Simple Living Works!

Life Standard #2: Learn from the World Community

Posted on: May 23, 2013

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The Five Life Standards, the essence of faith-based voluntary simplicity, are detailed in Doris Janzen Longacre’s book, Living More with Less (now available in a 30th Anniversary edition):

  • Do Justice
  • Learn from the World Community
  • Nurture People, Not Things
  • Cherish the Natural Order
  • Nonconform Freely

Free support materials for Living More with Less: blogs, video, audio, text, podcasts, etc.

Life Standard #2: Learn from the World Community

Our attitude has largely been that we want to help those poor people with THEIR problem OVER THERE. We need to realize that their problem is caused by OUR problem OVER HERE, our problem of over consumption. All things are connected.

One beautiful way to Learn from the World Community is through music. Several years ago a black bishop from Africa told an unforgettable story. He said, “White folks… those are the people who can sing and NOT move at the same time.” African music can help liberate many white North American Christians from their rigidity.

We can also learn about food… from creating simple, tasty meals to understanding the whole process from seed to table. The United States is undergoing something called “vertical integration.” This is the process in which the most powerful resource – food – becomes monopolized. The people who sell the food also own or control the distribution system, and the processing plants and the production, the farms. When we shop at Farmers Markets, support community based agriculture, refuse to buy out-of-season fruits and vegetables, we begin to control and take responsibility for our food. We can learn food justice from the world community.

We can learn more about community by doing menu planning and meal preparation and clean-up together. And we can vow that we will eat at least one meal a day together. So much of the time we have allowed the school, the community, the TV, even the church to take away our common meal. Research indicates that a typical U. S. father has only three minutes a day of direct conversation with his child. And that married couples in the USA have only five minutes a day of meaningful verbal exchange.

Learning from the World Community about food is important for another reason. We Americans now eat a great deal of expensive, highly processed food with many of its nutrients processed out. Why? Yes, it’s convenient. It’s a cycle. We work more hours so we can afford more expensive food that’s fast so that we can work more to buy more expensive, hollow food….

Cookbooks that use recipes from developing countries include More-with-Less Cookbook and Extending the Table.

Even people from our highly technological medical establishment are now seeing the potential of learning from shamans, healers and witch doctors. We are learning natural and alternative cures, from the rain forests, Native Americans, herbalists, acupuncturists.

We practice Fair Trade for two basic reasons. First, to make sure that farmers and artisans in non-industrial countries get a fair price for their goods. And secondly, to EDUCATE US. Through Fair Trade we learn from the world community.

We need to get people out of the house. We need to encourage people to go on reverse missions. To go on retreats to other parts of the world because when they come back they are much more likely to be open to simple living. Why? Because now they have something to compare themselves with instead of just their next door neighbors. Whether it’s building houses in Tijuana, or visiting Haiti, or Africa, they come back changed! So let’s do what we can to get Americans out of their little boxes.

Simple Living and the Five Life Standards on The Common Good Podcast

In episode 27 of The Common Good Podcast, Lee Van Ham and I find common ground in the micro-economics of voluntary simple living and the macro of Jubilee Economics. It goes way beyond “class warfare” in America to global fairness… seeing the interconnection of our small choices and purchases to the larger systems of governments and corporations. Everything’s connected.

In episode 28, I go beyond the concepts to the practical. Listen and subscribe for free at The Common Good PodcastAuthorHere are my blogs at Jubilee-Economics.orgDate

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3 Responses to "Life Standard #2: Learn from the World Community"

NPR, a few months ago, ran a story on the Fair Trade label and how complicated it has become. Worth researching as Fair Trade doesn’t always been small farms nor organic/healthy farming practices. It was enlightening, discouraging, hopeful all at the same time. Here’s the link if you are interested. Blessings on your good work, Pr. Amy

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/04/24/177757797/coffee-for-a-cause-what-do-those-feel-good-labels-deliver

[…] We practice Fair Trade for two basic reasons. First, to make sure that farmers and artisans in non-industrial countries get a fair price for their goods. And secondly, to EDUCATE US. Through Fair Trade we learn from the world community (Living More with Less Life Standard #2). […]

[…] We practice Fair Trade for two basic reasons. First, to make sure that farmers and artisans in non-industrial countries get a fair price for their goods. And secondly, to EDUCATE US. Through Fair Trade we learn from the world community (Living More with LessLife Standard #2). […]

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