For The Love...A review.
Jen Hatmaker has been on my list of favorites for a long time. She is irreverently in love with the capital C Church and with Jesus. But she doesn't take herself super seriously outside of her faith which is just my favorite kind of person. Her writing causes snort-inducing laughter and sometimes tears of feeling understood. She fuses the perfect amount of wit and love and lays them gently on the page next to each other like they should be there in every book.
This one is no different. It was a lot of writing about children, the Church, self love and acceptance, and so many funny lines about leggings as pants. This book was a break for my brain but a real workout for my heart. And sometimes that just exactly what I need.
My favorite part about this book was how directly she addressed the Boomer/Gen X/Millenial dilemma in the church. All of us from these different generations are speaking a different spiritual language and it has all come out in frustrated, narrow-minded, I'm right-you're wrong attitude. We are all wrong. And Jen urges us to figure it out before the next generation abandons faith altogether because they just don't see the love, man.
I also could have typed out her entire chapter on women because AMEN GIRLFRIEND.
Who is this book for?
Mothers: Yes. Yes, yes, yes. I don't have kids and I read every chapter about children and parenting. Not only were they funny, but I'm sure they are freeing for moms.
Men: Probably. She's pretty dang funny. And the women can preach through her writing. What man doesn't need that?
Pastors: Especially yes. Her insights here are so, so valuable, especially for people trying to do church in the city.
What does this book say?
Folks who thrive in God's grace give grace easily, but the self-critical person becomes others-critical. We "love" people the way we "love" ourselves, and if we are not good enough, then no one is.
I wonder if a "Come to us and we will do it all, lead it all, organize it all, calendar it all, execute it all, innovate it all, care for it all, and fund it all" framework is even biblical? It sets leaders and followers up for failure, creating a church-centric paradigm in which discipleship is staff-led and program-driven. This slowly builds a consumer culture wherein spiritual responsibility is transferred from Christ-followers to the pastors, and this is a recipe for disaster.
I also suspect "getting it all right" isn't God's highest order. The Bible constantly elevated love over knowledge, mercy over sacrifice. Knowledge is a trick bedfellow, because it can something shield us form the gospel. Doctrine is tidier terrain that flesh and blood. Surely not one human being ever stood before God having 'gotten it all right," anyway. Not one. ... Could the highest level of "right theology" involve loving God and people like Jesus suggested?