Modern Minimalism and Christianity

Philippians 4:11 “10Now I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11I am not saying this out of need, for I have learned to be content regardless of my circumstances. 12I know how to live humbly, and I know how to abound. I am accustomed to any and every situation—to being filled and being hungry, to having plenty and having need.…”

Another reason Minimalism appeals to me is that I find so many similarities to my Christian faith- Besides the obvious selflessness of Jesus, his disciples were also examples of living a Minimalistic lifestyle.   I will, for this article, skip over the modern Prosperity Theology that has been popular in some Christian circles- (I’ll save my thoughts on that for another time).

The biggest difference, it seems to me, is that for the modern version of Minimalism, the reason for going Minimal is purely for self improvement- The shedding of items, wealth, jobs, homes, or at least downsizing is to make oneself feel contentment.  From there, I read blogs about people traveling, having more ‘experiences’ with friends rather than collecting items, and dining out more.   For some, the purge is strictly for self-help and happiness.

On the other hand, Christianity’s version is to emulate Jesus, and by letting go of worldly possessions and desires, a person can focus on God and Jesus. Once the items are gone, one can shift their attention outward to the needs of others.  The act of giving away items to charity,  demonstrated in Luke 3:11 by John– “10The crowds asked him, “What then should we do?” 11John replied, “Whoever has two tunics should share with him who has none, and whoever has food should do the same.” is reflected in Modern Minimalist movement.  You can find great ideas on how to let go of items- I use ideas from the Kon-Mari series as well as the 20/20 rule from The Minimalists.  Our possessions psychologically hold a great deal of power over us, and it will benefit you to find a technique for releasing them from your life. 

Minimalism provides the “How-To”, while Christianity gives me the “Why”.  It allows a shift from being focused on me, and helps me turn my attention to taking care of others; or at least being more aware of the struggles of those around me and how I could help.  For me, it’s a easy to move back and forth between Minimalism and Christianity, and see how each support each other.  This does not make the journey in both any easier- the desire to accumulate things is strong- But the two do provide a roadmap for the trip.

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