Lesson:  SPICE - Simplicity

 

101 Ways to be Quaker Simple in Winchester, IN

 

Links to a few Websites concerning Simplicity:

Testimony of Simplicity,  Six Lessons for Simple Eating Michael Pollan – Rules to Eat By 64 Ways to Eat Food Clothing: 6 items or less Challenge,  Simple Living Manifesto – 72 ideas to simplify your life,  Simple Living defined, Living Simply as Christ Intended 

Indiana Yearly Meeting’s General Query on Simplicity

(IYM 2002 Faith & Practice, pg. 43)

Do you observe simplicity in your manner of living, so that devotion to Jesus Christ comes first in your life?  Do you celebrate life as a gift from God? ....How do you actively avoid self-destructive stresses in your life? 

“Today I pray for simplicity, that I may be satisfied by what I have, be filled with the laughter and joy around me, be rid of desire for more, and be willing to examine what I crave for the underpinnings of envy, secret feelings of being less than, egoism, and a desire to feel better than my fellow human.  Grant me the ability to sink down in my own shoes and live well right where I am”.  unknown

 

LIVING OUT THE TESTIMONIES

We are called to SPICE up our world with

Simplicity

Peace

Integrity

Community

Equality

Christians and Friends (Quakers) today try to make their spiritual life visible in the world through simplicity, peace, integrity, community and equality. 

They call it their testimony. 

While not every Christian or member of a Friends church makes these things visible, these testimonies remind us how to live out our belief in Christ on a daily basis.


Simplicity – People in our world today want to know God in a deeper way.  They want a rich life in the spirit and a purpose for life.  Many Christians today talk about simplicity and Quakers believe it is important to live a simple life with simple obedience to God.  Simplicity is not only about the stuff we own, it is also about our heart and the purpose of our life.  Is our life in a mess and chaotic?  Are we living a life that is simple, happy, and committed to Christ? Quakers believe Christians are responsible for our world and try to live simply, taking care to not waste money or the earth’s resources.  Our waste could cause others in our world go without their daily needs.

Simplicity of Diet     

Matthew 6:31-33

(New International Version)

31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

1)    Plant a vegetable garden if you have space (or take a plot at the Community Garden) or a window garden if you don’t have space

2)   Eat real food (If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t)

3)   Eat local food in season

4)   Be a frugal shopper

5)   Eat foods that will eventually rot (avoid processed foods)

6)   Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food

7)   Don’t waste food

8)   Watch ingredient lists – avoid excess salt, sugar and fat (Avoid food products containing ingredients that a third grader cannot pronounce.)

9)   Eat meals at home and limit food arrived through the window of your car

10) Cook what you eat 

11)  Eat more vegetables and less meat

12) Fast Once a Month

13) Advocate for those who don’t have enough to eat

14) Eat less

15) Drink more water

16) Donate to food pantries

Other ideas:

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Query:

What are you doing to eat simply and to help others do the same?

Or (as Ron asked…)

“What’s for Lunch?”

 

Simplicity of Speech

Matthew 5:33-37

(New International Version)

   

 33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

25)   Let your yes be yes and your no, no

26)   Be truthful

27)   Don’t break your promises

28)   Be silent….if nothing good or constructive can be  said, say nothing

29)   Be kind with your words

30)   Listen

31)   Do what the word of God says

32)   Act consistently to what you say (Let your life speak)

33)  Don’t be boastful

34)  Be disciplined

35)  Don’t be careless with what you say!

Other Ideas:

37) 

38) 

39) 

40)

Query:

      Do you speak plainly, honestly and truthfully to all people and does your life reflect the words you speak?     

 

Simplicity of Wardrobe 

Matthew 6:29-30   (New International Version)

29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?

41)   Purchase clothing at discount stores, consignment

         stores and thrift shops

42)   Don’t overstock wardrobes unnecessarily

43)   Go “green” in clothing (consideration of the carbon

        footprint the material produces, lifespan of the

        garment, and social responsibility in the production of

        clothing)

44)   Make clothing universal

45)   Recycle clothing to Good Will, Attic Window shops, or

        the fall and spring Winchester Friends Rummage Sale

46)  Use your sewing machine to make your own clothing or

        to repair damaged clothing

47)  No binge buying or unnecessary purchases

48)  Dress plainly or casually, expensive clothing can

        highlight social inequality

49)  Avoid expensive new styles, but consider purchasing

        high quality clothing that will last

50)  Dress modestly and avoid revealing clothing that calls

        attention to you

 51) Challenge yourself to live with limited clothing options,

       consider experiments like “6 Items or less”

 

Other Ideas:

 

52)

 

53)

 

54)

 

55)

 

Query:

 

Do you go through your wardrobe twice a year and donate any unused clothing?

