An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess
by Jen Hatmaker on December 26th, 2011

For some time, I’ve had this feeling messing with my faith. That one when you’re trying really hard and adhering to most of the rules and checking a lot of boxes, I mean, some boxes that seem really important, legit boxes, and yet…I don’t know. Something feels wrong. The mechanism is off. The parts are not creating the whole like people said it would. And despite my best efforts to kick that self-condemnation thing, I can't help but think:
"This foreign policy stuff is a little frustrating."

To the other 99%, it’s probably obvious, but for me in my privileged 1% demographic, it left me puzzled and frustrated and discouraged. A bunch of my generation, millions if you want to get nitpicky, up and left the church over it, because the template didn’t end up changing the world or even changing lives. It left us with a laundry list of behaviors but conspicuously ignored way too many elephants in the room to be taken seriously. For me, the tension had many facets:

Why are we still starving for nourishment after our sixth Bible study in a row? How can people supposedly filled with the Spirit be so enamored with the luxuries of this world to the detriment of the other 99% who suffer so? How can be the richest people on earth still be so unhappy? Does my craving for more neutralize the enough that Jesus says He is? If I'm patterned after my Savior, why does my life look exactly like everyone else's, with the exception of some stellar church attendance? The tension finally pinpointed here:

As believers in the western church, how can we have so much and do so little with it?

We have so freaking much. So much money, education, resources, opportunities, knowledge, possessions, gifts, consumer power, privileges, advantages. We have every tool at our disposal, yet we are chronically plagued by ailments - social, spiritual, physical, emotional. Good reader, hands up if your heart is too peaceful, your life too simplified, your hands too generous, your spirit too content, your space too sacred, your stuff too unimportant, your devotion to Jesus too concentrated. Millions of voices are raising, some publicly, some in private turmoil still searching for the words, saying:

Enough.

Enough with the obscene excess while the rest of the world is burning down outside our windows. Enough with the waste as 25,000 people die today of hunger, while I throw away another pound of food we didn’t get around to eating. Enough with the debt, the spending, the amassing, the irresponsibility, the indulgence, the fake discipleship, the rat race, the hamster wheel, the power and positioning and posturing with a hunger still for more, more, more, all the while pretending to follow a Jesus who didn’t even have a place to lay his head.

This started making me crazy. I just wanted to be more like Jesus...except when I didn't.

*Sigh*

For the love of Michael, it's such a battle to be human and love Jesus well, isn't it? For people mired in luxury and privileges, the gospel is dangerously simple. It completely fails to secure our station. It's like it doesn't even care. It doesn't offer the exemptions I'm comfortable with or the clauses that keep everything decent. Worse, it outright threatens a bunch of things I like. I mean, I really like them and Jesus doesn't seem to give a flip. In fact, he talks kind of ugly about rich people and seems to think we will have the very hardest time finding his kingdom... the.very.hardest.time. Harder than a camel fitting through the eye of a needle. Harder than that. I'm no scientist, but one of these things appears harder, and Jesus chose the other one.

Now I'm freaked out, because Jesus also said, listen, a bunch of people think they are following me, that they "get" the gospel, but they so don't and are actually extremely self-deceived because you cannot love God and money. I'm not even playing. You cannot. You cannot say you love me yet hate your brother. That makes you a liar, not a disciple. The way is narrow. Kate Moss narrow. Few will find it, and the richer you are, sorry, but the harder it's going to be for you to actually give up everything you have and follow me, because you have so much to lose.

This stuff makes me hyperventilate, not just because Jesus said it, but because I feel it.

So my little family said, God, if too much stuff is standing in the way of your kingdom coming in our lives, then help us break up with it. If it has stolen our allegience and hijacked our obedience, give us the courage to wage war against everything that is ruining us for your gospel, substituting comfort for bravery, aquiring for sharing, appearances for obedience, personal glory for worship.

Enter 7.

A seven-month experimental mutiny against excess, tackling seven areas of overconsumption in the spirit of a fast; a fast from greed, irresponsibility, apathy, and insatiability. Each area boiled down to just seven choices for a month:

Food.
Clothes.
Possessions.
Media.
Waste.
Spending.
Stress.

Only seven foods for a month. Only seven pieces of clothes for a month. Give away seven things we own a day for a month. Eliminate seven forms of media for a month. Adopt seven substantial habits for a greener life. Spend money in only seven places. Practice "seven sacred pauses" a day and observe the Sabbath...a deeply reduced life to find a greatly increased God.

I don't know how else to talk about 7 other than to say it changed our lives. The discipline of fasting from such cherished, abused luxuries was transformative in the most difficult, painful, beautiful way. It shined a spotlight on dark corners, corners I wanted hidden and kept from scrutiny. 7 held my life up to God's Word and said, "One of these things is not like the other." It pried our eyes open to needs and abuses and the far reaching effects of unchecked consumerism, and it would not let them close again in ignorance or obstinance, I tell you. It hurt. We bled out in parts. We celebrated in others. We pushed through the chaos of repentence and found liberation waiting on the other side.

I put it so humbly, so gently in your hands.

I simply cannot tell you how much I wish I could control your reaction to 7. With every thump of my beating heart, I hope you'll receive it like I'm offering it. This is not a template. This is not a formula. This is not a guilt-mongering, sanctimonious rant. 7 is not a prescription. I wrote it humbly, saturated in repentance, face down.

I wish I could sit next to you as you read it and explain things better, and then we could talk about it for hours, dreaming and scheming together. I wish you understood that my life is messy and so often I still feel like I am barely failing forward. I wish you would stop posting on Twitter and Facebook about how reading 7 on your Kindle makes you feel weird. Stop saying your Kindle makes you feel bad, man. I have a Kindle. Do you understand what I am saying?

This so isn't about some getting it wrong and us getting it right, because we are still struggling and wrestling and trying to choose 'dying to self' each day but often choosing just 'plain self' instead. I also wish I could stop you from turning a critical eye toward my little family, because writing this from the middle of the pack meant setting myself up as a hypocrite for everyone to scrutinize. And you'd be right. You would be so right, Jack.

That's why this cannot be about me. I'm a barely passable representative of the gospel. I'm struggling with the same tension and the same sin issues and the same double standards as everyone else. I just happened to have a laptop and a willing publisher and an editor who deleted all the ellipses I included. Please let's not compare or judge or self-condemn. Oh my stars, no self-condemnation, do you hear me? If you take the guilt route I will jump into an icy river and drown myself. Like I wrote in 7: Don't imagine I'm writing from the cardboard house I chose to live in next to the homeless refugees I feed with money diverted from our health insurance. Everyone be cool.

7 is for my brothers (yes it is, dudes...this is no chick book) and sisters who are looking around saying, "Something feels wrong about being at the top of the food chain and still clamoring for one more rung." I'm saying that. A bunch of you are saying that too. We are in this together. I have this vision of thousands, millions of us throwing wrenches in the machine and refusing complicity in the ravaging of the earth and its precious inhabitants. I see us transitioning bravely from the screaming voice that yells ME to the quiet one whispering we, the marginalized voice of the international community we belong to. I see us grabbing our friends and families and dreaming up ways to unhook from the system; I envision late night discussions between couples and roommates and sisters asking "what if?". I imagine a generation realizing that private consumer choices have social consequences and public outcomes, and when Jesus called the poor his brothers and sisters and our neighbors, those relational metaphors included deep ramifications for the way we spend our time, our money, our lives.

