I've read it twice in less than six months and I've decided I might just need to keep reading it every few months, because new parts stick out to me each time. I just read the revised and expanded version, Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks your Comfortable Christianity. Jen's journey starts with a simple prayer she offers up, completely unaware of what would happen next: "God, raise up in me a holy passion." She goes on to describe how she felt as though she had missed the point of Scripture and the church. I love that she includes the people and books that influenced her greatly during this time of change. I am eager to go back and read some of those books as well.
I know we won't all be called to the same things or in the same way as Jen Hatmaker, but I do think she does a great job of exposing how easy it is to get sucked into a complacent way of life, taking for granted what we have and forgetting how Jesus instructed us to live.
The truth is that sadly I was aware of much of what she wrote about the homeless and poverty. I have a Masters in Social Work and grew up with hippie, compassionate, God-loving parents. But I've become so lazy and discouraged with the world, and needed to hear the information in a new way. It got me riled up and reminded me that having warm thoughts for my brothers and sisters who are oppressed, sick, hungry, and hurting is not enough.
I'll be honest though, just like Jen's simple prayer ended up wrecking her and turning her life upside down and all around, reading her book has started me on a similar path. I can't make my mind quiet. I feel motivated to get to work, but paralyzed by where and how. I can't quite hear yet what God is telling me and it's making me a little crazy. I want to make big changes in my life and in how I live, but I'm also a good American and we like our things, huh? There is definitely a tension and I'm trying to figure it out.
I grew up in the church, have considered myself a faithful Christian for most of my life, and yet I have come to realize that I've developed such a bad attitude about Christians and it started affecting my own faith without me even be conscious of it for a long time. I care deeply about people and I want us all to be treated equally, with dignity and respect. That's so big to me. Unfortunately, I often don't see that among Christians, and it saddens me greatly to write that. Interrupted, along with some other changes in my life in the last year, reminded me of how exciting Christianity can be. I fiercely believe that when we help others we help ourselves and this book emphasizes that. Jen explains in this updated version that since first writing the book, she has discovered so many like-minded people that are eager to live out Christ's message of love. This gives me hope in a world filled with so much pain and suffering.
There is a quote from the book that stuck out to me and I am using it through prayer to discover what I need to let go of. Jen explains that she and her husband, Brandon, made big changes, left their jobs and the comfortable life they knew without having a plan for what exactly they were supposed to do next. She asks her readers if they might be in a similar situation:
"As maddening as that is, could it be that He needs you to release what was before you can appropriately grasp what will be?"
That is where I am. Trying to stay aware, and still, and open to the call. Even though it makes me feel off and unsettled.
You should read this book. Besides being a great storyteller, engaging and hilarious, Jen Hatmaker reminds us of the great disparity of wealth in the world. She discusses the tension she felt as a Christian with such honesty and eloquence that it is incredibly relatable. I suspect it will change you too... in an uncomfortable, but really wonderful way. So go on, and getcha self interrupted.