Book Review - For The Love

Friday, October 9, 2015

I had the great honor of being on Jen Hatmaker’s launch team for her newest book, For The Love. I had loved her book Interrupted and really liked the next one, 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. So I was quite excited to read For The Love - and it didn’t disappoint. 

For the Love is a series of essays about life, grace, friendships, and parenthood. It’s almost written like a conversation, one you’d have with your best friend around a glass of wine / cup of coffee. It’s hilarious and poignant; it’s real and inspiring. It’s a really fast read but you’ll come back to the book for a good laugh or a good life lesson.

One of the ideas Jen presents is the image of life as a beam. To be balanced, your beam has to be free of clutter. So give yourself the authorization to throw things away (“Off the beam!” which I like to imagine is said with the same intonation as "Off with their heads!") and add things that make you happy (“On the beam!). It’s a healthy and refreshing way to look at what your life is made of, what rejuvenates you or stressed you out.

"We need to quit trying to be awesome and instead be wise."

She also has a very interesting essay on poverty tourism, which I’ll talk more about one Wednesday (work-related posts come on Wednesdays). She says everything aid workers want to say about volunteer experiences that add nothing to the people short-term mission travelers want to help. In short, don't go. I could quote her whole chapter but I'll just quote this: " Anytime the rich and poor combine, we should listen to whoever has the least power."

And because she's a Christian writer and the wife of a pastor, she has clear ideas about what Jesus is about. Her thoughts about what is true theology are powerful: "If it isn't also true for a  poor single Christian mom in Haiti, it isn't true." Just let it sink in. If your theology promotes heaven for those who are married, for those who have money, for those who are powerful, then it isn't true theology -this is not what God and Jesus are about. Her essay about crappy Christian is also right on point. Christians have a bad reputation -they treat each other like crap (you should see the incredibly ignorant and bigoted comments she got for saying the Pope was a good man.) and they treat those who don't agree with them like crap (debate about marriage equality, anyone?). As a very liberal / progressive Christian, these words resonate with me greatly.

She is not just serious. She has hilarious imagined social media updates from her youth, great recipes, and laugh-so-much-you-cry thank you notes a la Jimmy Fallon.

Finally, she has an essay about supper club, which I want to try someday soon: incite a few couples at your table and just be, talk, create a community. That's such a missing part of my lif right now. I could write a whole post about this (oh yeah you know I actually will!). So that chapter really inspired me.

So go ahead and buy this book. It’s worth it! Oh and get Interrupted, too. That one is on my top 10 books for sure.

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