book talk #2 - 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess

I wish I could read for a living and get paid for it. Along with getting paid to learn languages. That would be awesome.

Since no one has come out of the woodwork to offer me such a job, I'm going to pretend I'm getting paid to write this blog post.

So basically, I'm pretty obsessed with the book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker. I had heard a few friends talk about this author, and specifically this book, and finally put it on hold at the library.

There are a lot of things competing for my attention in life, like my husband and daughter, Criminal Minds on Netflix, and work. So a lot of times I'll borrow a book from the library, get bored 50 pages in, and never finish it within the allotted time. Then, I'll go online, renew it, and forget to read it again. At this point, I normally give up and just return the book.

Not so with 7. I couldn't put it down, and it was definitely not what I expected. Basically, I expected a lecture on how our culture is consuming at an alarming rate, and Christians are no better, so this lady took matters into her own hands and made everyone else feel guilty about it.

I could not have been more wrong about the tone of the book. Jen comes from a place of repentance, humor, and freedom. Freedom to me is the key word. We are no longer bound by Old Testament laws, nor are we trying to earn our way into heaven with our good works. Books like this can come dangerously close to implying such things. Instead, she is simply recognizing that fact that it is really easy to let our Christian freedom run amok, and it's also a good idea to stop and do a heart check every once and awhile. Are my treasures on earth or in heaven? Am I loving God first and my neighbor as myself? Those are good questions that in no way guilt us into recycling, adopting 10 kids, and selling every extraneous thing we own.

Jen's experiment was this: What would it look like if I did a temporary fast from food, clothing, stuff, stress, spending, screen time, and waste? She stuck with the "7" theme - one month for each of her seven categories. Seven food items for a month, seven clothing items for a month, etc. Her "council" of friends each interpreted the fast in their own way, participating in a way that made the fast fit into their own lives.

I didn't come away from the book feeling guilty for the blessings God has given me. I came away from the book more thoughtful, thankful, and excited to share my love for God with others.

In my opinion, it's definitely worth a read - I laughed, I cried, it moved me (Veggie Tales reference anyone?)

Let's end with one of my favorite quotes from the book:

"...Scripture calls us to the practice of fasting- from food, from greed, from selfishness, from luxuries. It isn't just the experience; it's the discipline. It changes us. Fasting helps us develop mastery over the competing voices in our heads that urge us toward more, toward indulgence, toward emotional volatility."

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