Why Live More With Less

In her book, Living More with Less, first published in 1980, Doris Janzen Longacre wrote:“Volumes can be written on our unbelievable carelessness with God’s gifts.

  • We not only neglect the poor, for whom the gospel is to be good news—we exploit them.
  • We nurture purses, professions, cars, and houses more than people.
  • We relinquish freedom and personal productivity in favor of dull conformity.
  • We spoil nature, the only home we have.
  • We don’t look beyond predictable, familiar voices for help.
  • We fail to fortify each other in solid communities.

“Truth comes only to those who must have it, who want it badly enough. And the gifts of healing come only to those willing to change.“There is beauty, but only in the exercise of discipline and the control of waste. Our lives can be redeemed, but only with lasting commitment to live under God’s judgment and grace.

How “more with less” involves our response to God

Doris also wrote, “More with less means that by using less we actually gain more for ourselves. The trouble with simple living is that, though it can be joyful, rich, and creative, it isn’t simple. Less of what? For more of what? And for whom? Every day the average tradesperson or homekeeper makes a hundred small decisions that, if you stop to think about what causes what, become maddeningly complex. This [website] is unapologetically about such small decisions. For example:

Oh, not enough flour! I’ve got to take the car and run to the store. No, I’ll walk … I need the exercise … it’s only a mile. But I need the flour now. The bread must start rising or it won’t be done in time. I could buy the bread, but I do want to welcome this family to our neighborhood with a nice meal … they seem lonely … the rest of my meal is rather plain. I’ll just grab my purse and go before Ann gets home from kindergarten … oh, there’s hardly time!

“One tiny decision. Nothing that will change the world. But it’s the kind of decision that forms the building blocks of our lives.”

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Part memoir, part tour of the apocalypse, and part call to action.

Donald Kraybill's guide on the Amish, a people known for their simplicity, and commitment to peaceful living.