Here are his ten ways to order our world so that we can create simplicity in our life.
First, buy things for their usefulness rather than their status.
Second, reject anything that is producing an addiction in you.
Third, develop a habit of giving things away.
Fourth, refuse to be propagandized by the custodians of modern gadgetry.
Fifth, learn to enjoy things without owning them.
Sixth, develop a deeper appreciation for the creation.
Seventh, look with a healthy skepticism at all "buy now, pay later" schemes.
Eighth, obey Jesus' instructions about plain, honest speech.
Ninth, reject anything that will breed the oppression of others.
Tenth, shun whatever would distract you from your main goal: "Seek first the kingdom of God.
Last weekend we were discussing the book of Hebrews in Sunday School, and Nathan shared a game that a friend of his "played" with his children called "Name That Lie." As they watched television commericials together, he asks his kids to name the lie in a particular advertisement. The lie could be that "you deserve this item" or "everyone has this item, so you need it, too" or "if you truly want to be beautiful, then you need this item," etc. They discuss worldly beauty versus beauty of character and spirit, what consumerism and materialism really are, etc. This is a "game" that my kids are partially aware of from comments Keith and I have made while watching commercials and television shows, but I would like to be more deliberate about it.
When I think of simplicity, I can't help but think of U2's song "Walk On" from the CD All That You Can't Leave Behind (2000). The song is about perseverance despite pain (which encourages me in my illness), but the closing words speak strongly about simplicity, about all that we have to learn to leave behind us:
Leave it behind
You've got to leave it behind
All that you fashion
All that you make
All that you build
All that you break
All that you measure
All that you steal
All this you can leave behind
All that you reason
All that you care
It's only time
And I'll never fill up all my mind
All that you sense
All that you speak
All you dress up
And all that you scheme
All you create
All that you wreck
All that you hate
I'm a long way from living the kind of simple life that I desire, but I've joined the journey. I'm on the path. And it's a good path to be on at any time, but especially in our current economic climate where not only "less is more" but less is gonna be the key to survival, not only for each of us but also for our country as a whole.