Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Book Review: Seven by Jen Hatmaker

You may have heard about Seven on the radio or seen it on the shelf at your Christian bookstore. I first heard about it when I started some part-time work for Stone Island Communications, an agency that represents some of today's finest Christian women speakers.

Seven. Seven. Seven. The inquiries I answered raved about this book, how it had transformed their lives, families, and their life groups at church.  Jen Hatmaker is a Christian author and speaker whose writing makes you feel as though you’re her intimate friend, and she isn’t afraid to share all her shortcomings, victories and defeats.

She undertook her Seven project, “an experimental mutiny against excess,” along with her family and close friends, whom she calls “the Council.” She chose seven areas needing reform in her own life, and then tackled each one a month at a time.

Clothes. Spending. Waste. Food. Possessions. Media. Stress.

The book reads like a journal through each month, and entries range from anecdotes that will make you laugh out loud to heavy concepts you may need to pray about.

One word of caution. This book is not Tozer’s The Pursuit of God (which I also loved). Hatmaker takes an honest, sometimes raw, point of view which some readers may find not very church-like, perhaps slightly offensive. I may not have agreed with everything she said, but I appreciated her sincerity and courage to embark on “a journey of less.”

However, Hatmaker's voice is a strong one. Although she identifies her target audience as middle- to upper-middle class parents, this book will appeal to twenty-somethings and up who are willing to set aside consumerism and comfort for practical Christianity.

Seven reveals the truth every believer should confront: Simplifying your life provides more space for amplifying God.

I love this idea. This weekend is a garage sale at my church for our summer youth mission trip, and I’m searching my room to see what needs to go.

But that’s just one small application.

Read Seven, and you’ll find yourself looking at your stuff, your time and your priorities in a different way.

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