Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A Life of Simplicity

Again, following on from Andy, and ‘habits and practices’ – how serious are we really about our lives as disciples? This term at college we have been focusing a great deal on discipleship, and what it really means to follow Jesus. If we are truly committed, our lives should reflect that.

There are many ways in which we can more fully express a discipleship commitment to Jesus. One which I have been thinking a lot about recently is simplicity. Our society is full of people vying for our attention, promising us happiness if we buy their latest products. Simple living is ‘stopping that treadmill and giving us … space for God’ (Valerio). In addition, storing up treasures on this earth where so many have so little is both selfish and idolatrous. The needs of others make a consumer lifestyle inexcusable, - but I know I have more possessions than I need.

Cultivating simplicity in this society is a demanding and difficult process. It means being a counter-culture. But is this not what Jesus has called us to? How can we make our lives more radical, and less comfortable?

Some suggestions (from Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline):

Buy things for usefulness rather than status.
Get rid of anything producing an addiction, develop instead a habit of giving things away. This is difficult, but I challenge you to learn from the example of these proactive bloggers.
Refuse to be influenced by advertisements, and learn to enjoy things without owning them.
Reject what causes oppression of others, buy fairtrade goods, and avoid companies that exploit workers.

We must learn, ‘that a man [or woman] can live profoundly without masses of things’ (Byrd).

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