"In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day" by Mark Batterson


Mark Batterson. In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day: How To Survive and Thrive When Opportunity Roars. Multnomah Books, 2006. 192 pgs.

What do you do when opportunity roars? Batterson urges us to give chase, lock eyes with our lion, and charge directly at it. Through nine chapters Batterson makes this point again and again. That opportunity often comes in threatening forms, and if we wish to seize that opportunity we must overcome our fear. He urges us to forget about playing it safe, embrace uncertainty, and stop worrying about looking foolish, and then we will see the blessing of the Lord.

In one way there is nothing wrong here. Opportunity does often come from overcoming threats and fears. We must, in fact, overcome our fears and follow the path God leads us on. And yet this book exemplifies much of what I find disturbing in contemporary Christian literature. Let me explain.

Here we have a book which takes as its basis barely a scrap of a verse and, with this biblical justification in hand, quickly moves into realms of pop psychology, business literature, and modern truism with nary a thought given to any of them. The bible does not function as guide but as proof, and poor proof at that.

Along the way half truths abound. Perfect love covers over all fear, but that does not mean we take all risks. Where is the chapter on discernment? The acknowledgement that some opportunities must not be seized, and that in the face of them we ought to recoil in fear, fear for our souls? Or, for that matter, where is the chapter discussing how we can take our worries and fears to God and replace them, not with the courage of someone who has a bigger goal than succumbing to fear, but with the courage of someone who knows God and thus is a person to whom all objects of fear shrink away into insignificance? Instead we are taught to unlearn our fears and reframe our thinking; sad alternatives indeed when put next to the peace of Christ which transcends all understanding.

Conclusion: 2 Stars. Not Recommended. Don't waste your time. Check out the story in 2 Samuel 20:20-23, and do imagine what Benaiah must have been like. Think about fear and risk, and what you fear and may need to risk in following Jesus. If you then conclude in prayer, offering up your fears to God and asking him to fill you with His love in their place, then you will not only have the good content of this book, but something far better as well!

Thanks to Blogging for Books for providing me with this copy to review.

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