxieties for our generation and this particular moment. Reading it now gave me a good dose of perspective that I hope to carry on with me throughout quarantine.

A little “disclaimer”: I 100% didn’t know this until I opened up the book, but it’s pretty “christiany” in the young, Portland, full-of-nods-to-social-justice sense. Overall, I liked it, but (just so you’re aware of the tone) it’s the kind of book where he says, “hey, no worries if you aren’t christian. I get it!”, and proceeds to talk a lot about Jesus since that’s his tradition and framework.

If you don’t mind reading a book from this perspective, or (better yet) if you actually really enjoy reading books from this perspective, then I highly recommend The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry.

The premise is Simple.

Most of us are living lives without a healthy rhythm between work and rest. Our days-off are filled with slightly less tiring “personal to-do lists”, and the things we do to “relax” leave us just as tired as before. The “Hurry Disease” has become a major issue of physical, mental, and spiritual health.

If you go against the grain of the universe,

you will get splinters.

H. H. Farmer

So… What philosophical and historical influences are driving all this “Hurry”? And how can we apply the practices of ancient Jews and Christians to fight “Hurry” in our modern context?

All the while, this book is incredibly straightforward. Comer splits it all up into 3 general parts. Part 1: The problem / Part 2: The solution / Part 3: Four practices for unhurrying your life.

Plus, this book is EXTREMELY well researched and VERY easy to read.

Its large font, wide margins, and informal tone make it easy on the eyes and the brain, but Comer isn’t just blowing hot air. He constantly references philosophers, theologians, researchers, and (of course) the bible.

Comer’s fun, intellectual personality permeates every sentence of this book. Somehow, even his notes section reads like a conversation. Right after a perfectly standard reference from the Huffington Post, you get this beautifully quirky note,

“20. Another fun tidbit: one legend says that pioneers who Sabbathed on the Oregon Trail arrived there before those who didn’t”

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry

Seriously haha, who goes through all that trouble just to add tone to their references section!?

Honestly, reading this book even became a regular way for me to slow down in the middle of my busy days. If I didn’t want to jump on any big assignments (but didn’t want to mindlessly surf youtube either), I just picked up the bright orange book off my desk, read a quick chapter, and (in about 30-minutes) I usually had the energy to dive back into my work.

(This post has since been re-published on Medium as ‘Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: The Quarantine Book I Needed).

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