Anabaptists have traditions when it comes to simple living. For some groups, this means not connecting to electricity and using horse-drawn transportation instead of cars. For other groups, it means living intentionally by planting gardens or by choosing energy-saving appliances.
The Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective refers to simple living in the commentary of Article 21, Christian Stewardship: “Our tradition of simple living is rooted not in frugality for its own sake, but in dependence on God, the owner of everything, for our material needs.” In Article 5, Creation and Divine Providence, the commentary states: “As Creator, God is ultimately the owner of the earth.” As the Psalmist says, the earth is the Lord’s.
The Confession of Faith does not spell out what simple living is—its silence seems to leave that to the rest of us to figure out. Living More With Less, the companion volume to the More With Less cookbook, explores in depth what simple living might mean. Author Doris Janzen Longacre pointed out: “Following Jesus Christ is never a list of responsibilities. It is perpetual response to the living God.”
In the hope of responding to the living God in our time, Anabaptist World is launching a new column called Faithful Living and Eating. Heather Wolfe, author of Herald Press’s Sustainable Kitchen, and Anna Lisa Gross, pastor of Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren and resident of Joyfield Farm, will be sharing reflections, ideas, and recipes on how we can follow Christ in practical ways. Readers can expect to see this online column on first and third Thursdays of each month.
Heather Wolfe is deeply rooted in Vermont, raised in the Mennonite faith tradition and part of a family that lives close to the land. Complementary to her profession as a dietitian and health coach, Wolfe is a food enthusiast and homesteader who enjoys permaculture gardening, scratch cooking, and raising backyard chickens alongside her husband and three daughters. She is also certified Vermont Master Composter, started a Wild Church gathering that she leads monthly and will be attending seminary this fall for eco-ministry.
Anna Lisa Gross grew up on a mini-commune of Christian hippies in North Manchester, Indiana. She and her husband Phillip recently moved back to Joyfield Farm to be part of a new generation seeking sustainability in community. Anna Lisa spends a lot of her time in Fort Wayne as co-pastor of the Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren, as the congregation explores being progressive church in this rapidly changing culture and world. Four-legged companions, knitting and audiobooks bring her joy.
Anabaptist World weclomes these writers to our community and hopes this column may helpful as we deepen our walk with Christ.