How We Make Our School Choice (Plus, Why We’re Homeschooling)

Sarah Paschall

I’ll never forget the time the I was leaving a job interview, and one of the interviewees stopped me as I gathered my things. He said, “I have to admit that I saw you in the waiting room and thought you’d be this sweet, timid person. And, then you came in and started talking.”

That was quite the comment, but he explained that he was simply surprised at how confident I was. I think he missed what had actually happened. I don’t have any unusual amount of confidence. In fact, I rather avoid the spotlight like I avoid cleaning up the car seats in my minivan. However, that interview was all about a topic that energizes me: Education.

Years later, as my firstborn begins kindergarten, I still find the topic of education compelling. I’m always learning something about learning, and it’s humbling to reflect on my own teaching experience, as well as see the grace that abounds in spite of myself. So, naturally, I’ve perhaps over-thought which educational setting would be best for my children, but I’ve finally arrived at a place of peace when it comes to school choice.

Before I begin, here’s some pertinent background info: I grew up in a parochial school; I’ve taught in the public schools; I’ve mentored with an online charter school; and now that my son is starting kindergarten, we’re homeschooling. Amid this, I’ve learned that it’s easy to infer that if an educator such as myself has tasted the buffet of schooling options and decided on homeschooling for her own children, then it must be clear that she thinks homeschooling is far and away superior to other options. And, by golly, that’d be convenient for the homeschooling cause, right? But, that’s not the case. So, I write today to provide clarity about how we can best think about school choice, and, hopefully, it encourages someone in the same way this process has encouraged me.

school choice 5-e
First, our family is not homeschooling (or insert whatever school choice) because we think our way is better than anyone else’s, but because we think our way is best for us.

Believe me, I’ve heard the rants against the public school system. There’s Common Core, the inordinate testing, the poor teacher/student ratios, the unresearched technology usage to justify the grants, the bullying, and the social agenda. The hasty generalizations are thrown at all camps. Homeschoolers are thrown under the bus for wanting to indoctrinate their children into an overly protected, non-structured, socially awkward bubble. Private-school families receive criticism for being privileged, rich, and out-of-touch. 

Yet, instead of looking at the heart of Common Core and testing, which is aiming to alleviate inadequacies and inequalities, we just rant at what it doesn’t do for those of us with resources. Instead of asking a homeschooler why he or she homeschools, we just assume it’s out of fear or an exclusivist attitude. Instead of asking a private-school family why and how they’re making their sacrifices, we just assume they’ve had privilege handed to them.

While I have opinions about all of these educational subtopics that skew positive or negative on a spectrum, I’ve interacted with enough professionals/parents and seen enough situations of student failure and success on all sides that I cannot wave a flag for one or the other in good conscience. Not without knowing the potentially tangled, extensive background of each story. School choice is far more complicated than we can often imagine. And, asking just a few good questions will leave us offering far more grace toward whichever side we vilify in our attempts to justify our decisions.

So, primarily, our first reason for our school choice this year stems from what our chosen path offers, not because of what other paths are lacking.  Yes, other paths lack desirable traits that we as a family value, but that doesn’t mean these traits aren’t desirable or necessary for others. And, wouldn’t it be so healthy for our communities to hear our positive, personal stories of why we do what we do? To feel so confident in understanding our needs and gifts that we don’t compare our journey to others, and we don’t apologize. We simply share and listen with joy and confidence as a friend enjoys a different experience that is helping her achieve the same goal.

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Second, we’re taking it one year at a time. Do I have any other big-picture people out there? If so, you know this is the hardest. I want the ultimate educational plan that carries us to 2050, but I absolutely must, for the love of my family, let that go. Next year, you may see us snapping “First day of 1st grade!” shots in front of our local public school doors, and we’re going to love it because that’s our journey for that year. In the meantime, we’re called to do our best with the year in front of us, and that’s where we shall lay our efforts.

Admittedly, I’ve gotten cold feet in the past couple weeks as I witness the private school and public school ships sailing away without us. FOMO threatens me. Out of all people, I know how wonderful, amazing, saint-like, and fabulous a good kindergarten teacher is. So, if you ride by and see a white flag flying from my house, you know it was because we are not only hooked, but also supremely STUCK, on phonics this year. It’s because I feel the pain of “duh–ahhh—guhhh….dog, Dog, DOG!” or am completely undone trying to explain homophones (buy, by, bye–it’s so easy, right?!) to a 5-year-old. Yet, I shall pray for all the fortitude while we step into this opportunity to grow in patience as I watch my child (hopefully) grow leaps and bounds despite our inadequacies and because of our willingness to do hard, yet exciting, things.

