Friday, June 29, 2007


"Simplicity is an acquired taste. Mankind, left free, instinctively complicates life." Katharine Gerould

Did you know that simplicity is a spiritual discipline? Richard Foster says so in Celebration of Discipline. It is a discipline that would bear study in this consumer culture. It is certainly one that Christians should seek as they strive to bring others to Jesus who lived most simply and taught many lessons on the virtues of simplicity. While reading The Irresistible Revolution, I remembered Foster's chapter and went back to it.

Here are his "ten controlling principles for the outward expression of simplicity: (comments following them are mine)

1. Buy things for their usefulness rather than their status. Do you really need a new iPhone?

2. Reject anything that is producing an addiction in you. Do I really need that book?

3. Develop a habit of giving things away. My goal is if I buy something
(say a new blouse) that means I give one away--or two, or three....

4. Refuse to be propagandized by the custodians of modern gadgetry.
iPhone again

5. Learn to enjoy things without owning them. Public libraries are the best bargains.

6. Develop a deeper appreciation for the creation. "Behold, consider the lilies of the field...."

7. Look with a healthy skepticism at all "buy now, pay later" schemes.
Does that mean credit cards?

8. Obey Jesus' instructions about plain, honest speech. Honesty and integrity do simplify your life.

9. Reject anything that will breed the oppression of others. Try to be in the know about what products are made by exploiting others. That is hard to do, but often such stories are in the news.

10. Shun whatever would distract you from your main goal. "Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness."

The old Shaker hymn says, "It's a gift to be simple,
It's a gift to be free,
It's a gift to come down where we ought to

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