 

 

Simplicity of Lifestyle, Shelter

Matthew 5:40-42

(New International Version)

40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Matthew 6:19-24

(New International Version)

 

    19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.    22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! 24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.  

56)  Make due with what you have, don’t spend your life

       “keeping up with the Joneses”

57)  Keep a list for 30 days of the things you want to buy,

       don’t indulge in spur of the moment shopping for your

       home

58)  Be conservative with energy; turn up the air conditioner

       and turn down the heat whenever possible

59)  Share our possessions with others

 Other Ideas: 

60) 

61) 

62) 

Query:

         Do you observe simplicity in your manner of living, so that devotion to Jesus Christ comes first in your life?

 

Simplicity of Finances      

    Matthew 25:14-31

     (New International Version)

29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them…

63)  Save before you spend, don’t use credit or loans

64)  Know the difference between wants and needs

65)  Track what you spend, know where your money goes

66)  Plan your spending, budget your needs first

67)  Save money every week, small amounts add up over time

68)   Know how much money you make and plan to tithe

         before you spend

69)  Share what you have with those who have less

 

Other Ideas:

 

70)

 

71)

 

Queries:

Do you seek to be a good steward of the resources to which you have been entrusted? 

Do you tithe and save before spending on other things? 

Do you stop and consider whether something is a need or a want before spending money to purchase it?  Do you strive to be generous with those who have less? 

Do you strive to live within your means, planning and saving before a purchase rather than using credit?

 

  

Simplicity of Technology and Entertainment

      Matthew 7:13-23; Luke 12:13-21

      (New International Version)

   Matthew 7:13-14  “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it…

 72)  Obey the 2nd Commandment “You shall have no other

        Gods before me”

73)   Limit the use of modern technology

                   -cell phones

                   -computers

                   -televisions (consider 1 TV per house)

                   -activities that “take over” and become false

                     Idols

74)  Be mindful of what we use as entertainment

                             -watch what you watch

                             -gambling

                             -hobbies (is there a more productive use

                                of time?)

 Other Ideas: 

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Query: 

Does the way I live my life set me apart from mainstream use of technology and entertainment?

 

      Simplicity of Relationships

   Matthew 5:43-48

    (New International Version)

    43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

81)  Treat all people with respect

82)  Treat all people fairly

83)  Practice integrity in all your relationships

84)  Speak kindly to every person

85)  Love those who may be considered enemies

86)  Be understanding of others, place yourself in their

        Shoes whenever possible

87)  Live at peace with all people and resolve conflict

88)  Give a smile or a hug where it is needed

89)  Maintain the good reputation of others

 Other Ideas:

 90) 

91) 

92) 

Query:

 Does my attitude towards all people reflect equality in the sight of God and do I work to eliminate all forms of discrimination and prejudice in my relationships?

  

     Simplicity of Religion and Spirituality

Mark 12:28-34

 (New International Version)

 28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”    29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these…….”    

93)  Love God with all your heart, soul, strength and love your neighbor as yourself

94)  Practice justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God

95)  Avoid lavish displays and costly sacrifices when everyday relationships are riddled with injustice

96)  Become like a child to inherit the Kingdom, complexitybeyond a child’s understanding is counterproductive

97)  God hears prayers of humble sincerity, not the number or eloquence of words not the volume of voice

 98)  Follow Christ:  No need to pre-screen, no creed, no ritual, no public confession of sins – just believe enough

        to drop what you are doing and follow Christ

99)  Come and see – let Christ address your doubts

100)  Call no attention to your giving; do it for God, not for Praise

101)  Recognize that God owns all our resources and obey His direction in about their use

 Query:

 

Is your relationship with God and your service to His Kingdom marked by simple clarity- free of complicated rules and techniques and fads – in the ways you worship, pray, evangelize, and provide resources for God’s work?