Avoiding LGBT controversy, Jen Hatmaker offers encouragement
Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly

Thomas Nelson has no plans to stop publishing books by Jen Hatmaker—whose new release is Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This World and Glorious Life—despite the controversy over her support of the LGBTQ community that prompted LifeWay Christian Stores to stop carrying her titles. “She doesn’t speak [to readers] as someone who has it all figured out but rather as someone in the trenches with them who has some wisdom and encouragement to offer,” said Brian Hampton, senior VP and publisher.

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Jen Hatmaker riled evangelicals last year after an interview and follow-up Facebook post saying she supported same-sex marriage, prompting Lifeway Christian Stores to pull her books from its shelves.

Nevertheless, the author of For The Love (Thomas Nelson, 2015), which has sold more than 300,000 copies, according to the publisher, mostly stays away from social and political issues in her books—the newest of which is Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This World and Glorious Life (Thomas Nelson, Aug.).

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“The point is to gather women around categories, topics, and ideas that serve as common ground,” said Hatmaker. “I want to find the things we have in common, those things that are part and parcel of our basic human experience as women.”

For instance, Hatmaker draws on her experiences with day-to-day activities such as shopping at Target, exercising, and studying Scripture for the book, which is aimed squarely at Christian women—one of the largest demographics of book buyers, according to NPD. Hatmaker riffs on topics such as motherhood and includes recipes, inspirational quotes, and how-to instructional guides, such as “How to Handle a Tween with Attitude.”

“I may not be exactly sure what I’ll write, but no matter what I write, I am unashamedly for people,” said Hatmaker. “My baseline theology is for inclusion, for different stories, for a wide and generous table, for diversity, for grace.”

Although Hatmaker, who lives with her husband Brandon and five children in Austin, Tex., makes no mention of gay marriage in Of Mess and Moxie, she blends a focus on women’s issues with messages about inclusion, forgiveness, and loving people with different beliefs in the new book.

“While I’ll always have fun in everything I write, I take hearts and minds seriously—I hope never to leave women just entertained,” said Hatmaker. “I hope when a woman closes the last page, she will have laughed her head off, been encouraged and empowered, and seen and understood the ways we’re alike and the ways we are different.”

 

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