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Third, we realize one person’s decision impacts our entire family. As much as I believe that education should be individualized, I also believe that our individual experience is not in a vacuum. It always impacts the community around us. In our case, my son’s absence, our rearranged schedule, the restrictions of a school calendar, the potential investment of tuition/supplies, and his involvement in extracurricular activities directly impacts how the rest of his family members spend their days. As he gets older, gains more autonomy, needs more academic focus, and has siblings with more demanding academic needs; this point of togetherness will still be important, but will perhaps diminish as well.

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Fourth, we ask how our decision fits into our family goals
, or mission statement–as some call it. So, here’s the point in the post where I divulge why we’re homeschooling for this year. But, notice how very situationally specific our reasons are. One would be hard-pressed to find another family with these exact needs, which is why I cannot enough emphasize my first point of embracing it as your path.

We’re still working on a concise family mission statement (Although, I love this idea, and more about it here.), but suffice it to say that we greatly value flexibility; travel; togetherness; outdoor exploration; diversity and global awareness; margin to serve; and a God-centered lens of learning. Now, let’s pair those goals with some very pragmatic facts: mornings are not our strong suit; we just moved to a new area and know little about our surrounding schools; we are in a transition stage; there are several great co-ops in our new area for homeschool support; my husband’s new job gives him a weekday afternoon off (more family time); and we’re trying to pay off student loans with extra income.

I realize that even having all these factors to consider is such an immense privilege. For many, the decision-making stops rather abruptly when realizing that public school is the only option due to the parents’ financial situation, and that is one of my (many) reasons why we must support our local school systems. But, thankfully, we did have all these decisions to prayerfully weigh, and it became obvious that homeschooling seems like the best fit for our goals during this time.  So, here we are, walking in obedience and cheering others who choose our way or another way.

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Last, yet most importantly, we realize that God’s plan is bigger than our schooling decision. Wherever we go, we go prayerfully and faithfully. We trust that if our child struggles with a problem in high school, it is not due to my shortcomings from the early years that I homeschooled, or because I sent him to that school, or because I failed to see a specific setback. God’s plans are far bigger than that, and there’s no fear–not even in schooling choices–in His perfect love when we are walking prayerfully and in obedience.

 

 

Why I Call Them “Friend”

My three-year-old, with springy curls and mismatched florals, bounds up our backyard and whispers to me, “Mommy, you my best fwend!” With Mother’s Day just behind us, I’m reminded that one of the best gifts I could ask for is to be called my child’s friend, even when such phrases are as fickle as you’d expect a 3-year-old’s temperament to be. However, I had to work through some tension before I could embrace that phrase for all it’s worth.

Mothers Day FB Image

You see, I’ve heard a lot of well-intentioned, seasoned parents and teachers herald the mantra that “You are not your children’s friend. You are their parent!” The same is often said for the teacher/student relationship. I see their sentiment. Our society likes to make a lot of absolutisms as a way to overcorrect. But, first, it’s built on a faulty logic that we only obtain friends by trying to win over people. As well as the faulty logic that parenting and friendship are mutually exclusive. It also runs counter to one of our main image-bearing functions: to be relational (Need I go on?!).

Parenting in a busy season is certainly hard and wearisome, but it’s full of redemption and adventure because I’ve learned to embrace my small children as friends.

Part of my story is that I’ve experienced the newbie, outsider perspective for a near decade amid our many moves. In the comings and goings, I’m reminded that acquaintances, rooted in the comforts of whatever community we’re passing through, fade from the background. Yet, my beautiful children are handpicked for me by the relational, triune Creator Himself. And, they remain. I’m also reminded that my children aren’t here for my security and happiness (which is a dangerous tendency to be aware of amid instability), but that how I engage with them to reflect God’s authoritative and relational image in this moment is far more permanent than any superficial interaction I’m denied or embarrassment that I may face.

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When I finally embraced that “These children are my people. My friends. My tribe,” I tapped into an unexpected joy and energy during these wearisome residency years. One might say it’s just semantics, but I definitely get more pep in my step when I wake up thinking, “I’m not just parenting these children, but I’m doing life with my friends.”

Yes, indeed. I can be parent and friend. In the very same way that God created Adam to both rule over the earth and walk with him in the garden. The right semantics do make a difference.

