Daniel and Amanda’s Weblog

January 29, 2008

Why we try to live simply, Part 2

Filed under: christianity,Religion and Philosophy — theburts @ 10:46 pm
Tags: , , ,

This series, evidently, could also accurately be called “Why living simply is not simple.”

It’s proving to be a much more difficult topic than I expected, mainly due to reading Foster’s book, who also speaks of the “complexity of simplicity.” I’ve had to take a bit of a hiatus to get through a section of that book before I started writing these posts again. And remember, if you really want to know about living simply, or more specifically how to become a person of simplicity, check out some expert writers or journals of Christians who lived full lives of simplicity. I’m not your expert or best example in the matter.

It’s been difficult mostly because I wasn’t patient. I found that Foster’s words spoke directly to me…”By now you may be wondering, ‘Why all this talk about…spiritual preparation? Can’t we just get on with the business of simplifying our lifestyles without all the God talk?’ I answer that you are welcome to try, and God help you – because you will sorely need it. Although I deeply empathize with this ‘holy impatience’ to get on with the task, the clear witness of Scripture is that something beyond good intentions and will-power is needed to transform our egocentric, greed-captivated personalities into an all-inclusive community of loving, sharing persons.”

And it’s true. Being more practical than theological in nature, I tend to jump on things and want to know exactly what to do to arrive at a place. I read and know that simplicity is a good thing, so tell me what I need, what I need to give up, and…well, it’s just not that simple.

Foster uses the verse, “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” We can’t be double minded and live simply. We must more and more seek God and His Kingdom, we must pray increasingly, be in more constant awareness or consciousness of God, we must desire Christ more than anything else. Making definable steps to reduce consumerism, materialism, and greed may certainly be helpful. Refuse to buy things you don’t need that put you further into debt, work less and spend more time with the family, don’t be afraid to step away from the rat race and miss a chance to get ahead, etc. Do that. But if we pursue simplicity only outwardly, we will be like a rock climber who sets out to climb Everest without gear.

Earlier this week, my wife and I were asked by some media if we thought we could be happier if we pursued a more typical “American” lifestyle (bigger home, nicer clothes, and acquiring better things). Absolutely not, and we were clear about that. In fact, we believe just the opposite. The more stuff we get, the more we live in luxury, the more dependent we become on that stuff, and the less focused on God, the sustainer of our lives, we are. Working harder and longer to obtain nicer things and more modern technologies will not give us the joy that we can have in following Christ.

That’s what we believe. It’s not how we always act, nor is it what our minds always tell us. There’s so much out there, from advertisements and marketing to desires born in us over many years, to fit in. So much that says we’d be happier with more. It’s a constant struggle of keeping our gaze on Christ and seeking always to let Him direct our every decision.



  1. I too am practical and task oriented.
    Thank you for sharing what you are learning. It is encouraging for me to know I am not alone.
    Surrounding ourselves with others who are like-minded/like-spirited is so beneficial. I miss living within a community like that. It is difficult to create another community in a new town. but we are working on it. ;o)

    Comment by Dawn — January 30, 2008 @ 5:44 pm | Reply

  2. I’m way on the practical side too.

    Dawn: We all miss it for sure ;) but it’s so amazing to see how each of us is spreading it in our new communities!

    Comment by Ariah Fine — January 31, 2008 @ 4:01 am | Reply

  3. Daniel, your last posts were so good. Cant’ wait to see you Sunday.

    Comment by Carol "Mama" Burt — February 3, 2008 @ 4:43 am | Reply

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