Spiritual Disciplines Pt 3 – Simplicity

On January 30, Jill Weber wrote about the spiritual disciplines that New Monasticism interns in Hamilton were trying based on Richard Foster’s book, Celebration of Discipline. The interns share their reflections online from their reading. With their permission, we are sharing some of those reflections on various disciplines from some of the interns.

Arlan Kuepfer’s reflection on practicing simplicity:

Too fast too fast, life is going by just too fast.-little rant. Ecc 7:30, I like P.79. Interesting how wealth belongs to God yet the rich become more rich and the poor become more poor. It’s  definitely a part of likely all cultures in the world-a desire to be rich. I think about the song in a play my sister Lori acted in. She was Anne of Green Gables and in the one part a boy (forget his name) sings “I’d rather be poor and be set free, cause being rich ain’t what it’s cracked up to be.” I think about Tramps, my father (Herb) told me about them, how they would walk around southern Ontario finding work on farms for a few days and then journey onto the next farm carrying all, there belongings over their shoulder, often much like a potato sack. What an adventure that could be! Poor but free. I think about St Francis, how he grew up in a wealthy family, yet chose a life of poverty. But this isn’t quite the essence of simplicity. It’s not necessarily to say we’d rather than rich become poor, but to be content with what you have, to depend on Him rather than ourselves and even much more. 

I can, a lot more often than I’d like to say, get worried about the future and what it holds. But living simply trusts God about the future. Seek first the Kingdom-there is some good analysis of this found 86-87, check this: The person who does not seek the kingdom first does not seek at all. Thats a stab to my humanness. And freedom from anxiety is one of the inward evidences of seeking first the kingdom of God. 

The way I understand it is this whole idea of owning things mindset; that if I bought it, I own it, and therefore have control of it (and give us more pleasure. The idea is an illusion.P93). This has made me question myself in the way that I go about letting people use my stuff. I generally don’t like people borrowing or using my things because I often don’t trust they’ll take good care of it-of course this also depends on the person. But I think what the author is getting at is to expand that trust, because what I own should not be just for myself but be available to others. this has helped me realize I should be more “sharing” with the things I own, and learn to enjoy things without owning them. And to take on more of a view that it’s not my work that gives me what I have but I am dependent on God for even the simplest things in life such as air, sun and water,….well I need to believe this more and more. 

I like the ideas of using a car less, and buying one for its usefulness rather than status. I personally really don’t care about my vehicle as long as it gets me from point A to point B. I have my ‘culture infected dreams’ of owning a Ford Raptor but honestly I would never need that truck. I think I want to get a small car actually-cheaper on gas or go back to not having a vehicle at all, it just depends. I try to convince myself of biking rather than driving as much as possible, and I am so grateful for the bike co-op and all it’s offered me for my bikes (tools). 

I think each time I move I would want to get rid of half my possessions. It’s amazing the things one can accumulate. Sometimes when I see the amount of toys one kid has I’m overwhelmed with how much of that is unnecessary. So much in this society goes to waste, you go to the dollar store and find so many useless things that can be bought, RIDICULOUS! 

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