Simplicity in the Burbs: $2 a day for Lent (Introduction and an Opportunity for You)

Simplicity in the Burbs: $2 a day for Lent (Introduction and an Opportunity for You) March 8, 2011

I am picky.

I hate most foods that could be considered healthy.

In college, I ate Panda Express (Chinese fast food) for dinner almost every night and supplemented other meals with burgers and pizza.

As a child, I would sit at my Grandpa’s dinner table for hours because I refused to eat my veggies.

My most consumed meal during childhood: cereal.  Count Chocula was not just breakfast, but sometimes dinner.  And if I ran out of milk, no problem… water.

I didn’t like salad until I was at least 16.

I am not a big fan of beans because of the texture.

If I had it my way, every day would be a Chic fil a day.

And I only like three veggies (and I’m and adult!): carrots, broccoli, and bell peppers.  This is only because my wife use to hide them in my food and tricked me into liking them 🙂

I like comfort.

Not the kind of comfort that is simply contentedness, but feeling good.

In situations where I have gone on mission trips to other countries, for the sake of the Gospel I will ‘rough it’ but boy I really looked forward to the debrief day that would be spent in a hotel room.

And speaking of hotel rooms, I prefer these to camping and outdoorsy vacations because I will be guaranteed a shower whenever I feel like it.  And lets not forget the bed.  Rocks for pillows and dew on the face when you wake up under the sun at the butt crack of dawn, really, just not my thing.

I am picky.  I like comfort.

I have noticed that these two things have been challenging my theology.  I believe in a God who makes us uncomfortable and who gives us any daily bread that we may have even if it is not the bun from a number 2 at In & Out Burgers.  A God that calls us to give sacrificially.  To love unconditionally.  To have so we can give to the have nots.

To live simply.

The spiritual discipline of simplicity is one that I think will challenge my discipleship journey the most at this point in my life.  So, for Lent, I am going to seek to embrace simplicity in the Suburbs.

When I think of simplicity I think of monks and the desert fathers.  I think of the modern day new monastics.  But at this point in my life, well, I live in suburbia.  So I started thinking: How can a suburbanite like me embrace simplicity for Lent? Not only so, but can I do so in a way that raises awareness of those in our world who are forced to live “simply” because of poverty?

So here’s the plan.

My wife and I each get $2 per day that we can spend for 46 days ($92 each).  This number was chosen because even today, there is about 2.5 billion people in our world who are living on less that $2 per day according to World Bank.  My wife will be participating with the food portion of this experiment, whereas I will have a few other stipulations.

Includes:

  • All food we eat
      • No accepting donations or food from friends
      • When invited to go out, I will take my own food with me, or not eat
      • When at a church event, if food is free, I will abstain from it

     

  • Regular Expenses
    • Any random expenses for entertainment and social life
    • All things that could be considered “extras”

Excludes:

  • Monthly bills — I will continue to pay my mortgage, utilities, and any recurring bill
  • Gas — Unfortunately, as much as I would like to include this, I can’t.  I commute 45 mins to school and my wife also commutes.  I will however explore alternatives when they present themselves
  • Health Care — Anything having to do with health related issues (except food) will not be included

Each day I will ask myself: How can I live more simply today? I have no idea where this question will take me and I am confident that my picky / comfortable nature will be a challenge enough to deal with on $2 a day.  But my goal will be to not leave it there, but to explore other small ways to embrace simplicity.

During the 46 days of Lent, starting this Ash Wednesday, I will have a daily journal entry that will discuss the previous day.  This will be every day, Monday through Friday.  Inspired in part by Becky Garrison’s recent article, on weekends I will be fasting from all forms of social media.

How can you get involved? Please offer insights and suggestions and well, at times encouragement.  This is not going to be easy.

Also, I want to invite you to ask the question: How can I live more simply today? And then, come back and tell me your stories.

Finally, I think that simplicity and generosity go hand in hand.  During Lent I am going to invite YOU to take action.  On this blog, I am setting up a fundraising campaign for Blood: Water Mission.  They are an organization seeking to do good in Africa by fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic and by providing clean water.  And why water?  Consider the following $2 stat:

“Almost two in three people lacking access to clean water survive on less than $2 a day, with one in three living on less than $1 a day.”

I am asking you to consider giving $2 to this cause by clicking here.  Our goal for Lent is going to be to raise $200, so this is going to have to be a group effort.  We have to spread the word so that we meet that goal!

Thanks for joining me in this journey into Simplicity in the Burbs!

 

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