This is for people who are just ready. Maybe you've managed the tension as long as you can, and it's breaking you. Or you walked away from the church, hungry for Jesus but disenfranchised from a system that builds 60 million dollar buildings while the earth is groaning for intervention from the Bride. Perhaps you haven't even had the words yet, but your spirit is restless, roving. You could be like me and Brandon; frustrated with the ethos of the church, but in our most honest moments admitting we are part of the problem. Maybe you are looking at your storage unit, holding things that can't even fit into your house anymore, wondering what the point of all this is. Or you are camped under the steeple and still can't find God.

I believe something exciting is happening. I see it everywhere; I hear its whispers. And not just from the young revolutionaries, but from soccer moms, pastors, men in suits, students, urbanites, country folk, old, young, left, right, Christ-followers everywhere. God is stirring and moving us together. He wants to save our lives and save the world, and if the treasures of this earth are holding us back from the rushing wind of the Holy Spirit, setting our lives ablaze and sending us to the ends of the earth, Good News in the flesh like Jesus, then maybe it's time to wage war.

Join me. Let's start a little revolution.


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113 Comments

shelley - January 5th, 2012 at 8:28 AM
thank you. you have no idea how badly i needed to read that this morning.
Olivia Gregory - January 5th, 2012 at 8:32 AM
YES, YES, and YES. Started reading this week, and am alternating between laughing so hard ("boob meat") and feeling the deep prick of conviction and change. Jesus is moving, folks....moving His Church closer to His heart. I'm in.
Erica - January 10th, 2012 at 9:35 PM
LOL I cracked up about the "boob meat" too. Awesome. Shifting between laughter and conviction
Shelley - January 5th, 2012 at 8:34 AM
This book is ruining me. In a really fabulous, make Jesus proud, kind of way. Thank you so very much for not being afraid to make people uncomfortable and honestly challenging them to do more for their brothers and sisters. I've never felt so convicted!
Becky - January 5th, 2012 at 8:36 AM
The Sallingers are in.
Joani - January 5th, 2012 at 8:38 AM
Love! Still trying to figure out what my response will be, but it will be something.
Susie Davis - January 5th, 2012 at 8:52 AM
Can't wait to read it, Jen.
Proud of you.
Happy for Jesus on this one.
And happy for the people he wants us to love with our whole hearts.
Tessy - January 5th, 2012 at 8:53 AM
I'm in.... So in... Just so overwhelming at times. Even as I tried to tone down Christmas... habits die hard-- I feel so stuck still. Like I am scrubbing off layers of self... because even when I think I have made progress I review and my heart is pricked and God says... Not enough... I expect more - I have a better story for you.
Angela - January 5th, 2012 at 8:58 AM
Your first paragraphs hit so close to my heart. in fact, they actually hit my heart. Even as a child I knew something was not right. I would go to church and think, "Is this it? What about all that other stuff Jesus says? Am I confused about what it looks like to follow Christ?". And now as an adult I still wonder...What does it really mean to follow Jesus? Where does my rest and comfort truly come from? My stuff? My job? My entertainment? I certainly hope not. What poor substitues for a Messiah. And what does it mean to not only share the Gospel but to live it out? Every. Single. Day.
And then there is fear. Fear of not being able to do it. I no longer want trivial messiahs made of something a man made that is only meant to ease my boredom and entertain me as I try and fill the deep void of not living a life for Jesus. I pray every day that God's gives me the strength to follow Him in such a way and to put every aspect of my life on the altar. It means becoming lowly and humble, walking among the lowly and humble, and the cost is greater than I ever understood as a child. But I want it. I want it so much. To live a life gloriously pleasing to my Lord.
Thank you and your family for being an example for me and so many others. God is using you in ways you may never know or see. Thank you for being bold and vulnerable. I pray for your family often and thank God for people such as yourself who live in a way that challenges others to really think about what it really means to say you love and follow Christ.
Ashley - January 5th, 2012 at 9:03 AM
"I just wanted to be more like Jesus...except when I didn't." Yep. Thank you for writing so honestly...I can only imagine the way I would feel putting that out there, knowing the scrutiny that must come, as people try to pick you apart, and look for hypocrisy...so they can feel excused from changing one dang thing in their lives. It's on my bucket list to sit down with you one day and just chat over this stuff. You rock.
Monica - January 5th, 2012 at 9:08 AM
I am looking forward to reading this book. I, too, feel the undercurrent, the discontentment, the pastors and church leaders looking and searching, but so unwilling and unable to give up the very things that are holding them back. I pray that the Spirit breaks on through and all of our eyes are open the the truth: you cannot love God and money and until every last one of God's children has his or her basic needs met, none of us should believe we are entitled to luxuries. Congrats on your latest success, Jen!
melissa rae - August 28th, 2014 at 11:40 PM
Wow amazing comment. Piercing like this book. Blessings to you!
AKH - January 5th, 2012 at 9:11 AM
What on earth? I'm only the 8th comment? I received one of those "no unauthorized spending" emails from my husband again today, but once that is lifted, I'm making my purchase. I'll save it though, so when I fly out to the Texas, you can sit by me and explain. And then maybe we can arm wrestle or have a spitting contest.
Shon Valdry - January 5th, 2012 at 9:14 AM
Love your heart!! You are amazing!! I have been hooked since reading the Spin Cycle!! May God continue to light your heart for His Glory!! Praise Him!! Keep saying what needs to be said!!
Sara - January 5th, 2012 at 9:16 AM
I have had the honor of reading "7" and was pleasantly surprised at the utter lack of condemnation. (Sorry Jen, I tend to assume Christan books come chock full of condemnation.) I was deeply touched when I found it to be a heartfelt, raw and shockingly honest journal of your experimental mutiny. Because of the absence of assumed condemnation I found myself inspired and peculiarly excited about starting my own version of this mutiny. I was a little freaked out from time to time to read you talking about yourself and yet describing me in such spot on detail. It was like you peeked in my mind and put words to my messed up feelings.

I'm in! I'm gathering a Council and doing some prep. As a fellow extremist, I too don't change/learn unless fully submerged. No dipping a toe in and having any real impact here. (And it really does appeal to my inner rebel. What better way to feed the inner rebel than to rebel against societal excess and apathy.)

The book reminded me of a line from the Christmas play I was just in at church...
"It's the evolution of a revolution,
The gift of a hope solution,
The resolution for absolution,
at least it is for me,
So let me ask you, if you agree,
do you see what I see?
(band starts playing "Revolution" by the Beatles)
It's the evolution of a revolution,
The gift of a hope solution,
It's the evolution of a revolution!

