Friday, February 01, 2008

Minimal 1.0.6

I have appreciated the conversation on minimalism. I resonate deeply with some thoughts and am in terrible disagreement with others. Shall we venture to unpack and deconstruct the language and question in a more SIMpLE way (the "p" is purposefully typed in lowercase to complicate the word and as an image of the complexity that is created when individual differentiation is sought)?
What is simplicity?
Is simplicity right or wrong?
Did Jesus live a simple life?
Is it right or wrong to purge possessions simply to simplify (organizationally or aesthetically)?
Do individual possessions aid in the continued trend/formation of an anti-communal culture?
Is it right or wrong to give SIMpLY for the sake of giving?

17 comments:

Lee Y said...

Answers to questions in order:

1. If you really think its worth the time
2. depends
3. depends
4. no
5. depends
6. depends
7. depends

First of all, I thought my reply on the last post was hilarious and no one else seemed to think so. Yes I’m offended. Secondly, isn’t all of the “discussion” and disagreement over the semantics of this idea really defeating the purpose?

Travis.Bickle said...

Anti-communal culture. It is not so much individual possessions that aid it, as much as the individualistic idea of ownership - that we need to, should, or actually can own something - because we earned it, we deserve it, and we are independent. This is tangible - the idea of depending on a community of people, or depending on God - is not tangible. it leaves us vulnerable. which is what Jesus would like us to be, if we are going to really be able to follow him, and be The Church, without 5000 denominations, without barbed wire between catholics and protestants in Ireland, without the Crusades, without bank institutions. don't purge possessions to simplify - do it so you can genuinely pray the prayer Jesus asks us to pray - the one about God's Will - the one about "our" Father, about the Kingdom Come - which looks like something, something that is not relative to whatever culture you find yourselves in.

Did Jesus live a simple life?

Ryan Schmitz said...

I think that we need to make sure that we are not led into worshiping idols or coveting other people possessions. Beyond that, I think that the Bible is very clear that there can be ownership, that nice (even extravagant) possessions are not bad and can even be worshipful to God, and that our God is Lord over all; it is He who provides and He also takes away. For us to think that we are doing God a favor by embracing asceticism, is very close to works righteousness, which is flirting with putting us on the same plain as God.

Also, Lee I think people laughed but it was a Minimalist Laugh.

:::: Travis Keller :::: said...

lee y,
hilarious. no. funny. yes. should you be offended. depends. disagreeing on semantics. dialogue concerning a complex idea allows a community to simplify understanding.

:::: Travis Keller :::: said...

travis.bickle,
i agree with your clarification on the idea of ownership. ownership fuels mass consumption and mass consumption fuels ownership. but it is ownership rather than a possession in and of itself.
i'm still processing the rest of your post. you are a good man. i enjoy hearing about your life from our common friends. keep digging in dirt.

Travis.Bickle said...

Travis - many of us our coming to hear Shane speak at MVNU. it would be good to share a meal together afterwards - if you have time.

peace bro.

Tyler DeLong said...

Motivation.
What is your motivation to be a minimalist?
What is your motivation to be simple?
Is it to provide for those without, or just to look like a minimalist.
Lately, I have been noticing a trend of being a minimalist to be trendy.
I have also been questioning my motivation for my minimalistic view on things.
I resonate wit the idea that Joe illistrated when he said that he gave up ministry oppertunities because he might have to drive.
But like travis said in reference to fasting, should we quit fasting because the Pharisees abused it?
No.
I am making an attempt at living a simple, even minimalistic, life because I believe that that is how my Savior lived. And even though there are times when the enemy tempts my motivation to be pride, it doesnt mean I should stop. It means I am broken and in need of God's grace and strength so that I may continue on the path He is leading me on...

Joe said...

lee y and shmitty,

ryan's comment was funnier and to answer your question, no.

peterkevinson said...

Travis Bickle for President!!

I hope to see you when Shane's in town.

Travis.Bickle said...

Peter K. - Let's do it. We should all break bread together and eat.

If I run for president, does that mean I have to vote?

:::: Travis Keller :::: said...

bickle,
you are the only one that i would vote for president at this point. you haven't been filling your life with the babble that is political rhetoric. i'll have a post on that soon.

:::: Travis Keller :::: said...

peter kevinson,
t.bickle and friends,
adam sylvia,
timmy b,
j.ballenger,
i would be more than happy to have you all join me in our apartment for a shared meal after the chapel gathering.
thoughts?

peterkevinson said...

I think I'll be chilling on campus most of that day, though maybe with my kids, so I'll meet up in your apartment, especially with that crew of people (some of my favorites).

By the way, I was so pumped up for this election, my wife even got me an Obama t-shirt for my birthday that I've warn three times already without washing (my attempt at simplicity - less use of the washing machine). But after watching the debates the other night I realized everybody is really the same person (democrat and republican) and I've lost a lot of steam in that area.

On the simplicity thing. We are all scared of it. We don't want to give up what we can tangibly see gives our life meaning. It's such a hard journey and I rarely have the courage to make the changes that need to be made.

My wife and I talked about this tonight in the car. I mentioned some of the things my good friend Ryan Schmitz said, the ultra conservative one that he is. My wife said regardless of what he may say that I disagree with, him and Sarah probably live one of the simplist (yet meaningful) lives of any of our friends.

It's funny how I can disagree with a friend on an issue, yet my friend can actually live out better the side of the argument that I am arguing for.

matthew said...

does what you own glorify god? does what you have bring you closer to him or further away? these are questions i seem to ask myself when i am buying something, receiving something, or driving somewhere. everyone has there own definition of a need. everyone has there own understanding of simplicity, but i think that if we can ask ourselves those questions, then we will get somewhere. does what i own, own me?

Ron said...

The reading from the lectionary this week was from Matthew's account of the transfiguration. What struck me about the passage was that Peter wanted to build a shrine and the heavenly voice affirms the belovedness of the son and says to "listen to him".

My own tendency is much more like Peter's...I want to build shrines that capture God, put in place rules, propositions, and formulas that will ensure that I "get it"("live simply" could certainly become that for me) and to do this with what I think are good motivations. Yet, the terrifying answer we get is to "listen to Him"...I find that terrifying because it is so much more uncertain, requires much more discernment on the part of the community and my part, and requires that I commit everything (yes, even possessions)to that process.

This, perhaps, is just another way of putting what travis bickle was getting at.

I find it interesting that so many times throughout the Bible the people of God are without a home and on the move...perhaps living simply is not an end, but a means to the end of listening and doing the will of God?

Daniel Coutz said...

Ryan Schmitz said "...I think that the Bible is very clear that there can be ownership, that nice (even extravagant) possessions are not bad and can even be worshipful to God." I agree with you Ryan in that the Bible is very clear that ownership is an okay thing, but I had a hard time thinking of an example of the bible saying that extravagent possesions are okay and an even harder time thinking of a way they could be worshipful.

Mike said...

IN response to Daniel about the worshipability of extravagant things. Does the tabernacle ring a bell? Pure gold this that and the other of modern value in the multi-millions? All of the fabric and the manual labor (no not the name Manuel). What about the perfume of Mary (or who ever you believe that was)? Would these not count? Dinner for 20 or more at the expense of the the host or the owner of the house? especially with the bar tab.

Matthew 5:38-48, NASB

"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone want to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only you brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."