Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Simple Life

As we are anticipating our first Christmas with no gifts (from parents.....kids are still giving to each other) we (ok, I) am dealing with a bit of guilt for not buying presents for our children. While it is fairly easy during the year to resist the temptation of spending on useless crap....it's much harder during the holidays. Especially when said useless crap gets beautifully wrapped up and set under the Christmas tree....I kind of miss it. But on the other hand, I have never been more relaxed about the celebration of Jesus' birth. I've never been more focused on what the day means and what it definitely doesn't mean. This could become a habit....finally.

Recently we were introduced to yet another reason for choosing our sustainable lifestyle. As I was perusing the sidebar of one of my new favorite blogs, Consciously Frugal, I found a wonderful site with a decidedly Christian bent. Alternatives for Simple Living mission statement reads (in part) ....Alternatives is a non-profit organization that equips people of faith to challenge consumerism, live justly and create meaningful celebrations.....Sounds good to me.

This is one of the Posts I found most meaningful.......

Simple Living is living in a way that is outwardly simple and inwardly rich. This way of life embraces frugality of consumption, a strong sense of environmental urgency, and a desire to return to living and working environments which are of a more human scale.

The practice of voluntary simplicity is advocated in the teachings of Jesus, the early Christian Church, St. Paul, St. Francis, and many others. It also has it roots in the teachings of other world religions, the teachings of Gandhi, and the writings of Thoreau. The American Friends Service Committee (The Quakers) define simple living as a “non-consumerist lifestyle based on being and becoming, not having."

Seven Reasons for Choosing a Simpler Lifestyle:

1. As an act of intentional living performed for the sake of personal integrity and as an expression of a commitment to a more equitable distribution of the world’s resources.

2. As an act of creation care for ourselves and especially for our children and grandchildren against the earth destroying results of over-consumption such as pollution, climate change, and resource wars.

3. As an act of solidarity with the majority of humankind, which has little choice about material affluence.

4. As an act of celebration of the riches found in God’s creation, and the riches of community with others, rather than in the “poverty” of mindless materialism.

5. As an act of spiritual discipline ordering our lives to reflect the values of simplicity and just living taught by Jesus and teachers in other world religions.

6. As an act of advocacy for changes in present patterns of production and consumption.

7. As an act of provocation (ostentatious under consumption) to arouse curiosity leading to dialog with others about affluence, and sustainable “green” living to redirect the production of consumer goods away from the satisfaction of artificially created wants toward the supplying of goods and services that meet genuine social needs.


Jeano said...

Thank you for this! I admit, I don't think we could do it (no gifts, that is) but we may at some point. I admire you for all you do! You really are my hero!

Steve said...

What a transformed place the planet would be it we followed these guidelines.

Maureen said...

Jean.....you always make my day, especially since you are MY hero.

...and I think God is going to allow it to be transformed in ways people aren't prepared for....whether we like it or not.

Jeano said...

Nicely said, Maureen! "God is going to allow it to be transformed in ways people aren't prepared for... whether they like it or not." I'm seeing that more and more.
I'm ready for a much simpler life.