Feb 19, 2014

Living More with Less

It's difficult for me to articulate many of my own ideas and beliefs, so it's exciting and affirming to find that someone else has already done it so well!
Living More with Less – a pattern for living with less and a wealth of
practical suggestions from the worldwide experiences of Mennonites.
By Doris Janzen Longacre, author of More-with-Less Cookbook

This book was recommended and loaned to me by a wonderful woman. I started reading it thinking “I'm already on board with the philosophy of voluntary simplicity, and maybe I've heard this all before.” But it was still so very eye-opening and I'm now even more convinced than before that simple living is just better for everyone and everything on this earth.

The book examines in a Christian context (and of course applies to anyone with any kind of concern for health, humanity, and our environment) how we live, what we eat and where it comes from, what we wear and who made it (and in what kind of conditions), how much house we have to maintain, and just generally what we spend our time, energy, and money on.

There is a section in the book that was especially jarring and uncomfortable, addressing our failure to comprehend the full meaning of Christians overeating together at a time when so many go hungry. (1 Corinthians 11:20-22) The book, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger by Ronald Sider was referenced, and is now on my to-read list.

It's hard to reconcile our lifestyle and religion. I hear the verses about how it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. (Matthew 19:16-24) I think “oh yes, those rich people across town in their huge houses and perfectly manicured lawn, those rich people on the screen, they just don't get it.”

But then I realize, no, I am with them. I am rich. Globally speaking (and how else should we speak?) I AM IN THE TOP 1% of the richest people on the planet!!! And I bet you are pretty high up there too, find out here at the global rich list.

It is especially humbling and all the more urgent being that this book was written in the 70's when dishwashers and central air conditioning were the new household luxuries. The topics addressed are still perfectly relevant concerning politics, international relations, energy use/production, environmentalism, and social justice. Really, not much has changed.

This book is eye-opening, potentially life-changing, and I strongly recommend it. I'm trying to make changes in my life, and be more conscience about who/what we are supporting through our consumerism (or better – the lack thereof). Consider the lilies of the field, y'all! 

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