Friday, September 23, 2016

The Kids Are Alright

Over at Dan Trabue's blog, he often (almost always) posts that which provokes a response from me.  Now and then (almost always) he rebukes me for my observations, conclusions and perspectives on whatever topic, issue or report compels them.  Kinda goofy considering there's a place at the end inviting comments.

But this time, as his recent posts here and here  involve family, specifically his kids, I thought it best I post my wonderment here instead of there.

Now, first of all, I want to reiterate what a wonderful thing I believe it to be that his kids popped for the trip for the family to take that marvelous vacation.  I'm truly envious of him as well as very much happy for him.  How very cool indeed!

Now here's the "but"....

How is this remarkable good fortune not an example of "over-consumerism" against which Dan so often preaches?  Did he not make his position on the subject well known to his kids?  Did they ignore his teachings about simple living?  Was he informed of their plans before the arrangements were set so that he could gently reject their plans, encouraging them to instead make a donation to the poor in his name as a better use of the money so that Dan would not have to bear the shame of having more than so many unfortunates?

I only mean this with just a tad bit of snark.  After all, it isn't like such an expenditure wouldn't fall within the boundaries of opulence and hyper-consumption.  It's neither a need nor a simple pleasure to take such a trip.  I personally have no problem with enjoying the fruits of one's labor to experience as much of the world God created as money allows.  That would be nice stuff of all kinds, including Lamborghinis, large estates, a fine wardrobe, fine dining and of course, European vacations (if not a second or third residence there).

But not Dan.  He doesn't believe we're to have more than we need.  And that's the problem here, because who needs to go to Europe for a vacation?   Did I say how cool I think it is that he got to go, and to go courtesy of his kids?  Way cool!  Good for him.  But by his own beliefs, shouldn't he be ashamed?

208 comments:

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Anonymous said...

By my own beliefs, I believe in Grace. And simple living. But Grace first and foremost.

So, in my Christian community/tribe, we all tend to believe both in simple living and in grace. What that means is that we joyfully encourage one another in living simply, but that we also joyfully allow the grace for each of us to discern what that means.

For one, that means walking/biking/busing most places. For another, using a car regularly is acceptable. For one, that means not doing investments/savings. For another, such investments/savings are advisable. For one, that means mostly traveling within local places. For another, discovering God's world and the greater community of humanity in places reached by airplanes and on a regular basis is a great good.

And we celebrate it all.

Freedom of conscience, friend. Grace. That's what I believe.

~Dan

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering if this isn't one of the big differences between my tribe of progressive types and your tribe of conservative types, Marshall. On Craig's blog, he was speaking of Christian atheists and offered negative reasons for their motives. I offered a more positive take on why they might call themselves Christian atheists. Craig assumed I was defending them and I was, but only from a place of grace.

That is, I disagree with their decision to call themselves specifically "christian" atheists, but I have the grace to assume they aren't doing so for negative reasons. Same for conservatives and abortion/homosexuality. I don't tend to assume that they take their positions based on reasons of hate, but for what are, in their minds, positive and loving reasons.

We believe in the grace to let each person find their way so long as it isn't harming another. We don't live by rigid rules then ("We believe in simple living! Therefore, I have decided that means no plane traveling for anyone! No leaving the country ever! No cars, ever! I'm deciding this for me and for everyone else, too!"), but by grace.

Sometimes, you all don't seem to get that I'm not defending a decision someone made, or instituting a rule for everyone to live, I'm generally encouraging love, simplicity, mercy, justice and allowing grace to be the rule by which we live. Does it make it more clear for me to point out that I am not living by a ruling system, but by grace?

~dan

Glenn E. Chatfield said...
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Anonymous said...

Tribe: 2
: a group of persons having a common character, occupation, or interest

From Merriam Webster.

Take it up with the dictionary, Glenn.

~Dan

Anonymous said...

If you're well-read in the traditional conservative evangelical world, perhaps you're familiar with Leonard Ravenhill, Glenn? Here's what he said years ago about Christians...

"But you know if God should stamp eternity or even judgment on our eyeballs, or if you’d like on the fleshy table of our hearts I am quite convinced we’d be a very, very different tribe of people, God’s people, in the world today. We live too much in time, we’re too earth bound. We see as other men see, we think as other men think. We invest our time as the world invests it. We're supposed to be a different breed of people."

Hardly an invention of "liberals" to use Tribe in the accepted English usage of speaking of a group with some commonality and kinship.

Really, fellas, a vacation and using the word "tribe..." these are the things you wish to spend time bickering about?

