So I started reading Jen Hatmaker's Interrupted today. Apparently it came out before 7, but it didn't cross my radar until last year. I put it on my Paperbackswap wishlist and, lo and behold, it became available last month!
I'm only a little ways in, but so far I am hooked. Firstly, because Jen represents part of a movement I have noted in the last couple years in Christianity; a turning away from "Americanized Christianity" and reading and studying the Scriptures without our Americanized lens and the assumptions that go along with that. What did Jesus really say we are to focus on? Making a living and keeping up with the Jones' and the hustle and bustle and fitting in with the rest of society, giving in to the materialism monster? Keeping everyone happy? Doing all the good things expected of us in the church?
Authors such as Francis Chan, David Platt, and Jen Hatmaker are the ones who have opened my eyes to this change of perspective.
The second reason I will keep on reading is that on pages 17-18, at the end of the chapter entitled "Holy Passion Meets Remedial Shepherd", Jen explains what brought her to this path. She was studying the passage in John 21, where Jesus is asking Peter if he loves Him. Peter says "You know I love You", and Jesus says to Peter, "Feed my sheep."
Here is a quote from the book:
In my utter ignorance, I thought this was about doing more of what I was already doing, or maybe just a better job of it. I was trying to figure out which sheep I was neglecting or how to be an improved shepherd to my little flock. Longer prep time for my messages? Better e-mail communication with my small-group leaders?
Basically, I was brainstorming how to improve my current performance, never imagining a whole new stage.
Nothing could have prepared me for what came next. I told Him, "I thought I was feeding Your sheep, but I'll try harder."
And from the heights of heaven, this is what I heard: "You do feed souls, but twenty-four thousand of My sheep will die today because no one fed their bellies; eighteen thousand of them are My youngest lambs, starving today in a world with plenty of food to go around. If you truly love Me, you will feed My sheep. My people are crumbling and dying and starving, and you're blessing blessed people and serving the saved."
I couldn't have been more floored if I'd come home to find Jesus Himself making salsa in my kitchen. I did a little checking, and those statistics were spot-on. It dawned on me that Jesus was asking me not to do more of the same but to engage a different charge altogether. He was still enlisting me in the cause of my generation, the mission of God's true church.
All of a sudden, I saw my exact reflection in Peter: devoted but selfish, committed but misguided. And that is not going to be enough. It won't suffice to claim good intentions. Saying "I meant well" is not going to cut it. Not with God screaming, begging, pleading, urging us to love mercy and justice, to feed the poor and the orphaned, to care for the last and least in nearly every book of the Bible. It will not be enough one day to stand before Jesus and say, "Oh? Were You serious about all that?"
This testimony would be striking enough standing alone, but the reason it stands out to me even more is that two and a half years ago I heard the clear voice of God saying "Feed the People". Hubby and I are still searching and praying and trying to figure out how exactly we are supposed to do this and how it can happen (and where). I am interested to read more of Jen's journey and how she responded, while still watching and praying (all the more) for God's guidance in our lives and what He would have us to do.
Prayers are appreciated!
Anyone else want to read with me?