Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"Even" Jesus was a minimalist

I read recently in a minimalist blog that “Hell, even Jesus liked the idea of voluntary simplicity.” I would ask you to consider two ideas; firstly, Jesus didn’t just like the idea, He lived it and taught it:

Jesus replied, "Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." (Matthew 8:20)

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-23) 

Secondly, Scripture also says that He actually invented everything that stuff is made of:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. (John 1:1)

Does this really sound like someone who was borrowing an idea? Food for thought.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Remains of the Tea

After I’ve given an afternoon tea and it’s all over and everyone’s gone home, there is a particularly sweet time in which my guests' presence is still felt in my house. I think back on the giggles and the confidences, the little moments of connection. I like to take time to sit and enjoy that feeling of satisfaction, like a warm summer evening fading into darkness. It’s a part of the event, much as the last note dying away into silence is part of the music.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

100 or bust?

I’ve been following several minimalist blogs for some months now. It seems that arguments have arisen about the “100 Thing Challenge”. Some think this is obsessing over counting possessions, while others insist that it’s meaningless unless one actually maintains the goal of 100 things or less. I think that reducing belongings is an important starting point (whether it results in owning 100 things or not), but it’s ultimately only a tool to transform one’s thinking. At first, you will focus on sorting and deciding, but hopefully that process gets you thinking differently about having and buying stuff, which then frees your attention to focus not on things but on doing and being. This is why some minimalists say that the number is not really important.

I have heard monks conducting services in which they periodically chant, “Let us be attentive.” This is an important spiritual concept, and it applies to minimalism as well: where is your attention and energy going? If a minimalist is agonizing over buying that 101st object, then his attention has now shifted back to things. If he doesn’t take up photography because it means owning a few more than 100 things, then minimalism has restricted him instead of freeing him up, and that’s missing the point.

As Bob Luman once sang, “Let’s think about living, let’s think about life”.