So, on the Mother’s Day that is really every day, I want to thank my children for not only being the free-spirited, yet needy, crew that propels me to drink absurd amounts of coffee and wish for bedtime; but also for being the always-maturing friends who point me to life’s greatest truths. For reminding me that I’m indeed their parent. But, come what may, I’m also their forever friend.

(And, you know I can’t leave a post without a book review, so here it is: The Whole-Brain Child just rocked me world. While Parenting gave me a big-picture, theological context; this book gave me the most practical tools to better understand my child and thus have an even better awareness of when/how to show grace.)

The Baby Doll Gospel

It’s tempting to share this candid picture (despite its blurriness) on social media and say “My sweet daughter. Found her reading her devotional book to her baby dolls when I went to wake her up this morning. All the heart emojis. Hashtag blessed.”

Adalynn reading to dolls-square

This is true. But, not the whole truth. For the past couple months, Miss A, my three-year-old, has not only read biblical stories of love and redemptive sacrifice to her dolls, but she’s also appealed to the higher authority of THE BABY DOLLS.

If she doesn’t want to wear an outfit, she blames her refusal on the baby dolls: “Dese colors make dem sad! Dey only wear pink!”

If she doesn’t want to eat her dinner: “My baby dolls not want me to eat dis food. It makes our tummy sick!”

If she’s not getting her way, she says, “You not make my baby dolls happy! Dey so sad now!”

Things have developed (or maybe devolved, actually) when she made her baby dolls spokeswomen for God. Yes, you heard that right. If she says she doesn’t want to be around someone, and I remind her that God wants us to love everyone, she says, “My baby dolls talk to God about dis, and dey tell me I not have to like dat person.”

Anyway, It seems that imaginary allies such as the baby dolls are commonplace for the preschool-aged child. At this same age of three, our oldest son had “the brothers.” This band of boys coincidentally lived out all his dreams.

“The brothers” went to Disney World when he had to nap.

“The brothers” ate lollipops instead of vegetables for dinner.

“The brothers” always went to the zoo instead of staying at home on rainy days.

And, boy, did I hear about their amazing life! When it came to doing any undesirable task, such as cleaning up his toys, my son would simply say, “Did you know that my brothers don’t clean up toys at their house?”

While my son’s “brothers” served as a sort of alter ego for the renegade, free-spirited boy who calls all the shots, he didn’t take it so far as to feign being possessed by their mutiny-driven influence. “The brothers” merely told us what our son liked, and for that, I fondly miss the brothers, and I somewhat resent the baby dolls. While the rest of the world is spinning on its axis, I’m over here in my kitchen, feeling completely stumped about how to deal with this escalating gang of baby dolls.

Earlier this week, it became obvious that–despite having a few sweet, redemptive moments–the baby dolls can’t just be ignored anymore. The baby dolls “told” Miss A to defy a basic rule of the backyard play area and dump dirty sand water on her 18-month-old brother’s head. Being an ultimate and easy-going third child, he actually loved it (I say this just in case you were feeling bad for him while reading that sentence), but this is still proof of the baby dolls’ growing, pernicious influence. I really just want them to go away, but I’m realizing that asking the baby dolls (or insert any imaginary friend of your choice) to go away is like asking my child to mask her heart. No matter how ugly the messages and actions get, I still want to know her heart.

After some outside wisdom (Because, with any more introspection, I was overcome with scenes of a baby doll showdown in my home. Hellllo, Chuckie.), I’ve gathered a coherent response that keeps me attune to the baby dolls while keeping them in their place. Having these pegs to hang my interactions on has been a good first step to creating consistent conversation.

I validate the baby dolls’ existence as her army of friends.

However, I remind her that they only listen to her.

I then remind her that she still listens to her mommy and daddy because we ultimately listen to God.

However, I’m not simply dealing with a verbal barrage coming from the minefield of obstinate baby dolls. Parenting is rarely reduced to a mere formula or rote responses, a realization that is both frustrating and grace-filled. Parenting is full of love and laughter and all sorts of beautiful moments. But, it’s also everyday warring with an ideology that says “I’m my own owner. The master of my fate. I know better than you. My baby dolls are the voice for my everyday rebellion.”

So, more importantly, I’m trying to find the gospel in all this. This past decade, the terms “gospel-centered” and “grace-based” living have met me in a beautiful, life-changing ways I can hardly describe. As I’ve moved into motherhood, I’ve worked to see how this lens can free me as a parent, while also giving me purpose and joy. And, to be honest, there is some GREAT stuff out there, but often it’s hard to make the actual, in-the-moment, theological application when you’re dealing with a kid throwing food in your face (or name your crazy, exhausting scenario).

