Thursday, October 8, 2009

Alternatives for Simple Living

I grew up in a Catholic Worker house in which part of our life was living simply. It was a conscious and difficult decision that we had to remake every day. The main motivation for this lifestyle was our faith. Jesus always could be found with the poor, and advocated giving up your possessions and embracing a life founded on people not objects. With all the poverty throughout the world, and the many ways that what we buy affects the poor, we tried to buy used whenever possible, and save as much energy as possible. Much of it was environmental, and being in solidarity with the poor around the world. I've always wanted to learn more about simple living and the motivation for it so that I can fully explain myself, so when I found Alternatives for simple living I was interested in reading more about faith based simplicity.

The website was founded in 1973 to "promote an alternative biblical vision of life based on voluntary simplicity, stewardship of creation, and encouraging meaningful celebrations that reflect conscientious earth friendly ways of living." They publish a magazine twice a year, have many resources, and lead a workshops. One resource from their website I think will be one of the best is a paper entitled " The Art of Simple Living." It highlights the main reasons for living simply from a religious standpoint vs. a secular one. The main point is to explain what they call the five life principles related to voluntary simplicity. They are borrowed from the book
Living More with Less by Doris Janzen Longacre, and are:

  • Do Justice
  • Learn from the World Community
  • Cherish the Natural Order
  • Celebrate Responsibly
  • Nonconform Freely

The 5 points are explained in a logical way that paints simple living as just what is, a very good and practical way to help the planet and humankind.


  1. I understand there may be differences between living simply for faith and living simply for secular reasons, but how do they differ in practice?

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  3. For the most part they do not differ in practice. The main difference is in one's motivation for living simply. Living simply is a very personal decision, in that, how you decide to do it depends greatly on your personal beliefs and choices.