I do hope and pray that this helps to spark a revolution!
Colleen - January 5th, 2012 at 9:17 AM
Wow...I would say that I'm afraid to read it. Heaven forbid I do something really hard. :) I feel the same tension...frustrated with the church's excess but realizing that I'm not doing much better. I "think" I am doing better, but if a third-world person looked at my family and compared us to the super-spenders down the street, they really wouldn't be able to tell much difference. "Why are we still starving for nourishment after our sixth Bible study in a row?" - I've been feeling this for quite some time. So I guess now I have to read it. I need something to give me a good swift kick in the pants!
Michele Nordine - January 5th, 2012 at 9:22 AM
just thank you again for continuing to move forward, for inspiring us all. I have it and haven't started reading it. I know it's going to be an awesome and yet tough read. I get it. I want my life to be a strong witness of me getting it. Thank you for being one of us and spurring us on to this Holy revolution!!!
L - January 5th, 2012 at 9:27 AM
Jen- I am a friend of a friend of yours. I am in love with your blog. I am wondering if you think your book will be beneficial to me, an agnostic. I have always thought that the Bible is a book of history, but not necessarily a book written by the hand of God. I am not sure about the Resurrection. I am, however, fed up with feeling like I am empty when I am surrounded by a great house in a wonderful neighborhood and driving a nice car. I am frustrated because I do care about the truly needy and, yet, I don't know how to help. I am flailing. I feel like there must be something more to this life, to my life, to my family's life, than material possessions and the rat race, but I don't know what it is or how to figure it out.

Would you recommend jumping into your book head first or should I start small?
Michele Nordine - January 5th, 2012 at 8:02 PM
Jump in!
Jen Hatmaker - January 6th, 2012 at 8:15 AM
I’m so glad you posted. I would say, unequivocally, yes this book is for you too. 7 addresses all sorts of social ills that seems to plague us. I heard a teacher say once, “Even if I didn’t believe in God one bit, the Bible would still provide us with a superior way to live our lives.” I hope you’ll find that in 7, too. Different beliefs aside, if we all reduced and shared and simplified and loved one another, wouldn’t this world be better for it? Give it a try, and if you disagree, I’ll send you the $10 you spent on it with the promise to take you to dinner as penance if you’re ever in Austin. ;0)
L - January 7th, 2012 at 6:38 PM
I absolutely agree that the Bible provides great advice for living our lives. And, of course, I mean that not to trivialize it one bit as I know it is so much more for you and your readers. Seriously, there's a lot of great stuff in there! I live in Austin, so I'll take you up on your promise, but I bet I won't need to. I'm going to buy it tonight... on my Kindle. :)
Donna - January 5th, 2012 at 9:28 AM
Three books have changed me. Actually four. A Modern Girl's Guide to Bible Study totally changed how I view reading the Bible. And then in the last month Interrupted, Barefoot Church, and Kisses From Katie ROCKED MY WORLD. I had sensed such a restlessness in my spirit....telling people that Jesus was getting me ready for a change and then BAM! Those books came into my life along with some awesome speakers who talked of the same thing and I am changed. Can't wait to read 7. I'm so in!!! Knowing the Bible is so important. Acting on it is our purpose.
lindsay - January 5th, 2012 at 9:36 AM
Thank you for saying these things and writing this book. I am not sure how to define my dissonance, but maybe this is a start.

Katie - January 5th, 2012 at 9:43 AM
Jen- just want you to know that I after finishing 7 (which took me all of 24 hours because I could not put it down!) I sensed neither condemnation or hypocrisy on your part. You words (and your life) humbly and genuinely call us all out on our crap- and for that I cannot thank you enough. Joining you in the pursuit of a life that looks more like Jesus... Katie
Jill - January 5th, 2012 at 9:52 AM
I discovered you after an old college friend of mine shared your post about Christmas on her Facebook page. I've been reading up on your blog since, and suggested to my life group at our 2,000 Methodist church here in Cincinnati, Ohio that we should read your book together and then do it. Some of them are on board. I'm into month three already and it is resonating powerfully and making me uncomfortable for the right reasons. Incidentally, I do not feel "bad" for reading it on my Nook... I was quite happy to get it for around $10 instead of the $14 paperback version :) You are a very inspiring voice in a sea of lookalikes, thinking they are getting it right and loving Jesus but completely missing the point. And it is so easy to miss the point in the face of big money capitalism that it is frightening. Thank you for taking this stand. I'm praying it really rallies people... I know I'm trying in my tiny circle of influence!
Casey - January 5th, 2012 at 10:04 AM
I read it...it is amazing. I will be launching this in my own. I keep thinking that were 2 or more are gathered in prayer and SEVEN we can make a difference. WE can stand up and say STOP selling me crap that is made by people who have no rights...stuff I don't need in the first place. Grateful for your voice Jen. God is getting it out there!
Marla Taviano - January 5th, 2012 at 10:12 AM
Heading home next week after 5 weeks in a third world country. I don't even have words right now, so yeah.

I want that sit-down-and-chat-with-you-about-7 thing. Gonna pray God gives it to me.

Kate Moss narrow? (snort, snort)
Jen Hatmaker - January 6th, 2012 at 8:03 AM
I believe between your trip and this book we'd have plenty to discuss. Welcome almost home! I've been so glad to pray for you...
Kristal - January 5th, 2012 at 10:13 AM
This is something I've been feeling for a while. We just sold our house when we relocated and the idea of buying another one and filling it with more stuff to impress more people and continue spinning fills me with fear. Getting the book today. Praying for the grace to really be transformed by my Redeemer today.
Mike - January 5th, 2012 at 10:37 AM
This "dude" is in it with you! Keep the punches coming!
Jen Hatmaker - January 6th, 2012 at 8:01 AM
Represent, Mike!
Chantel - January 5th, 2012 at 10:49 AM
I am on said crazy train! According to my Kindle (that I am not ashamed to be reading it on :)), I'm 95% of the way through reading 7 and I'm loving it. Can't wait to spread the word!
michelle - January 5th, 2012 at 10:59 AM
I'm a 36 year old ballet mom. Lifelong Christian. Feeling the same frustration and unrest that you describe. I'm scared to read this book. I feel like it's going to challenge me. At the same time I can't write this comment quickly enough because I'm so eager to go get the book.

If it's anything like this post I have a feeling my mind will be overflowing.

Thanks for writing about something that can so obviously put you in line for criticism. The idea of reading it while staring at my wealthy surroundings makes me nervous. But I'm taking you at your words: no condemnation.
Jen Hatmaker - January 6th, 2012 at 8:00 AM
I included enough personal failures to eliminate any worry about condemnation! Promise!
Melissa - January 5th, 2012 at 11:00 AM
Just bought it. Reading Radical as a family changed us in so many ways in 2010, praying this is a book that brings us closer to God in 2012. Thanks for writing it!
A. - January 5th, 2012 at 11:28 AM
Love this book... couldn't put it down. I am so in.
Sarah - January 5th, 2012 at 11:33 AM
I was at the Ladies Retreat at Falls Creek you write about. That night stirred something up inside me and has made me want more, beg for more. I start asking, is this it? When is enough, enough? 7 has opened my eyes. I'm ready for a change. I'm I'm, overwhelming in. I've got my council and two crazy ladies to share this journey with me. We start Monday. To God be the glory.
Laura - January 5th, 2012 at 11:58 AM
What moved me the most about this book (finished it last night) was the message of HOPE woven throughout. This subject matter has the potential to be so full of guilt and condemnation, and yet you manage to move the reader with a challenge that comes out of a deep love and hope for the Church. This is the most stirring book I've read in a long, long time. Thank you!
Lisa - January 5th, 2012 at 12:08 PM
AMEN! just ordered your book yesterday. have read crazy love by francis chan and radical by david platt and now excited to read this. its all just adding up and making so much sense. it's making a lot of sense. too much sense. i feel like the scales are falling off my eyes and i'm seeing things as they really are for the first time. thank you so much for writing this book in your irreverent and insightful and hilarious and challenging way.

