7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker
Review by Kara Janzen
Food. Clothes. Spending. Media. Possessions. Waste. Stress. Do any of these words make you anxious or uneasy? Do you struggle in any of these areas? Do you want to simplify your life? If you’re up for the challenge of eliminating so much of the excess in your life, then the book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker is a book you should read.
Jen spoke at the Community Women’s Retreat last spring at Nebraska City and challenged us to be living our lives differently. But this book isn’t just for women; it is a call to everyone to get out of the cycle of consumerism in our society and live more simply.
This book shares Jen’s seven month journey where each month she focuses on one area and simplifies her life. It is not a step-by-step guide on how you should change but instead tells her story (often with much humor and sarcasm) and how it impacted her and her family. Instead of following along and doing exactly what she did, it’s more important to just do something!
A little warning—this book might not make you feel good, but it should most certainly cause you to think about how you live. As Jen says, “Do not be fooled by the luxuries of this world; they cripple our faith. As Jesus explained, the right things have to die so the right things can live—we die to selfishness, greed, power, accumulation, prestige, and self-preservation, giving life to community, generosity, compassion, mercy, brotherhood, kindness, and love” (p. 91). What do we need to be giving up?
With Christmas just around the corner, it’s a perfect time to think about these things. “I’m overwhelmed by the poor and the disgusting consumerism cycle and the heinous neglect of Jesus and the appalling nature of it all” (p. 80). We have so much, and so many people have so little. What are we being called to give up in order to grow closer to God and to serve others. This book most certainly has a challenging message but at the same time is an easy read. I would encourage everyone to check it out!
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