by Alan Fadling
Reviewed by Clint Walker
When I was starting out in ministry, I had an interesting habit. I would start the morning reading poetry. Not biblical poetry mind you, but just good poetry. I would read the work of Rilke, Berrigan, and even Jewel as I started my day in the office. I am not sure exactly what inspired me to do this. But the reason I did it was to slow my mind down. I am not a poet, nor am I a natural poetry reader, but as I took time to read the poems, ponder them, and somehow integrate them into my thoughts, these poems helped me slow down enough to listen to the Word as I studied, listen to my coworkers, listed to those I was caring for, and listen to the Spirit leading and guiding me. Instead of a to-do list to start the day, I began focusing on the attitude I wanted to have and the person I wanted to be. I miss those poetry mornings these days. And An Unhurried Life reminded me why. If I am going to be the kind of person and pastor I want to be, I have to slow down a little, be present more, and allow God to do his work in me and through me.
This is a wonderful book, that really attacks hurry for the soul sickness it is at every level. Fadling exposes our hurried pace of life, and through quotes of the ancients shows that this hurry sickness is not unique to our generation. As a matter of fact, through the Biblical examples he cites later in the book, Fadling shows that the lack of patience and trust that fuels hurry was a part of humanity's first sin, and challenging Jesus to rush God and his timing is part of how Satan tempted Christ in the wilderness.
Fadling anticipates misunderstandings well and confronts them directly. An unhurried life, he clearly communicates, is not a lazy life. Nor is it a self-centered one. Rather, it is a thoughtful, meaningful way of living that is modeled after the spirituality of Jesus.
As I read this book, I began to wonder about how I live my life. Why am I in such a hurry to get so many things done if I have an eternal life in front of me? Why am I letting other people's anxieties and my concerns drive me instead of the grace and truth of Jesus Christ? Why I am so eager to accomplish things that only God can accomplish through me?
I will keep coming back to this book as I journey through my life and ministry. It is a convicting book, but a comforting book at the same time. As such, it was exactly what I needed at this time in my life.