over the last year the hubs and i have started making some radical life changes. starting with selling our dream house and doing a major downsize/downgrade. you can read a bit on my blog ( http://www.rememberingthesmallstuff.blogspot.com/2011/01/so-anyone-wanna-buy-our-house.html ) should you feel so inclined. somehow i feel like we're just getting started...
Lindsey Crawford - January 5th, 2012 at 12:37 PM
Yes! The book made me cry. The book made me laugh. The Lord used the book to convict my spirit to the core. And so that you won't go and drown yourself in an icy river, this is how God used 7 to slap me upside my head...
1. I passed a man who appeared to be homeless the other day as I was driving. Seeing him brought tears to my eyes and feelings of love and compassion to my heart. Seeing him reminded me that there is not a single solitary place in our little southern town that provides shelter for the homeless. And now my husband and I are trying to do something about that. Why, you ask? "Because it just ain't right," says Jesus.
2. As I type this comment, my stomach is growling because I have chosen to eat only items that grow in the earth. This is my 5th day and yes, I would kill for some McDonald's french fries. But I want to appreciate more what the Lord has provided us to consume but more importantly, each time my tummy growls, I stop and focus on God. I ask Him to use every stomach growl as a reminder of the bazillions of folks starving around the world. And then I ask the Lord, will you use me, Father? Use me to help feed the hungry. Use me to help clothe the poor.
3. Our entire family has gone through our closets and given away clothing and toys. Plus, I am not spending one single dime this month on myself. The idea is to have more money to give away to someone who needs it.

So there. Reading 7 hurt. It really hurt. But it was time. It IS time. Revolution, you say? You doggone right!! I'm. IN.
Jen Hatmaker - January 6th, 2012 at 7:58 AM
Atta girl, Lindsey!!!
Jil - January 5th, 2012 at 1:20 PM
I'm so tired of hearing my own voice screaming "me", also! I'm rallying my Council and we are IN! You're keeping it real, Jen. Thank you!
Michele - January 5th, 2012 at 7:55 PM
may a perfect love cast out my fear.
jolynn - January 5th, 2012 at 8:18 PM
I'm right there with you and we really need to talk! LOL.
Momma - January 5th, 2012 at 8:25 PM
Preach.
Tina K - January 5th, 2012 at 8:27 PM
Man the Lord really has been leading my family and I down this crazy scary beautiful path...it began with a Radical book study at a church we just started attending, then I read Mission Minded Family, then the Lord showed me many versus in the bible about the poor, hungry, the hurting, then Christmas and the Advent Conspiracy came and now your book. It seems just when I start getting comfy and thinking of myself and the stuff I "need" or want, something comes up to show me where we need to be headed in this walk. I am so broken...and I can't wait to see how God will use this!!! Wondering if the book is available anywhere but amazon...I don't want to wait for shipping!!!!!
Megan - January 5th, 2012 at 8:28 PM
Jen- so looking forward to reading your book. It is waiting patiently on my Kindle. Based on what you introduced here and the comments I understand the basic idea of the book and honestly I'm a little worried. I went through this a few years a go when my pastor taught a series (that later became a book) Radical. We took a major hard look at our lives and even sold mostof our stuff and moved to Africa (really). I have to say once I was ther living it outloud and things pared down to SIMPLE I still had more than 99% of the people around me (let's face it you can always downsize) and most importantly I saw first hand how genuinely harmful "giving" can be. I read and studied When Helping Hurts and Toxic Charity and they both echoed what I lived in Africa. So it remains- what the heck to do. I feel pretty paralyzed in giving and want to make sure it is truly helping and not hurting. It is so very, very complicated. I do look forward to you book and hope you have some insight in this area.
Elisabeth - January 6th, 2012 at 6:17 AM
I have not read this book (though I have others written by you) and am intrigued. I have lived in Nairobi, Kenya for the last 4 years. And I totally can understand where you are coming from; every time I visit the USA I feel bewildered at the excess and waste of life; and disappointed because the church and The Church doesn't seem to get it. I enjoy your writing, so will try to get my hands on a copy of 7 to see what you have to say.
alisha - January 6th, 2012 at 8:20 AM
LOVE.LOVE.LOVE. Can not wait to read it-- it's sitting here on my Kindle right now-- AND apply it in my own little family. I don't know you personally, but girl....I am so thankful to Jesus for you! Your honesty and humor- both mega legit- set up a totally humble platform for you to speak TRUTH into our lives. You are being used by God, sister, and I am being changed because of His work through YOU. Press on-- you rock!
keri - January 6th, 2012 at 8:47 AM
yes even a christian can have too many TOMS shoes........i think we need to also look at oursleves with regards to the media we eat........it is crazy to me to hear my brothers and sisters in christ talking about some of the shows we watch and call it a naughty indulgence....and i too am guilty of this.....i explain away americas next top model as art....lol......is it any wonder there is such chaos in america right now........hope...............
Lynne - January 6th, 2012 at 9:09 AM
This week my daughter and fiance went to register for wedding gifts and the salesclerk assigned to them, her eyes lit up when they said they were having a large wedding. "A registry is like a blank check," the clerk said, "You sign up for whatever you want and then other people pay for it." After three hours my daughter came home shell-shocked with only 50 things registered for, many of which she deleted when she got home. This, the daughter who has lived in Zambia and Mozambique, with kids with AIDS and street boys. How do you do a wedding that is a celebration with family and friends that will not be a kick in the stomach to the worldview of the bride and groom? This is what we are wrestling with.
Beca McPherson - January 6th, 2012 at 9:12 AM
I read your book over the course of a few days just after Christmas. Husband and I are in, with 3 girls participating in whole or part! We start our food month on Sunday. Blog is up: fastingfromexcess.blogspot.com. Is it okay if I provide a link to your blog in the sidebar? Hubby is copyright lawyer -- he made me ask instead of assume. :) I can't wait to see where God takes this thing (not our thing, this whole 7 thing) for His kingdom.
Gianna - January 6th, 2012 at 10:43 AM
Wow! I think that I need to pray about this (not for my sake, but for my husband's) and see if he would be willing to do something like this.

Wow! That's really all I have to say!
Nicole Quiring - January 6th, 2012 at 1:00 PM
I'm just about done with it and ready to blog about it/ face book about it/ whatever . . . this post was beautifully written. Your heart challenges us and may make us squirm but because you are wrestling and living it day to day it is so real and authentic! This book will impact each person differently depending on where we are at in this rat race, but one thing is for sure -- you do not write this from a place of condemnation. You and your little tribe are as real as it gets. Thanks for putting your life on the front lines so we could all be impacted. THANK YOU.
Katie Ganshert - January 6th, 2012 at 1:06 PM
Jen....this post totally reminds me a video I watched on Vimeo. Especially when you posed this question: As believers in the western church, how can we have so much and do so little with it?

