Christian Simplicity: A Gospel Value
For Study Groups and Faith Sharing
Christian Simplicity: A Gospel Value is a seven-week discussion course available as an adult education program within a church community. It uses a course book designed and published by the Earth & Spirit Center.
What is the purpose of the Christian Simplicity discussion course?
The heart of the process is the weekly small group gatherings of people to pray, reflect on readings from a course book, and take responsibility to care for God’s creation and embrace Gospel justice.
Set within a context of faith and personal study, the course focuses on attitudes within the modern mindset which distract us from caring for our spiritual welfare, our relationships, and God’s creation. It encourages participants to ask questions about the way we live. In a society that enjoys such unprecedented prosperity and abundance, why is there so much personal unhappiness and discontent? Why is there so much poverty and hunger? How do we overlook our responsibility to care for creation? Simplicity is surely a Gospel value for our time. It is the path to a life that protects creation, promotes justice, and nurtures spiritual fulfillment.
Christians are called not just to believe in Christ, but also to follow Christ by embodying the values of Jesus. The course offers a reorientation for Christians to move from being negligent consumers to responsible citizens who see the connection between their lifestyles and their faith. Simplicity entails learning how to consume in a manner that protects God’s creation and embraces Gospel justice.
How do the discussion courses work?
Groups of 8-12 people agree to meet weekly to participate in a learning process. Prior to each session, participants read a chapter of selected essays from the course book, Christian Simplicity: A Gospel Value. Then they gather to discuss what they read. Generally sessions are scheduled to last for 60 to 90 minutes.
Christian Simplicity: A Gospel Value is a seven-session course book. The chapters are comprised of a collection of essays and articles related to the weekly topic. The readings represent the voices of leading experts in each area and expand on the faith issues involved in living a just and sustainable Christian life in a materialistic culture. Each session also includes an opening prayer service, a list of suggested questions to initiate a lively discussion, a group challenge for each week, and a menu of options for taking personal action. The course books are intended to be a resource for stimulating conversation, not a platform to be preachy.
The courses are intended to promote dialogue, not necessarily consensus. They impact people at different levels because each person is unique and in different circumstances. Everyone brings his or her own experience and critical thinking to the process. By reading articles related to various aspects of simplicity and participating in the discussion format, participants learn from themselves and from each other. Significant transformative learning can happen when we become informed and have conversations about topics that matter.
For more information or to order discussion course books for your church or group, contact Doreen Josephs
Lent 4.5 National Coordinator