Thursday, November 21, 2013

Purpose-driven simplicity: Some thoughts on "Organized Simplicity"

So the book I was trying to find when I found Richard Foster's "Freedom of Simplicity," was Tsh Oxenreider's Organized Simplicity, which I've borrowed from the library and am reading now.

Despite the shared keyword "simplicity," these two books are worlds apart: one written by a theologian, the other by a homeschooling homemaking maven and blogger. Yet, if I were to draw up a Venn diagram, there is actually quite a bit of overlap between the two books. Both authors are Christian, both advocate not buying in to the materialistic, debt-inducing culture of "more," both argue that busyness isn't a sign of success, and both urge a single, unified purpose in all we do. Oxenreider views this purpose as something a married couple should determine together for their entire family, and to even draw up a formal family purpose statement to serve as a reminder of that "true north."  While Foster's book is written for hungry, "meat"-eating Christians, Oxenreider tries to appeal to a broader audience by leaving life's ultimate purpose open ended. 

While my husband initially chaffed against the idea of writing up a mission statement, I liked the idea of pondering what kind of memories I want my three boys to have of their childhoods. I want to consider what traits, values and even culture I want to leave them as a legacy. Figuring out what should make our little Parrino clan unique goes a long way toward actually making deliberate decisions and actions toward becoming what we envision. And that leads to a simpler life as we shed obligations, time commitments, and material possessions that run counter to our purpose. So, I decided to try my hand at jotting down some dreams for my family. I have not arrived at the concise mission statement stage yet-- and to be honest, I might not ever if I can't bring Joe around to the idea of it-- but at least my scattered wishful thought are starting to take shape as a more complete vision for how our family should operate. 

Just for fun, I'll share my hopes with the blogosphere:

I want to...
  • Cook with my boys once a week
  • Send them outside to play every day that's dry and above freezing
  • Cultivate daily journaling once they're able to write
  • Read Bible and pray before bed
  • Go on monthly daddy-son or mommy-son dates with each boy
  • As soon as Stephen can drive, pay for he and Rockam to grab dinner together
  • As soon as Rockam can drive, do the same for Oliver
  • World travel, possibly alternating years with Joe and each boy
  • Create a culture of giving over getting or wanting
  • Weekly evening unplugged to read or create
  • Each son can have one extracurricular of his choice at a time
  • We'll appreciate nature and art
  • We'll delve into history and geography
  • We'll appreciate and accept other Christian traditions, taking note of the true, lovely and noble in other believers
  • We prize creativity, humility and sincerity 
  • Holidays will center on meaningful, historically accurate, spiritual and fun activities-- not on consumerism or excessive gluttony.
  • We'll all learn to budget and give away money
  • We'll champion the oppressed
  • We'll respect and honor women
  • We'll nurture a servant heart and love our neighbors
  • We'll entertain dinner guests weekly and treat them generously and ask them lots of questions 
  • We'll try new foods and value healthy eating
  • We'll fast and find ways to experience solidarity with oppressed people groups
  • We'll get comfortable praying together
  • We'll hike, picnic, explore and camp
  • We'll live abroad for a season

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