This video has some pretty astounding statistic about the excess we have here in America. And poses a completely convicting, completely challenging, completely inspiring question at the end.

I think I've watched it at least ten times: http://vimeo.com/13831236
Lissa - January 6th, 2012 at 2:21 PM
Thank you so much for writing this. It's like you read my journal! All this time, I thought "am I crazy?" why doesn't anyone else feel this way? Finally--someone does!
Vicki Vogt - January 6th, 2012 at 3:36 PM
In the same week, I read 7 and met a wonderful mom who has fasted from her old life 3 and half years now by living off the grid with her husband and 6 children, although even she says that no fast is meant to last forever. There seems to be a strong wind blowin' with many of us waking up to the fresh air of living simply and authentically, arm in arm with Jesus. Loved the book. Although not the intent, it makes me want to move to Austin so I can help keep it weird.....
Stephanie - January 6th, 2012 at 4:02 PM
I find it interesting that you wrote this on December 26.....did anyone else catch that? The day after we, as many Christians, spent waaaaaaaayyyyyy tooooooo much money on junk we don't need....and while starving children died as I stuffed leftover Christmas dinner down my disposal. Your Christmas Conundrum post started it for me....our Christmas this year finally centered more around Christ and it will look vastly different next year for sure...should have read that post back in October, before I started buying everything! My girls are not too sure about it all, but we have committed in our hearts that Christmas is about Jesus, not about us, anymore...like we have preached for so long, yet did not live it out that way at all. Oh, we did the casual yearly reading of the Christmas story (I mean, come on, my husband is on church staff), but this year we started the "something to give" and it was the highlight of our girls' Christmas as they selected things to buy from a ministry catalog to provide for others' needs...and next year we are 'all in'. Can't wait to read this book....BTW, I don't have a Kindle, or a Nook, or an Ipad, so I will read the paperback! Not b/c I don't want one of those, I'm too cheap and a little stuck in my ways!
Linda - January 6th, 2012 at 6:06 PM
From the distant land of Colorado, I feel it too Jen....Read about the media thing, and have reduced it drastically to writing that influences people to think about faith and what it is requiring of me is real change. A drawing back in the rush, contemplation, then action, not at my convenience, but when needed where needed however needed. It's not fitting in to other's patterns, but it renders authenticity, admission of my inadequacy and total reliance on the Holy Spirit. How long it had been, I couldn't recall....no more going through the motions with a wrong heart, wrong attitude self-gratifying agenda. Just be there. in the mess of humanity who is no less messy than me. When I am honest. Caught me on the precipice of desertion of churches who drive away rather than incorporate the new thing God is doing into the body. There is room for all, please come on in, that's my heart's cry. Appreciate the boldness of your words, as always a challenge to change...from gutlessness to glory, His alone. I am all in!
Karin - January 6th, 2012 at 7:49 PM
I think i'm a bit confused - is this occupy-Wall-Street driven? The political picture at the top isn't working for me if this is supposed to be a Bible -driven thing. I'm going to be as raw and honest as you were in your post: i am leery of the social gospel. I believe Jesus was a lot more than teachings on sharing and poverty. he's our way to be made right with God. I probably misunderstood where you're coming from but your 99%/1% references put me on a path of caution. I grew up in East Germany and therefore have my own experience of materialism that grows out of lack, not excess. The human condition you describe (greed, etc) is as old as mankind and the solution has always been God. His Spirit. I appreciate the challenge you're extending but for me, living already on a ministry-tied shoe-string budget (technologically somewhere between the Amish and pop culture), I'll continue with the rate of donations/give-aways and unfulfilled upgrades that we're already doing. Which is why i appreciate your saying it's not a formula or recipe. I feel what you feel not so much about the quantity of media consumption but the KIND of shows Christians watch. There's no way to not sound judgmental when saying this but maybe folks are still feeling spiritually hungry because they snack on crap all week long and wonder why they're not growing despite the Bible studies. I'm genuinely disappointed at what many of my sisters in the faith watch and their kids too. But it's a personal decision for everyone, and all we can do it point and invite, pray and hope they'll take the plunge, make the cut. As for leaving the church because it doesn't measure up (I'm a pastor's wife), I just picked up my own motto: Play thru the pain; stay in the game.
Jen Hatmaker - January 6th, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Nope, not political or the social gospel. Just trying to throw off anything that entangles me and jacks up my life as a true Christ-follower. Read it and you'll see...
carrie - January 6th, 2012 at 10:21 PM
Love all of this! We live in China and it's amazing to see how little people can live with and how they don't really feel like they are missing out at all. I love that our kids wear the same clothes over and over again. We just simplified even more yesterday because the closets were overrun with hand me downs that I've hated to give out because they were gifts. But a good purging is good for everyone. Love your message! Jesus is enough to satisfy, we don't need to look at the world for our plumb line of happiness. It's funny timing because I just wrote a small rant on my blog about parents needing to strip excess from their kids. So convicted that we need to be proactive in this with our kids.
Jason K - January 6th, 2012 at 11:02 PM
This dude is in as well! Yes, I am ready for war as you declared. This is precisely what God has been clearly laying on my heart and I agree that He is doing something big. I am part of the problem and 24 days ago Carrie and i started our own little wage on this war because of my discontent and inability to even have a capacity to be inspired. Realizing it was due to all the suffocating excess in our lives stifling God's best for our lives. We call it The Excess Depletion Project.  Www.blessedorexcess.blogspot.com  just one small step in the right direction! You can imagine my heart is skipping many beats realizing that there are soooo many others humbly moving in this direction. What we are talking about here is the thing that could very well alienate us from people we respect and things we have grown to love....Not enough words.....Yes, let's all keep this conversation going somehow. The Lord is smiling on this conversation.
Jen Hatmaker - January 6th, 2012 at 11:28 PM
So freaking awesome, Jason! Totally inspired...
Barb - January 7th, 2012 at 5:08 AM
Okay, God has picked up his megaphone. In the last 6 months I have read Crazy Love, Radical, the Hole in the Gospel and somehow have stumbled upon your blog. American Christians simply must WAKE UP. We live as if the things in our possession belong to us. I'd be furious if my financial planner spent "my" money on herself instead of managing it for my retirement. When did we stop knowing that our stuff isn't ours? I have much to think about and DO. Thank you for speaking so clearly about what God is showing you. I'm in.
Jen W - January 7th, 2012 at 9:40 PM
Gosh, I wish I could love this post. I don't deny your passion or that it was God-inspired, but the overzealous nature of many of the comments really freaks me out. I was excited about this book, and I may still purchase it. However, I will approach this experiment with a big dose of caution. When I was younger in years (and in my faith), I would have been all-in to this idea. I believed my rapidly beating heart and connection I felt with other like-minded Christians was a sure sign that I should follow a certain path, or attend a certain type of church. As it turns out, many times I walked into a spiritual trap. One doesn't need to do something radical or reckless to know God's love and express it in huge ways to all kinds of people, rich and poor. One does not have to wage war on anything! There are many believers who absolutely know, with a peaceful heart, that their comparatively simple ways of serving their Lord are completely sufficient. God's love is sufficient.

