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SIGNS OF THE TIME
Simplicity

3But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (2Cor 11:)

"But, why am I going to die, Doc? You've got me on a strict program to take care of my failing heart, you're giving me medicine to handle my cholesterol, you've shot me up with chemicals to cure my cancer. So why am I going to die?"

"It's very simple, Mr. Smith, when we checked you over and dealt with all your problems, we missed the cancer growth that was invading your heart."


When I was much younger than I am today; almost in a previous life it seems; I spent a lot of time at the sewing machine making clothes for me and others, and particularly fencing outfits and Indian costumes. As with any "seamstress," or seamster in this case, I spent a good deal of time at the pattern rack of the local dry goods store. One brand of patterns that often crossed my path sold by the title: "Simplicity." Was the Simplicity pattern in fact more simple than any of the others in the file drawers along side of them? Not that I could tell. It seemed to me that they all were rather complicated (wouldn't that make a good title for a pattern: "Complicated"?) to one degree or another. As I became accustomed to sewing, the complicated mysteries of the craft became clearer and less complicated.

We have two expressions that I used to hear a lot, but not so frequently any more. One of these expressions was: "Why, it's simplicity itself." The other is closely akin to the first expression, and that is: "It's easy when you know how." I find that with any project I take on, both of these proverbs prove to be true. In the beginning just sharpening a pencil is difficult without wearing it down to a nub in effort to get a sharp point. After a hundred tries, usually ending up in failure during most of them, the axiom: "It's simplicity itself" proves its merit.


Many people are either too lazy or just too rich it seems. They find resting on the stoop of need holding a cardboard sign that reads: "I Can't," or "It's Too Hard" more profitable than making the effort to climb the stairs to accomplishment. They are afraid that failure will confront them on their journey: and it will, on every stair along the way. Many failures must be walked upon in order to reach success.

This world, especially this nation, is made up of the rich and the poor, with a sprinkling of middle-class in between. The middle of the spectrum disappearing faster than Aunt Martha's chocolate chip cookies. The rich pay others to do that which they are unable or unwilling to do themselves. The poor, if they have any gumption at all, dive in and tackle the job at hand, using a rock for a hammer if needs be, and accomplish that which they desire. In this day and age when even the poor are too rich for their own good, very little is seen of self-accomplishment. It's a "Pay as you go" world. A pity it is. I'm a thinking that there is nothing much more pathetic or poverty stricken than a poor man paying someone else to do a job that he, with effort, could do himself, even if that job had the possibility of many failures along the way. After all, one of the great blessing of being poor is that the poor have the reason and the opportunity to learn many skills and gain the self-confidence and reliance that the wealthy have not. To throw away this golden opportunity and wallow in self-pity is the epitome of poverty itself.

In the olden days and up until fairly recently the adage: "Make Do, or Do Without" was the cry of the day. This cry of conquest has fallen sway to a cry of tears and of: "Poor Me" when our computer gets older than diaper-changing age.


The "World" is not the only place that is impoverished in its search for simplicity and "Do Nothing and Get A Lot." The world of the church is right on track, and revving up its engines, following suit after the dictates of the World. Simplicity is sought, and is proclaimed loudly from each and every pulpit. And this for good reason. Paul himself said: "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." (2Cor 11:3)

Which Simplicity? Who's Simplicity? All who proclaim this proclamation have their own brand of "Simplicity" that they tout. There are thousands upon thousands of varying views of this Simplicity that Paul preached. And each version of Simplicity carries with it a wheelbarrow full of literature and videos to help in explaining their brand of Simplicity.

And truly the message of the Gospel is simple, but it is not simple to the simple-minded, nor to the overly educated, nor to those who wish to have the Simplicity explained way by some proclaimer of the Simplicity of the Gospel. As with any other field of endeavor, Simplicity comes, not from hearing only, but in the doing the difficult part of Simplicity that preceded the understanding of Simplicity.

Those who know the trail through the Valley of Troubles are not those who stand up and tell what they have read or what they believe the Valley to consist of. It is those who have traveled the Valley who know the road. And the more times the road is traveled, the better that road, and the Valley it traverses is known to a person who has traveled it. And along with this knowledge, the fear that stands at the gate of the Valley is replaced with courage and a self-confidence that can never be possessed by the mere proclaimers of such knowledge.

