Monday, February 04, 2008

Minimal 1.5

It is fair to conclude that the state of one's heart/soul/mind/being is core to the issue of simplicity and minimalism. Assuming one's motivations and intentions are pure and good then should he/she seek a simple life in terms of minimizing his/her possessions? Do pure and good motivations and intentions necessitate such minimalism?

18 comments:

justinwaldo said...

are not good works a result of obedient faith?

Daniel Coutz said...

I think we need to be careful of using our movtives or are fears of what are motives might be as an excuse not to do things. I am not saying that we should not analyze our motives, but if we over-analyzing our motives we would be paralyzed and never do anything for God for fear that we may become prideful because of it.

Mike said...

No. If those things which are to be minimized inter-fear with who you truly are, then, they must go. However abundance is apart of the life Jesus came to give, why should we shut out a part of what can be (but not always is) a blessing and of possible use to someone else later because of a passing trend or current "non-religious" thing to do. Did Jesus not have the world at His finger tips and does He not own the cattle on a thousand hills? Abundance is a part of Kingdom living, hoarding however is not.

Travis.Bickle said...

"Is the reason you are doing so because God told you to, or because you have such a low self worth that you have not fully come to the identity of who you are as a Child of God and know that your purpose is not in things or in the lack their of, but in the manner that you avail your self to your creator."

Here are a few things Jesus tells us:


Sorrows Foretold:

24 “What sorrow awaits you who are rich,
for you have your only happiness now.
25 What sorrow awaits you who are fat and prosperous now,
for a time of awful hunger awaits you.
What sorrow awaits you who laugh now,
for your laughing will turn to mourning and sorrow.
26 What sorrow awaits you who are praised by the crowds,
for their ancestors also praised false prophets.


The Cost of Following Jesus:

57 As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

58 But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.”

59 He said to another person, “Come, follow me.”

The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.”

60 But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead![l] Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.”

61 Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.”

62 But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”



Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Disciples:

1 One day Jesus called together his twelve disciples[a] and gave them power and authority to cast out all demons and to heal all diseases. 2 Then he sent them out to tell everyone about the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 3 “Take nothing for your journey,” he instructed them. “Don’t take a walking stick, a traveler’s bag, food, money,[b] or even a change of clothes. 4 Wherever you go, stay in the same house until you leave town. 5 And if a town refuses to welcome you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.”

6 So they began their circuit of the villages, preaching the Good News and healing the sick.


The Widow’s Offering:

1 While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. 2 Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins.[a]

3 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. 4 For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.”


Treasures in Heaven:

19"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22"The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

24"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.


What is the real abundance that Jesus wants to give us? Is it not freedom from all of our false securities, so that we may be triumphantly dependent on and in-tune with the Will of God, given to us by and through Jesus, our Lord? This goes much deeper than how many possessions we should or should not have, don't you think?


"Would the crucifixion not have been on pay per view? Not necessarily at the bill of Jesus but do you think He would have opposed it being on a High Def screen mounted on the temple wall?"

Were you serious, Mike?

Mike said...

Travis,
For the first section of response; I agree and those scriptures reinforce the understanding that it is not the things we have that make them wrong, but the fact that they may have us is what makes them wrong. Again, there are many in the scripture on both sides of this coin and all were used by God however He deemed for their lives if they had, then what they had was used and if what they had, had them, then they were not used.

As for the second part about the high def on the temple wall... read the motive of it. It reads as one (no Christ) who has things and they have them, would the people who crucified Jesus and made a public mockery of Him not have used every means necessary to make a spectacle of Him and themselves in retrospect? Honestly I don't know. I tell you what though if they did, I would not be one who paid for that view. If the question of seriousness is if I would do it the answer is no.

Travis.Bickle said...

Mike - sure.

The problem is, The Church is more partial to being "fat and prosperous", than we would apparently like to think we are. But we easily justify ourselves by giving "a tiny part of our surplus" to missions, while another part goes to pay the gigantic utility bills of our church buildings, another for the country club membership for the pastoral staff, and the rest to some high-def televisions for the teens. All that would be fine, of course, if children were not sold as sex slaves around the world, because their parents can't afford to feed them.

