Originally Posted by kara speltz
Yep, that's the paradox, and the whole idea behind "simple living." We can't live high on the hog at the expense of the rest of the world.
Material things in and of themselves are neutral. I think simple living is more about how we treat our possessions and whether or not they come to possess us instead of the other way around. Simple living can be urged and recommended, but it can't be legislated. It's about what Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann calls "covenantal neighborliness," where society protects the weak, as symbolized in the Torah by widows, orphans and strangers. The simple life includes the notions of Sabbath (rest from labor) and Jubilee (forgiveness of debt). (Mandate to difference: an invitation to the contemporary church
. Louisville KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2007)
The trension is between me first, taking care of numero uno vs. putting others first and trusting in God that my needs will be taken care of. When attitudes change, economics and government will follow. Greed is the motivating principle of capitalism. Risk is the moderating force that keeps greed in check. Captialism without responsibility is dangerous for individuals and socieites. Consumerism is based on the principle that owning and possessing more equals happiness. If we once see that happiness transcends the acts of acquiring and possessing, we can enter into the joy of the "simple life."