A "simple" question


When considered in the life of a Christ disciple, what does/should “simplicity” ask of us?

A quote to kick the discussion off:

“In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away…”
Antoine de Saint-Exupery from Wind, Sand, and Stars.
(thanks to Malcolm for the quote)

9 comments

  1. Paige · January 25, 2007

    Disciples are intentional learners and livers so respect (for one’s God) is shown in the (heart) attitudes as well as the (willful) decisions ones makes concerning each area of life. Simplicity does not stand alone from complexity. The two are in agreement complementing each other. Where simplicity is found complexity is the structure that gives it ground to stand on.We are constantly making decisions whether consciously, conscientiously or not. I think simplicity is discovered (and blossoms) when people aim to live and learn holistically, (incorporating each area of life) conscientiously, and intentionally.I’m not getting the quote. I can see it making sense in the context of ‘being good stewards of the earth’. Please expand, explain, help me out…Paige

  2. nehamashira · January 26, 2007

    Questions can seem to be simple, but the answers become complicated when filtered through the lenses of our own histories and experience. Simplicity- nothing to add- would be resonate with wholeness or ‘shalom’. Or maybe I’m completely out to lunch.

  3. James Kingsley · January 26, 2007

    paige – thanks for the great thoughts thus far! don’t worry, i don’think i can expand much more than what you’ve got down there so far. i love the distinctions between heart and will and i think you’re fully hitting the nail on the head with the whole undercurrent of complexity…nehamashira – you’re not out to lunch at all! i think you’ve hit on something there.

  4. Paige · January 26, 2007

    Nehamashira- so true..James- you are too kind, but I love it.Just a quick add on here… I’m wondering if this is a case of ‘lost in translation’. Yesterday, while driving the school bus my favourite student (yes, I have a favourite- a witty, intelligent, articulate kid named Meriadoc (seriously)) kept telling the same jokes to the students who had not ridden recently (bland jokes but I love the way he tells them) and then when finished he said ‘and I have some good french ones’ (these kids are bilingual and in some cases speak as many as four and five languages fluently- great kids) anyway, after the laughter had died down I asked Meriadoc ‘What is the difference between a french joke and an english joke?’ and the kids proceeded to tell me about the differences in the languages. Quick summary- some things get lost in translation… The best I can get out of the quote is ‘When all evil is done away with perfection will be’. I’m thinking it makes more sense in french… I guess this was’nt as quick as I’d planned…Paige

  5. matthew christopher davidson · January 28, 2007

    Simplicity is the ability to find peace in the midst of a life that is filled with many questions. Simplicity does not destroy questions. It rather disarms them of their ability to torment us.Simplicity is the result of a new perspective, the perspective that comes when we choose to trust God and know that He holds the answers to all our questions, even if He does not give those answers to us when we would like them.I posted a while ago on my Theoloblog about simplicity. I remember a great deal of discussion being provoked. I think I said something like ‘simplicity is the ability to see things for what they are.’ Some people took offense to that.I think if I had to rephrase the statement, I would say that simplicity is the result of choosing to have a right perspective in the midst of uncertainty.In other words, you may not be able to see everything for how it really is, but you may be able to trust that “all things work for the good of those who love God,” for example, or that “His love endures forever.”And this is, in effect, seeing things for how they really are.

  6. James Kingsley · January 28, 2007

    thanks for all the great discussion so far everyone….this mine seems as rich as i indeed presumed!

  7. nehamashira · January 29, 2007

    “Having the right perspective” can sound hollow in the face of life’s brutal realities. When broadsided by tragedy, and not knowing which end is up, the ‘right perspective’ can be exceedingly difficult to find. Perhaps simplicity in this scenario is the hand reaching out to clasp another’s- when God and all other voices are silent. Perhaps in the attempts to discern the “working for good in all things”, we forget that “good” is not necessarily ‘nice’, or ‘comfortable’. And here we desparately need each other to bear witness of the dying of seed that leads to the bringing forth of fruit.

  8. matthew christopher davidson · January 29, 2007

    I know that some answers sound hollow when they are given. This does not make them any less true.I agree that communion is part of how we obtain the right perspective. You’ve said before that the community acts as a mirror.For example, whenever Mira and I walk into church after having a bit of a row, the community helps us to recontextualize the disagreement, and we learn to see the conflict as a normal part of growing into life together in the family of God.

  9. Paige · January 30, 2007

    nehamashira-I think you’ve beautifully captured the heart of simplicity in ‘the hand reaching out to clasp another’s’ for it is truly not about ideas, plans, thoughts, goals, visions or even dreams (these may be the ‘complexity’ about simplicity) but living, giving, loving, touching and ‘being’ together. It’s almost an oxymoron to try to define simplicity as it’s really something more to be lived… and to be learned while living… and most definitely within the rich context of community as Matthew has shared

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