"For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards"

On a whim, a couple months ago already, I went to the library and checked out "For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards", the newest book by Jen Hatmaker, a pastor's wife, mother of five, and popular Christian speaker and author. I've perused Jen's blog on occasion and watched a handful of videos, but this was the first time reading one of her books and I wasn't sorry I did. (Albeit I did find the content much less focused, and, in all honesty, different than I expected based on the subtitle and intro, which seemed to be specifically about giving oneself grace amidst the have-it-all cultural "standards" for women and accepting the grace of Christ in our lives as well, and about which I had initially looked forward to reading further.) Nevertheless, true to what I'd gleaned about Jen Hatmaker, "For the Love" still proved to be both honest and humorous, and in that sense I was not disappointed. Jen's words were transparent and genuine, without seeming arrogant, as an older woman to the younger generation, and also witty, oftentimes to the point of laughing out loud. (One of my favorite chapters was the hilarious yet so true discussion on fashion. Yes, seriously.) Intertwined in the comical, however, were many tidbits of wisdom, and there were many things Jen wrote that resonated with me, whether as reminders of truth or new thoughts. For example, I was challenged by the simple statement, "We need to quit trying to be awesome and instead be wise." Also, on a more theologically-specific level, I've been considering Jen's proposition for the "biblical benchmark" that "theology is either true everywhere or it isn't true anywhere" (e.g., if we assume the gospel promises health and wealth, what about the "poor single Christian mom in Haiti"?). Of course, in this era of I-have-a-thought-so-I'll-write-a-book (or blog), I always read someone's words with a grain of salt, knowing that, as I've found, people tend to elevate what they personally have to say, their platform, sometimes to the point that it comes across as, or actually is, theologically loose or incorrect; and, so at times what Jen writes in "For the Love". However, rather than knit-pick Jen's theology, I would simply advise reading discerningly, because we can all agree her book is not Scripture, and as such is not Truth, but yet does contain truths that, I think, will challenge women to be gracious, to be hospitable, and to love Christ and others. And, if nothing else, it will be reason to laugh.

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