‘7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess’ by Jen Hatmaker

7 An Experimental Mutiny Against ExcessstarstarstarstarThis was an entertaining book to read over the Christmas holiday time. Talk about a season of “excess”! Jen Hatmaker’s book is a reflection on how life would be if we dared to live with less and were less drawn into the consumerism of our culture. She dedicated herself to 7 months of fasting from things and then paid attention to how limiting certain things like food, clothing and media affected her life.

“Fasting helps us develop mastery over the competing voices in our heads that urge us toward more, toward indulgence, toward emotional volatility. Like consistent discipline eventually shapes our children’s behaviour, so it is with us. Believe it or not, God can still change us. Not just our habits but our hearts. Say “no” for a year and see for yourself.”

What I appreciated about the book is that she shares a fresh perspective without throwing around a lot of guilt. Here is what she did in the 7 months.

Month 1: Limited her eating to only 7 foods.
Month 2: Limited her clothing to 7 items.
Month 3: Gave away 7 items per day.
Month 4: Shut down 7 media screens from use.
Month 5: Adopted 7 habits for a greener life.
Month 6: Limited shopping to 7 vendors only.
Month 7: Stopped to pause for rest and prayer 7 times a day.

Hatmaker writes with a good deal of humour but also delivers some very interesting insights. One reviewer said that what Hatmaker does is “makes you laugh and then slaps you up the side of your face.”  In this book she does not deliver a directive or offer a template because everyone is different and has unique lessons to learn.  It’s a clear case of the questions being more important than the answers. What she does offer is an amusing challenge to “live simply so that others may simple live”. This important book underscores the message that what we do does make a difference and it is our responsibility to God and others to take our actions seriously.

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