Rochelle and I have been slowly reordering our lives. What we mean by that is having a life and lifestyle that more closely resembles our beliefs and values than it resembles the American, middle-class death machine. Ro and I would define the death machine as rampant consumerism and protectionist concerns; the thirst for two cars, 2.5 kids, a house in the suburbs in a gated community, and all the typical trappings that come with it. Part of the machine includes what I would call the Christian over-concern for the individual and the individual’s family over and above concern for the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God. Rochelle and I are trying to resist the fast-food, slow-death, drive-through, TV-intoxicated, iPhone-lusting, Starbucks-energized, debt-riddled, God-distanced existence that most of us in the suburbs are drowning in.
To do that means reordering our lives. Truth be told, we don’t really know how to do that yet. We’ve made some attempts, though.
We celebrate Christmas differently, for instance. For us, Christmas is about Jesus being incarnate in us calling us to enter and face the world with love and vulnerability. It also means noticing all the cultures and nationalities that visit the manger and trying to urge the church to become like the manger; a place of welcome for all people. We’ve also reordered our eating. More and more we eat things that come from the ground and have as little processing involved as possible. That doesn’t mean that McDonald’s chicken nuggets aren’t good, they just aren’t the best foods for us. It also means that fast-food restaurants aren’t frequented very often and we check the menu at other spots before we go there.
Reordering also means that we are committed to not pawning our children off on others all the time. Our oldest daughter will go to school 3 days a week this fall (just down the hall from my office), but we are committed to limiting the number of hours she will spend there and she will have dedicated days each week with mom, a separate time with dad and time for the family to be together. Much of that time has been and will be spent baking for the elderly, collecting clothes for the poor, auditing toys and other belongings for what we should keep and what we should give away to the less fortunate. These kinds of activities are 2nd nature to our daughter, but they weren’t to me when I was her age.
We are also trying to figure out how to use less gas. Not merely for financial benefit to us, but for the benefit of the world God has given us. We are looking for ways — even in the Houston heat — to spend more time in God’s creation. One of our deepest wishes is that I lived close enough to work to walk or ride a bike.
But we have a growing, deepening sense that we are just scratching the surface, that there are more ways that we can simplify life and connect to God. So I’m asking you. Some of you are way ahead of us on this, and I want to know what you think. What are some ways you are reordering your life to reflect the gospel and your values? What are some of your ideas that we might be able to incorporate?