Mike said...

Travis,
Would that not also include the large Christian schools where we go to learn all of these wonderful truths that have multithousand dollar heating cooling and water bills. Same principle applies, it all comes down to fruit and motive.

stephanie mary said...

eventually it all just comes full circle.

ryan said...

or a semi circle.
or is that just an arc?

Joe said...

it all depend on your definition of "God" i guess

_Billiam_

Anonymous said...

I think it's safe to say that none of us posting on these topics really buys into the minimalist theory. If we did, we wouldn't be typing on our expensive laptops and spending time in discussion that is far too easily misinterpreted by our word usage, tone, and at times attempts at humor. But as long as we agree that we are just a bunch or rich guys, playing with our expensive toys and talking about stuff that we clearly have no intention of taking immediate action on, then I'm cool. Let’s just keep this talk going on and on and on…

Mike said...

Anonymous...

Well Done!!!

Travis.Bickle said...

No, it definitely includes the Christian School Buildings, for sure.

and thankfully, I am able to use a donated, old laptop (Altec Lansing or something), that I don't own, because i am mandated to keep electronic progress notes and assessment forms, so we can provide resources to ex-offenders and impoverished families.

It isn't just the minimalist theory that we buy into, as the church here in Franklinton, but we actually do use all things given to us, for one another, for the poor around us, and as a significant way to worship God.

...and to work so intentionally with the poor, as the church, certainly doesn't provide any kind of insurance or retirement plan for us. Our children have state issued medical cards - which means we have little to no choice for a doctor - except for the Christian Health Center (a bunch of doctors who sacrificed medical wealth to serve the uninsured) whom we trust to care for us.

We have many steps to take downward - and though we are rich compared to the third world - we have not allowed culture to define our understanding of scripture. Our ministry here is to sit in roach filled homes, to offer support and relief from isolation, to offer prayer, and to receive prayer and support from the families and ex-offenders. We created an urban garden, and we share our backyard with two homes beside us, and we are developing a backyard gardening program, so we can grow vegetable produce, to give to the neighbors who only have access to corner stores with only canned and bagged food.

Our cars get broken into often, and a friend got punched in the face, off his bike, for no reason - then chased, before he found a cop, who took him to the emergency room, where he wasn't treated, because he didn't have insurance. Just days after that, he was compelled to take a man, he didn't know, into his apartment, because the man was trying to save money from a temp job, so he could provide shelter for his girlfriend and new-born child. The man struggles to find a stable job, because of an old felony on his record.

that is clearly, an "immediate action", taken by a member of the church, who is not going to settle for a lukewarm version of the gospel.

if what i, personally, have to say about scripture, doesn't have a direct impact on the way i live, then why would i say it? the same challenge should lie within all of us.

Mike said...

Travis,

It does. Where you are at in ministry is where The LORD has you. And in the life that He has called you to their are riches that surpass anything that we can ever imagine this side of Heaven. However we are also called to lead the rich and the "up and outers" as well as the "down and outers". Of whom until The LORD opens the eyes of their understanding can not and will not see the scripture the way that you and I do. So to that how do we minister to them besides becoming all things to all people. This does not and will not give us a license to be some rich uptiy self absorbed biggot, but rather gives us the ability to reach such a world so different from the one that you are now imersed in. My family also has state issued medical cards and I thank God for them. But in no means does our state of being lesson the impact that large fruit bearing ministries have. And in that are still able to reach massive amounts of people here in our neighborhoods and around the world; and yes even the family who has sold their children as sex slaves, these are being reached with a life transforming Gospel. If you happen to be in the lower lights area the ministry that you are apart of is partly funded by "large utility bill paying" churches. And theirefore some of the outreach opportunites and yes even the lights of the ministry are paid for by those who on the weekends enjoy a nice round of golf while witnessing to those on the "otherside" of the tracks. Minimalism is more than a physical theory, The heart issues that you were talking about are very much apart of it. But we cannot throw out scriptures like Deuteronomy 28 that promise physical and spiritual riches when we walk in total obedience to the commands of God. We sell ourselves short I believe when we only look at where we are and the issues that plague us day to day. There is a great big world out there that is burning on the inside to feel passion like you and I do. To know the Truth in such a way that it captivates more than our intelect and typing abilities and bursts through our hands and feet and eyes as we look at any and every need and feel that need deep within us and allow ourselves to be captivated in the Glory and blessing it is to carry it and be clothed in it. I appreciate your heart and I have enjoyed reading and listening to your passions as they come across, but please in no way think that ministries that have large crowds and enormous buildings and pastors that wear hawaian shirts on Sundays and drink starbucks coffee 5 days a week are any less because of those things, or are any less Holy or Righetous than those who do not. I pray for every church and every person that bears the righteousness of Chrsit to have more than enough because that is a promise that my God has given to me. This life is not about just getting by. That is not biblical. From begining to end He declares to the rightous that we are the apple of His eye, the head and not the tail, strong, free, set apart, able and called His Child. Kings kids have access to the Kingdom and the Kingdom has enough to meet all that is required and even desired by those it touches.

