SIMPLICITY

Making Space for Christ: Simplicity for a Life of Faith

 

We live in a society that is increasingly fast paced and full of stuff. It can be hard to carve out time for family, time for enjoying God’s creation, time for rest, time for simply being alone with God. This is especially hard when we are surrounded by the chaos of piles and full schedules, in our lives and the lives of those close to us. The things and activities we think will bring us satisfaction sometimes only serve to distract us from God. How can we find ways to simplify the chaos of life to allow time and space for what is truly important?

Our Lenten theme this year is “Making Space for Christ.” Together, we will explore how to simplify our lives and become better stewards of our stuff, our time, our food, our health/bodies, and our neighbors’ well-being.

One valuable way to engage will be our Sunday program after worship (11am), where we will share a simple meal and learn together about some aspect of simplicity. Here is a schedule:

March 1: Where do we start?  What is simplicity? How simple a lifestyle do you have? Where could you simplify more? Using scripture as a foundation to begin this conversation, we will discuss some of the possibilities and roadblocks to living more simply, take a self-assessment to help us understand what sort of simplicity would best serve our faith, and set some goals for the coming six weeks.
 
March 8: The Story of Stuff  Where does our stuff comes from and where does it go? Learn about the “cycle” of where stuff originates, and how it is “disposed” of (spoiler – it’s linear, not cyclical!), and the effect it has on people and the earth along the way. How can we be better stewards of our stuff, and how can this better serve our neighbors?
 
March 15: Space for Sabbath  “Remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy.” What does the 4th commandment mean for us today, and why does it matter? Local spiritual director, Bonnie Matthaidess, will join us to help us understand the place and meaning of sabbath for our (busy!) lives today.
 
March 22: De-cluttering our Homes and our Lives  Raise your hand if you have too much stuff. Do you wish you had less? Together we will imagine a life with less stuff, discuss some of the roadblocks to getting there, and explore how scripture can help us understand why it’s worth the effort. Workshop will include some tips for getting started.
 

March 29: Simple Food, and Caring for our Bodies  Our food choices impact not only our personal health, but also our relationships with the earth and with our neighbors near and far. Local nutritionist Pamela Braun will help us see these connections, and talk with us about how to make small, meaningful changes.

You may also choose to try our Simplicity Challenge Calendar (inspired by ELCA World Hunger). Print this out and hang it on your fridge to try each day to live more simply.  Click HERE or the button below to view and/or download your own copy:

Simplicity Challenge Calendar

Note: If you are unable to make our Sunday gatherings, but wish to do some self-study on this topic, here is a list of resources you may find helpful or inspiring:

Resources to Help You Live More Simply

WEBSITES/BLOGS:

Nourishing Minimalism (http://nourishingminimalism.com/)  – The goal of this Christian blog is to “help people clear the clutter, invite calmness into their homes and enjoy the time they spend together.”

The Story of Stuff Project (www.storyofstuff.org) – learn where your stuff comes from and where it goes in this series of clever, easy-to watch videos, and learn how to take action.

Project 333 (theproject333.com/about) – Could you live happily with only 33 items of clothing per season? Project 333 says yes, and you will feel freer than ever before. Tips on how to pare down your closet and live with fewer clothes.

Becoming Minimalist (www.becomingminimalist.com) – A family of four decided to live with fewer possessions and as a result found a better way to live a life centered on more important pursuits.

Giving it Away for Lent (https://www.facebook.com/groups/234176396671993/) – A Facebook group that offers resources and community in your effort to get rid of stuff you don’t need.

My Plastic-Free Life (myplasticfreelife.com) – One plastic addict’s effort to eliminate single-use plastic from her life. (See also Plastic-Free book below.)

Christian Minimalism (www.christianminimalism.com/) Lutheran pastor Becca Ehrlich reflects on minimalism (whatever that might mean for you) as a Christian practice.

BOOKS:

Sustaining Simplicity: A Journal by Anne Basye → Down-to-earth journal entries from someone trying to live more simply.

Simplifying the Soul: Lenten Practices to Renew Your Spirit by Paula Huston A daily devotional inviting readers to de-clutter their minds, hearts, relationships and souls, through practices woven from the gospels, the Desert Fathers, and the author’s own spiritual experience.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo → A categorical method of decluttering – keep only what “sparks joy” in your life. Note: there is also a Netflix series based on this book, called Tidying Up.

7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker → What’s the payoff from living a deeply reduced like? It’s the discovery of a greatly increased God – a call toward Christ-like simplicity and generosity that transcends social experiment to become a radically better existence.

Enough: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity by Pastor Adam Hamilton → Includes keys to experiencing contentment, overcoming fear, and discovering joy through simplicity and generosity. This book could change your life, by changing your relationship with money.

Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too by Beth Terry → A guide to giving up plastic, and why you should do it.

Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach → Daily essays on embodying an attitude of simplicity and abundance.

Satisfied: Discovering Contentment in a World of Consumption by Jeff Manion → A Christian look at seeking satisfaction.

Sabbath as Resistance: Saying NO to the Culture of NOW by Walter Brueggemann → Sabbath isn’t about keeping rules; it is about becoming a whole person.

Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in our Busy Lives by Wayne Muller We need not schedule an entire day each week. Sabbath time can be a Sabbath afternoon, a Sabbath hour, a Sabbath walk. (Poems, stories, and suggestions for practice)

Just a Little Bit More: The Culture of Excess and the Fate of the Common Good by (Lutheran pastor) T. Carlos Anderson → Is America’s religion Christianity, or consumerism?

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver → A family of four vows for a year to eat only food they grow themselves or can buy from their neighbors. Complete with expository essays and recipes. You are what you eat.