This post looks at the book Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker. Although I received an advance copy free of charge, all opinions are my own. Also, just FYI, this is a book about Jesus and church.
Sometimes, worlds collide.
Scene 1: Sitting at our neighborhood summer kick-off cookout, I was chatting with a friend, a neighbor who goes to my church. I mentioned that Ellie and I would be road tripping to Florida, and I was looking for a good audiobook NOT about education, educational theory, special education, or English language learning. (I love all of these topics, but I had been reading almost exclusively from these categories.) I added that since I'd be with Ellie, I needed an "appropriate" audiobook. My neighbor recommended 7 by Jen Hatmaker. She warned me that it would "change my life" or "rock my world" or some such large statement. I downloaded it and Ellie and I listened to the book on our drive south.
Scene 2: Texting with my friend Kelle in Naples, FL. She couldn't meet up, as she was going to Rwanda a few days later on this super cool trip with Noonday Collection called #StyleForJustice. I know Kelle through the Down syndrome community, as her sweet Nella has Down syndrome like Ellie. Oh, and Noonday works with IJM, and one of my best friends hosts a table at their fundraiser every year.
Scene 3: Sitting in Florida posting photos to Facebook when Jen Hatmaker's page showed up as a recommendation…. she was going to Rwanda and a lot of my friends were "liking" her posts. But these weren't my Down syndrome mama friends, these were my church friends. I clicked on Jen's page. She was going on the same trip as Kelle. I emailed Kelle and learned they would be roommates.
So why was I just now learning of Jen Hatmaker's books?
In 7, Jen writes about what she calls "An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess." This experiment involves living on less, giving away more, caring for people and the planet, and praying more. Interrupted is described as the prequel, or what made her open to try the experiment of 7 in the first place.
Some background on the author: She lives in Austin, TX. Her husband is a pastor. She's an adoptive mama and a biological mama to a total of five kids. She flies around the country speaking.
Interrupted appeals to not only the churchy people seeking depth, but to the "I like God but not church" people seeking more of God. Interrupted is an easy read because it's a compelling story, but it's not an easy book. I kept highlighting, stopping, thinking.
I live in one of the most expensive areas of the US. I work as a teacher. That makes me one of the richest people in the world. That's a challenging thought; as a teacher, I am in the top 1% of the world's wage-earners.
Jen and her husband moved into a new community to start a new church and to really live out the whole "love your neighbor" thing.
What can I do?
What can I do?
Any book that drives the reader to question and then to action is a good book. How can I love my neighbors? My world? What can I do?
After reading 7, I began sorting through some of the excess we own. I can't even claim unselfishness; my house is simply too full of junk. I boxed up about 100 books to donate in one day. Four or five huge bags of clothes I never wear sit upstairs, ready for a homeless shelter.
Interrupted is the reason giving things away changes us.
You can buy it here. There's a 20% discount through July 31.
Here are some teasers:
"[Jesus] seems to favor unmerited grace… I'll just err on the side of mercy and let Jesus sort it out at the harvest."
"The problem with Christian segregation is that God asked us to be on mission with Him, sent us to some group of people somewhere, and wants us to minister to them in a way that meets their needs by speaking their language."
I'm thankful for a break from work this summer that gives me time to read, to think, to rest.
Happy summer reading.
P.S. The whole Noonday thing? I'm going to try to host a party this fall. Details TBA.