i can easily get fixated on a specific topic and then i’ll read anything i can get my hands on relating to my current obsession. but i enjoy it when i pick the topic. it can make me a bit nervous when i feel something coming at me from all sides, uninvited.
in the course of a few days, the issue of money, simplicity, tithing seemed to knock me over at every corner. and i have to be honest that it is not the most comfortable topic to be dealing with at all angles. omar starts talking to me about a tim keller series about tithing. innocent enough. then we get our act together and sign up for the ccda (christian community development association) 2008 conference. then we agree to host shane claiborne for the conference. then i start reading richard foster’s freedom of simplicity.
so i am mentally relenting to this topic and agreeing to dive in with an open heart and mind. i find i use the word “simplicity” easily and perhaps often. but when i seriously think about it, what is simplicity? is that how i live? is it how we are called to live? i do not want to jump on just another cultural bandwagon, giving into what is chic (if indeed there is a “simple chic” bandwagon) for the moment.
and i am also learning what simplicity is not. simplicity does not have to be defined in terms of the negative. simplicity is not the absence of beauty or art or music or good food. practically, it doesn’t mean i can’t have rugs or art on my mantel or whatever. and i know the following statement is part of christianity 101 but i often forget it: everything i own, have, want is God’s. i can easily fall into a state of nervousness/dissatisfaction that i don’t own my home. the following passage is from foster’s book and is part of a discussion about jubiliee:
Another interesting thing about the Jubilee was the perspective it gave on the land, a perspective that was characteristic of Old Testament thought. The land did not have value in and of itself, but only in terms of the number of crops is would produce until the Jubilee (Lev. 26:16). Land was not used as an investment as is common today. The point was that the children of Israel did not own the land; they were merely given the use of it. God was the sovereign of the land…God had so parceled out the land that all the people could benefit from its produce. p.22
i love this. even if i did own this bit of land i live on, it is still God’s and my responsibility ought to be making sure others benefit from our home and our lives. and i would love to say that i also have “crops” to contribute but i don’t think my little sprouting plants count.
reading and learning about all of this is good. uncomfortable at times and squirm-inducing but good.