Monday, August 20, 2012

7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker - Starting Point

This is a lovely book by a Christian author about her and her family's attempts to push back against consumerism and modern culture by temporarily simplifying their lives in seven different areas: food, clothing, possessions, media, waste, spending and stress.

This book was a particular influence for this new blog - especially in the author's recognition of the need for solidarity with the poor as an essential component of our beliefs and her wonderful tone that is humorous and inviting without ever descending to pressure or judgement. I think this is particularly important for those trying to apply the faith to their personal lives which will be such a different journey for each individual.

It's not a Catholic book, there are places where our perspectives don't completely line up, but on the whole I found it quite delightful and unexpectedly compatible with Catholic teaching. It even turns out (hope you don't mind the mini-spoiler) that the chapter on stress is really about bringing a regular cycle of prayer into her life and she turns to the Liturgy of the Hours to do this. Cool!!!

This book is available in print or as an e-book.

Here's a decent sample on the more serious side (but there's also a lot of laugh-out-loud stuff):

"Oh how we love our religious yokes, not for what they communicate about God, but what they say about us. This is the kind of people we are. We say 'no' when everyone else says 'yes'. We don't do that. We don't watch that. We don't vote that way. We don't go there. We don't include them.

But God's idea of a fast is less about what we're against and more about what we are for.

'Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter - when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? (Isa. 58:6-7)'

When we hear 'fast,' we put on a yoke of self-denial. When God said 'fast,' He meant to take off the yoke of oppression. The Isaiah 58 fast is not about the mechanics of abstinence; it is a fast from self-obsession, greed, apathy, and elitism. When it becomes more about me than the marginalized I've been charged to serve, I become the confused voice in this passage: 'Why have I fasted and you  have not seen it?'"

1 comment:

  1. This book is half priced today on Kindle. and could be a great Lenten challenge!