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Action Steps

Taking Personal Action

Cultivating a Compassionate Life

 

The goal of this week is to fast from over-consumption and to live more simply.

The challenge of simplicity is to live differently than the standards set by a greedy consumer culture. To begin, try setting purchasing limits that fit with your values, and live within them. Use your buying power to reinforce your faith. Let your shopping decisions make a difference. With each dollar you can select products that are socially and environmentally responsible. Clear the clutter from your home. Develop a sense of moderation and sharing. Discover the joy that comes from contentment, sensing that you have enough. And hold in your heart those people who don’t have enough – enough food, enough water, enough of basic life necessities.  

Christian simplicity means setting limits that reflect your faith values by taking only what you need – not wasting or taking in excess. Good stewardship of creation results in a life that is outwardly simple, inwardly rich, and socially just.  

Simplicity includes sacrifice. Refrain from doing or buying something this week.
  ● I didn’t buy a pair of shoes I wanted.
  ● I didn’t take a disposable plastic water bottle when it was offered to me.
  ● I didn’t use my car when I could use alternative means of getting around, like public transportation.
  ● I didn’t react with vengeance when cut off in traffic.

Simplicity includes thoughtful action. Do something that enhances a simple life.  
  ● Plant a flower or tree. 
  ● Carry and use a mug, instead of paper cups.  
  ● Prepare a meal and share it with a home-bound person.
  ● Allow more time for prayer and meditation. 

 

If There's Only One Thing You Can Do

  • Use cloth shopping bags instead of paper and plastic. Paper bags cause millions of trees to be cut. Plastic bags kill thousands of birds and marine animals every year by being eaten or entangled in discarded bags mistaken for food. According to the EPA, over 380 billion plastic bags are distributed in the U.S. each year.  

Take Small Steps

  • Question: How many light bulbs does it take to change the world? Answer: One at a time. Start by replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs. They emit the same amount of light, but use 75% less electricity. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, if every American home replaced just one light with a CFL light, we would save enough energy to light 3 million homes for a year, save about $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year.
  • Replace paper napkins and towels with cloth. Give up wasteful disposable paper products that end up in landfills.
  • Use a refillable mug in the office or on the go. Cut down on waste as well as toxic chemicals in the environment. Buying daily coffee in disposable cups generates about 22 pounds of waste per year and sends approximately 65 pounds of CO2 into the air. 

Inner Simplicity

  • Abstain from over-scheduling your life. Do this by planning ahead to eliminate unnecessary actions. 
  • Reduce exposure to advertising. Notice how advertisement bombard you, stirring up the desire to buy.. 
  • Read Psalm 104. Sit quietly in gratitude for the gift of life. 
  • Consciously connect with God’s natural world at least once during the week. 
  • Give time to your community by working in a soup kitchen, caring for the homeless, or volunteering at an organization to help those in need. 

Outer Simplicity

  • Cut back on personal consumption. Adapt a less-is-more attitude during Lent. 
  • Forgo some “must-have” items. It’s a matter of training the mind to get along with less. 
  • Ask: do I need it? When a desire for something arises, wait a couple days to make sure it is not an impulse buy. 
  • When you need to purchase, consider shopping for used items. So much can be found at local thrift stores, Craigslist, Freecycle, or used products on Amazon or eBay. 
  • Notice when stuff is tossed “away.” Where is away? It goes somewhere on the planet. This Lent REDUCE consumption, REUSE whatever you can, and learn to RECYCLE. Otherwise it goes into landfills.

“Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.” 
– Saint Augustine 

 

Imagine if the Earth were divided equally among all of us. Each person would receive 4.5 acres. Now imagine that everything you need – food, energy, home, clothing, gadgets – must come from those 4.5 acres. But it takes 22.3 acres to maintain the average American lifestyle.There is a new way of observing Lent that helps us care for God’s creation by taking steps toward using only our fair share of its resources. Moving in the direction of 4.5 is essential for anyone walking in the footsteps of Jesus today.

Our Ministry

Lent 4.5 is a seven-week faith formation program which inspires and informs Christian communities on how to use the traditional Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving to protect God’s creation, embrace Gospel justice and nurture spiritual fulfillment. It offers practical opportunities for people of faith to apply the values of Christian Simplicity to their everyday lives.


This Week...

If There’s Only One Thing You Can Do …

Use cloth shopping bags instead of paper and plastic.

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