Simplicity and Social Justice

I’m am a recent graduate of a Master’s program (thank God!). The subject of my thesis is Jesus and his mission of social justice. While I was writing my thesis, I knew nothing about simplicity, but I cared deeply about social justice. I felt that all Christians should be working for social justice. Now that I have discovered and embraced the minimalist lifestyle, I’ve modified my belief. I believe that all Christians should embrace a life of simplicity in addition to working for social justice.

Living simply actually facilitates working for social justice. When we’re constantly obsessed with consumption and accumulation, it creates a cycle. We accumulate, and then have to work long hours to pay for our purchases, and then we buy some more. This leaves no time to pay attention to the fact that there are millions of people starving and dying of preventable diseases.  There’s no time to think about those without access to clean water, healthcare, or adequate education. There is only time to eat a bit, sleep a bit, and get back to work. Stuff cuts us off from the rest of humanity. When we get rid of stuff, we can restore the connection to humanity.  It’s not just about me and mine anymore. When we’re not mindlessly shopping or caught up in maintaining and sorting our stuff, there’s time to open our eyes and see the state of humanity. There’s also time to take action. There’s time to volunteer, or raise money, or both.

For me, living simply is not just about clearing clutter, saving money, and feeling good about myself. Simplicity serves a higher purpose. Simplicity frees us from the bondage of consumerism, and all of its side effects: debt, clutter, stress… It frees us from the need to buy more stuff that we don’t need, and then buy a larger house to store all the stuff, and then have to pay it all off.

Simplicity is about thinking and going about life in a different manner. It’s about thinking less about ourselves, and thinking more about others. It’s about seeing our lives in the context of humanity and history. We are all connected. Living simply makes seeing these connections much easier. Simplicity is a way to connect to your world, and hopefully, change your world.

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