Thursday, May 10, 2012

7: The Book Review

Okay, so my Jonathan friend (translate my bff, soul-friend, Holy Spirit outside of my body, etc.) was reading this book, posting quotes of it on Facebook and generally piquing my interest for it for a couple of weeks before my birthday this year. When mom asked what my heart's desire was, I asked for "7: an experimental mutiny against excess" by Jen Hatmaker without thinking a second thought about it.

Thanks to Amazon (my mom's best friend as she lives in Singapore and doesn't get to hand-deliver stuff too often) I had it just about the next day and started devouring it at once.

In a word. Love.

Now, since that is probably not enough of a review for those who haven't read it yet let me attempt to summarize in my own words.

JH uses this book to open the reader's eyes to the excess around us, and challenges us to consider how it may actually prevent us from being all that we need to be to be the most Christ-like possible. She specifically focuses on our ability to help the poor and forgotten amongst us, as this is her passion and the reason for her hemorrhaging heart (a step up from a bleeding one, in nurse speak).

She proposes and completes in "real" (writing) time a fast from 7 areas of excess that we as Americans especially "struggle" with. She considers the areas of food, clothing, media, shopping, possessions, waste and stress.  For each area, she completed a month of limitations in each area, often in extreme ways limiting herself to "7" foods, articles of clothing and shopping establishments.

She writes as she is fasting, so the writing is very real and often hilarious. Her words are easily relatable, as I think most of us would feel a degree of animosity against chicken, were we to eat it with nothing to fancy it up besides olive oil and salt for a month. She keeps the reader rolling as she describes the situations, conversations (with her self and others) and changes in thinking that she arrives at in the course of each fast.

She also is well balanced with as many thoughtful musings as hilarious high-points considering the deeper, spiritual lessons that each fast brings.

Overall, this is a very readable book that lacks the ability to really make one feel totally guilty for all our excess, and challenges us instead to consider how giving up a bit of it will draw us closer to God and his purpose for us.


My thoughts:  So Love.

I big part of my crush on this book and its concepts is that it fits perfectly into the thinking and lifestyle of Everything You Need.

In fact, it has refined the EYN vision even more for me to just about a sentence, or several. I listed those in this post.  I will be returning to this simple thinking a lot:   God gave us everything. He gave it to us for a reason. We do not use it for what he gave it to us for ...that is why we find ourselves so lacking in resources for all the God-tasks we feel lead to do! 

"7" fits perfectly into this thinking, as it considers what we can give up in order to do what God needs us to do with this abundance of blessings. It considers how we can use what we, as Americans, can do to redirect our excess to those things that God intends for us to use them for.

She uses the fasts to give materially to others, which I think is awesome. I also, though wonder if these fasts can be applied to more inward resources, as well. I think that we can use these fasts to really look at not only our material excesses, but how we are overly excessive and misusing of our energies, our emotions, our time and our prideful thinking ...some of which is unique to American woman in general, and Christian American women specifically.

I would take a different approach to several of her fasts, but I will talk about those as I participate in them (oh yes, I am going to do this crazy thing).  I find her approach very challenging, though and look forward to adjusting it for my own heart and areas I need to grow.

Stay tuned ...

{Update: You can find links to the posts that I wrote while I participated in these fasts starting here. It's quite a ride!)

Also, if you want to read another review of this book, check out Kingdom Civics where my aforementioned gal pal shared her thoughts.

Oh, and as a side note, she explains the concept of "The Council" in her post, which I LOVED. I didnt make space for it here, but Kim (a.k.a., Courtney's "Council") will share a bit about that if you are interested.

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