Monday, March 3, 2008

The Discipline of Simplicity

I'm reading Celebration of Discipline for the second time in less than a year, and I'm reminded why I always tell people, "This book kicks my butt," every time I talk about it.

Dan and I just finished the discipline of simplicity this weekend and I think it's worth sharing the points that really hit home with me.

Probably the best, and most accurate, way of sharing is to give some direct citations from the book, so here you go:

The central point for the Discipline of simplicity is to seek the kingdom of God
and the righteousness of his kingdom first and then everything
necessary will come in its proper order.

If what we have we receive as a gift, and if what we have is to be cared for by
God, and if what we have is available to others, then we will possess freedom
from anxiety. This is the inward reality of simplicity.

If our goods are not available to the community when it is clearly right
and good, then they are stolen goods.

Obviously, this chapter was heavily devoted to the issues of money and possessions. It is an issue that I have, frankly, not thought much about for a long time. I feel like for a long time I was in a good place with this issue, but recently things have changed.

I have not fallen in love with money or possessions, but I have felt myself desiring stuff more than ever. So, this chapter came along at the just the right time.

My wife and I have been working on paying off all our debts, at times with "gazelle intensity" and at times with sloth sluggishness. We know becoming debt free is God's will for our lives because he doesn't want us to be slave to our lenders, but we've gotten sidetracked on occasion.

As a way of wrapping up my reaction to this chapter of the book, I'm going to list the "10 controlling principles for the outward expression of simplicity:"

1. Buy things for their usefulness rather than their status.
2. Reject anything that is producing an addiction in you.
3. Develop a habit of giving things away.
4. Refuse to be propagandized by the custodians of modern gadgetry.
5. Learn to enjoy things without owning them.
6. Develop a deeper appreciation for the creation.
7. Look with a healthy skepticism at all "boy now, pay later" schemes.
8. Obey Jesus' instructions about plain, honest speech.
9. Reject anything that breeds the oppression of others.
10. Shun anything that distracts you from seeking first the kingdom of God.

Do any of these make you feel like you're getting punched in the nose, like they do me?

1 comment:

Rachel said...

Because of these posts, I borrowed this book from the library. I've had it a week and haven't cracked the spine. After this entry, I see I'd better get started :-)