Credit: Masayoshi Yanase
This daily post is designed to help you live into our New Room Society covenant of practicing daily prayer together. Below is this week’s theme and daily practice.
Week 20: Simplicity
We are forever decluttering our life or organizing our closets. How is the discipline of Christian simplicity different from what our self-help gurus advise?
“I do believe in simplicity. It is astonishing as well as sad, how many trivial affairs even the wisest thinks he must attend to in a day; how singular an affair he thinks he must omit. When the mathematician would solve a difficult problem, he first frees the equation of all incumbrances and reduces it to its simplest terms. So simplify the problem of life, distinguish the necessary and the real. Probe the earth to see where your main roots run.” Henry David Thoreau
While standing in the checkout line in your local grocery, you may have flipped through the magazine deceptively titled “Real Simple.”
Not much “simple” about it, is there?
It is, of course, primarily a collection of things to buy that promise to “simplify” your life. A breadbox that doubles as a cutting board, a set of brushes to give you a “quick salon-quality blowout at home,” a chore chart app that allows parents to track their children’s weekly tasks and assign monetary value to each.
Why does our culture point to all these consumer goods as the clearest and most obvious way to simplicity?
18th century Roman Catholic archbishop, theologian, poet and writer France Fénelon frequently urged his friends to live a quiet life. To one he wrote: “Your mind is too much taken up with your circumstances, and this hinders you from understanding the mind of God…. I think it is such a hindrance to the kind of quiet meditation in which God reveals Himself. You must learn to be humble and simple…. Be content with leading a simple life.”
Is this a greater challenge for the leaders of Christ’s church today than it was is Archbishop Fénelon’s time?
We live in an age of religious complexity, a time of programs, organizations, study series, and methods. Where then shall God’s people find peace and simpleness of heart?
How will you show them?
Sunday: A Simpler Society?
Spend a few minutes with this video from Shane Claiborne.
How are you being impacted by God’s formation of a “temple” among his people? How will you live in the tension between the demands of our culture that you (a ministry leader) build what the world expects, and what God expects?