Please understand that I am not saying that this challenge isn't exactly what God is calling some people to do, but I do hope that it doesn't become a method for proving our Christianity to others or to ourselves. That would really miss the point.

Take time to lay it out before Him first. Be absolutely certain this is where He wants you to put your heart, mind, soul and strength. Thanks for letting me express myself here.
Rach - January 8th, 2012 at 9:35 AM
Thank you from a reader in N Ireland. I devoured this over the past few days (bought it on the kindle because it was cheaper, now wishing I'd bought the paper copy so I could lend it to friends) and am planning to re-read it with my husband and possibly enact our own little experiment.

The excesses of American culture are somewhat toned down over here, but there is still so much to challenge and provoke thought/discussion for non-American readers. Thank you for your honesty, and obedience to the Spirit's promptings.
Dave Moore - January 10th, 2012 at 9:20 AM
Jen, This is one of the most thought provoking, inspirational words that I have ever heard. Blessed that I ran across you and this. Thank you and God bless you with continued anointing and truth.
Kim - January 10th, 2012 at 12:26 PM
I've struggled for the past 5 years. We left a very conservative church because there was no mercy, no justice, only one way to live -- cookie cutter Christianity. We joined a liberal main-line church where there is more room for ecology, mercy, justice, giving, helping . . . But I've missed Jesus.

I am so thankful that I (literally) stumbled over this book and this blog. I thought we were all alone. It is so good to know there is a stirring / an awakening.
cornelia becker seigneur - January 7th, 2013 at 10:50 AM
Wow- that is so true and something many experience- there is another way...we are all finding it (and looking for it)...
Linda - January 12th, 2012 at 5:20 PM
found your book at Sam's Club. it isn't what i expected- but i like it. good job...looking for a friend to think these things through with now.
Dee. - January 13th, 2012 at 11:14 AM
Why did you use George W. Bush for the picture? Why any president? Why not yourself?
Valerie - January 13th, 2012 at 3:26 PM
All I can say is thank you. I'm currently reading 7 and can't put it down...you know, stay up till 1 and know you're going to be tired when the little ones come waltzing in before the sun comes up and you know you should put it down and go to bed already but just have to read one more section kind of can't put it down. I feel like you are expressing my thoughts and heart all over the place. I am laughing and stunned into thinking deeply at the same time. How is it that we don't know each other?! Thank you for the raw honesty, and the hilarity that comes with it. We are so discouraged with our church situation right now, as are so many of my friends in their churches across America ...I think you are addressing a very real issue here that we as individuals and church as a whole could be transformed if we could just get out of our own way for a minute. I sometimes feel to be sure God's heart must absolutely break by how much we have and so many of his other children around the world suffer...not to mention the whole heart condition thing. I too am a mom via both bio and adoption and feel like I have a split personality sometimes in that I want them to grow up in safety and comfort but don't want them to get the message that comfort is the goal ...how crazy is that? I want them to have a comfortable life, but not want a comfortable life...See?! Crazy! I am loving how this book is making me think and talk with people around me about the double-lifeness of it all...
Lisabeth - January 13th, 2012 at 7:09 PM
Loving loving loving this book. I've been feeling so many ways lately and this has helped solidify that I can't keep rowing the boat with one oar and going in circles. Faith in ACTION! Thank you for the gentle, funny, loving and truthful nudge!
Katie - January 16th, 2012 at 6:46 AM
I read the book this weekend (well...most of it. There was football on afterall:) I agree with the person who said that they felt no condemnation reading it. I've read a couple of these kind of books and find most of them to be judgmental on those who are not living lives of 'less' excess/be greener etc. Instead, it was funny and touching to read of your very real journey. It both opened my eyes and softened my heart. I even started getting ideas in the shower of what God would want me to do with the talents and things he's given me. If they start to happen I'll blame you (insert sarcasm here). Seriously, a great book and a beautiful call to those who say they love Jesus.
Kaylie - January 17th, 2012 at 1:06 PM
I'm in tears just reading this. THANK YOU for putting into words what I feel. The love for Jesus, the excess, the knowing I'm failing. As the Lord convicts me to clean out my life and people start looking at me funny I back off. Thank you for letting me know my family isn't alone!
Lil - January 19th, 2012 at 8:51 AM
WOW! While reading this book, I'm either crying from laughing or crying from conviction---thank
you, thank you, THANK YOU for writing this book, Jen!

Jim - January 20th, 2012 at 6:51 AM
Amen and Amen and Amen!
Dana - January 21st, 2012 at 2:55 PM
Your book is messing with my reality. Not being sarcastic, I really appreciate it.
Brenda - January 22nd, 2012 at 11:14 AM
I just finished it and it just about finished me. I shouldn't read it before bedtime because it kept me awake most of the night. Now, in the light of day, what do I do about it?

Thanks, Jen, for turning me inside out (said with the tiniest bit of sarcasm). Ever since I heard you speak in Wichita in November, my sleep cycles have been greatly effected. But keep it up, girlfriend. I'm four months away from my 50th birthday and I think it's time this old dog learned some new tricks.

