Discovering Simplicity: Sustainable Living

So, after the month of February, Dan and I tried to decide what the month of March was going to look like for us. We were wary of another challenge, simply because one couple can only handle so many self-control-habit-changes for so long.

Enter 7. Again.

Jen Hatmaker is giving us lots to think about and talk about and pray about, and everything she says is not only logical, but biblical, and it just drives me crazy that we haven’t spent a lot of time processing this stuff before. Really, not many people have, which is why Jen’s book is so necessary. So please, pick up a copy, and try to take at least one challenge. You won’t be sorry.

Anyway, so this month we decided that we wanted to jump into a different realm. A world that we haven’t done much research on, and honestly we have kind’ve written off as hippie, or tree-hugger-ish (yes this is a word.).

So before you go jumping to conclusions, I want you to know that I’ve already been there. I have the stereotypes myself. And I am coming to realize how very wrong I was because of it. I wrote off people’s efforts because I disagreed with their motives and didn’t understand that what they are doing is good.

You might ask, “Why even try?” I think a quote from Jen Hatmaker’s book does it far more justice than I ever could.

If God is really at the center of things and God’s good future is the most certain reality, then the truly realistic course of action is to buck the dominant consequentialist ethic of our age– which says that we should act only if our action will most likely bring about good consequences– and simply, because we are people who embody the virtue of hope, do the right thing. If we believe it is part of our task as earthkeepers to recycle, then we ought to recycle, whether or not it will change the world. Do the right thing. If we think it part and parcel of our ecological obedience to drive less and walk more, then that is what we ought to do. Do the right thing. We should fulfill our calling to be caretakers of the earth regardless of whether global warming is real or there are holes in the ozone layer or three nonhuman species become extinct each day. Our vocation is not contingent on results or the state of the planet. Our calling simply depends on our identity as God’s response-able human image-bearers.

So with that caveat, I will begin to tell what Dan and I have been learning…

We are learning that God loves His earth. He made it. He wants it to be fruitful for us and beautiful to our eyes and He wants it to be kept beautiful for years to come.

God desires us to be intentional people. I always thought I was intentional, but really I am very careless with much that I have been given.

We are called to be stewards. Almost every Christian I know believes this to be true, mainly in the area of finances. This is absolutely true in that area, but it also relates to everything we have been given, including this earth, and including our bodies. We spend so much of our day carelessly filling our bodies with food that hurts more than it helps and damaging the earth without even being aware of it.

Every purchase we make effects something. We tell the sellers what we want by buying it, not the other way around. If we make more informed, controlled purchasing decisions, the sellers would start listening and those other products would not find success anymore (i.e. happy meals, clothing made by slaves, food with harmful ingredients, etc). This also relates to the idea that there is enough to go around, in terms of food and water, and if we consciously made an effort to reduce the waste and share that tangible wealth for all of God’s creation, we could begin to see starvation and water-borne illnesses go away.

We make a ton of waste, even just for 2 people. Especially with the advent of prepackaged items and most people not knowing what can be recycling or just not taking the time, there has been a huge proportional increase in general waste. This stuff doesn’t go anywhere and just sits around, harming our air, and our earth in many, many ways.

 

Now I know this stuff isn’t new to anyone, but when Dan and I started analyzing it all, we realized this is a big spiritual problem. We as humans desire to be consumers and we as Christians are called to be generous servers. Somewhere along the way, we’ve allowed ourselves to believe that those people should be left to making the earth better and we will just love people. We miss huge parts of what intentional, generous, believers are called to.

So Dan and I are spending this month becoming more educated. We are implementing simple ways we can be more intentional and conscientious ways we can live more sustainably and responsibly. Some of this is really fun and some of it takes some serious mindset changing. We are a work in progress and we are enjoying where this is leading us. At the end of the month I will let you know what resources I find, but for now I will go make some homemade laundry detergent, take out the recycling, and walk to the market.

 

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