Thursday, February 04, 2016

No Baggage?

When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases,and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.He told them: "Take nothing for the journey -- no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them." So they set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere. Luke 9

The book No Baggage is getting a fair amount of attention these days. It sounds as though it is in the vein of  Eat, Pray, Love and Wild and other memoirs of this ilk. Off we venture to save our troubled souls. It's interesting that so many of these books are written by women, where once they were the domain of men. They are insightful, to a degree, and offer a different perspective.

Clara Bensen meets Jeff through an online dating service and although they hardly know each other they head off on an eight country, three week journey with no hotel reservations, no real plans, and no baggage. Almost the opposite of Cheryl Strayed and her ponderous backpack in Wild. This certainly sounds like a parent's nightmare -- you're doing what?!

No doubt part of the fascination for those who read about this adventure is the "no stuff" aspect. We have so damn much junk which we accumulate in our homes and garages (who uses a garage for a vehicle?) and in storage units. It just about kills us when we move and downsize.

I also listened to a CBC interview recently with a couple here in Ontario who sold most of their things in order to simplify their lives. It may not surprise you to know that their teenagers were not impressed.

Jesus might give a nod of approval to Bensen and firmly suggest we give it a try. Wait, he did! And he didn't just say it, he lived it. He strongly models simplicity and minimalism as foundationally for spiritual clarity. If we want to see God, get rid of the baggage.  Those of us who claim to be Christians in the wealthiest countries and in the most affluent era of human history tend to be deaf to this directive. Who wants to be like those moocher disciples?

We keep a tight grasp on our stuff in churches as well. In a day when we really need to figure out how to "travel light" we are holding on to our real estate and holy hardware with a death grip --literally.

Any thoughts on this? You may not have gone "no baggage," but less stuff? What about communities of faith? Are we any closer to travelling light?

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