Jen Hatmaker has become one of my favorite new bloggers/authors in the last couple of months, mostly because I just read (and loved) her most recent two books: Interrupted: An Adventure in Relearning the Essentials of Faith and 7.
I liked her in her first life, when she was a regular Bible teacher and pastor's wife who wrote for young women, and I recommended her to the young women in my Sunday School class. But in her second life--after being interrupted and ruined forever for life as usual--she is something else: authentic and challenging and fierce.
If you want to get a feel for her writing (and her heart), go over to her blog and read the last two or three posts. Prepare to feel something and to change something, even if you're an old cynic like me.
Interrupted is her own story about being interrupted by the brokenness of this world and the call of God to prophetic and ordinary engagement. The story takes place on two fronts--her confrontation of herself and her own self-centeredness in the face of the brokenness of the world and the decision that she and her husband made to leave their traditional church and plant a new church (called New Church) which would focus on building a community where believers could follow this calling as a community.
I want everyone--yes, I mean everyone--to read the parts about how the world is broken and why and how we should care. I want us all to read the parts about how Jesus calls us to this life and nothing less and hold hands and say yes. I want you to read the story about Shane Claiborne and Jen and her new custom cowboy boots because it's just so perfect.
I have more mixed feelings about the other story line. I loved reading about how Jen and her husband stepped out in faith to start this new church. I want all of us to form small communities with other people to support and challenge and reinforce and love together as we collectively reach out to serve sacrificially. I don't want everyone to leave their churches, though, at least not yet. I want us to try to stay and reclaim, redeem, and restore . . . at least for now. Unless, of course, God or good sense says otherwise, and then go in peace.
7 is a unique and whimsical book, chronicling a series of experiments that Jen and her friends did, in an effort to confront their patterns of consumerism 30 days at a time. As Jen describes her efforts to eat only 7 foods for a month or to go without buying anything new or to give away 7 things a day, she is authentic, nonjudgmental (even of herself), heartbreakingly honest about the strongholds of consumerism that she confronts in herself and in the culture, and pee-your-pants hilarious. And the story about the little pink purse? Oh my.
It's really rare that a book can move me and change me. These two books do, especially 7, just because it's so unique and conversational. I'm planning to re-read both as soon as I can get to them. And I'm taking on a couple of experiments of my own, to see what happens. They're pretty close to my heart, so I may not write about them here, but I imagine that I'll share what I learn.
I know that several of you are reading these two books too--please leave a comment with your two cents' worth!