Friday, May 22, 2015

Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker

The full title of this book is: Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity. It is the story of how God moved Jen and her husband out of a thriving ministry to start doing church a whole new way. It's similar to Hugh Halter's Flesh, which I reviewed a few weeks ago in that it describes the adventure of living their faith "out of the (Christian) box".

Hatmaker writes about her life-altering prayer, "God, raise up in me a holy passion." I meant "God, give me happy feelings." I was not seriously asking for intervention that would require anything of me. Hardly. "Holy Passion" meant "pull me out of this funk with Your magic happiness wand." Was that too much to ask? Can't a girl get some cheery feelings about her wonderful, prosperous life? Evidently not. (p. 9)

She goes on to recount how the Lord moved them from a comfortable church position to a no-job, no-church, no salary scenario. Since we couldn't rely on our default responses - planning, organizing, mobilizing, controlling - we did the only thing left. We prayed like crazy people... Never have we stood with such open hands, clinging to nothing, ready for anything... When we had nothing left to protect, no position left to defend, no reputation left to guard, and no one else to please, we got our marching orders. (p. 139-141)

I get a kick out of the next part of their testimony since it was a call from a Free Methodist (the tiny denomination of which I'm a part) superintendent that changed their course. He and 60 prayer partners had raised the funds to start a church plant in Austin, Texas. Could the Hatmaker's see their way clear to partcipate? Yes, they could! Then began a roller coaster ride of faith as they reached out to people in whole new ways.

Hatmaker feels there is an overemphasis on Sunday morning church as the "front door." Sharing our lives with dear people to win them to Jesus is the substance of Christianity. A pastor cannot effectively show love to his entire congregation as he preaches from the pulpit. A random group of stangers standing in the church lobby cannot offer legitimate community to a sojourner who walks in the door. One decent sermon cannot influence a disoriented person in the same way your consistent presence in her life can. (p. 205)

She goes on to talk about the cost of pouring yourself out for others so that they might be drawn to Christ (what Oswald Chambers calls "being broken bread and poured out wine.") Unlike many evangelistic methods, this relationship building takes time. "In our community, people are hungry to have a meaningful spiritual discussion, they just don't want to have it with a Christian weirdo who doesn't even know their last name." (p. 236) Indeed.

This book will give you lots to think about. Of all Hatmaker's books, this is the one she most highly recommends.


Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

This sounds like a good one, or at least one that will provoke lots of thought. Thanks for the great review!

Farm Girl said...

Well my goodness, I should get this book. But look what it might do? It might light my passion too, as what you shared, made my heart long for that kind of abandonment. To live entirely at the leading of God.
I loved what she said, about wanting happiness and not expecting what the Lord did.
We lived that way once, long ago. I can remember the total excitement of getting up every day seeing what the Lord would do.
Now I fear, I have become what I most feared. A Laodician, lukewarm.
Thank you for sharing this.

Kristin said...

Great book! I read it recently and will likely read it again soon. Thanks for sharing.

Barbara H. said...

I keep hearing Jen Hatmaker's name pop up, but I have not read anything of hers yet. Sounds very interesting!

Carol said...

I've read that quote by Chambers many times as I go through his devotional every year. I sometimes wonder what it looks like or should look like in my own life.

Carol said...

I've read that quote by Chambers many times as I read his devotional through each year. I sometimes wonder what this looks like or should look like in my own life.

Ashley Hales said...

I haven't read this one but have heard great things. Thanks for your review! Thanks for linking up, too, to Literacy Musing Mondays. Ashley from Circling the Story