Closet Christian Minimalist

by CaReese

My family does not yet know that I have made a commitment to simple living. With the exception of two people, my friends don’t know, either. Minimalism is not a bad thing, I actually think it is a good thing. Yet, it’s my dirty little secret.

Why am I being so secretive about this? There are a few reasons:

  • I am still trying to figure this whole thing out. I’m still new at at this. I don’t have everything together. I am just starting out, and I have a long way to go. I still have lots of questions and lots of things to learn.
  • It’s a radical change. People will probably laugh uncontrollably when I tell them about my decision to live simply. It is such a departure from my former lifestyle that it will be difficult for others to understand and accept.
  • I don’t want to deal with materialistic people criticizing my decision. I just don’t want to hear it. It’s easier to just keep quiet. Especially in a household that is indoctrinated with a faith system that values wealth above all. My new lifestyle goes directly against my family’s beliefs. It’s not just them. We live in a consumerist society, and living simply is definitely counterculture.

As I read over this blog post, I hear myself saying “I fear persecution.” And that’s really what this is about. I fear not having the answers when people ask questions. I fear how people will react to my new lifestyle. I don’t want to be attacked for my decision. I don’t feel like dealing with people who think that the Christian life is about accumulating more and more and more. I would rather just keep quiet and let all these notions go unchallenged.

I feel so pathetic. I consider a few verbal attacks persecution, when there are Christians being martyred in other parts of the world. Even so, I do not want the headache that comes with sharing my decision. I don’t want to suffer. But suffering is definitely a part of Christian life.

The Gospel of Mark was written to the Roman church in a time of suffering. At the time (mid 60’s AD), Christians were being persecuted in the Roman empire, and would soon experience much more persecution.

Suffering is a major theme in the book of Mark. Jesus emphasizes that he must suffer, taking on the role of the Suffering Servant of Isaiah. Jesus would suffer, and his followers would suffer, too.

Jesus warns us of persecution in John 15:20, “Remember the word that I said to you: “A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.” In Acts 9:16, we see a preview of Paul’s suffering for the sake of the gospel. Jesus suffered. The apostles suffered (all except John were martyred). Paul suffered. Jesus warned that we would suffer.  Suffering seems to be a major theme of Christianity, yet I hardly hear any teachings on suffering. Perhaps this is contributing to my unwillingness to suffer.

This is a hard thing to accept: that Jesus promises us suffering. And I don’t think criticism is the kind of suffering he meant. Still, I’m not ready to go public with my decision. I am hoping that once I get a bit more confidence I’ll be able to openly share my decision and the reasons for it. In the meantime, I’ll be in the closet of you need me.

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