Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Involuntary Simplicity

Flood Image"Simplicity does not mean that all conform to uniform standards. Each must determine in the light that is given him what promotes and what hinders his compelling search for the Kingdom. The call to each is to abandon those things that clutter his life and to press toward the goal unhampered. This is true simplicity." 'Faith and Practice' of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (1955)

What could be simpler than simplicity? "Abandon those things that clutter." Get rid of the excess that fills up our time, creates anxiety, and distracts us from the goal of living in the Kingdom.

A group of people from Plainfield Friends helped clear out the waterlogged house of one of our families that had the misfortune of living on the side of Martinsville, IN that was underwater when the White River flooded. Almost everything they owned was under water.

We helped them pick through and find the little that was salvageable. Everything else was piled in front of the house. It would be scooped up by the skip loader, put into a dump truck and left at the land fill.

It got me to thinking -- What if I had to throw it all away? What if all my "clutter" was about to be loaded into a truck and taken to a landfill?

My feelings were very mixed. Simplicity isn't such a simple thing!

And then I remembered the words of one of the people whose possessions were about to be taken to the dump. She said, "This is an opportunity to start over."

In the face of unexpected loss, financial stress and an unknown future -- it is an opportunity to start over.

That is at the heart of the Good News that we trust in and live by -- It is an opportunity to start over.

pastor Bill

(Click on the picture for more pictures from the Martinsville Reporter-Times)

Monday, June 16, 2008


Advertising agency Cramer-Krasselt compiled a 2008 Cultural Dictionary of new words and phrases culled from magazines, Web sites, blogs and conversations.

Among the new words is "defriend" -- to remove somebody from your established list of contacts, considered the ultimate snub on a social network.

Is there somebody you no longer want in your social circle? Defriend them! Delete them from your list. Remove their connections from your life. How simple and easy!

There's a problem, however. I din't think there is a place for "defriending" in the kingdom of God. "God so loved the world" is the standard we are called to live by. Paul challenges us with "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law." (Romans 13:8 NIV)

In the words of that "great theologian," Will Rogers: "A stranger is just a friend I haven't met yet."

pastor bill