You all know my love for Jen Hatmaker's writing. I keep sharing her stuff on here. Perhaps it's because I find her refreshing. I see in her someone who's keeping it real, asking questions, taking risks, scraping off the Christian-ese and still seeing God show up and transform her and those around her.
It's been a year since I read "7" An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. I did lovely job of giving you perfect insight into what the book would be about when it was still in pre-order after only reading the introduction and first chapter. Right? :)
Here's what's happened in the past year since I read it. Bill's read it. Audrey's read it. I've had wack-o conversations with strangers about it. Engage me about it sometime and I will go off on you. My family's consensus about it? We think you should read it.
Jen decides to "fast" from seven different areas over the course of seven months. For the first month, she will eat from only seven foods. All month. Headaches, hilarity and heart-searching ensues.
What if all that we own in our monetarily rich society is keeping us disillusioned to what God is truly after? What if we've mis-placed where our happiness lies? What if we are gripping so tightly to things that we don't give God any room to change us? Jen takes us through each month of her experiment and lays it out bare what she's found in herself.
This book is NOT the answer to your un-happiness. The idea behind this book is not to then take the experiment on verbatim and at the end you will have products X, Y, and Z to show for it. Don't think for a moment following Christ is exclusively about these seven areas.
I'm strongly wording this because I think we tend to want something to do and think that that's where life will finally be, once and for all, perfect. Nope, not true. Also, I know that Jen didn't write this ever thinking that people would actually want to try it for themselves and so she doesn't write anything about that aspect (it be the sum answer to all of your consumer problems) but I think she would agree with me.
The idea behind the book lingers. Whether you go ahead and try it for yourself or let it sit disturbingly in your soul, that's what I think is the effect of this book. I think it's a good kind of disturbance.
This week the Apple store is offering her book for the iPad, iPhone, and later model iTouch for $4.99! Follow this link to go directly to it.
Jen Hatmaker's "7" book for iPad
If you've just got to hold a book in your hand (that's me a lot of times), here's the link to it on Amazon.
Jen Hatmaker's "7" book from Amazon
I noticed it's available on Kindle for $4.99 also.
If you get hooked and want to find out more about this new church thing they have going, read her book Interrupted. I asked her which of her books beats her heart the best and she said that one. She said the others are not bad but not where she's at anymore. I've read that also. It's the story of how they left their big, mega-church and set up camp in the graveyard of churches in downtown Austin. It's their story of how they are serving the least of these. If you are sort of hooked on what lies behind "7", you'll probably be grabbing Interrupted next.
Her husband, Brandon, also has a book out: Barefoot Church. While it might not have the story-telling zing that Jen's kind of writing has, its a church planter's perspective of the who, what, when, where, why and how they started their new church. Brandon shares from a very personal perspective that God didn't just call him out to start a new church with it's primary goal be to fill seats and be in the black but to start where love hits the pavement and works itself out.
I prayed for my church a lot through this book. Not because I think my church is messed up, but because I want my church to draw closer to God and the leadership needs much prayer. I didn't pray for my idea of church or Brandon's idea of church but for God's idea of church.
Ok, that's enough, right? I didn't mean for this to be a Hatmaker book parade, but it turned out that way. Anyway, maybe you could start with one at least. Let me know what you think.