Christianity and Minimalism

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Matthew 19:21

Simplicity and minimalism should be natural for Christians. But it is not. We are just like everyone else. We buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t know.  St. Cyprian had it right, “Whereas the Lord tells us to sell we buy instead and accumulate.”

Given the economic climate, a movement towards minimalism has gained momentum. There are a number of good blogs about minimalism that I have enjoyed finding. I was encouraged by a conversation I had a while ago and wrote about 100 Things: The New Minimalism

I find that I am hooked on the topics these minimalism bloggers write about, for instance; A minimalist approach to books, Learn to love less, Car-free living, The beauty of small, The lust for new things, Ways to avoid buying new stuff, On owning nothing, Having less debt, etc.

I think the best first step towards simplifying is to follow the Lord’s prescription found above. We need to sell our things (at least some of our things) and give to the poor and follow Him. I think Christians should be engaged in what appears to me as a new mainstream minimalism. We need them and they need us.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Christianity and Minimalism

  1. Mark

    I like this idea and the fact that it will also de-clutter the mind not just the closet. The global ramifications from this movement should it get that big would also be enormous!

    • Fr. James Coles

      Thanks for the comment Mark. Just thinking about what you wrote and it dawned on me that most of the globe lives minimally. Assuming you are in the US like me, we consume the overwhelming majority of the world’s resources. But if the US were to chose to live detached from things…what a wonderful world it would be!

  2. pulling for you man. how’s the minimalizing going for you personally?

    • Fr. James Coles

      Joshua, honored to have you here… thanks for reading. Honestly, minimalism seems to come in waves for me. I want to be more consistent in my effort to clean out both the physical and mental distractions. Any ideas how to do this better?

  3. hola fr.!

    good to see a collar getting on board! i have been a fan of minimalism for some time, and the christian view on it as well. since the christian minimalist blogs are all vanishing, i am trying to do one myself. of course i have nothing to write about yet, the 2 posts i ave are testing the waters so to speak, but i am going to give it a shot. thanks for the nudge, and keep us posted on your journey!

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