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7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess Paperback – January 1, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 985 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Publishers Weekly - The central principles of living a Christian life, like tithing, fasting, and prayer, might get short shrift from some people but not Hatmaker (A Modern Girl's Guide to Bible Study). The wife of a pastor at Austin (Texas) New Church aims for a more saintly life by cutting back on possessions, food, stress, and other excesses with funny and lively writing that can get overly self-deprecating. Her goal is to convince the reader that a simpler life is a godlier one, which lends a sanctimonious element to some of the writing. Other parts are earnest and moving, such as the final chapter, in which the book drops snarky humor to offer sincere appreciation for prayer, even if the subject matter is divided between prayer and the couple's adoption of two Ethiopian children. For Christians who desire to live out their New Year's resolutions year round, this is worth reading.

 "Jen Hatmaker is a model for her experiment in radical obedience to Christ. May we all be as committed to Jesus' Gospel revolution."

- Richard Stearns, president World Vision US, author The Hole in Our Gospel

About the Author

Jen Hatmaker and her family live in Austin, Texas, where the city motto is “Keep Austin Weird,” and they work hard to do their part. Jen’s eight previous books include Interrupted and A Modern Girl’s Guide to Bible Study. She and her husband planted Austin New Church in an economically and ethnically diverse, socially unique, urban area of the city in 2008. They are in the great- est adventure of their lives, (thrilled to find out where they have planted is known as the “church planters graveyard”) and have made some incredible new partnerships in ministry. They’ve seen their world turned upside down as they’ve considered what it means to ask God how to live and not just what to do. But it’s a good upside down, as part of that discovery will be the addition of two children from Ethiopia set to join the three they already have. Together they will keep Austin weird and seek to glorify God as they do.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: B&H Books; Original edition (January 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433672960
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433672965
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (985 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,807 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Jen Hatmaker and her husband Brandon pastor Austin New Church in Texas. They pioneered Restore Austin, connecting churches to local and global non-profits for the individual, collective, and social renewal of Austin and beyond. Jen speaks at retreats, conferences, and seminars all around the country. She is the author of nine books and Bible studies, including Interrupted, A Modern Girl's Guide to Bible Study Series, and most recently, Seven. Jen and Brandon have five children: Gavin - 12, Sydney - 10, and Caleb - 8, and they've recently added Ben - 8, and Remy - 5 from Ethiopia. Drop her a line or check out her ministry at www.jenhatmaker.com.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
You must read this book! Here's what it's about: Jen (the author) did an experiment in which each month for 7 months, she and sometimes her entire family fasted in an area she felt they were excessive in: media, stress, possessions, shopping, food, clothes, and waste. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that sounds all preachy and super-spiritual and hard and you don't want to read it. Thankfully, it's the complete opposite. It is laugh-out-loud hilarious, totally real-life, 100% empowering, and 0% guilt-inducing.

You must go immediately to purchase this book and devour it whole. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Do not stop to brush your teeth or feed your children. While you're out, buy Depends to wear because you will pee yourself while reading from laughing so hard.

Some other suggestions of how to read this book:
Keep a notepad handy while you're reading to write down notes and thoughts because ideas and action points will come to you like nobody's business.
Do not read this book right before you go to bed because you will not be able to sleep due to the millions of thoughts running around in your brain.
Read this book with your girlfriends.
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Format: Paperback
This book has been going around book clubs and blog circles for a while now with nearly unanimous positive reviews, yet I was very disappointed by what I found when I picked it up myself.

Mrs. Hatmaker and her friends are clearly passionate, well-intentioned people. Their church focuses on helping the homeless and disenfranchised, many of them are adopting African orphans, and her intentions in the starting this experiment were good.

But honestly I came away from the book mystified, disappointed and having failed to connect. Most of the drama that drove the book was the sole by-product of the author's refusal to plan anything (ever) and compulsive spending habits. She's sadly blasé about the simple things she doesn't know and doesn't consider important to learn (case in point, whether watermelons grow on bushes, vines or stems). It's also hard to be empathetic when so much of what she does either contradicts previous chapters or makes you question other content (if they were so desperately poor early in their marriage, why does she have so few skills in area like reducing waste, careful shopping, and basic mending of clothing in house?). It somewhat strained believability that someone who writes and researches for a living and lives in a notoriously "earthy crunchy" city was only just learning about (and terribly shocked by) the mess of industrialized food, incessant media onslaught, and the perils of vast over-consumption.

Perhaps most frustrating was the reality that she didn't actually learn any new skills or make permanent lifestyle changes. She fasted from things for a set period of time, setting arbitrary rules that fit nicely with the theme of "7" but weren't necessarily related to best practices, long-term growth or sometimes even basic logic.
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Format: Paperback
I was so intrigued by this book when I found it. Jen is funny and real, and I hoped her experiences would help me have courage to begin massively simplifying...but I only got through the first section before putting it down and hoping the money I spent on it went to a good cause. Here's why (spoiler alert). On Day 6, the author describes her children throwing out most of their meal because there was no ketchup. I've been there, weeping for my children's detachment from the suffering and hunger in the "rest of the world," their flippant wastefulness. I, too, have an overstocked pantry with nothing to eat. But then on Day 17, she describes being at a restaurant and sending back a plate of spinach because it was tossed in vinaigrette. All I could think of was the subject's mother in C.S. Lewis's "The Screwtape Letters" eschewing a tea her host had thoughtfully prepared for the driest toast. Did she not note the hypocrisy? Two meals ruined, and for what? A condiment?? She should know the dressed salad wound up exactly where her children placed their dry fish. There was no weeping over this waste. I read to the end of the section to see if she recognized the near idolatry of fastidiously adhering to her chosen seven food items, especially in situations where she had little control, but to no avail. I was generous to give three stars, optimistically hoping the remaining book had merit, and in my belief the author's intentions were good.
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This book was an easy read and I felt the author was sincere for the most part, but she lives such a different life from me that I couldn't completely relate to her. She is very fortunate to be born with many advantages in life...she is healthy (she ran a half marathon), wealthy, extroverted, beautiful, has healthy children, many friends and seemingly limitless energy. I seriously don't understand how she does all that she does unless she has some help she doesn't mention (cleaning lady? ghost writer?). I planted a garden for the first time this year and I invested a lot of time solving problems and staking plants and fertilizing and watering and only had mild success. My tomatoes were successful, but I had to invest a lot of time in preserving my crop - making sauce to freeze and using my dehydrator. Did she actually invest any time in her garden herself - it seemed so effortless for her to grow so many crops when that was not my experience at all.

I looked up the websites in the back of her book in an effort to support some of those causes, but that was a bust for me. Two of websites don't exist anymore, (one she listed twice - cometogethertrading.com), some didn't have anything for sale and the one site that I finally ordered from (http://thehungersite.org) just notified me that they were out of the product I ordered and they issued me a refund. It's a nice idea to support these websites, but it didn't work out for me in practice.

I'm a little surprised that Jen didn't have problems with withdrawal related to giving up processed sugar, caffeine, etc. I've experienced withdrawal when I have given up certain foods (I've had to go on elimination diets to test for food sensitivities). She's pretty lucky if she felt good during her food fast.
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