Monday, June 3, 2013

Margin- Chapter 12

A few friends and I are reading this book together. Each week we are reading one chapter. On Fridays, I am posting my comments, then giving them the opportunity to add their thoughts as well. If you would like to join us or simply find out more about the book, you can read about it here.)

Chapter 12: "Health Through Simplicity"

- Along with contentedness, I think this is another very appropriate topic.  I can readily see how simplicity aids in financial, physical, and time margin, but still don't see a clear connection with emotional margin.  Maybe some more thinking will bring the answer.

- The fact that Jesus "was born with nothing, lived with little, and died with nothing" (page 171) reminds me that material resources are not the gauge for how much a person can affect those around him.

- I appreciate his emphasis on inward simplicity before we try to put into practice outward.  If our heart is not content with a simple lifestyle, I think it would just be a drudgery, and more of a frustration than a blessing.

- What simplicity is: voluntary, free, uncluttered, natural, creative, authentic, focused, margined, disciplined, diligent and healthful. Some thoughts about these:
* I needed to be reminded that it is voluntary.  My willingness to live such must be anchored, or others' lives/opinions will drag me away from simplicity. 
* When we prepared to move to Moldova, we got rid of much, let quite a bit behind, and only brought a few things ... and yet we still look at things and wonder why we brought them!  Being uncluttered is living simply, yet we can "unclutter" and still be rather ... cluttered!  
* "Passive entertainment can dull the sense of wonder God has placed within us." (Page 172) Without all the extraneous things, it is easier (more necessary?) to be creative.

- What simplicity isn't: easy, legalistic, proud, impoverished, ascetic, neurotic, ignorant or escapist.
* The most needed reminder for me was that simplicity isn't proud.  With anything we do, it is so easy to think highly of ourselves because of the "good" we do.  I know a temptation for me is to look down on others for the areas in which I am living simply, but they are not.  May God help me to get this pride out of my life!
* Appreciated this: "God is a good Creator, and He has created a whole world full of good things.  It is not wrong to use them- they were made to be used.  But our material appetites must be controlled." (Page 175)

- "Gratification of our appetites has become a widespread goal not seriously challenged by the Church."  (Page 176) Ouch!!

- I think simplicity is another quality that each of us have implemented to some extent in our lives, albeit in different ways.  However, I think this chapter was a good reminder/encouragement for us.

I've had my say, what say you?

Discussion on Chapter 11
Discussion on Chapter 13


  1. - The author in this chapter pushes the thought that simplicity is a characteristic of Christ and His way of life while on this earth. In other words, simplicity should be a characteristic of Christianity. From personal observation, though, other religions seem to be on the forefront of simplicity in today's world. Some religions from the East, such as Zen Buddhism, are known for simplicity in their lives. A Mennonite friend of mine also would be an example of the life of simplicity. Independent Baptists, well, I don't think this would be characteristic of us as a whole.

    -I've personally taken some steps towards simplicity... okay, I was pushed. I went back to a paper planner rather than trying to use electronic forms. I also have gone back to a basic phone (since my Android was stolen). I had conveniences with the Android (like Romanian and Russian dictionaries, for example), but I have found having a basic phone has taken away more distractions than conveniences. Seeing the benefits of simplicity, I am looking at things I have and reconsidering the need to retain them. (Don't worry, Jacob, this doesn't include people, just things).

    -"We often forget the horrid problems of the past, and in the process, also overlook the blessings of today" (pg. 176) - I appreciated his balanced statement here.

    -"Always speak the truth and you'll never be concerned with your memory" (pg. 179). Thought this was a great quote. My problem is sometimes that I seriously forget even the truth. Sometimes I think I said something but only thought it and didn't actually say it. I would say that some of this is tied in with the theme of this book. I am sometimes so distracted with issues, problems, and things to do that I am not "all there" in the present moment. I'm thinking that implementing things from this book will help me listen better and remember more accurately by being less distracted by things.

  2. Good morning, how are you?

    My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.

    I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because trough them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately, it is impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are very small countries with very few population, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

    For all this, I would ask you one small favor:
    Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Moldova? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Moldova in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

    Emilio Fernandez Esteban
    Avenida Juan de la Cierva, 44
    28902 Getafe (Madrid)

    If you wish, you can visit my blog where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

    Finally, I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

    Yours Sincerely

    Emilio Fernandez