Living More with Less: Intro
Posted May 7, 2013on:
My spouse Rita and I read Doris Janzen Longacre’s classic “Living More with Less” in 1982, and it has become one of the most important books in our lives. We serialized it for radio. Then we serialized the Alternate Celebrations Catalog by a group in Georgia called Alternatives.
Even after the radio series was over, people would give Rita a funny look when we’d meet on the street. And after a bit one would say, “You’re the Simple Living lady, aren’t you.” She was the talent (the voice) and I was the techie.
We became members of Alternatives, and in August of 1995 they asked me to lead the organization. Since then I have given over 300 presentations on Voluntary Simplicity. Have you ever felt that everything you have done in your life has lead up to this point? That’s how I feel. Some call it synchronicity. I call it the call of God.
We consider ourselves earnest but not condescending about simple living. We built and lived in a geodesic dome with solar panels. We wear mostly recycled clothes. We love to laugh.
And why do we stick with voluntary simple living? While we boycott greedy mega-corporations and protest laws from bought politicians, we can still control our own lives. It’s far more than wearing our favorite old clothes and growing a few tomatoes. Voluntary simple living is a comprehensive, faithful way, with generosity, not legalism nor self-centered libertarianism. It is about community, not survivalism. It is effective and satisfying, not based on fad, convenience or deprivation.
I have served as an Associate in Ministry (AIM) in the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) for 25 years. Prophetic ministry shows people the logical consequences of their life choices. It’s different than pastoral ministry, which focuses on worship, education and outreach. Pastoral ministry tends to avoid controversy. Prophetic ministry embraces controversy.
“Living More with Less” has been central to my ministry. We have produced numerous resources to help others. Most of them are available on the SimpleLivingWorks web site – text, audio, video.
OK, this is a tutorial, or continuing education, if you prefer. This series is in six parts – this intro and then one for each of the five Life Standards. I hope you’ll snoop around the other resources between weekly installments.
1. Do Justice – using only our fair share of the Earth’s resources
2. Learn from the World Community – openness to other cultures; reverse missions and Fair Trade
3. Nurture People, Not Things – relationships over stuff
4. Cherish the Nature Order – caring for Creation
5. Non-conform Freely – developing spiritual resistance to advertising that pressures us to buy things we don’t need
Now if you’re an over-achiever and want to skip ahead, here’s the link that has all the blogs, video, text, podcasts, etc. Or you can take it step-by-step and enjoy the ride.