Tuesday, January 28, 2014

My Humble Opinion of Jen Hatmaker's Book, 7 : An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess

Today I am taking a bit of a stroll down religion lane. Do you remember all the books that came out over the past years that threatened/promised to change your life if you did so and so? Take the "Prayer of Jabez", for example. Pray this certain prayer everyday, in faith, and watch the miracles that will befall you. How about "The Secret" or "Jesus Calling" or Henry Blackaby's "Experiencing God" or Beth Moore and the many others that were designed to challenge and hopefully, forever change your life as you know it. I did them, all of them! Yes, at times I was challenged, other times, skeptical. Heck, I even tried putting some of it into practice only to see it fizzle within a few weeks. I then eagerly awaited the next great thing. Surely THAT would be the book to change me. Dudes, whatever happened to the good ol' Bible to change us? I sure missed the boat on that. The one book that remained quietly in the back until you burned yourself out on all the other books and out of desperation/boredom, pulled it out again? Been there and still am, except now it NEVER comes out, truth be told. Enter Jen Hatmaker and her book that took Christian and Non Christian people by storm, "7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess." The title alone was so juicy, it drew me immediately. I started hearing rumblings about it in my protestant mega church and the impact it was having on the lives of men and women so I proceeded to download it while at work (no wonder I got fired). I was eager and again, skeptical. What was it asking me to do? Was this just another ploy trying to make me even more guilty about my sorry ass life? Jen pretty much showed no mercy, but in a good way. I was very challenged but cynical because I had read so many books of "To Do's" I cringed when I read about her taking all her designer handbags and giving them to the homeless in an effort to encourage and bless women that never had such a gift in their lives. What the hell is a homeless woman going to do with a Gucci handbag? But then, she fed them this great BBQ so it equaled out :) Sometimes I interpreted the book like she was bragging. Then, there was this fuss about limiting food items to 7 foods only for a month, the downsizing of 'stuff', wearing only 7 garments for 1 month and basically, the death to self. Say what? Again, I read all of it as a brag book and I told people so. In reality, I think I was jealous of her and how people were following what I called, "The Tao of Jen" like it was a new religion. I was jealous of her blog, her recognition, her tremendous impact on adoptions, etc... I know that sounds harsh, I'm just sharing my feelings at the time I read it. Yes, I did downsize and minimalize, but honestly only because I had to for financial reasons. Other than that I was just basically angry because her life seemed so cool and forward thinking and mine basically sucked. Jealousy is an evil, toxic thing that can tend to eat me alive like a cancer. Rather than reading it and appreciating what she had shared/experienced, I sat there with my miserable life judging her that she thought of all that great stuff before I did. While I am not crazy about her book, and while I haven't necessarily adopted any of the 7 experiments, I do respect her liberal, take no prisoner, honest approach to the modern church. I like that she says 'sucktastic' and is OK with the fact that tons of Christians jumped on the judgment bandwagon for using a poor choice of vocabulary. I find her refreshing and necessary in paving the way for true Jesus style culture. I love that she has embraced the true commands of Christ and put them into practice while many of us (me) sit on our asses and watch others do the work for us. I'm still jealous of her though. And her hair. She has really cute hair.

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