American life can be excessive, to say the least. That s what Jen Hatmaker had to admit after taking in hurricane victims who commented on the extravagance of her family s upper middle class home. She once considered herself unmotivated by the lure of prosperity, but upon being called rich by an undeniably poor child, evidence to the contrary mounted, and a social experiment turned spiritual was born. 7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence. Food. Clothes. Spending. Media. Possessions. Waste. Stress. They would spend thirty days on each topic, boiling it down to the number seven. Only eat seven foods, wear seven articles of clothing, and spend money in seven places. Eliminate use of seven media types, give away seven things each day for one month, adopt seven green habits, and observe seven sacred pauses. So, what s the payoff from living a deeply reduced life? It s the discovery of a greatly increased God a call toward Christ-like simplicity and generosity that transcends social experiment to become a radically better existence.
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Jen Hatmaker and her family live in Austin, Texas, where the city motto is Keep Austin Weird, and they work hard to do their part. Jen s eight previous books include Interrupted and A Modern Girl s Guide to Bible Study. She and her husband planted Austin New Church in an economically and ethnically diverse, socially unique, urban area of the city in 2008. They are in the great- est adventure of their lives, (thrilled to find out where they have planted is known as the church planters graveyard ) and have made some incredible new partnerships in ministry. They ve seen their world turned upside down as they ve considered what it means to ask God how to live and not just what to do. But it s a good upside down, as part of that discovery will be the addition of two children from Ethiopia set to join the three they already have. Together they will keep Austin weird and seek to glorify God as they do.Review:
The central principles of living a Christian life, like tithing, fasting, and prayer, might get short shrift from some people but not Hatmaker (A Modern Girl's Guide to Bible Study). The wife of a pastor at Austin (Texas) New Church aims for a more saintly life by cutting back on possessions, food, stress, and other excesses with funny and lively writing that can get overly self-deprecating. Her goal is to convince the reader that a simpler life is a godlier one, which lends a sanctimonious element to some of the writing. Other parts are earnest and moving, such as the final chapter, in which the book drops snarky humor to offer sincere appreciation for prayer, even if the subject matter is divided between prayer and the couple's adoption of two Ethiopian children. For Christians who desire to live out their New Year's resolutions year round, this is worth reading. --Publisher's Weekly
"Jen Hatmaker is a model for her experiment in radical obedience to Christ. May we all be as committed to Jesus' Gospel revolution." --Richard Stearns, president World Vision US, author The Hole in Our Gospel
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