1.) This is one of the easiest blog posts I’ve ever written. BECAUSE I DIDN’T WRITE IT.
2.) Jen Hatmaker, one of my heroes for a plethora of reasons (her love for the poor & Jesus, her writing prowess, & her HILARITY to name three), is guest posting today, and I’m just giddy over it.
And 3.) I just know I can count on y’all to help her out in crazy-awesome ways (I’ll let her explain.)
I’ll wrap up the post with a little paragraph at the end (all of my words will be in italics today and Jen’s will be in normal font), but without further blabbering, let’s welcome Jen Hatmaker!
I don’t know why, but as I keep thinking about how to start this, my mind keeps lapsing into pirate-speak. Don’t ask me to explain this. Something like, “Aaaiii, mateys, you done good, you did!” Maybe a rousing cheer and celebratory toast with big, frothy beers and some parrots. A lot of yelling. Some eye patches.
Let’s start over.
I’m super proud of this gathering of rebel rousers over here at Marla’s blog. (And while we’re at it, three cheers for our fearless leader, wading into difficult territory and juggling so much Hard Life and managing to stay encouraging and kind all the while. Marla is so much kinder and nicer and more thoughtful than me. Thank you for such fabulous leadership these last eight weeks, Marla!)
I’ve had a chance to pop over and read your comments and some of your blogs. It has been so terribly exciting to see how God takes one person’s little idea and tweaks and expands and transforms it into so many new stories, so many fresh thoughts. 7 had a lot of babies, and some of them look nothing like their mother. It’s awesome.
Now, I would be absolutely remiss if I didn’t exploit you and plunder your insights for my full advantage right now, because, you know, that’s WJWD. I am currently writing 7 curriculum right now. Oh, okay, I wasn’t going to show you the cover, but since you just won’t let it go…
Cool, right? The 7 Experiment. And here is where you come in. I’m writing this, well, exactly the way you went through it; a 7-week version of the original project. Each week has 8-10 options, so there is no one size fits all for the readers. (In the first week, they can pick 7 foods or eliminate 7 ingredients or fast one meal a day for the week or eat only whole foods, etc.)
I’m working really hard at approaching the mechanics and parameters loosely, because a project like 7 lends itself to legalism. I’m way more concerned with the “so what” more than the “how.” The study dives head first into the biblical support behind each concept. Dear ones, I’ve been in Leviticus all week learning about “clean and unclean meats.” Please put me on your prayer chains.
Good readers and 7 journeymen, you unknowingly are my pilot group. Not that Marla and I planned that (I just contracted for the study a couple of weeks ago), but whatever, man…you are now. You’ve done it. You’ve lived it. You’ve tackled the 7-week version of it. I need you. Future participators in The 7 Experiment need you.
Here is what I’m dying to hear:
What did you love? What did you hate? What did you need? What did you want to learn more about; where did the content fall short? In terms of the experiment, what can you tell me that might be helpful as I’m writing this for the next wave of readers? (Remember, this is a study, not a book.) Biblically speaking, what questions did you have? What might’ve been helpful had I included it? Or what was totally helpful that I should keep?
I realize that you joined the read-a-long from all over and perhaps went at it alone, but the study is written for small groups, so readers will be sevening (I enjoy making this a verb) in face-to-face community. Is there anything you can add here? Is there something you needed that I should note as it relates to rallying a group of people together?
Essentially, any feedback you can give me as I develop this study is so valuable to me. I know the book wasn’t written as curriculum, so your project was all an adaptation, but that makes you the perfect group to speak into a study version. You can tell me what it was like and what you needed and how I can help. (You can also tell me you hated the whole enterprise, of course, but go easy…I’m just a girl, standing in front of a read-a-long group, asking you to love me.)
May I tell you how moved and inspired I’ve been, peeking in at you? Some of you started gardens. I have no words. I loved your questions. I loved the places we disagreed. I loved the wrestling and the tension. I loved your humility and courage. I basically loved it all, and now you’ve ruined everything for me because I won’t get to watch every 7 group write a new story together like yours.
Thanks for joining in. I’m proud to walk alongside such strong, brave sisters and brothers. I love to see God moving in us all. Carry on, warriors.
Pass the tissues, wouldya? I’m all verklempt. Thanks soooooo much, Jen, for being brave enough to write this book and for encouraging us as we join you (and Jesus) on this journey. You’ve been too, too kind to us, and we’ll do anything we can to help make your new 7 study a raging success.
Won’t we, friends? Even if you didn’t participate (or participate much) in the read-a-long, I know Jen would love your thoughts on the book, what you’ve learned, and how you’ve been applying it to your life.
If you’ve written at least one blog post and linked up at any time during our read-a-long, I’d love to thank you with a free e-copy of either The Husband’s Guide to Getting Lucky or Once Upon the Internet (your choice–and if you already have them both, you can give one to a friend).
And you can link up to this post–that counts, even if it’s your first. Just blog some thoughts about 7 and link up back here. Or link to your favorite post from the read-a-long. Whatever works for you.
I’m sad to see the read-a-long end, but this isn’t over, friends. This “mutiny against excess” and “a call toward Christ-like simplicity and generosity” will continue to be a huge theme on the blog in weeks (and years) to come.
Thanks so much for joining Jen and me on this amazing journey!