I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I’m reminded that the beauty of the gospel is that it is both as simple and complex as we make it. In the instance of everyday living, I do well to rehearse the simple, yet profound: (1) Remember my condition, (2) Remember Jesus’ work for my condition (3) Then, patiently work to help my child realize the same thing. Even with a small child, step three might be rather glanced over, but I am a better mom if I can at least pause to remember steps 1 and 2 before dealing with an issue.

So, how does this all play out? Well, the goal is this: When I ask, for example, Miss A why she ran into the other room to jump on the couch instead of going to her room for bedtime, I really want her to genuinely tell me she’s sorry for giving me such a hard time about bedtime, and I want to her realize that her “random” behavior is actually a result of being a self-absorbed sinner in desperate need of redemption and change.

Instead, she gives me the baby doll gospel. It’s a gospel that blame-shifts and creates imaginary environments to excuse and reinforce a narrative that only serves herself. It’s opposite to Jesus’ gospel, which recognizes that the fallen heart of us has a self-absorbed mentality, yet, through the work on the cross and the help of the Spirit and God’s Word, we have it in us to lay aside those overwhelmingly selfish desires.

tripp quote

But, here’s the life-giving crux of this whole matter: In his book Parenting, Paul David Tripp says, “No parent gives mercy better than one who is convinced that he desperately needs it himself.” The best place for me as a mom and friend is to understand that my daughter, while very delightful and lovable, is a broken sinner just like myself. This truth is where I really found direction with the baby dolls.

If I’m honest with myself, I see that Miss A and I are a lot alike. Except I have grown-up versions of the blame-shifting, self-centered baby dolls. I offer up excuses for not dealing with an escalating problem when I’m really just being lazy. I catch myself begrudging someone for not bending the rules for me to make my life easier. And, this is just the surface of my heart problems; I need so much help. Thankfully, through acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice and continual work for me, there is so much grace for me because I can see my “baby dolls” and call them out for what they are. I can war against them and let true love win. The best news is that this same grace is available for my daughter and everyone else.

So, imaginary allies, I now welcome you. You’ve made brokenness so obvious that we can’t ignore it, and I’m taking heart that “all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light” (Ephesians 5:13, NASB). To repress the baby dolls would be to deny this opportunity and to hyper-focus on my child’s behavior instead of her heart. Together, we have an opportunity to examine what we really want, what we should want instead, and how we can get there through the patient process of a Spirit-working, God awareness. And, THIS is where Jesus’s gospel meets the everyday.

 

The Problem with Minimalism (And How I’m OK With Consumption)

wordswag minimalism

This past weekend I watched Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things. I was already pretty familiar and with the growing trend of Minimalism, where people strive to live more intentionally with the bare minimum number of possessions needed. It’s always seemed quite attractive in theory. However, I was mostly drawn to the documentary because of all the hype I was hearing. I assumed it would simply affirm our need to be more calculated and resourceful with our possessions, and I assumed I’d be happy that so many people were celebrating this message. But, instead, it left me with a nagging tension all week. I eventually realized that Minimalism is more than just a call to simple living; it’s an entire ideology that comes with a lot of implications and repercussions. Ones that we’d be wise to consider before wholly swallowing this excessive idea of Minimalism. 

Now, before I get started, I’ve got to highlight Minimalism’s positive points. Having moved four times in eight years of marriage, Josh and I have a low tolerance for “stuff” that we have to pack, move, reorganize, and maintain. We also have an equally low tolerance for spending excess money. We spent our first year of marriage in 2008 in a $350-per-month garage apartment, eating off $25 a week, and (thanks to medical school debt) we’ve had an acute awareness of line items and materialistic values ever since. This doesn’t mean our budgeting is anywhere near perfect, but we’re cognizant of our need to wisely steward possessions, and therefore see a lot of merit in Minimalism.

Also, aside from its reminders to steward possessions well, another positive point of Minimalism is that it reminds humanity of the important things we should be considering:

We’re wired to become dissatisfied.

We can live more deliberately with less.

People are longing for meaning and purpose.

We should love people and use things instead of vice versa.

Having fewer possessions helps community living.

There’s clearly room for a positive range of responses to Minimalism, so I’m not so bold to think I’ve arrived at the answer, but I do feel committed to parsing out all sides.

