Lord Help Me To Live Simply – A Prayer

Still grappling with these words from Daniel Taylor’s book In Search of Sacred Places:

Simplicity is no great virtue unless wedded to right priorities. A desirable simplicity entails the recognition of what is important in life, coupled with the strength of will to structure one’s daily existence around that recognition. It requires minimizing the impact of one’s life of unimportant things, an extremely difficult task in an acquisitive and schedule-filled culture. (148)

My reflections inspired this prayer:

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What Does a Person Need?

MSA intern Chris Holcomb

MSA intern Chris Holcomb

MSA intern Chris Holcomb is starting a series of posts at the MSA blog on experiments in simplicity.

One of the questions that I’ve been grappling with over the last several years is this: what do people need? No, I’m not trying to think of a product to sell, or an innovation to change the world; I’m thinking in much more basic terms than those. What does a person need to survive, and what do they need to live a happy, fulfilling life?

Check out the first post here

Creation is Dying – What Can We Do?

This morning I have read several articles about the impact of the oil spill that is now hitting the Louisiana coast.  Looking at some of these photos this morning  filled me with despair and left me feeling helpless.  But the impact of this catastrophe goes far beyond what is happening on the Gulf coast and the solutions we need should go far beyond the endeavours to still the flow and clean up the coastline.  For many of us this problem though horrible seems far away and disconnected from our lives.

Sojourner’s fundraising email this morning and the post Jim Wallis recently added to sojonet about the oil spill challenged me to think beyond the immediate disaster to the deeper question – the need for all of us to reconsider our lifestyles.

With every headline, I am challenged again – as I’m sure you are as well – to reconsider my own lifestyle. Where do I draw the line on my energy consumption? How can I educate others about the effects of energy greed? How do I advocate for strong climate change legislation?

The questions they ask are important for all of us to grapple with.  Our daily decisions about driving, flying and eating all contribute to the huge consumption of oil that is the accepted norm in our world today.  I grapple with this everyday as so much of our ministry is dependent on flying across the country and around the world and I am not sure that carbon offsets really make that much difference.

So what can we do?  Here are some great suggestions from this Grist article 10 Ways to Kick the Offshore Oil Habit for things that all of us can do to make a difference.  We don’t need to be politicians to see the world change in fact I am sure that change is more likely to come through the small and seemingly insignificant mustard seeds planted by ordinary people everywhere.

Creation does indeed groan waiting to be set free from the curse of death and decay (Romans 8:20 – 22).  And part of that groaning I think is that creation waits too for humankind to recognize its responsibility to be good stewards of the world that is entrusted into our care.

So what can we do – apart from the usual efforts of using public transport, eating local food & getting rid of gas guzzling cars what creative solutions have you found that cut your oil consumption?