Join us in practicing this month's spiritual discipline

Simplicity

For more in-depth explanation regarding this spiritual discipline, we recommend the book, "Celebration of Discipline" by Richard Foster.
Definition: Simplicity cultivates the great art of letting go. Simplicity aims at loosening inordinate attachment to owning and having. Simplicity brings freedom and with it generosity. (Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, 'Spiritual Disciplines Handbook')

"Simplicity is freedom...Simplicity brings joy and balance...The Christian discipline of simplicity is an inward reality that results in an outward life-style." - Richard Foster, 'Celebration of Discipline'

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
(Richard Foster, "Celebration of Discipline")
Ten 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 "buy 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
Reflection Questions (Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, 'Spiritual Disciplines Handbook')
  1. In what ways are you susceptible to the entitlement mentality of our age?
  2. How has the "more is better" mentality shaped you?
  3. Do you envy those who have more things or more opportunities than you? Explain
  4. How much of your identity is wrapped up in what you own and where you go? Who are you without all of these acquisitions and opportunities?
  5. What is it like for you to give things away you still want and like?
  6. When have you downsized? What was it like for you?
Inner Attitudes of Simplicity
  1. To receive what we have as a gift from God
    •  "When we are tempted to think that what we own is the result of our personal efforts, it  takes only a little drought or a small accident to show us once again how utterly  dependent we are for everything."   (Celebration of Discipline, p.88)
  2. To know that it is God's business, and not ours, to care for what we have
    • "...if we believe that precaution itself protects us and our goods, we will be riddled with  
      anxiety." (Celebration of Discipline, p. 88)
  3. To have our goods available to others
    • "We cling to possessions rather than sharing them because we are anxious about  
      tomorrow."  (Celebration of Discipline, p. 88)
Simplicity frees us from 3 Tyrannies:
  1. The tyranny of self
    • "The self clamors for attention, self-recognition, applause.  Through artful deception, it  
      appears to be younger, wiser, richer, saintlier than is actually the case."
       Fight the tyranny of the self with these questions: 
      -Am I pretending to be an expert where I am only an amateur?
      -Do I really read the books I quote?
      -Do I use rhetoric as a curtain to conceal my true intention?
      -Do I give the impression of being more godly (or more profane, whichever will give more  
      status in the group) than I truly am?
      -Do I try to impress people with my degrees, titles or honors?

  2. The tyranny of things
    • "Out of fear that others might discover who we are, we create an artificial world of  
      ostentatious display, extravagant ornamentation, and pretentious style...We buy  
      clothes, cars, and houses beyond our means in a frantic attempt to appear successful."
       Fight the tyranny of things with these questions:
      -Am I living contentedly within my income?
      -Do I act my age?
      -Am I a compulsive buyer?
      -Do I try to impress people with gadgets?
      -Do I buy what I can afford and what my responsibility to the poor suggests?

  3. The tyranny of people
    • "What horrendous tactics we will put ourselves through just to insure that others will  
      have a good opinion of us.  How desperately and sincerely we labor to create the right  
      impression.  Instead of becoming good, we resort to all sorts of devices to make people  
      think we are good. "
       Fight the tyranny of people with these questions: 
      -Can I allow an unfavorable comment about myself to stand, without any need to straighten  
      out the matter?
      -In recounting events, do I shift the story ever so slightly to make myself appear in a more  
      favorable light?
      -Must I always make excuses for my behavior?
      -Do I am at excellence in my work without regard for what people may say or think?
      -Can I accept compliments freely without any need to shrug them off in self-conscious  
      modesty?