Book review: 7: an experimental mutiny against excess

Jen Hatmaker convinces her family and her closest friends to “pare down to what is necessary, what is noble.”  She undertook 7 months of fasting, with one fast per month.

Here was her order of fasting (and, incidentally, the order of the chapters):

  • Food
  • Clothes
  • Possessions
  • Media
  • Waste
  • Spending
  • Stress

She has small children, so they did not participate in the fasts of food or clothing.  As she said, “Some months of this project were simply not kid friendly.”  But some life events during the fasts were extremely kid friendly.  Did I mention that she adopted 2 orphans from Africa during the fast?  Without going over her budget?  Now, a friend paid for the second adoption, but taking on 2 strange (meaning unknown to you, not weird!) kids to live in your home and be part of your family, is not for the faint of heart.

Of necessity, this book is self-reflective.  But Jen is honest about what she sees.  And she admittedly cheats a little during a couple of the fasts.  And she obsesses a lot about what she can’t have.  But she also stresses the importance of the relationships she has with the friends and family who are participating with her, and how it helps her stay on track.  (Note to self:  If you ever decide to do this, don’t go it alone.)

I really liked this book, and plan to read it again soon, despite the uncomfortable proddings from the Holy Spirit about the excesses in my life.  Permit me to conclude with this passage from her conclusion:

We’re so conditioned to being a problem that we’ve forgotten we’re actually the answer.  God is not angry at you; how could He possibly be?  You are His daughter, His son; you’re on the team.  Don’t imagine He is sitting us all down for a lecture.  Rather, He’s staging a rally, gathering the troops.  The church is rising like a phoenix right now, collecting speed and power.

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True.  With justice he judges and wages war.  His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns.  He has a name written on him that no one know but he himself.  He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.  (Rev. 19:11-13)

Something marvelous and powerful is happening in the church.  The Bride is awakening and the Spirit is rushing.  it is everywhere.  This movement is not contained within a denomination or demographic, not limited to a region or country.  It’s sweeping up mothers and pastors and teenagers and whole congregations.  A stream became a current, and it is turning into a raging flood.  It is daily gathering conspirators and defectors from the American Dream.  It is cresting with the language of the gospel:  the weak made strong, the poor made rich, the proud made humble.

The body of Christ is mobilizing in unprecedented numbers.  Jesus is staging a massive movement to bind up the brokenhearted and proclaim freedom for captives.  The trumpet is blowing.  We are on the cusp, on the side of the Hero.  So while we’re mistakenly warring with ourselves, Jesus is waging war on injustice, and calling us to join Him.

Maybe we should listen.

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