If you have been a frequent visitor to B&B, you may recall that I have introduced you to several of my new friends from a little corner of the internet known as Facebook. This community began a few months ago when Jen Hatmaker sent out an invitation to be a part of the launch team for her new book: “For The Love”. She was looking for 500 people. 5000 responded and, somehow, Jen’s team narrowed it down to 500. I am honored to be one of those.
Now, about this book.
When I was little my mom would disguise my medicine in yogurt and I would gobble it down. Jen Hatmaker has managed to accomplish the same thing in “For The Love”. She has wrapped up much needed wisdom and truth in the tasty goodness of her fun and sassy voice. No matter what season of life you find yourself in, there is plenty of deliciousness for you to find in the pages of her latest invitation to join the conversation of faith and culture.
Basically, I want to just summarize the entire book for you, but that is a bit ambitious. Instead, I will share some of my favorite bits of wisdom from Jen’s collection of essays.
You know, as I do, the unspoken pressure on us to do it all, be it all, have it all. And we just can’t. Jen speaks to this mythical creature of balance for which we are all striving. It isn’t real. We will never find balance because life is always changing. But, we do have the freedom to say no. We don’t have to put everything on our beam that the world (or our friends) tell us to. Look y’all. If you aren’t crafty, quit beating yourself up by trying to force yourself to recreate pinterest projects with perfection. Just set it down. Not a over-the-top party planner? That’s ok. Your kids will go to other peoples crazy themed bashes. You just keep on hosting those pizza and movie sleep overs. Your kids will still love you. For me, I needed to take some activities off of my beam that I love. There simply isn’t room for all of them right now. I can’t say yes to everything. I will lose my mind. Jen so gracious put into words the freedom I needed to decide for myself what is and what is not on my beam. You have that freedom as well.
“Wise women know what to hold onto and what to release, and how to walk confidently in their choices- no regrets, no apologies, no guilt.”
There is so much to be said on this topic. The American gospel is not the same as The Gospel. We take the the good news of Jesus and mix it together with the American Dream and get some mutated version of truth. And this isn’t truth at all. We can’t keep telling the woman desperate for a child to cry out to God while telling the single woman longing for a spouse to be content. We can’t preach an easy life in Christ and ignore the millions of Christians being murdered and mutilated for their faith. We need to take a step back and hold up our teaching to the light. Are we teaching truth or teaching comfortable half-truths (*ahem* …lies).
“If it isn’t also true for a poor single Christian mom in Haiti, it isn’t true…Theology is either true everywhere or it isn’t true anywhere.”
Ladies, I know, this is a sensitive subject. But let’s be honest, we have issues. When we start seeing ads on social media for yoga pants that look like dress pants, we have crossed into a dark place. This section of the book had me in tears. She is so forthright about fashion issues such as leggings, tights, overalls, reoccurring trends. This chapter is one I feel I could have written although Jen is much more masterful in her approach.
“Listen, some fashion trends, captured regularly on iPhones and Buzzfeed, are assaulting our culture and must be addressed. I suspect that you, like me, are both critic and culprit; so this is a manifesto and a confessional. We must repent and be cleansed of the following fads. The first is a specific tragedy I call Leggings-As-Pants/Tights-As-Leggings (LAP/TAL = no). And don’t make me delve into the crisis that is Tights-As-Pants (TAP = seek professional intervention).”
Growing Up in Church (Then and Now):
Y’all. I honestly wish I could just write out this entire chapter for you. “Jesus Kids” for me was the most compelling chapter of “For The Love”. I just kept nodding along in agreement and verbally affirming Jen’s words here. It is everything I want to say and everything I want to have the courage to wade through as a youth pastor. Culture is winning the war for the hearts of our students and one of the big reasons is because we, as the church, have not learned to address the outside world with grace. Teenagers now are facing a very different world than the one I grew up in. Church is no longer a family priority. Giving out stickers for memorizing the Ten Commandments isn’t working anymore (did it ever?). We can’t keep hoping our kids will respond to the methods with which we were raised. The message doesn’t change. Jesus doesn’t change. But our method will have to or we will keep losing kids. The church is bleeding out and we keep trying to cover the wound with old bandaids that are full of germs and have lost their stickiness.
“Young adults are abandoning church, so we can either listen carefully or watch their backs as they go. We cannot be more committed to our methods than our message. Do we want to raise disciples? Then pay equal attention to what isn’t working as much as what is. “
Here is what being on the launch team meant: I got to read the book early, write an endorsement that is now on Jen’s website, and participate in the birth of a beautiful community of women. This group of women has encompassed the heart of Jen’s book. We come from different walks of life. We don’t see eye to eye on everything. And yet, we discuss these issues with love and compassion. We celebrate each other and cheer each other on. We cry and pray together and we revel in our snarkiness. It is this grace-extending, ache-sharing, cheerleadering, work-it-out together with sass and sincerity type of community that Jen’s words speak to.
“Let’s lay down our junk, our wonky junk that messes up relationships and community and togetherness. We won’t let our own crazy stop us from affirming each other and banging the drum for our sisters. Our tribe does need not be ruled by scarcity; there is enough for every woman to live beautifully. A rising tide lifts every boat in the harbor; when one woman rises, we all rise. Let’s open our hands and give it all away—esteem, honor, attention, love. What’s good for one is good for all.”
I could go on and on. I have only scratched the surface. But it wouldn’t really be fair to Jen if I retype every word of her book here for you. Instead, I suggest that you run out and get a copy ASAP. Grab some friends and read it together. Discuss it over dinner, over coffee, over Facebook.
I love this book. And I am confident you will as well. In fact, I’m so confident that I got an extra one to give away. Yes. That’s right. You could win a hardback copy of “For The Love”. It’s our first B&B giveaway and I couldn’t imagine a better one. There are a few ways to enter. The winner will be announced on August 26th.
*Edit* As I mentioned, this is our first giveaway and apparently rafflecopter didn’t want to cooperate. Therefore, here is how you can enter:
- Leave a comment on this post answering the following: What is one thing you need to remove from your beam this Fall? (2 entries)
- Tweet about this giveaway: #ForTheLove of giveaways! Enter to win @JenHatmaker’s new book at @erinrwoods‘ https://bedrocksandborderlands.com/2015/08/18/book-giveaway-for-the-love (1 entry)
- Use the share buttons below to share this post via Facebook. (1 entry)