In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day
by Mark Batterson
In a Pit starts off by quoting 2 Samuel 23:20-21. It's not the most well known of verses as it's a short little story that doesn't really seem to have much weight or trajectory as is. It tells of Benaiah who chases down a lion in the snow and kills it in a pit. Pretty gutsy move. I have to say, it's a great premise for a book and a killer title (pun intended).
Batterson encourages us that in order to get to our deepest dreams and callings, we must do battle with the things that frighten us, the things that hide in the darkest shadows that we'd rather run from. I have to fully agree with this. Until we've faced our "demons," there will always be something lurking in the corners. This is something that Parker Palmer brings up in Let Your Life Speak, another book on identity that I recently read but didn't review. (Short review on that one-awesome-read it.) The difference is that Palmer feels more honest about it. While Batterson comes across as a chipper cheering section, Palmer plainly says it'll be hard and painful and not at all very much fun. While Batterson spends a great many chapters expanding on the same point, Palmer is far more concise.
That said, I appreciate Batterson's use of scripture and biblical principles in his book. Too often, books like this fall into the same "Christian self-help" wishy-washy nonsense that folks like Joel Osteen are putting out there. This book doesn't offer deep theology or earth-shattering realizations (at least, not for me), but it does offer and opportunity to think about how you are approaching the situations life puts in front of you and to gather a little bit more courage to face things you just don't want to go up against.
Will I put it on the "keep" shelf? Nah. This is a good one to pass on to someone else. I can't see it being one I'll want to read over and over or need for research or reflection, but it's worth reading. Many of the people who have reviewed it before me have really gotten a great deal out of it and I'm sure there are more out there who will. And I don't think they'll be getting the wrong thing out of it.
To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I am obligated to mention that bloggingforbooks.org has provided me with a complimentary reading copy of this book. Obviously, I still offered an unbiased opinion.