I'm kind of on a roll with the book thing. Normally, I really need some kind of external motivation to finish a non-fiction book (like a small group), but I've been reading a lot lately. It helps that I really like Jen Hatmaker's writing style - its sometimes serious, sometimes silly, sometimes irreverent, and sometimes just really in-process, which is something I can really appreciate in another person. It also helps that since T and K moved in, I've been going to bed at a more normal hour.

And let's be honest - it also helps that it's the summer and there isn't a ton of good stuff to watch on Hulu at the moment.

Anyway, I actually downloaded 7 before Interrupted (my review is here) but thought it would be better to read them in the order they were written. And once I finished the first one, I flew through the second. 7 is the story of an experiment to make 7 simple changes in 7 different areas of excess (including things like media, possessions, and shopping) for one month each and record the results. It's written almost like a blog, with entries labeled by day. It was funny and challenging at the same time. It was also not a little bit convicting, given my frustration with significantly reducing spending last month, though some of the words in the conclusion brought me a lot of peace (see the final quote below).

I highlighted far too many things to list them all, so here's a sample:

"As I reduce, He is enough. As I simplify, He is enough. He is my portion where food and clothes and comfort fall woefully short. He can heal me from greed and excess, materialism and pride, selfishness and envy. While my earthly treasures and creature comforts will fail me, Jesus is more than enough. In my privileged world where 'need' and 'want' have become indistinguishable, my only true requirement is the sweet presence of Jesus."

"I won't defile my blessings by imagining that I deserve them. Until every human receives the dignity I casually enjoy, I pray my heart aches with tension and my belly rumbles for injustice."

"When the jars of clay remember they are jars of clay, the treasure within gets all the glory, which seems somehow more fitting."

"What if we are actually called to a radical life? What if Jesus knew our Christian culture would design a lovely life template complete with all the privileges and exemptions we want, but even with that widespread approval, He still expected radical simplicity, radical generosity, radical obedience from those with ears to hear, eyes to see?"

"The church the Bible described is exciting and adventurous and wrought with sacrifice. It cost the believers everything, and they still came. It was good news to the poor and stumped its enemies. The church was patterned after a Savior who had no place to lay his head and voluntarily died a brutal death, even knowing we would reduce the gospel to a self-serving personal improvement program where people were encouraged to make a truce with their Maker and stop sinning and join the church, when in fact the gospel does not call for a truce but a complete surrender."

"Self-deprecation is a cruel response to Jesus, who died and made us righteous. Guilt is not Jesus' medium. He is battling for global redemption right now; His objective hardly includes huddling in the corner with us, rehashing our shame again. He finished that discussion on the cross. Plus, there's no time for that. We're so conditioned to being a problem that we've forgotten we're actually the answer. God is not angry at you; how could He possibly be? You are His daughter, His son; you're on the team."

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