Exploring an unspoken way of life

Field of pumpkins. pumpkins

As our team considered possible themes for Anabaptist World, simplicity stood out for us. In some circles of Anabaptism, living simply is a way of life that goes unnamed. You might witness it in an anti-consumerist lifestyle. But its spiritual side isn’t often spoken about.

The more I reflected on simplicity as a spiritual practice, the more I realized I was not overtly taught about it. I don’t recall having a conversation about how living simply is an expression of following Jesus. It was just our way of doing things.

We shop and donate at thrift stores. We sew our clothes. We grow as much of our own food as we can. We limit Christmas gifts. We ride our bikes as much as possible rather than drive. These weren’t all practices that my family followed growing up, but they are ones I’ve often witnessed in the name of simple living.

Our digital editor, Eileen Kinch, sought out books and other resources on simplicity as a spiritual practice and didn’t find much from recent Anabaptist authors.

This surprised our team. I had assumed that there would be many written resources to choose from. But since there didn’t seem to be, we were eager to feature simplicity in one of our print issues.

Living simply, as I understand it in our Anabaptist tradition, arises from a desire to be in a closer relationship with God. It helps us avoid distractions from following God’s call.

It allows us to center community. It requires us to turn away from the messaging of a culture that says, “More is better. Bigger is better. New is better.” It enables us to see what is truly enough. By not constantly reaching for more, we make room to support others’ needs.

The complexity of simple living, especially in more progressive Anabaptist groups, is that we have to figure out what it looks like for us individually. Without plain clothing and restricted technology, the boundaries are ours to draw.

The writers in this issue help us consider how simplicity colors our lives and shapes our faith. I hope you enjoy it and can use it to reflect on your own lifestyle and faith practices.

Danielle Klotz

Danielle Klotz is executive director of Anabaptist World. She lives in Goshen Indiana with her partner Nata and their sons Read More

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