Jen Hatmaker does it again. Makes you laugh…makes you cry…and makes you wish you were her BFF all in the course of a few minutes.
I’m specifically talking about her revised and expanded book, “Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks your Comfortable Christianity.” I came up with a little review by giving just three disclaimers for the book, then I’ll share my fav quotes and we’ll call it a day.
There isn’t a single way you can read this book and not get all squirmy living in “the bubble.” Reading it means your heart, mind and spirit are at risk of being disturbed, interrupted and likely changed. Hence the book title.
Every time I read a blurb (since moms of littles have to read 2.2 pages at a time), my head was stuffed, like it had just devoured a banquet of brain food. It is challenging and unsettling because of its gospel-driven ferocity and fervor. “Interrupted” ain’t your happy-go-lucky-Christian-novel.
Nope. This is raw and gritty and real. It’s a story told by a woman (plus her hubby who pipes in every few chapters) who was asked by God to give up a pretty comfortable Christian life and live differently. This book will likely challenge your theology and ministry philosophy as well as loosen those strings of materialism that love to tighten themselves around your heart.
It has some stats that will leave you wide eyed.
For example, “Fifty-seven million children worldwide work every day instead of go to school.” And “Someone dies of hunger every 3.6 seconds.”
I have lived basically my whole life under the shelter of a comfortable, Upper Middle Class Bible-belt-ish community. And you know what is easy to do in this comfortable little world? Snuggle up in the safety. Unfortunately, the safe places are where the scales and planks breed. It’s easy to “sorta” and “try to” live out the great commission, but it’s not easy to devote my whole life to it…like Jesus asks and deserves. Sure, I’ve said I want to “go outside of the four walls” … but I have found that difficult to actually walk out.
This book tells the story of Jen and Brandon’s move to do just that: church outside of the church walls, a barefoot church. (There’s a gut-wrenching story in the book of a compelling Easter alter call to give up their shoes…read: new cowboy boots…for the homeless….gah, this story is GOLD and requires Kleenex.) The pieces fell together for a church plant in Austin, TX, and guys, the way they do ministry is breathtaking. It’s different…radical…inspiring. It’s hecka hard to swallow, but gosh darn it, it is Biblical!
The only criticism I have is that I wanted more. Instead of ending, I wish the book had kept going with an epilogue full of what their church looks like today. I’m thinking they should include a flash drive taped to the back cover with an emotional video compilation of pictures put to song..and some hidden camera vids of their small groups, conversations, preaching, etc. That’s all I got for criticism.
I don’t know, guys. That Jen Hatmaker is outside the box…in such a good, confusing, hilarious, Jesus-y awesome way. Read these quotes from the book and you’ll see what I’m talking about:
“I’ve never been more aware of my own poverty, foolishness, ignorance, and arrogance. As I get older, I realize I know less about the mysteries of God and more about my own tomfoolery.”
“Love has won infinitely more converts than theology.”
“The ‘come to us’ system is no longer an appropriate response to the paradigms that exist in our world.”
“On a practical level, why would we expect unbelievers to come to church with no provocation? What do they know of the beauty of the Spirit? Why would they be attracted to an unknown Savior or a community that feels like worshipping Him?”
“I worry the Christian community has accepted an insidious shift from laboring for others to prioritizing our own rights. We’ve perpetuated a group identity as misunderstood and persecuted, defending our positions and preferring to be right over being good news.”
“We cannot possibly know all there is to know about anyone without digging deep, getting close, and providing a safe place for people to be known. This takes the one investment that comprises our hottest commodity: time. We invite people in again and again and again, peeling layers back and slowly discovering that God has surrounded us with beautiful people whom He loves. There is no time limit, no statute of limitations. Sharing our lives with dear people to win them to Jesus is the substance of Christianity, the delightful work we’ve been commissioned to.”
“I am so confident in the gospel and its effect on humanity. The baby is so compelling, and if changing the bathwater introduces more people to Him, then sign me up.”
“It’s not enough to be theologically brilliant without the heart of a missionary. It’s sometimes intangible work planted in the messy soil of relationships instead of the cleaner territory of theology.”
And my favorite:
The quotes listed are probably only 1/10th of the ones I underlined. AND they’re just the serious ones. There are some hilarious stories and phrases sprinkled Jatmaker style throughout the book.
It’s good stuff & I hope you’re brave enough to read it. Peace out.