Okay, listen up. I’m working on a big problem with simple living, and I need to think big. 

The problem: Simple living is an overarching idea that could save the world, but it’s not getting enough play in our culture. Those who live simply are hiding in cabins somewhere in rural Maine or living in communities of practice disguised as assisted living facilities. Simple living languishes in anonymity like the fourth-place finisher in a track meet. This movement stays down at the small-potatoes level in our culture, while odd-duck political candidates and has-been television celebrities grab headlines. 

So I’ve been thinking about some really big solutions: 

  • Simplicity has to become a commodity that sells well. Big money could make simple living into a profit center. Wal-Mart could pick up this idea. 
  • Simplicity needs a big name spokesperson, so let’s find someone with a lot of fans. Simple living can get free air time, and gather Friends, and other chirpers. 
  • Let’s crank up YouTube, so nightly television “news” will show babies, pets, or anonymous eccentrics doing something really cute while living simply. 
  • We could find corporate sponsors for a reality TV show where contestants try to best each other in giving away most of their possessions 
  • We might sell tickets for a Grand Prize: one year guaranteed free of any stress or responsibility. Call it “Blotto Lotto”? 
  • How about a web-based startup that helps people auction off their attention to advertisers? 


Is any of this working for you? Am I anywhere close to the right track? I am sure that together, we could put simple living at the front of society’s eyeballs and make this a Big Deal out there in the world. 

So how big can you think about simple living?    


Adapted from Simple Enough: A Companion Along the Way by Bob Sitze, copyright © 2013 by the Alban Institute. All rights reserved.    


AL438_SM Simple Enough: A Companion Along the Way  
by Bob Sitze  


In his newest work, simplicity blogger Bob Sitze offers readers a year’s worth of periodic observations into the universe of simple living. Sometimes whimsical, often challenging, and always encouraging, Simple Enoughwanders through the landscape of contemporary society, helping readers make sense out of their earnest attempts to find joy in managing their lifestyles. Over 150 short and sturdy entries fill the book, casting the author’s insistent eye on parenting, consumerism, faith-based decision-making, technology, daily-life stewardship, and congregational life. A special bonus section helps church leaders approach annual fund-raising efforts in simple ways .      



This week – Featured Resources 30% off
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ONLINE ORDERS ONLY | Valid through August 11, 2013

AL344_SM Starting Simple: Conversations about the Way We Live  
by Bob Sitze

In today’s complex and busy world, people yearn for simpler lives. Bob Sitze believes conversations change us as individuals and that most important social changes take place through conversation, so in  Starting Simple  he invites us into heart-to-heart conversations about simple living .     

AL345_SM If This Is the Way the World Works: Science, Congregations, and Leadership  
by William O. Avery, Beth Ann Gaede      

Avery and Gaede explore five principles from the philosophy of science that suggest an alternative way to view congregational mission and leadership: openness to new information, complexity, diversity, interrelatedness, and process. Their premise is that when faith communities align themselves with the way the world—God’s world—works, they more faithfully carry out their vocations as witnesses to God’s reconciling work and as servants to one another. If this is truly the way the world works, leaders will find strength through relationships, hope in diversity, and above all trust in the love of God .    

 All for God’s Glory: Redeeming Church Scutwork AL379_SM  
by Lewis B. Weeks  

Nobody likes scutwork, the unwanted dregs of the working day. Pastors are no exception to this, often dreading the endless e-mails and phone calls, having no heart for putting together one more bulletin or attending one more meeting, all of which feels like so much distraction from the “true” pastoral work to which they have been called. Louis Weeks challenges that paradigm and lifts up scutwork as an integral part of pastoral care and leadership. It is through focused attention to the details of scutwork that pastors are able to build solid relationships within the congregation, and without the trust that comes from these relationships, no true pastoral care and leadership is possible.  All for God’s Glory  explores ways in which churches are engaged and can engage in practices of administration that deepen care and build a healthy congregational community .    


Annoying, controlling, even abusive behavior.   
It doesn’t have to be a disaster!  

  If you are within driving distance of Scottsdale AZ,   
check out the commuter rates  

Nienaber,Susan Dealing with Difficult Behavior  (a repeat of the February, 2013 event)    
September 17-19, 2013, Scottsdale, AZ  
Leader: Susan Nienaber, Alban senior consultant  

For information and registration    



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