It was the beginning of June and the whole summer stretched gloriously before me. Oh the dreams I’d dream, the goals I’d achieve, the books I’d not only read, but remember and apply to EVERY AREA OF MY LIFE! I was especially excited to get my grubby little hands on the new edition of Jen Hatmaker’s book, Interrupted.
I pounced on the opportunity to get an advance copy in order to link up and post on it. After all, my merry little band of spiritual misfits had joyfully jumped into “7” and experienced our own mutiny against excess a couple of summers ago. I figured we were game for something new.
But here’s the thing…I missed some “fine” print.
Ok, it might not have been so “fine”, but I definitely missed two important details.
First? The subtitle: When Jesus Wrecks your Comfortable Christianity. WHY in the name of sweet baby Jesus would I want to read THAT?? If I’m comfortable with my Christian life (and I definitely am!), why would I want to be wrecked?
Note to marketing department: No one who actually reads the subtitle of this book is going to want to buy it. “Wrecking” is not a selling point.
Second? Due date for this post. I read Interrupted last week on flights while John and I were traveling to and from a leadership conference (It’s SUMMER, for Pete’s sake! I haven’t had time to read MEANINGFUL THINGS earlier than this with all the sun-filled lolly-gagging I’ve been doing!).
Friday night late we landed, John re-packed, and left for another trip. I threw the book at him as he went out the door shouting, “Here! READ THIS! I refuse to be the only uncomfortable, wrecked disciple in this family!”
The next thing I know I’m catching up on email and there’s a reminder from Jen that our posts should go up on Monday. Cue the frantic texts to husband. (Extra !!!!’s since he rarely reads his texts.)
Me: You didn’t really take the book with you did you?!
John: Well, yes I did, Darling, light of my life, because I’m the dutiful husband and I always do exactly what you tell me.
Me: Ok, here’s the plan. You’re going to take pictures of the pages where I had the most things underlined and email them to me. Then I’ll figure out something coherent to write. And YOU come up with a catchy title!
Aaaand here’s how that worked:
But, as we say in our family, “It’s better this way…”
Honestly, it’s all good because, this provides a convenient metaphor for what discipleship and being the church is all about – just showing up together and doing our messy best, mucking it up and trying again, right? Seriously, Jen illustrates this delightfully, and authentically as she shares her personal journey with Jesus to a counter-cultural understanding of church and family life.
As much as it was uncomfortable, I loved this book because Jen writes with a beautiful mixture of grace, truth, and self-deprecating humor. She is where most of us are – truly doing our best to respond to the stuff Jesus shows us, as we gradually let our guard down. We have these little (or not so little) revelations… like, Ohmygosh! WE are to be the church, loving people wherever we are, not just inviting them to our church building where the PROFESSIONALS can “tell them all the things.”
The good news is that Jen writes like we’re in this discipleship stuff together and it’s gonna be ok if we just keep putting one foot in front of the other and not taking ourselves too seriously. Making mistakes as we befriend homeless folks will not result in eternal damnation. It was gentle encouragement like this that kept me from throwing the book and yelling, “Leave me alone Jen Hatmaker (and Jesus)!.”
Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book (If I get a word or page # wrong, grace please! I’m squinting, half-blinded at the pictures John sent :))
“Because my experience with poor people was limited, I placed the emphasis on poor but misunderstood the essential part: people. Which is the polar opposite perspective. When they were ‘poor’ to me, then I was the benevolent, hyper friendly white girl who had a hard time entering into a real conversation. The emphasis was on what I was offering: food, gloves, water, a bus pass. What I saw in them was need, so that is what I addressed. You require something; I’m here to deliver it with my White Savior Complex solidly in hand… (Eventually,) I started noticing not so much their need but their humanity.”
This makes me think of what we learned in Toxic Charity, (another good read) and my experiences with the homeless and Jesus on the corner. Oh so easy to see projects instead of people. Lord have mercy!
“It’s easy to visit the bottom with works while our hearts remain higher up. That’s just charity. It’s a moment, not a permanent relocation. It is something entirely different to adopt the mind of Christ. That’s when we don’t just act lowly; we are lowly. Our minds are not safely secured up higher, awaiting our return after we’re done patronizing those at the bottom.” (p. 146?)
How am I living incarnationally, like…everywhere? In my neighborhood, at the post office, at work and school? In the Costco parking lot!! Arrgh!
“For all my self-proclaimed love of God’s Word, what I really loved were the parts that worked for me. For my good. For my blessings. The sections that made for a great outline or fit a funny story I had in the queue. The themes I knew my listeners wanted to hear.”
Ouch, OUCH, OUCH!!! Now you’ve stopped preaching and started meddling woman!
“I believe the largest factor in feeling unfed is not feeding others. It has less to do with your pastor’s preaching style or the curriculum you’re studying. We have an innate craving to live on mission with God in the dangerous, exciting world. Out there is where we come to life, get over ourselves, are fed. Fulfillment exists in becoming a slave to everyone in order to win someone to Jesus. Discipleship was never simply about learning; it was constructed on living.” (p. 232)
Amen sister! One of the phrases we hear in ministry that makes me the craziest is “I’m just not being fed”! Come say that to me when you’re DOING everything Jesus has showed you and need more of a challenge. And I say that to myself too! How many verses can I quote but don’t live? Anyway…enough of that…
To sum up, this is a book about having your life turned upside down by Jesus in the best possible way. It’s about really, really being the church in the world – loving all of it – every dark corner and broken heart that Jesus came to redeem and restore, even if that means stretching a teensy bit outside your comfort zone, because wherever you go He’s there too.
My little group of crazies is looking forward to using Interrupted as a study book this fall and anyone is welcome to join us! More later…
What scares you most about following Jesus?
Powered by Linky Tools
Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…