Why: I recently read For the Love by Jen Hatmaker and loved her style of writing. It’s personal and conversational, but full of conviction. One of our lovely readers (shout out to Lindsey from literarylindsey.com!) made the comment that she felt For the Love acted as an introduction to Jen, and that some of her other works went deeper in terms of subject matter. So I figured, why not read some of these other books and see for myself!?
I liked imagining I was something rather than realizing I am nothing. I can’t unknow what I know, and I can’t unsee what I’ve seen; it leaves me aching.
The Story: The full title of this book is Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity. Jen walks readers through her realization that she was living a safe and comfortable Christian life, but it was leaving her feeling unfulfilled – even though she is much more involved than most Christians in America today. She shares the tough decision she and her pastor-husband made to leave the safety net of an established church (and salary!) without a clear plan for the future. What follows is their story of building a “barefoot church” that serves as Jesus served, and their personal struggles with living without the drive for “stuff” and to move “up the ladder”.
Getting to the top requires someone else to be on the bottom; being right means someone else must be wrong. It is the nature of the beast.
Opinion: I started reading this book and hated it. It felt “preachy” and accusative. Jen jumps right in and the statistics and background information provided made me feel like she was telling me I wasn’t even a good person, much less a good Christian. It was a struggle to pick the book back up, I’ll be honest, but I felt I needed to give it a chance. I kept reading, and ultimately, I’m glad I did. This is still not my favorite book, but I found the middle sections to be more palatable and relatable. The third section was my favorite, and I believe it’s because there are a lot of solid, Bible-based passages that felt as if they were providing me with an education and not simply stories that made me feel judged. I also believe I experienced first hand that you need to go into reading this text with the right mindset in order to take away the message Jen is providing, instead of feeling frustrated as I did on occasion.
The only ones who can accept the proclamation of the reign are those who have nothing to protect, not their own self-image or their reputation, their possessions, their theology; their principles or their certitudes. From Simplicity by Richard Rohr (as quoted in Interrupted)
Recommendation: This book is meant for readers that strongly identify as a Christians. Even with that, it’s not meant for the faint of heart since Jen – as is her nature – lays it all out there and doesn’t hold back her thoughts and opinions. I feel like many readers could hear and agree with Jen’s message, but may not be able to fully empathize or buy in because what she and her husband did is so extreme in comparison to how many Christians currently live their lives. If you want to fire up your spirit and believe you need a kickstart to living a life more centered on Jesus though, Jen provides that with her standard wit, sarcasm, and laid back sense of humor.
… Nor did I even remotely understand the different between empowering and enabling. … Ignorant intervention is absolutely a contributing factor to the cycles of oppression.
Journaling Prompts: (If you haven’t read any of my other reviews, I enjoy putting together a few questions about the book for those that have already read, or choose to read the book after viewing this post!)
- On a scale of one to ten, how much do you strive to move up “the ladder”?
- What aspect of your life (think job status, salary, wardrobe, vehicle, children, etc.) do you most focus on improving as a means of impressing others?
- Based on your answer to the previous question, how could you begin to let go of the importance this status symbol has on your life?
- Have you ever made a major decision knowing that you were leaving the plan up to God?
- How could the concept of “new” that Jen discusses make an impact on your life, right now?
- Write down at least one thing that you could do in your town or city to serve as Jesus served.