6.30.2012

Thinking about 7: Part 3

It's fitting that thinking about 7 caused me to confess that I am far more materialistic than I pretend to be, because 7 is, at heart, a book about repentance. Jen Hatmaker doesn't simply point her finger at an unjust world and squawk about economic disparity. She points the finger back at herself, identifying both ways that she is part of the problem from a practical standpoint (i.e., the that her lifestyle negatively affects the planet and/or the poor) as well as the way her addiction to excess has become a spiritual sickness. It's an uncovering of hypocrisy, which may well be one of the most uncomfortable spiritual practices of all. Far more difficult than beginning to compost.

Here are seven quotes from the book, borrowed from her publisher's blog because I still don't have my copy of the book on hand. They are a great representation of the book's core messages.
1. "We cannot carry the gospel to the poor and lowly while emulating the practices of the rich and powerful."

2. "If more of us took the 'walk humbly with your God' part seriously, we might become agents of justice and mercy…"

 3. "Giving away is somehow sacred, connecting to the sacrificial heartbeat of Jesus."

4. "The fertile soil of death is where the gospel forms roots and actually bears fruit. We have to die to live."

5. "I want to belong to a Christian community known for a different kind of beauty, the kind that heals and inspires."

6. "In a typical year the United States spends $16 billion in foreign aid and $276 billion on advertising."

7. "Are we no different from the secular population, drawn to charisma and style above substance and integrity?" 
In addition to repentance and a radical realignment of faith and practice, 7 is also about stewardship - faithfully managing the resources that have been entrusted to us. Our time, talent, treasure, bodies, the earth upon which we live - are we using what we have to serve ourselves and our inner circle, or are we presenting a token offering... or are we following the ways of Jesus who taught, "If you try to save your life, you will lose it. But if you give it up for me, you will surely find it."

Why is that so hard to believe? I mean, really believe. How can I rattle off a list of stuff I want when it's the "giving away" that would connect me to the "sacrificial heartbeat of Jesus"? Why don't I want God more than I want to be entertained by the endlessly fascinating world I can access 24/7 on the internet? Why don't I want to feed my hungry neighbor more than I want a new bike?

Jesus once told a rich man that he should sell everything he owned and give the money to the poor, "When the young man heard this, he was sad, because he was very rich." 


I can relate.


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