Thanks, Jesus, for poking Jen until she wrote this stuff down.
Kim - January 22nd, 2012 at 5:06 PM
Love this book! Before I saw it and picked it up, I had decided 2012 would be the year to get rid of our excess. Too much can really just be too much and doesn't fill so much of what we think it will. I have to read this book with a pen so I can underline and star and draw boxes around so many things and statements I agree with. THANK YOU for writing this book!!!
Lindsey - January 24th, 2012 at 8:26 PM
I am not much of a reader. I went ahead and bought your book bc I have made some of the same unsettling realizations you mentioned and I hoped to be encouraged and inspired that the problem is not too big to begin tackling in my own life. I absolutely cannot put the book down! It is written with abundant grace, humility, honesty, and humor - so engaging, so uplifting, and so motivating. Thank you for writing it and sharing it. To God be the glory, and may each of us become less, that He may become more.
Bethany - January 25th, 2012 at 8:53 PM
Jen, I've been reading your stuff for a few months, as we are walking into adopting, and I just want to take a moment to agree with you. He is doing so many new things! From The Irresistible Revolution and Common Prayer: A Workbook...(Shane Claiborne, etc.), Everyday Justice (Julie Clawson), Longing For Enough In A Culture of More (Paul Escamilla), Generous Justice (Timothy Keller), A Place at The Table (Chris Seay), Advent Conspiracy, The Hole in Our Gospel (Richard Stearns), your stuff, and on and on. He is doing a new thing. I feel so privileged to be a part of it and to raise my children in His Way. My husband is a minister, and I know it can be lonely sometimes to be somewhat set apart, even in the midst of your regular old sin. Thanks for sharing, and may you rest in the peace of the Spirit.
Jennifer Overholser - January 26th, 2012 at 2:46 PM
Thank you Jen for being real, honest, and vulnerable. Reading 7 was so convicting, yet liberating. It has started a revolution in my heart and in my home. I am putting people on a waiting list to borrow my copy and begging others to buy their own. I needed this more than you will ever know. Praising our Savior for using His servant to challenge and bless those she has never met.
Rawkin' Fruitarian - January 26th, 2012 at 8:41 PM
Jen,
Your book inspired me to go computer-free from Feb.1, 2012 through March 1, 2012. I will be posting your book pic, along with this note, on Feb.1, 2012 on my blog, which has over 150 followers: www.rawkinraw.wordpress.com. I can't wait to see what's around the corner. Excited for the adventure! Thank you for making a huge impact on my life.
Sandra - February 1st, 2012 at 11:42 AM
My wonderful friend told me about your book last week. I Wish I would have read your post long before today. After serving a mission in a 3rd world country last summer, my perspectives have drastically changed. This past Christmas was hard, I just wanted to skip it. The never ending shopping, the over indulgent food parties, the meaningless gift exchange games, the last minute feeling of obligation gifts... For someone who has always loved Christmas, I felt like a scrooge, and the only ones who knew my true feelings, were my God and my husband. Even though I gave alot away to help those in need over Christmas, it just didn't feel enough and I would express to my husband that I just didn't want to buy anymore unnecessary stuff. And I would ask questions like "why aren't we Americans ever satisfied with what we already have?" Me included, I could list a number of things on my want list. Anyway so glad to not be the only one disgusted by excess in America and disgusted by the excess of stuff and other things in my life. I'm ready to take action and start 7 months of fasting in honor of and in prayer for those living in extreme poverty. May God do a work in me for His honor and glory, as I prepare to return to the same 3rd world country in a few months. Thank you Jen for being obedient to God and writing a book that so many of us need to read. I ordered it today and I can't wait to read it!
Zonedforworship - February 7th, 2012 at 9:42 PM
Can anyone give me ideas on how they managed a month with only seven items of clothing? Is that including undergarments?
And, someone please share with me the seven items of food they chose for the month. Did it include oils and water as an item? I haven't read the book yet but I look forward to implementing this in my life and experiencing the results.


shannon p - February 10th, 2012 at 1:36 PM
Did not include undergarments but did inclue shoes in the 7. Also, Jen gives her food list in the book and how she picked those items.
Tiffany Allen - February 9th, 2012 at 11:48 AM
Just finished the book and can't rave enough about it! One, I absolutely LOVE your style of writing-it's in every day, real talk, it makes me laugh out loud (which draws plenty of odd stares when I'm in public), and again, it's just REAL.
Two, I was going through a defiant, stubborn streak (which kind of sums up my life now that I think about it), trying to find my way in yet another new chapter of my life (seems to me my chapters are quite short, moving onto new things constantly), and tired of looking for who I was supposed to be in books that told me in no certain terms could I ever measure up to the perfect woman of God the author was claiming I needed to be (conjure up the picture of a meek and mild woman and you'll see the opposite of who I am). This book was exactly what I needed to remind me that it's not about me. It's about Jesus. He gifted me with the characteristics I have, but he expects me to use them for his glory (you hear that, my sweet, loving, stubborn self?).
And lastly, this book spoke to the side of me that does care about others more than myself. It reminded me that I am called to be a good steward of everything I have and come into contact with. I am called to serve others and love them with Jesus' love (because heaven knows I don't have enough in me to love even my boyfriend on some days).
So, THANK YOU, Jen Hatmaker, my new favorite author, whose books I am going to go out and buy (at used book stores of course) and devour as fast as I can snatch them up. You've given God yet another avenue to hit me upside the head with a 2 x 4 to get my attention off myself and back on him. And for that, I will forever be grateful!!
Katie - February 15th, 2012 at 8:17 AM
I just heard about your book yesterday (I saw it pinned on Pinterest) and I am SO excited to get my hands on it. Thank you for writing this. As I read through your blog posts, I instantly connect with your authenticity and sense of humor. I am starting a little project next week called 40 bags in 40 days that I will work through with a group of girlfriends as we journey through the season of Lent. Here's the link if you're interested: http://theterpblog.blogspot.com/2012/02/40-bags-in-40-days.html
Deborah - February 21st, 2012 at 1:33 AM
7 will be my first-ever book I buy and use on my Macs new Kobo I just downloaded for free. The irony is awesome. This and Interrupted and something by Shane Claiborne that I have yet to decide. I hate reading on my laptop but I am so hungry to read your ideas and books that I'm doing the electronic thing so I can have them faster. I'm goin' for it. My family's gonna love me. No, I think they really will. Thanks for writing your books. Life is breathing into me, validating.
Amanda - February 28th, 2012 at 12:32 AM
I started with this [amazeballs] book, then I google-stalked you (sounds creepier than it is), will now be up until past midnight to read this blog ... and also I cannot stop crying. But good tears. Like, life is crazy and beautiful and amazing tears. Thank you so much for sharing.
Jessica - March 2nd, 2012 at 4:44 PM
Several from our church are doing this 'Experiment' together and more are adding to the number daily. We now will be having two groups meeting regarding "7" verses one. My husband, 18 yr old son, and I are on Day Nine, Month One. Thank you for the gift of this journey Jen. To God be the glory for the great things he is doing and will do through your ministry of words.
Emily - March 7th, 2012 at 6:36 AM
Wow. nThis totally speaks to what I have been feeling for a long time - we dont have a storage problem, we have a "too much stuff" problem. nWe don't need half of what we have, and yet we want more. nnI am curently on a major purge of the house, sending box after box to Goodwill. nAnd trying as much as posisble to buy the clothes that are needed for four growing kids from second-hand sources, and to be staisfied with the clothing I have, rather than wanting new styles.nAnd using the library instead of the bookstore, and the (free) payground instead of the (expensive) indoor play area or swimming pool.
Billy - March 7th, 2012 at 4:04 PM
I am an old "Dude" in my mid 60's. I am not into face book. E-mails yes but twitter forget it.. A dear friend of my wife told her about "7". She downloaded it on to her Kindle and I read it in 2 days. Thanks for writng the book. We each can work together to make a difference in this world. A 16 year old girl at our congregation decided she wanted to drill a water well in Africa on her birthday. She raised almost $5,000.00 in a week. We worked with an international agency in TN that can drill a water well for $4,800.00. Our congregation has since drilled 6 more wells which will provide water for approximately 23,000 people. Just one person can make a difference. I am told that 80 percent of the children who die in the world ,die from drinking unclean water. Last year I traveled to Cambodia to use the Bible to teach English. I was there 5 weeks. I saw real poverty in Cambodia. I am returning for another 5 weeks in April. In my own community in Granbury, TX there are 1600 kids on free or reduced meals. I am working with a faith based group from several churches to end this problem. With our resources there should be no hungry kids in TX. I enjoyed your book. I think you should have added another statement at the beginning of your book. (WARNING: Reading this book may mess with your life) Keep up the good work!
Joye - March 9th, 2012 at 11:21 PM
God is definitely speaking loudly and clearly to the American church. And he's put his finger on the "excess" in my own heart. It's intense. It's necessary. It's challenging. It's freedom. I can't wait to read this, Jen. For many years now, I've been carrying this burden for the poor and this detest of our worship of wealth. I'm asking God, "what can I do? what do you want me to do? and will it make any difference at all?" I so want to make a difference in the lives of those that are dying of poverty and starvation, but the ties I have to my "stuff" are proving harder to break than I ever thought possible. God help me! God help us!
Steve - March 16th, 2012 at 11:16 AM
Well, our youth pastor's wife, 30 years my junior, continues to help me keep in contact with my feminine side, this time with your book "7". Finally confronting my sexually abusive childhood for the past few years, I know the trouble of doing, being, saying, praying, laughing, crying enough - none of it is simply enough, but all of it is part of enough - yet only the Lord God is enough. Thank you, Jen, for this encouraging - out of the box style - book on relating to God through our own beings, not always easy, but I have learned it is much of the time comical. P.S. when I read parts of it to my wife, she reminds me that it's my weirdness that connects with you and your weirdness - yeah for out-of-the-box living! :)
Emily Elizabeth Stone - March 17th, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Recommended this post (and book!) on my Saturday Sampling: http://emilyelizabethstone.com/2012/03/17/saturday-sampling-march-17-2012/



