Monday, August 28, 2017

Excess, Minimalism, & Idolatry all the Same

My encouragement to Christians is that we don’t buy into a line of thinking that devalues what God values, and I mean that on both ends of the spectrum. We can idolize our belongings, and we can idolize our minimalism. If we are giving up our homes in search of the new American Dream, in search of finding ourselves, out of a desire to be free from the responsibility that a husband or a wife or a brood of children involves, in hopes of finding self-fulfillment that doesn’t include that which God calls good, we have reason to pause.


There are some admirable concepts that are a part of the minimalist/small house movement. The desire to pull out of debt, only own what you need, live within your means, they are all good, and I would argue, Biblical desires. The borrower is slave to the lender, after all (Prov 22:7). Clutter can have effect on things like anxiety and depression. I’m a fan of assessing your finances and living within your means. So in many ways, I have no problem with the movement, and I am not seeking in any way to negate the aforementioned positives that come with it.

There is something, however, that I would argue is sinister and occasionally inseparable from the movement, and it is the idea that “real life” happens outside the home. If you turn on HGTV or watch the documentaries or read the popular minimalist websites, an idea repeatedly pushed is that you need to be “free” of your home in order to truly be free. I’m afraid what we may accidentally (or purposefully) sacrifice in pursuit of this lifestyle is the centrality of the home itself.

Clearly, if you have more than the societally acceptable amount of children, so-called tiny house living is almost not optional. You aren’t going to find many families with 4+ children vying to purchase a 500sq ft or less home. Yes, I know there are folks that sell all of their belongings and move into a large bus and travel the country with their kids. This is not about them. This is about a society that gave up valuing the home as the pillar of society long ago, and is now unashamed to sell the idea that “real life” hardly requires the home at all.

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