BlogPosts and curated content regarding Christian Simplicity.
Jesus invites us to a life of joyous trust – a way of living in which everything we have we receive as a gift, and everything we have is cared for by God, and everything we have is available to others when it is right and good. This reality frames the heart of...read more
To live a life of Christian simplicity, you have to know the real God. You also have to know the real you. Here is the unbelievable truth: the real you is enough for the real God.read more
It is fairly easy to rationally accept that we have enough. It is far more difficult to come to believe it in the deepest part of our desirings, and to live as if it were true. We have to train our “wanters,” which by the time we are adults have been often been twisted by deprivations real and imagined, as well as by an economic system that depends upon fueling desire.read more
Life in God’s kingdom necessarily involves other people. It is not just between me and God, but among me, God, and everyone else too.read more
God’s kingdom is life-giving. Sin — life outside of God’s kingdom — is life-destroying. Thus, my choices are less about right and wrong than about life-giving and life-destroying.read more
The material world is exceedingly powerful because it is tangible, and we are bodily creatures. We perceive it with all five physical senses (sight, touch, hearing, taste, smell), as well as our with our intellect and intuition. We experience physical hunger, pain, and pleasure. We are tempted by experiences that affect our emotions. We feel pressure and approval from other people. It is in this “kingdom of the world” that the most obvious parts of our daily life take place, and from here the “kingdom of the heavens” can look very far away.read more
Jesus’ gospel message was that life in the kingdom of God was newly available through him. He wasn’t talking about life after death in a far-off angel-filled place, but a quality of life available at this very moment to everyone. To make sense of Jesus’ claim we have to have a somewhat different picture of God’s kingdom than Sunday school and Hallmark cards tend to provide.read more
There is a reason Jesus said, “Follow me,” rather than “stay there and watch”: we are meant to learn from him by not only listening to what he said, but by doing what he did. Relationship is developed in action, not observation, so if we want to enjoy the relationship with Jesus’ Father that he did, we need to take action. We need to follow Jesus so closely that we are trained, as if by osmosis, how to experience life in the kingdom of God, as he did.read more
If God is forever and everywhere, and if God is sovereign — the ruler over all things for all time — then God’s kingdom is forever and everywhere. God’s kingdom would not only exist in a distant heaven and in another dimension. God’s kingdom would have to exist here and now, in this place and time. Even if the Earth and our lives and material reality seem very far from God, God is still king.read more
Are Jesus and God two different gods?
Have you ever thought that the Old Testament depiction of God and the New Testament depiction of Jesus were somewhat at odds? That the God of the Old Testament is strict, jealous, and vindictive and Jesus is loving, gentle, and easy-going?read more
Your mental image of God determines how you understand Scripture.
How is Psalm 139 different from Santa Claus Is Coming to Town?
Taken on face value, the lines about Santa Claus suggest dire consequences for undesirable behavior, while the lines about God do no such thing. Yet we often think of Santa as a jolly, good-natured fellow, willing and able to bestow good things upon those he favors. Do you think of God that way?read more
We were created for companionship with the Trinity. God wants to spend all of eternity with us, including right now, in God’s kingdom.read more
This is one of those God Ideas that most of us think we believe, but don’t live as if we believe. We are so accustomed to proving our worth, and so unfamiliar with the outpouring of pure love. We might know God loves unconditionally and still find ourselves trying to earn God’s affections.read more
God’s greatest glory is that he is good. The brightest gem in the crown of God is his goodness. “I will make all my goodness pass before thee.” There is a panorama such as time would not be long enough to see. -C.H. Spurgeonread more
We moderns and postmoderns are not very good at holiness. This isn’t a statement about morality or purity, but about our world view. Yet God is Holy.read more
Most of us have the idea that God is all good and all loving, but we don’t always believe it. For example, we might think that God is good, but live in fear of being punished. We might think that God is love, but spend our energy trying to earn God’s approval. If we believe, deep down, that God isn’t fair, or doesn’t love us, or is waiting for us to make a wrong move, we demonstrate that in what we do, and especially in how we think about others.read more
Ever wonder why you act against your own best interest? Succumb to the pressures of consumerism? Resist spending quality time with God?
Blame the serpent.
It wasn’t willful disobedience that brought down Eden, but instead false beliefs about God. God created us to be in relationship with him, enjoying his presence as he enjoys ours. Our false ideas about God destroy that joyful intimacy.read more
At first I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there sort of like the President. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I didn’t really know him.
But later on, when I recognized God, it seemed as though life was rather like a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed God was in the back helping me pedal. I don’t know when it was that He suggested we change places, but life has not been the same since.read more
Misconceptions abound about the simple life. We can clarify simplicity as much by explaining what it isn’t as by delineating what it is.
Easy — Many equate “simple” with “easy” and become disillusioned with simple living when they find out how hard it can be. To bake your own bread or cut your own wood is not always the easiest way to accomplish chores. But doing them yourself allows for an invaluable independence.read more
Simplicity in its essence demands neither a vow of poverty nor a life of rural homesteading. As an ethic of self-conscious material moderation, it can be practiced in cities and suburbs, townhouses and condominiums. It requires neither a log cabin nor a hairshirt but a deliberate ordering of priorities so as to distinguish between the necessary and superfluous, useful and wasteful, beautiful and vulgar.
— David Shi, Historian and Simplicity Scholar
It is impossible to miss God on the mount of transfiguration (Luke 9:28-36) and too easy to miss him as I go about my day. Is every bush really afire with God? Perhaps not. Maybe sometimes a bush is just a bush. But there is no bush absent from his presence. As David wrote, “if I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.” (Ps 139:7-12)read more