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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Seven


Seven by Jen Hatmaker



More than fearing poverty or simplicity, we should fear prosperity.

God has been using a really cool community of writers and thinkers to open my mind, help me live more intentionally, think more critically, and generally do a better job of understanding what it means to follow Christ.

I’ve been reading beautiful posts by Sarah Bessey, thought-provoking ideas from Rachel Held Evans, commentaries by N.T. Wright and Ben Witherington, and, most recently, Seven by Jen Hatmaker.


For seven months, Hatmaker focuses on a different area of life {food, clothes, waste, media, spending, possessions, and stress} where she tries to trim away the excess in order to make space for God.


A fast is not necessarily something we offer God, but it assists us in offering ourselves.


If a fast doesn't include any sacrifices, then it's not a fast. The discomfort is where the magic happens...Jesus gets a fresh platform in the empty space where indulgence resided.


Many of these are areas that I’ve had my sights on for awhile, some by financial necessity, others from a growing discomfort that the status quo is not how God wants me to live. 


This season of life is passing me by, accelerated by a lack of boundaries. Most days I just try to keep the wheels on, not living in the moment at all; I'm just getting it done while thinking about what's left.

Of course, it’s always easier to look to God for direction in some spheres of life than others.


My communion with God suffers not for lack of desire but time. And let's be honest: I say I don't have time, yet I found 35 minutes for Facebook and an hour for my shows. I found 15 minutes for the radio and 24 minutes for a missed 30 Rock episode. So when I say I don't have time, I'm a gigantic liar. I have time. I just spend it elsewhere. {ouch-tdn}


Her writing is funny, straightforward, and convicting. She also gives the best rationale I’ve heard for why Christians should be the greatest champions of being good stewards of God’s creation.


I also appreciated that she was not preaching a specific solution or selling a blueprint of how to get closer to God—merely sharing the experience of what she and her family did and what they learned.


Whatever God has done or is doing in our family is certainly not a template...We live in a certain city with a certain task, we have specific gifts, and we're horribly deficient in others...You have an entirely different set of factors.


However, she offers plenty for the average American Christian to consider. Jason and I had some good talks after I finished reading, and we’re going to continue to search for ways to structure our life to please God.


This nagging tension that things aren't right, that life is more than blessing extremely blessed people...that's all true. A torrent of believers are demanding more from the indulged American life, daring to imagine that discipleship is adventurous and risky and sacrificial and powerful.

If you’ve had that nagging tension, too, I highly recommend Seven.

Other favorite quotes…


If the modern church held to its biblical definition, we would become the answer to all that ails society. We wouldn't have to baby-talk and cajole and coax people into our sanctuaries through witty mailers and strategic ads; they'd be running to us. The local church would be the heartbeat of the city, undeniable by our staunchest critics.


When the exhaustive exegesis of God's Word doesn't create people transformed into the image of Jesus, we have missed the forest for the trees.


If we all raised others up instead of raising ourselves a little higher, there would be few needs left on earth.


We spend, spend; amass, amass; indulge, indulge item by item, growing increasingly deaf to Jesus who described a simple life marked by generosity and underconsumption.
   
I've discovered reduced consumption doesn't equal reduced community or reduced contentment. There is something liberating about unplugging the machine to discover the heartbeat of life still thumping. Maybe we don't need all those wires after all. Maybe we're healthier unhooked from the life-support of consumerism than we imagined.

4 comments:

  1. Anonymous7/22/2012

    AMEN!!!
    As Paul wrote, "It is not I that lives, but Christ Who lives in me." The goal is for Jesus to live in us so powerfully that when the Father looks at us, He sees His Son.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I really need to get this book. I guess I'm gonna have to give up and buy it new - because every time I hear more about it, I want to read it more!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's really interesting! There's always the library if you want to check it out first. ;)

      Delete

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