~ Meeting #2: our collective musings on section 1 (pp.1-42) ~
Well…what did you think?
Does Mrs. Gore’s Bookclub feature amazing books or what?! (I’m sorry. I’ve tried to stop with the bratty and boastful comments, but…I just can’t. Don’t squash my spirit).
Reading the first section, I was reminded again why I have become such a huge fan of Jen Hatmaker. Honest but funny, challenging but encouraging, she is the picture of what a “churchwoman” should look like as she confesses her sins, displays transparency and humility and spurs her readers on to love and good works as she invites us to grow along with her. I only hope to be such a voice in a church age that has slipped into a complacency where we “show love” by keeping to ourselves, staying mum about the elephants in the room.
So here’s how I’ve decided to split this up, because I want you all to feel free to share your thoughts and/or questions from each chapter rather than skim over it all too quickly: So…imagine that we are sitting in a cozy semicircle, drinking coffee (or hot chocolate, Amy) and eating some kind of delicious cookie, going over the pages we read since we last met together. We would start at the beginning and go through each chapter, discussing its main points, sharing our favorite parts and asking questions of one another before moving on to the next chapter. Then we would be dismissed to read the next section before our next meeting. That’s exactly what we’re going to do here. Meeting #2 will cover the entire section that we read last week, but I will dedicate a post to each chapter of that section so you can share your specific comments before we move on to the next chappter. Savvy? Hope so.
One more note of importance: I will not be sharing all of the bookclub posts on my personal facebook page, so if you are not subscribed to this blog but want bookclub updates, find Mrs. Gore’s Diary on facebook, “like” the page and then “like” one of my posts or links to show facebook that you want to receive my updates in your newsfeed. If you don’t “like” something on the actual page, my updates will not appear in your feed. Savvy? Hope so.
Now. Let’s get this party started. (Oh, and thank you kindly for joining us – it truly thrills my heart to have you along).
Winter 2007, Chapter 1 (pp.19-21)
Jen discusses her son misunderstanding the main point of racism and civil rights before saying…
“Likewise I still can’t believe it, but I managed to attend church three times a week as a fetus, fulfill the pastor’s kid role, observe every form and function of church, get swallowed whole by Christian subculture, graduate from a Baptist college, wed a pastor, serve in full-time ministry for twelve years, become a Christian author and speaker — and I misunderstood the main point. I am still stunned by my capacity to spin Scripture, see what I wanted, ignore what I didn’t, and use the Word to defend my life rather than define it.”
If you can identify, please raise your hand.
Yes, I am typing one-handed right now.
Okay, now I’m not. But my hand is still raised, in my head, because I can identify. During my last years of college and that year that my husband hauled me off to seminary, I had a bit of a spiritual identity crisis. God had kind of brought me to the end of myself and I was questioning everything because that stuff up there – routine church attendance, youth group awesomeness and checking the boxes of my daily disciplines – just wasn’t cutting the mustard. I had begun to realize that much of what I had committed my life to was a fabrication of spirituality that was quite extra-Biblical. When it wasn’t being plain ol’ unbiblical. Scripture had been spun amok, resulting in a really prettied-up and comfortable version of what it should have been; the pilgrimage had been morphed into a 20th Century entourage, with lots of tents and bling and like, 18 suitcases full of crap.
Where was Christ? Where was my love for the Word? How was I really different from the ones I was evangelizing, once you got past the moral exterior? As Jen says…
“Until two years ago, my life resembled the basic pursuit of the American Dream; it just occurred in a church setting.”
She then details that American Dream, the “commonly agreed-upon life route” that we all know very well — marriage, children, house, collections, two (or three) cars, safety, education, church involvement, retirement — ending with this summation of her worldview: “…I could live an ‘obedient life’ without sacrificing the lifestyle I craved.”
And that just says it all, if you ask me. We tried to have it all, one arm around the world, one arm around Christianity, but in our ladder-climbing, we lost the gospel. That “no man can serve two masters” stuff was really true, after all. Huh…
And I have to be honest with you guys – I am still in the midst of this major worldview upheaval. I am questioning so many things. I am reevaulating my goals, my possessions, my lifestyle, my schedule…everything. Jen wrote this book a few years ago; my story is just now being written. So its not like I have even fully awakened from the Dream that I now seem to scorn…I’m still groggy. I’m wiping the sleep out of my eyes but my glasses are on my bedside table and I’m feeling around for them and I’m putting them on and the room is coming into focus but…I can’t see everything yet. I just didn’t want you to think that I had arrived, because actually, I’m just now kinda sorta leaving.
Jen ends this first little chapter with the question “Why did I feel so dry?” If you are feeling the same way, I hope this book points you to some answers.
Questions for thought or discussion:
Evaluate your schedule: are you committing your life to things that don’t matter? Are even your church activities usurping all of your time and energy?
Are you living a life that is counter-culture? How do our lives blend in with our culture today?
“Why do I feel so dry?” Can you identify with this statement?
~ mull it over or share below ~