The Gospel and Social Activism



Jen Hatmaker's bookInterruptedcame to me the way many books do. . . through recommendations from friends.  This book, however, was recommended by two thoughtful readers in the same day, which rarely happens, and both readers asked for my thoughts. One person liked it;  one did not.  I was intrigued and promptly began.

Jen and her family were living a very traditional Christian pastor's family life, when the Jesus's focus on the poor left them gobsmacked and wondering what they could do differently in their world.  They left the mega church and began, in their words, a "barefoot church" that focused on a more post-modern perspective of being in authentic relationships with people, specifically the poor.  Feed my sheep was the rallying cry.

This book reminds me in all good ways of of Shane Claiborne's Irresistible Revolution (Claiborne, in fact, appears in the book). I finished it a week ago and Jen's voice is still rattling around in my head.  This book helps the faithful remember that while the trappings of Christianity can be tainted and misleading, Jesus himself was pretty clear.  Feed my sheep.  I make all things new.  Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me.  Jen and her family distilled these tenets down to a lifestyle in south Austin, which interrupted her more comfortable, complacent life.

Both people who recommended the book had no quibbles with the theology, but both took umbrage at her tone (which can be quite sarcastic at times).  In my opinion, her tone was self-depricating and refreshing in the main, with some sprinklings of sarcasm.

This book was a wonderful piece to read at the beginning of a new year and during a time of change in my life.  It prompted a long overdue, contemplative discussion with my family surrounding who we are, what we are doing, and where should our focus be.  This book greatly helped to center and refocus my spiritual life as one of serving rather than seeking to be served.