Wednesday, March 29, 2017

How Are Minimalism and My Faith Connected?

Ever since I discovered minimalism, I have felt like there was a connection between it and my faith. Not that it was a required part of being Catholic or anything like that, just that there was some obscure connection that I couldn't quite put my finger on.

There were these parallels, like being detached from earthly goods (Catholic words) and being able and free to let go of our material stuff (minimalism words), and other connections. I knew why the minimalists were saying all these things, but I actually wasn't sure exactly why Catholics (and Jesus in the bible...) were saying these things. I would think about it every once in a while, but it was just a passing curiosity.

I love Allie Cassazza's blog so I keep up with her posts, and her latest blog post was titled: Minimalism Is Not A Fad. The part in it that stuck out to me was:

Minimalism is not a fad.

It's been around since Jesus set His sandals in the dirt, people.

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21. 

And he said to them, "Take care, be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. Luke 12:15.

I just sat there wondering, why did Jesus say those things? I mean, the purpose behind minimalism is spending your time, energy, and money on things you actually value because those things are limited resources. The purpose is freeing yourself from the overwhelm and fatigue that can accompany too much stuff and clutter and to have room in your life for the things that matter. Jesus' purpose is for us to get to heaven. Can simplifying and becoming detached from material things help us in both areas? It sounds like a pretty lofty claim, but food for thought! I mean the end goal should definitely be heaven in pursuing the living out of Jesus' teachings, but if a bonus is less time spent cleaning and less overwhelm as a result of not putting your stores in earthly things, I mean, who's to complain?

So the blog post by Allie Cassaza kind of got the wheels turning again, thinking about the connections between a simple life and my faith.

Then, while driving home from a visit to see my family, I was listening to a Matthew Kelly CD titled Raising Amazing Children (I just take whatever Lighthouse Catholic Media CD's I can find at my parents' house and listen to them on my road trips) and one of his five ways to build family spirituality was to simplify.

I never noticed the name Rose pop up very often. Then I named my daughter Rose, and suddenly I hear the name everywhere (mostly in the context of older people or things that took place a long time ago - or in regards to the flower hahaha. Oh and middle names, that's a big one.). It's kind of the same thing with minimalism and simplifying, suddenly I'm hearing it come up all the time - really it's just on my radar now.

As I was listening to Matthew Kelly describe why simplifying was a building block to a better family, and how to go about simplifying, I felt like he was delivering the same speech as proponents of minimalism do, just with the faith aspect added in. I sat there driving that straight road on cruise control pondering, what does simplifying/minimalism (I'm kind of just using them interchangeably) have to do with spirituality and Catholicism? Why do Catholics talk about it so much, what does it have to do with our faith?

Obviously, this post isn't an in-depth explanation of the connection, but rather my thoughts on the topic because it's something I've been thinking about - not something I have figured out.

I want to write some of the things that stood out for me in Matthew Kelly's talk in regards to simplifying because I found them inspiring.

Part of the cultural battle is the battle between spirituality and materialism, and materialism has its grip on us.

Things don't make us happy. We know it, and yet we live the exact opposite in our lives.

You know you never can get enough of what you don't really need.

The material clutter that is just stifling us, that is just holding us back, keeping us down.

Learn to say no - be committed to carefree timelessness.

Wow, what a quotable guy. Seriously, though, don't these sound like minimalist-ish things? Minimalism wasn't his goal in saying these things, though. His goal was creating better families and building family spirituality in a Catholic context.

One day I will write a post on the conclusion I have come to, but for now, I wanted to write out all my musings on the topic since it's been on my mind and I guess this blog is a concrete way to get my thoughts out! Or a way to talk my head off about topics that people would probably get bored of if I was talking about them a bunch in real life... you can look at it either way :)

Let me know if you have any insights on this complicated topic or if you have noticed any connections!

No comments:

Post a Comment