My book for January was For The Love by Jen Hatmaker. You can read my recaps of For the Love Part One:Community, Courage, and Church and For the Love Part 2: Living A Worthy Life. The last and arguably the most important theme in her book was her writing style. Jen has a whole lot of love and a whole lot of hard truths. #RealTalk and #RealLove is what sums it all up.
I don’t have children, but her section “Dear Kids” was enough to make anyone cry. She charged them with taking care of the people around them and learning how to love others deeply, as Jesus did. ” The tiniest scrap of hope is enough to save a lonely kid from drowning…you can save hearts and lives with grace.” The following may have been the quote that most resonated with me in the entire book.
She spent a lot of time talking about children and teenagers. She quoted the alarming statistics of young people who are leaving the Church in this generation. She identified one of the key tools in fighting the numbers: listening to them. She urges readers to listen to the youth and young adults. She says “We can either listen carefully or watch their backs as they go” and reminds us that they “pay equal attention to what isn’t working as much as what is.”
She reminds parents that doubting and questioning is a human response, and their children will not shatter the world by digging deep. “Our children can press extremely hard on the Gospel, and it will hold.” Parents, the infallible Word can withstand anything, including the intellectualism of this world. Stand on the Word and allow your children to learn that they can, too. She admits, as all parents, she has failed at times. That the “best we can do is give them Jesus” and point them to the only real answer- which is not her sage parenting advice. She cites community, social justice, depth, and mentorship as what they really need.
In her section “Dear Church,” she hit readers with more startling statistics. 70% of pastors fight depression, 70% would also say they don’t have one close friend, and 80% would agree their family suffers because of their ministry. Yet, there’s a stigma that comes with the position. Judgement and fear keep pastors and church staff from seeking the help they need, the help we all deserve. Be kind to your pastors, friends. They are absolutely called to higher standards of living, and God sets that clear in the Bible. They are also human and have the same emotions we all do. They are not immune to humanity. Pray for them.
Overall, For The Love was a great start to 2017’s reading list. Next up is The Christian Athiest by Craig Groeschel.