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The Story of God: Simplicity

Joshua 24:1-3; 14-15, NRSV
Matthew 4:8-10, NRSV


When you agree to live simply, you put yourself outside of others’ ability to buy you off, reward you falsely, or control you by money, status, salary, punishment, and loss or gain of anything.
When you agree to live simply, you have little to protect and no desire for acquisition, even for acquisition of any “moral capital.” If you imagine you are better, holier, higher, more important to God than others, it is a very short step to justified arrogance or violence toward those others. In fact, it is almost inevitable.
When you agree to live simply you can understand what Francis meant when he said, “A brother has not given up all things if he holds onto the purse of his own opinions.” Most of us find out that this purse is far more dangerous and disguised than a money purse, and we seldom let go of it.
When you voluntarily agree to live simply, you do not need to get into the frenzy of work for the sake of salary or the ability to buy nonessentials or raise your social standing. You enjoy the freedom of not climbing. You might climb for others, but not just for yourself.
When you agree to live simply, you have time for spiritual and corporal works of mercy because you have renegotiated in your mind and heart your very understanding of time and its purposes. Time is not money anymore, despite the common aphorism! Time is life itself.
When you agree to live simply, you can easily find a natural solidarity with all people on the edge and the bottom—the excluded, the shamed, and the forgotten—because you stop idealizing the climb and finally realize there isn’t a top anyway.
When you agree to live simply, people cease to be possessions and objects for your consumption or use. Your lust for relationships or for others to serve you, your need for other people’s admiration, your desire to use other people as a kind of commodity for your personal pleasure, or any need to control and manipulate other people, slowly—yes, very slowly—falls away.
When you agree to live simply, there is no long-standing basis for any kind of addiction. You are free to enjoy, but you never let any enjoyment become your master. You practice non-addiction every day by letting go, not needing, and not desiring anything in particular. Fasting, detachment, and simplicity were the original words for non-addiction in the spiritual traditions.

— Richard Rohr
from Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi

  • Focus, Simplicity
  • Addiction to say Yes
  • Invitation to be simple, at this very moment
    • one devotion/simplicity
    • one cause: God’s Agenda – seek flourishing of all, to renew the world
    • one Savior

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