I need this challenge. Thank you. Glad to have stumbled on your blog!
TishaLa - April 11th, 2012 at 1:33 PM
Jen,

I've known for about a year that God has something awesome in store for me and the nursery ministry I’m birthing but I am *hanging head in shame* LAZY! I don’t know why I am like this.



A friend posted your letter to Trayvon’s mom on his blog and I have been COLD-BUSTED reading your past blog entries ever since. I wish I knew about you and Brandon’s journey to Remy
TishaLa - April 11th, 2012 at 1:41 PM
Jen,

I've known for about a year that God has something awesome in store for me and the nursery ministry I’m birthing but I am *hanging head in shame* LAZY! I don’t know why I am like this.

A friend posted your letter to Trayvon’s mom on his blog and I have been COLD-BUSTED reading your past blog entries ever since. I wish I knew about you and Brandon’s journey to Remy
Sandy Bowman - October 24th, 2012 at 3:00 PM
I just bought your book on my Kindle and am destroyed. I have already worked getting rid of stuff but now I am becoming more conscious of how I get rid of stuff. After reading your book I want to do more. My husband is going to think I'm even more crazy than he thought, but that is okay with me...and him too.lol. Loving the book and have recommended it to others.
Amanda Little - January 18th, 2013 at 8:43 PM
Jen, I am reading 7 and currently at Month 5 and Jesus has turned my life upside down. Thank you for your humble obedience that has been used as a spark starting a revolution! I just started reading it as a personal thing, but I was so excited about what God was teaching me that I can't shut up about it. I have not even tried and 5 others have started reading 7 because I am a crazy chatterbox! You are an inspiration! After I finish 7, I am going to go back and read Interrupted.
jeff - February 5th, 2013 at 9:31 AM
We plugged the book in our daily family blog: http://nbfamilies.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-experiment.html

Hope that is cool!!
Katie - February 14th, 2013 at 1:59 PM
So a year later, I just heard about this book, and at first glance, it sounds on target with everything I believe. I read a sample on my Kindle, and before I decide to buy the full book, I am wondering who receives the proceeds from book purchases? I am just wondering if you receive the money, which completely goes against the core of the book to give up the extravagance, or if you have done something like donate all profit to an organization or your church? I don't mean to offend you by this comment - it's just that this is something I am struggling with also. Do I spend money an extravagance (your book - which in all likelihood I will only read once), going along with the typical American consumer culture, only to put money into your pocket so you can spend it on extravagances? I realize that this book - your social experiment - was only to be a "fast" - but if you're just pocketing the money, I'd rather rent the book from the library.
Claire - April 1st, 2013 at 7:47 PM
Loving reading the book, seriously struggling with the food. Any recipe help?
Laura - July 26th, 2013 at 9:59 PM
Jen-
I loved your book. It really spoke to my heart. For a long time I could not figure out why I was living this wonderful life with a family I adore, and feeling like something was missing. I get it now. I just started reading your book, Interrupted. I told God about a week ago "I am ready to do whatever you want/whatever that looks like."
Anne - September 13th, 2013 at 7:51 AM
Jen,
First, I really enjoyed reading 7. It both challenged and encouraged me. Second, would you be able to post somewhere on your website or blog the list of websites we can go to to do more consciencious shopping (like the online clothes store your friend started with former refugee women)? You may have this list already posted somewhere on your website or blog and I didn't find it. If not, though, I think it could be a great resource for your readers to have. Thanks!
Bea - November 25th, 2013 at 4:02 PM
What you talk about started happening to my husband approximately 5 years ago. God gave us a word, simplicity. That began our journey of simplifying our lives. We downsized from a 5000 sq foot house to a 33000 one and still once again, we are being nudged. That house is under contract and we close the day before Thanksgiving. We moved into a 400 square foot Motorhome. We don't exactly know what God's plans are for us but our lives look so much different than it did 5 years ago. We are wanting to follow Him.The roofer that came to make repairs for the sale of the house told me he died twice due to heart failure. I stopped him before he finished his story, I asked him "If you died this instance, would you know beyond a shadow of a doubt you be going home to see Jesus?" This is from me, a person that avoids sharing salvation like the plague. When I shared some of our story on FB and received private messages in my inbox, others are doing the same thing but are not sharing it in public yet. But it is encouraging and God is moving.
For more info on House Cleaning in San Antonio - February 3rd, 2014 at 6:42 AM
If you're not really, really into church (this woman is) then you can ignore the scripture analysis and go straight to the heart of the book, which is the analysis of living with less stuff than we think we want. Although this book features the bible heavily, the message is not at all preachy. It's heartwarming without being schmaltzy, and details one woman's sincere efforts to make the world better by giving away the excess in her life (money, food, clothes, etc) to people who need it more than she does. It's an engaging read, and very down-to-earth and funny.
Kristin vanEyk - February 5th, 2014 at 9:53 PM
Hey Jen, thanks for putting yourself out there and paving the way for us to engage in this experiment. I've just finished reading the book and am rallying the troops here at my church plant in West Michigan. I have written a bit of a tribute to you and a kick off for our version of 7 and the first dozen people have already joined me in my local church. You can read my tribute here: http://noaphorismsplease.blogspot.com/2014/02/goodbye-internet.html?spref=fb

I'm not trying to be weird or creepy by writing about you. So...don't be weirded or creeped out. Cool.
ellie - July 13th, 2014 at 4:36 PM
Just started reading 7.. to everything there is a season. Love it! Surprised no reference to The Story of Stuff. http://storyofstuff.org/
5talents - July 30th, 2014 at 4:31 PM
I just started 7 yesterday. I bought it last week, but my daughters (ages 20 and 16) have hijacked it! They are on board and I don't even know what's in the book. :) I have read the first chapter so far and love it. Thank you for sharing your experience!
Sandie - August 6th, 2014 at 6:38 PM
My husband just started Pastoring a church! I have downloaded your book Interrupted and 7! Our church is small, poor and we are starting from the bottom....God is there! Thank you for bringing focus to what is important justice, love, grace and God. We begin 7 as a family and as a church. Can use prayers as we begin our ministry. My husband and are blessed to serve the voiceless.
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