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[Part three of a series about this book. Part One here.]

An interesting side story during Jen’s journey in 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess is the process of international adoption she and her husband are going through. It pops up in random times and places during the book and adds a layer of richness as you get glimpses of their family life.

They’re adopting two children from Ethiopia and during the month Jen’s only eating seven foods, she breaks the fast one day by going to an Ethiopian restaurant with her friends. Her friends have taken up the food challenge, but in a modified form. They’re spending a month eating like the poor from different countries (which involves a lot of rice and beans).

Later that evening, Jen makes dinner for her kids. After serving up dinner, the kids are eating while she takes care of other household chores. She returns a few minutes later to find them, mysteriously, quickly finished with dinner. She asks if they ate it all and they end up guiltily confessing to throwing some of their dinner out because they didn’t have any ketchup.

Jen writes,

The chances my African children are going to bed hungry are so high I almost don’t need to waste a line space speculating.
And tonight my kids here with me in the land of plenty threw away a pound of food because they didn’t have ketchup.
How can we extract our children from this filthy engine where indulgence and ignorance and ungratefulness and waste are standard protocol? Where they know they can throw perfectly good food away because there is always more in the pantry?
I wept for all my children tonight, my Ethiopian children orphaned by disease or hunger or poverty who will go to bed with no mother tonight and my biological children who will battle American complacency and overindulgence for the rest of their lives.
I don’t know who I feel worse for.
–          Day 5

Our kids, growing up in the land of plenty, are expected to have a lifespan shorter than that of their parents because of how they’ve been gorged on our bounty.

Our kids, growing up in the land of plenty, don’t realize how blessed they are because they’re surrounded by it.

Our kids, growing up in the land of plenty, need parents and role models who take up the call to fast, to stand with the poor and oppressed. Who show them a way different from the way of the American Dream which is literally gorging them to death.

How do you model to those around you (children, fellow church goers) ways to break free from the trap of taking abundance for granted?

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