Book Review: Chase the Lion: If your dream doesn’t scare you, it’s too small, by Mark Batterson
Stop living as if the purpose of life is to simply arrive safely at death. Quit playing it safe and start chasing big dreams for God. Those two sentences sum up the theme of Mark Batterson’s latest offering, Chase the Lion: If your dream doesn’t scare you, it’s too small.
As he explains, the author wants people to become lion chasers.
When a lion’s roar registers in the auditory cortex, the brain sends an immediate message to the body: run away as fast and as far as you can. That’s the normal reaction, but lion chasers aren’t normal. They don’t run away from what they’re afraid of; they run toward the roar. They don’t seek safety; they seek situations that scare them to life. Lion chasers are more afraid of missing opportunities than making mistakes.
The book is designed as a follow-up to his first book, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, which is taken from the story of Benaiah in 2 Samuel 23. Throughout his new book, the author weaves together inspiring stories of people who have done great things for God. He loosely ties all the stories together with references to David’s mighty men in 2 Samuel 23. He also adds in accounts of his own spiritual journey as a church planter in Washington, D.C.
I have to admit to having a love-hate relationship with Batterson’s books. I have read most of them and found them to be encouraging. I agree with his philosophy that we should dream and attempt great things for God. But I’ve also been discouraged by his books because I come away feeling like my life is far too pedestrian and ordinary to ever be chronicled in a book. My life and ministry is boring compared to his. It feels like being an “average” pastor is not good enough or noteworthy.
The stories are inspiring but after several chapters, they sound a bit boastful and name-dropping. I grew weary of the “look how my first book changed people’s lives!” stories and accounts. My other tension with the book has to do with how Scripture is presented. Some authors teach scripture and illustrate it with stories. Batterson presents stories and illustrates them with Scripture. In that sense, his use of Scripture feels like proof-texting.
In summary, I’d say the book is one more example of Bible-lite teaching. Inspiring stories, good principles, with a little Scripture thrown in the mix. I might check it out from the library to read, but I don’t know that I would buy it.
I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.