Ten Reasons for Choosing a Simpler Life-Style
- <<Ten Reasons for Choosing a Simpler Life-Style
by Jørgen Lissner
reproduced with the author's permission
Today's global realities call for comfortable Christians to review
their life-style. Guidelines for a simpler style of life cannot be
laid down in universal rules; they must be developed by individuals
and communities according to their own imagination and situation. A
simpler life-style is not a panacea. It may be embarked upon for the
wrong reasons, e.g., out of guilt, as a substitute for political
action, or in a quest for moral purity. But it can also be meaningful
and significant in some or all of the following ways:
1. As an act of faith performed for the sake of personal
integrity and as an expression of a personal commitment to a
more equitable distribution of the world's resources.
2. As an act of self defense against the mind and body
polluting effects of overconsumption.
3. As an act of withdrawal from the achievement-neurosis of our
high-pressure, materialistic societies.
4. As an act of our solidarity with the majority of humankind,
which has no choice about life-style.
5. As an act of sharing with others what has been given to us,
or of returning what was usurped by us through unjust social
and economic structures.
6. As an act of celebration of the riches found in creativity,
spirituality, and community with others, rather than in
7. As an act of provocation (ostentatious underconsumption) to
arouse curiosity leading to dialogue with others about
affluence, alienation, poverty, and social injustice.
8. As an act of anticipation of the era when the self-confidence
and assertiveness of the underprivileged forces new power
relationships and new patterns of resource allocation upon
9. As an act of advocacy of legislative changes in present
patterns of production and consumption, in the direction of
a new economic order.
10. As an exercise of purchasing power to redirect production
away from the satisfaction of artificially created wants,
toward the supplying of goods and services that meet genuine
The adoption of a simpler life-style is meaningful and justifiable for
any or all of the above reasons alone, regardless of whether it
benefits the underprivileged. Demands for "proof of effectiveness" in
helping the poor simply bear witness to the myth that "they the poor"
are the problem and "we the rich" have the solution.>>