It’s no secret around this house that I love me some Jen Hatmaker. She’s a writer, blogger, speaker, mom of 5 (holla!), orphan advocate, and she’s ridiculously hilarious. Her blog posts are disarming and real and oftentimes challenging to my spiritual growth, but in a loving way. Basically – she’s my people.
In 2012, Jen wrote a book called “Interrupted: An Adventure in Relearning the Essentials of Faith”, about gaining freedom from consumer-driven Christianity and getting back to true faith. Her publishers approached her with the opportunity to release an updated version entitled “Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity”.
Whoa. Big difference in relearning faith essentials and having your comfortable christianity wrecked! The bold shift in the tone of the the title piqued my curiosity so I signed up to receive an advanced copy for review. Little did I know how much it would truly challenge me.
Interrupted follows Jen’s messy journey through life and church and into living on mission. Snatching Jen from the grip of her consumer life, God began asking her questions like, “What is really the point of My Church? What have I really asked of you?” She was far too busy doing church than being church, even as a pastor’s wife, an author of five Christian books, and a committed believer. She discovered she had missed the point.
Christ brought Jen and her family to a place of living on mission by asking them tough questions, leading them through Scripture, and walking together with them on the path. Interrupted invites readers to take a similar journey.
Within the first few pages of the book, I knew God wanted me to read it. This wasn’t just an opportunity to get some biblical truth under my belt – she was tapping into something that’s been stirring in my heart for a long time and God was using it to call me to something far more purposeful. You see – I live in a “comfortable” community. There are good schools and tree lined roads and brand new shopping centers. You have to really dig deep within the confines of comfort to find true oppression. It’s easy to get so involved in day-to-day life in Stepford and forget that there is real pain, and real poverty, and true suffering happening. Jen’s challenge to the church is to let Jesus interrupt your cushy lifestyle by praying a simple prayer. “Raise up in me a holy passion.”
Lord – if ever someone was “reading my mail”, then this was it. In my heart of hearts, it’s always been my desire to serve the “least of these”. But how can I do that – practically speaking? We put on our Sunday best (along with all the other Ralph Lauren-clad, picket-fence living people of our sweet little town) and go to church, attend small groups, pay our tithe, serve as an usher/greeter every two weeks and then CHECK THE BOX. We’ve fulfilled our duty, done our due diligence. I mean – we have five kids, for crying out loud. How much more charitable can we actually be??? We are SERVANTS! We should be tearing the garments and smearing our faces with dirt!
In all our efforts, if we are not about people, our labors aren’t really about Jesus, but about us.
This sentence was the first to jump off the page and send a blow to my self-indulgent gut. I paid, I served, I attended…me, me, me. I was instantly convicted that my deeds (which in and of themselves are not terrible) were fulfilling my own sense of duty, as opposed to really, truly getting my hands dirty and serving the least, the lowly, the forgotten. Like I said – in and of themselves, the ways that I’ve been serving are not bad. But what of the ones who are tough to serve? What of the ones who are ungrateful, or who smell bad, or who take me so far out of my comfort zone that my sweet little gingerbread house and manicured lawn isn’t even a blip on the radar anymore? Jesus looked to his disciples and said, “for you”. His followers were loyal, loving, and went on to write most of the Bible while dying for the cause and conviction of the Man they served. But, as Jen so gently (not really – this revelation wasn’t gentle and didn’t feel good) reminds us: there WAS a disciple who wasn’t so “worthy” of service.
Who are you serving?
The pesky part came when the question burrowed deeper, since Judas was also part of the “for you” group Jesus referred to. Now we had a problem because this didn’t square. Remember, I’m filtering this through the grid of social action and physical need, and I realized who Judas represented: those who would turn on me despite what I sacrificed or why.
And just like that – my perception of who I’ve been serving and why was wrecked. If Jesus could hang on a cross and pour out his blood and GIVE HIS LIFE for Judas, then certainly I can feed and wash the feet of the Judas’ of the world. This type of mission and service isn’t pretty and it often comes without gratitude or return. But it’s what we’re called to do. We are to be the hands and feet of Jesus. He didn’t discern. He loved the unlovable. He welcomed the outcast. He got close to the lepers that others refused to even look at.
This book. THIS BOOK CHANGED ME.
If you’re feeling the sense that God is calling you to a higher purpose, filled with more than just the status quo of a sweet little Christian life – read it.
But be prepared to be wrecked.
Because I loved this book so much, I’m giving away one FREE copy to a lucky reader! Head over to our Facebook page to enter.