So, here we go. My problems with Minimalism–

It’s Not Realistic

Relevancy is everything, right? It seems 99% realistic for a California bachelor to be a minimalist–especially since he doesn’t need seasonal wardrobe variety and cold weather gear. The documentary makes a few nods to people with small children, but it’s marginal, and they appear to be generously spaced apart in age, living in picturesque California (or the like) with the glorious, sunny world as their playground. I’d need a lot less for indoor living, too, if I lived with that backdrop.

California living--it makes minimalism easier
California living

However, this idea loses traction with a midwest momma, hunkering down in her home through freezing temps with three kids under the age of five. I’ll submit myself as case study.

If I get rid of 95% of my toys, I will pay a price. I’m sure a true minimalist would look in my playroom and get heart palpitations. But, despite assumptions, we purge our toys often. Our goal is to keep toys open-ended and purposeful, but still, some are played with infrequently, yet they still serve a purpose in our rotation of helping my children develop, create, and engage. The many options help us survive the long, hard days of winter.

We fully embrace our full range of art supplies for creative indoor days.
We fully embrace our full range of art supplies for creative indoor days.
He only plays with trains here and there, but when he does, it keeps him busy for the morning!
He only plays with trains here and there, but when he does, it keeps him busy for the morning.
While siblings are drawing and playing with trains, he's strategizing a game plan for monster truck versus komodo dragon. I'm so thankful for good open-ended toys to keep these kiddos busy.
Make-believe play with Komodo dragons and Monster trucks

And, dare I get rid of something that one child loses interest in? I was on the brink of donating our space-eating Megablocks set last winter, but my husband convinced me to wait until our youngest could give it a chance. He was right. After moving the blocks and stand out of my “donate” pile and into my 1-year-old’s space, I learned that his love for building Megablocks keeps him busy for an entire HOUR. In case you’re unfamiliar with a 1-year-old, please note this is magical.

Despite my desire to free up space, it would be wasteful in many situations to discard items during periods of disuse in order to gain more personal sanity and physical square-footage.

I’m also reminded that time is our most valuable resource. If I were to try and be a minimalist at the zoo, I would certainly save material resources, but it would come at the expense of my time, and therefore nullify many positives of my minimalist endeavors. Consider taking reusable wipes and diapers to the zoo with three small children. I would spend half the zoo trip washing excrement out in the sinks. Just lovely.

An outing with baby in the winter
An outing with baby in the winter
And, don't forget if baby gets fussy, momma will need to have a baby carrier on hand in addition to a stroller
And, don’t forget if baby gets fussy, momma will need to have a baby carrier on hand in addition to a stroller

I’d also have to take whole foods in glass containers for lunch. Eating in those glass containers would, of course, be an ordeal since we’re dealing with glass, toddlers, and washing. If the weather is hot, we obviously need lots of liquids, bug repellant, hats, and sunblock–all reasonable items to carry in a knapsack. But, if the weather is cold, I need gloves, hats, car seat jackets, and coats with me. To carry this, I need a stroller, lest I resemble an overstuffed yak trying to become my own zoo exhibit.

Couldn’t I just rent or borrow strollers, so I’m not adding to the mass consumerism of stroller production? Sure, but that eventually adds up to the price of a stroller and is therefore fiscally irresponsible. Borrowing a stroller would likewise consume my fuel and time in my efforts to acquire it. So, buying a stroller (especially a used one) is the most responsible move. Now, please hear me: Minimalist principles are helpful when packing for a zoo trip, but when I become slave to them, allowing guilt to reign and reason to recede, it’s problematic. And, quite miserable.

It’s Self-Centered, and a Touch Self-Righteous

I’m sure it feels really good to know where every item belongs, how big your family will ever be, and ultimately feel like you’re the captain of your ship. At several points in the documentary, there’s a call to “recognize that this life is yours” and that this movement is “all about finding happiness.” The implication is that living in such a controlled manner essentially frees you up to please yourself, but it stifles our ability to offer much to others.

Also, my sentimental, gift-giving heart mourns a bit at the implications of a minimalistic lifestyle on celebratory functions. Aunt Rose, for instance, now feels the pressure to find her beloved nephew the perfect gift that will be received for its deepest meaning and everyday usage. Our focus has shifted from being an appreciative recipient of a gift to being the arbiter of a gift’s worthiness. Don’t get me wrong–it’s clearly okay (and even responsible) to donate gifts we won’t use, but we can become so caught up in justifying each item’s inherent worth that it takes away from the enjoyment of simply receiving an item with gratitude.

