This morning, together with other members of the Mustard Seed House, I have been making yoghurt, organizing shelves and sorting through my last year’s seeds to see what I need to buy for the garden this year – a thoroughly domesticated and relaxing morning. Unfortunately these are all activities that tend to get scuttled when life gets too busy, partly because in our modern frantic world we place little value on domestic chores.
But they are incredibly valuable. They draw us closer to each other and God’s world, reduce stress and save money too, making it possible for us all to live simply and more enjoyably on far less than most economists think is possible. And on top of that a morning spent like this is great fun.
Now as I relax with a magazine for an afternoon of reading, I find myself drawn to an article on homemade prosperity which basically talks about how cooking from scratch, growing your own food and cutting out the consumer clutter can transform our households and our world. There is a whole new movement sweeping the Western world in which people everywhere are cutting back on their involvement in the cash economy, bartering, swapping, growing and cooking their own and generally learning to live with less. In the process they are discovering that they can take control of their lives again and learn a much better way of life than the consumer rat race offers.
I think that Christians should be at the forefront of this movement and applaud those in the new monastic orders like Word Made Flesh, Servants with the Poor and Innerchange who have been trying to tell us for years that there is a better way of life that God wants us to be a part of. In God’s economy it is not how much stuff we have that is important, it is the relationships, the interactions of loving and caring that really matter.
I would be very interested to know what you think of this movement and how you view God’s economy. What value do you place on simplicity, relaxation, relationship and how do you interpret these values in the light of your faith?