Travis.Bickle said...

Sure Mike. I hear you. It certainly is not up to me to judge who is holy and righteous. But where is the line drawn, in regards to being "Lukewarm"?

15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! 17 You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.

or

21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’


Who are these people Mike? In what direction does scripture point, in which to know the difference between following the law and following Jesus (which, of course, includes the law)? If we don't know the difference, how can we hold anyone accountable, including ourselves? Why hold a porn magazine in your hand, if you are not going to lust? If we want to be dependent on God, why do we absorb worldly securities and pleasures (including the relief of guilt) and then call ourselves the church?

23Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

25When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, "Who then can be saved?"


Who then can be saved, Mike?

Mike said...

Ok, Having all that we want, and not needing a thing is not a sin. It is a blessing from God and a state of contentment in Him for what He has provided. This particular passage is dealing with those who claim the name of Christ for any other reason but truly following in a passionate pursuit of Holiness and Godliness in their lives. These would be people who "are saved but dont go to church" because they are still holding griudges from the past, or hurts, or pride and anything else that can and will keep us from inheriting our eternal home in Heaven. Not to mention the fact that they were relying on their things (again motive) to get them all that they needed spiritually as well as physically. The people that cried out to Jesus (and dont forget to look in the greek text to get the depth of the meaning of the words here) were Christians that at some point were walking with The LORD and got off track, because the signs that are mentioned there can only be done by empowered believers living in holiness, example being; the sons of Sceva who got their tails kicked for trying to cast out demons in power other than the Holy Spirit.

SO far all of the people mentioned were Christians at some point.

To the porn in one hand example I would have to say... Why have a dog, and not feed it? The two statements dont even go together. If someone has a past of alcohol abuse and still strugles with it you dont take them to a bar. If having money in your pocket for spending on something you might actually want and not be needed for food is a vise for someone then dont carry extra cash. This is all about motive still!!! Being able to do many things because you have a blessed bank account from folling the commands of God does not make you luke warm. If it did then Billy Graham would go to hell, And so would anyone else that was blessed financially in their ministry. It would be like taking the penny from the gas station styrofoam cup and leaving the twenty in change that you got back on the counter.

As far as the relief of Guilt, my bible tells me that there is therefore now no condemnation (guilt) to those who are in Christ Jesus for the law of the spirit of life in CHrist Jesus has set us free from the law of sin and death. Guilt is from the devil, Conviction if from God. So therefore I do want relief of any guilt becuase it aint from Jesus.

And again the bible says that it is hard for a rich man (again one whos riches has him) to enter the kingdom; not impossible. The eye of the needle is a hole in the walls around Jerusalem that camels could go through but the rider had to get off and unload everything in order to get the camel through. Again anything that we HOLD in higher regards to the means to get through will keep us out, not just anything.

And who can be saved... Last time I checked anyone and everyone who calls upon the name of Christ.

eric said...

from an outsider's perspective, it seems as though travis holds to a liberation theology and that mike leans heavily towards a prosperity gospel... am I far off?

Mike said...

yes

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."