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7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess Paperback – January 1, 2012
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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. --Publisher's Weekly
"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.
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When she considered the amounts of excess in her life, she identified some areas we have too much of in our culture: food, clothes, possessions, media, waste, spending, stress. Then she decided to see what would happen if she intentionally fasted from the excess:
Seven months, seven areas, reduced to seven simple choices. I'm embarking on a journey of less. It's time to purge the junk and pare down to what is necessary. Seven will be an exercise in simplicity with one goal: to create space for the Kingdom of God to break through.
What follows is an INCREDIBLE read, my friends. Really, truly incredible.
One of the things I treasure the most about Jen's writing is that she is 1) seriously hilarious and 2) unflinchingly honest. Although the topic practically begs for it, there is not one trace of self-righteousness to be found. That's the truth. She records how the experiment unfolds, confessing the times she breaks the rules and sharing how irritable her family got at various points as they were dragged along in her crazy.
The topics she covers include: real food, spending less (or nothing!) on clothing, creation care, consumerism, Sabbath rest and so much more.
She talks about how most of us, we cry over the orphan crisis and we feel sick over child trafficking. We cringe at how much we spend on birthday parties, knowing there are children starving everywhere. We read Shane Claiborne and feel depressed for days. We know we are living the MORE MORE MORE life our culture offers, and we feel so much tension about what to do about it.
We're so conditioned to being the problem that we've forgotten that we are actually the answer. God is not angry at you; how could he possibly be? You're his daughter, his son, you're on the team. Don't imagine he is sitting us all down for a lecture. Rather, he's staging a rally, gathering the troops. The church is rising like a phoenix right now, collecting speed and strength and power.
THIS is the life-giving, hope-bringing, love-empowering message of Seven. It is NOT a lecture. You will not walk away from it feeling like crap. You will be inspired. If nothing else, you'll be entertained.
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I'm going to be honest and say that sometimes I can let the "pretty" things in life distract me.Read more