I had the privilege of joining the MennoNerds Panel talk on simplicity and sustainiability last Tuesday. I had proposed the topic since fighting personal wealth and promoting a simple lifestyle are issues that God really has put on my heart. Participating were MennoNerds Hillary Watson, Paul Walker and myself, with Mark Groleau as moderator. You can listen to it in the MennoNerds podcast as well as in the YouTube clips down below:
During the first hour, we talked about theological and theoretical perspectives, such as:
- How do we define simplicity?
- What are the Biblical arguments for the need of simplicity?
- What are the Biblical arguments for the need of environmental sustainability and creation care?
- Should Christianity be seen as an anthropocentric religion, i.e. how do we deal with ideas like having dominion over the Earth?
It should be noted that we were a bit divided on anthropocentrism, whereas some questioned this I for example argued that it’s not just Biblical but morally necessary.
During the final hour we talked about the more practical side of things, like:
- Can we learn from Amish and Hutterite communities?
- Does technology make life simpler or more complicated?
- What is community of goods and how does it work?
- What is it like to sell almost everything you own?
- How do we avoid this being a pursuit of the comfortable middle class while leaving the poor behind?
- How do we radicalize the suburbs to move them in this direction?
Overall it was a great and constructive discussion with some very smart and kind Anabaptists. We did miss the voices of Joanna Harader, Ebony Adedayo and Steve Kymes who originally had planned to join us and bring very fruitful perspectives on things like parenting, racial justice and the homeless. Some of them will at least add responses in videos of their own later on.