Updates to this post are kept in an document containing all my notes here.
We are doing our best to live more simply. This has not always been so simple. Long before I listened to a Basement Tape I read a number of articles from back issues of Every Thought Captive on the Highlands Study Center website. I recall reading a few books I saw referenced and before you knew it I was putting in a garden and trying to bake my own bread. It was a start. Pursuing the simple life has been hard at times on my wife because I fail to communicate my thoughts and direction to her, at least in a way that makes it seem either appealing or reasonable. On top of that I tend to change direction now and then. However, things are getting better. I think in large part because she has been listening to the Basement Tapes with me. We will keep working at it, it is a good thing.
- The joy in simplicity is the peace that comes with it.
- Lawrence reads a powerfully accurate quote from Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline (full quote cited below).
- We are conformed to the culture, we see a need to keep in step, we don’t see that it is sick.
- There are going to be negative adjectives (as defined by the world) attributed to us (if we are not in step with the world).
- But these adjectives are virtues when defined by God.
- People do not desire simplicity.
- People are puzzled over the term “The Simple Life”, they don’t know what it means.
- The Anabaptist’s all understand this term.
- Simplicity means keeping a particular, distinct goal in mind.
- Worldliness – Lot’s of goals, goals that are in conflict with each other.
- R.C. explains how he raises chickens in one word…poorly.
- They explain the motto of The Highlands Study Center. Simple, Separate, Deliberate.
- We want all of our goals to be concentric circles. The central goal is to make manifest the Kingdom of God.
- How do you do that? You obey His law…by loving Him…by knowing Him…by being Holy…gets us to (separate, distinct)…thinking through what it is we assume what we ought not to assume (being deliberate).
- The simple thing, building the Kingdom of God for His glory.
- Discussion of of how doing things like Homeschooling, which seems like it will make things more complicated, actually help you simplify your life in many other ways.
- God blesses us in countless ways that are hard to see at first.
- Discussion about how complicated church life can be.
- Discussion how we over complicate things like home-schooling because we take our lead from the world.
- Lawrence tells the “rock thing” story.
- Pascal quote (below).
- Discussion of the simplicity and rest associated with the Lord’s table.
- Pearl of Great Price, it’s Jesus.
- Paul’s analogy of throwing things overboard, it’s Jesus.
- Psalm 23 – The Lord is my shepherd.
- Great comment from about how working in the garden or raising chickens are tactile ways in which we are reminded of our daily provision from God.
- Discussion on fleeing temptation.
- Are they saying the only way to be a Godly person is to live in the country?
- No, but it might be easier.
- Is there anything distinctly agrarian in attempting to live the simple life?
- Keynes and his economic theory linked to consumerism.
- Ayn Rand, Fountainhead. Man who wants to make buildings. He is making something, he is exercising dominion. Relates it to being simple in how we think about our work, is our goal to obtain more electronic credits (money) or is it to produce.
- It’s all about God.
Richard Foster, The Celebration of Discipline
Contemporary culture lacks both the inward reality and the outward life-style of simplicity. We must live in the modern world, and we are affected by its fractured and fragmented state. We are trapped in maze of competing attachments. One moment we make decisions on the basis of sound reason and the next moment out of fear of what others will think of us. We have no unity of focus around which our lives are oriented.
Because we lack a divine Center our need for security has led us into an insane attachment to things. We really must understand that the list for affluence in the contemporary society is psychotic. It is psychotic because it has completely lost touch with reality. We crave things we neither need nor enjoy. “We buy things we do not want to impress people we do not like.” Where planned obsolescence leaves off, psychological obsolescence takes over. We are made to feel ashamed to wear cloths or drive cars until they are word out. The mass media have convinced us that to be out of step with fashion is to be out of step with reality. It is time we awaken to the fact that conformity to a sick society is to be sick. Until we see how unbalanced our culture has become at this point, we will not be able to deal with the mammon spirit within ourselves nor will we desire Christian simplicity.
They (Men) have a secret instinct which impels them to seek amusement and occupation abroad, and which arises from the sense of their constant unhappiness. They have another secret instinct, a remnant of the greatness of our original nature, which teaches them that happiness in reality consists only in rest and not in stir. And of these two contrary instincts they form within themselves a confused idea, which hides itself from their view in the depths of their soul, inciting them to aim at rest through excitement, and always to fancy that the satisfaction which they have not will come to them, if, by surmounting whatever difficulties confront them, they can thereby open the door to rest.
Questions to consider.
- Have you communicated the central goal of making manifest the Kingdom of God to your family?
- Have you deviated from this goal? What things are preventing you from keeping focused on the goal?
- Is there such a thing as The Simple Life? How is it different from modern life? What is preventing you from living more simply?
Continue the conversation.
Want to get started living the simple life? Here are a series of steps you can begin thinking about today.