I find it interesting that those who travel the road of Experience that leads to Simplicity tend to cast away their worldly goods and live the simple life they advocate. On the other hand those who are only proclaimers of Simplicity tend to collect more and more of this world's offering. I have a suggestion for those proclaimers who say, and do not do. I find that usually those who preach the loudest about Simplicity (especially preachers with a large following) tend to cry out to those without, living on a fixed pension, to assist them in one worthy cause or another. Often the cause they want us to support is a school they are building, or to feed the hungry in other countries. Whether these causes are worthy, or their proclaimers just, is not mine to question, nor has it anything to do with my suggestion. This is my suggestion: instead of crying out to the poor of society to support their cause, why don't the preachers and other proclaimers sell one of their mansions or their Roles Royce and support their worthy cause themselves? I have noticed that in the simplest of homes owned by pastors and evangelists and other such preachers of Simplicity there is an abundance of modern conveniences that would far outstrip the homes of even the moderately poor. I see nothing wrong with preachers possessing nice things. But if they wish to give credibility to their preaching of Simplicity and support for the poor, I believe it would behoove them to demonstrate their willingness to practice what they preach.


I for one am thankful for my impoverished (money wise) life that has afforded me great opportunity to find ways to satisfy my many lusts and desires. I have learned through this experience that I can do anything I set my mind to do, and I can have anything I am willing to make for myself, or work toward. I have also found that the "Wise Counsellors" in any field are rarely very knowledgeable concerning that which they proclaim. And those who do possess knowledge, limit themselves to what is acceptable in their tiny circle of associates and refute the possibility that other knowledge exists or should be explored. Therefore the advise of "Experts" must, somewhere along the road to accomplishment, be set aside so progress can be made. Most who council have never been where they are so willing to tell you and me how to get. And there are far too many people who stand at the crossroads of any endeavor holding up stop signs in effort to keep anyone else from traveling the road to progress. And those who do not hold stop signs, are thrusting forth their own sign pointing to detours that lead us onto brightly lit and camouflaged briar patch trails that lead to satisfaction of their own lusts.

Tumbleweed


Quotes


"The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak." ~Hans Hofmann

"To poke a wood fire is more solid enjoyment than almost anything else in the world." ~Charles Dudley Warner

"Eliminate physical clutter. More importantly, eliminate spiritual clutter." ~D.H. Mondfleur

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction." ~E.F. Schumacker

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." ~Albert Einstein

"Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated." ~Confucius

"Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough." ~Author Unknown

"Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things." ~Elise Boulding

"To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter... to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird's nest or a wildflower in spring - these are some of the rewards of the simple life." ~John Burroughs

"The trouble with simple living is that, though it can be joyful, rich, and creative, it isn't simple." ~Doris Janzen Longacre

"The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life." ~Robert Louis Stevenson

"People love chopping wood. In this activity one immediately sees results." ~Albert Einstein

"Maybe a person's time would be as well spent raising food as raising money to buy food." ~Frank A. Clark

"Material blessings, when they pay beyond the category of need, are weirdly fruitful of headache." ~Philip Wylie

"I like to walk about among the beautiful things that adorn the world; but private wealth I should decline, or any sort of personal possessions, because they would take away my liberty." ~George Santayana

"Live simply that others might simply live." ~Elizabeth Seaton

"Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials." ~Lin Yutang

"As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness." ~Henry David Thoreau

"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." ~William Morris

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." ~Leonardo DaVinci

"Anything simple always interests me." ~David Hockney

"Our affluent society contains those of talent and insight who are driven to prefer poverty, to choose it, rather than submit to the desolation of an empty abundance." ~Michael Harrington

"How many things are there which I do not want." ~Socrates

"I go about looking at horses and cattle. They eat grass, make love, work when they have to, bear their young. I am sick with envy of them." ~Sherwood Anderson

"Remember that in giving any reason at all for refusing, you lay some foundation for a future request." ~Arthur Helps

"The true Indian sets no price upon either his property or his labor. His generosity is limited only by his strength and ability. He regards it as an honor to be selected for difficult or dangerous service and would think it shameful to ask for any reward, saying rather: Let the person I serve express his thanks according to his own bringing up and his sense of honor." ~Ohiyesa of the Santee Sioux

"Who is rich? He who rejoices in his portion." ~The Talmud

"You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need." ~Vernon Howard

"Since all the riches of this world May be gifts from the Devil and earthly kings, I should suspect that I worshipp'd the Devil If I thank'd my God for worldly things." ~William Blake

"Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail." ~Henry David Thoreau

"The greatest truths are the simplest: so likewise are the greatest men." ~Augustus and Julius Hare

"If you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted in pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days." ~Annie Dillard

"Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you." ~Lao Tzu

"We don't need to increase our goods nearly as much as we need to scale down our wants. Not wanting something is as good as possessing it." ~Donald Horban

"Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves." ~Edwin Way Teale

"The sculptor produces the beautiful statue by chipping away such parts of the marble block as are not needed - it is a process of elimination." ~Elbert Hubbard


From the Bible


1Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. 2For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (2Cor 11:)


12For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward. (2Cor 1:)


17Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. 19For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. 20And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. (Romans 16:)


15The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.

16A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.

(Proverbs 14:)


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