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Also, the minimalist experts admit that this lifestyle means they must “be hanging out with the people with the same values.” There’s a tacit vibe that they believe they’ve found enlightenment while the rest of us simpletons flail around excessively at Walmart on Black Friday.

It’s Privileged

Going back to my and my husband’s story, we’ve learned that a basic fallback question when making purchases is, “How do we save the most money while keeping the least amount of material possessions?” And, you know what? That question often requires us to purchase more than we’d like. Because, cash-strapped folks can’t afford to be picky about what they buy.

As easy as it is to dog the consumerist, one has to realize the immense privilege of being able to buy fewer high-quality items and toss out unworthy possessions ad infinitum. For example, I present our upstairs closet. I’d like to toss the nebulizer, the humidifier, the air filter, extra blankets, and half our medicines. They don’t propel me to think about life’s meaning, nor do they give me excess joy. I only use the nebulizer maybe once every two years, and I only use the humidifier a couple months out of the winter. But, what if I just waited to buy/borrow a $50 humidifier for my congested child only when I absolutely needed it? I’d end up with a suffering child due to my stubborn refusal to give up precious real estate in my home. As for the blankets, I could start telling house guests to bring their own linens. But, that won’t work if they’re a singular suitcase-carrying minimalist, too.

Also, if you have a truly good capsule wardrobe (i.e. 33 pieces like suggested), it will need to be high quality. Do I have a few pieces in my closet that I wear repeatedly? Yes, I have one pair of Buckle jeans that I’ve worn for years, as well as an amazingly warm, red, goose-down vest that everyone in my family is sick of seeing. Both of those items were well over $100 originally (Price is relative, but $100 is a whopping lot for me), and it took several months of waiting to snag them at a reasonable price.

Me in the ubiquitous red vest. I figured a picture of it on the Interwebs would add to its cost-per-wear, which is already extremely good.
Me in the ubiquitous red vest. I figured a picture of it on the Interwebs would add to its cost-per-wear, which is already extremely good.

My point is that well-fitting, good quality items require quite the price tag and/or a great time investment to find them at an affordable price. Even then, if one can afford to pay those prices upfront, the cost-per-wear is often still more expensive than having double the wardrobe from Target, for instance. Consequently, it takes a privileged person to say, “I have a well-curated capsule wardrobe and will therefore not be buying another dress shirt at Target.”

Another privilege is to have the personality that can pull off this vagabond living. Those documented had charismatic personalities, which I conjecture helps them greatly in spontaneously finding resources and shelter.

It’s A Slippery Slope

Down with the big corporations! Down with free-market advertising! Down with inequality! 

This is a bit loaded and worthy of its own essay, so I’ll try to keep it brief. The end of the Minimalism documentary brings it home with the natural implications of a wholly minimalist philosophy: We want communal, equitable, lovey-dovey living. Communist ideals are elevated as the poster child minimalist decries Western materialism.  There is no celebration for the freedom we have in navigating a free market, but rather a vilifying of an excessive free market. As enticing as some of these thoughts may be, I think we’d all be wise to remember they lead to oppression. And, as outrageous and twisted as some of our commercials are, I’d still like to be the one in control of deciding to turn it off, not having the government be the arbiter of what is meaningful for me. So, until it gets to the point that an advertisement physically grips me and makes me stand there slack-jawed in consumption, I must, for the sake of freedom, take ownership of my own media consumption.

government

It’s a Dead-End

I absolutely give a resounding “yes” to the idea that bondage to stuff can smother our ability to really live life to the hilt. But, by the same token, our commitment to a movement like Minimalism also serves to distract us from answering life’s bigger questions. Yes, it starts conversations, but–like materialism–it’s only a facade, and so it never finishes the conversations. If you pursue this idea, note how many times you hear a minimalist say he is trying to find more meaning. Yet, no one reports actually finding meaning. Instead, the journey of Minimalism itself becomes a futile gospel.

Friend, I’m here to testify that I’ve felt that longing that the minimalist claims to pursue. It’s an aching need for something beyond this world. And, I’m here to testify that it’s the only the height, love, and depth of the immense all-consuming love of Jesus Christ that will fill our aching hearts. There is no hole he cannot fill. There is no height he cannot reach. There is no depth to which He cannot go. I know because he has met me there, and he has filled it overflowing.

Go forth and purchase guilt-free and wisely. Guard yourself from possessions or false ideals. And, remember that there’s a purpose worth pursuing. And, it’s far greater than Minimalism.

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