~Dan

Glenn E. Chatfield said...
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Anonymous said...

Tribe: any similar division whether of natural or political origin.

~From the 1919 edition of the Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English.

Tribe: a distinct body of the people as divided by family or fortune, or any other characteristic.

~From "A dictionary of the English language. 1768 (the only definition given).

Glenn, you are simply mistaken on this point. Will you back down and just admit the simple mistake?

Yes, I did go on a lovely vacation. No, going on vacations - even one to Europe that involved a relatively expensive airplane flight (although, by staying in air b and b's, everything else was relatively affordable... as cheap as a vacation in the US) - is not against my values. Never said otherwise.

Yes, I use tribe in a manner that is fitting with the centuries old definition of the word Tribe. No, there is nothing sinister in my doing so.

Lighten up, fellas. Find something real to worry about.

~Dan

Anonymous said...

Marshall...

He doesn't believe we're to have more than we need.

This is your key error. I have not said that, nor do I believe it.

Do I believe we are to live simply? Absolutely.

Have I said, "...and that means any income beyond the very basic necessities is evil to hold on to...!"? No. I haven't.

Does that help clarify for you my actual position?

~Dan

Glenn E. Chatfield said...
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Dan Trabue said...
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Dan Trabue said...

You take a word to fit leftist ideology by redefining the meaning.

There IS NO "redefining." It is the dictionary definition. It is now. It was in 1900. It was in 1800.

You. Are. Mistaken.

Factually, proven-by-data, demonstrated-repeatedly mistaken.

You're just like Trump in this regards. If you don't like the facts, you just make the charge anyway, even when everyone looking can see you are mistaken and, once it was pointed out and you doubled down and repeated the same false claim, you are demonstrated, like Trump, to be a liar and not just a liar, but a childishly stupid liar.

It's like you're saying, "Pay no attention to the dictionary definition of the word, Dan has re-defined it to mean... well, the dictionary definition of the word. But that's why you shouldn't pay attention to, you know, data. And stuff. Dan's BAD!"

When anyone can see that you just made up your false claim and repeated it, even after you were caught, as if you were too stupid to think anyone would notice your brainless lie.

This sort of behavior by Trump and people like you are denigrating and demeaning good and honest conservatives (those that remain). Just stop it.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...
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Dan Trabue said...

Glenn, the word means what it means. It can be used to describe groups of like people, people who feel some kin and commonality.

That is the definition.

It always has been the definition.

a distinct body of the people as divided by family or fortune, or any other characteristic.

"Any other characteristic" would include groups of people with common ground in theology.

Do you need me to bring out the dictionary to demonstrate to you what "any" means?

Look, you made a stupid, stupid point trying to attack me because you don't like the dictionary definition of the word. It was a baseless attack. You then doubled down and said only liberals used the word that way. I then demonstrated that, no, conservative Christians have in fact used the word in the same manner as I did. You then doubled down even more on the stupidity, insisting that this was only a recent definition of the word. I then demonstrated to you that it has ALWAYS been the definition of the word, at least for several centuries.

Let it go, you are embarrassing conservatism.

Marshall, won't you save Glenn from himself?

I won't comment further, you've been demonstrated soundly wrong. I hope for your sake you just let it go, or even better, borrow yourself some balls and man up and admit the mistake. Admitting error is good for the soul, Glenn. Come on, bud, you can do it. Or at the least, let it go.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...
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Dan Trabue said...

Glenn, I don't HAVE to prove that. I've already proven that the word means... "a distinct body of the people as divided by family or fortune, or any other characteristic."

"ANY OTHER CHARACTERISTIC" would include "common Christian beliefs..." because common Christian beliefs fits in the category of "Any other characteristic."

It would be like saying, "They were a distinct flavor of Christianity..." would not need to include a prior example of using "flavor" to describe a sub-group. It's simply part of how the word is defined and used.

Come on, just admit the mistake. It's a small one that you're making incredibly big for unknown reasons other than just the hope of finding something else to bitch about liberals. Don't be so petty or small. Admit the mistake and move on.

Dan Trabue said...

Or are you suggesting that it is the case that you don't know how language works? That when a word is defined to include "any other characteristic," that you don't understand that includes "ANY other characteristic..."?

There is no abuse in using the centuries old definition of a word in a sentence. That, too, is another false claim/mistake.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...
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Dan Trabue said...

You did not do demonstrate any such thing, Glenn. You simply didn't. Again, you're just making empty and false claims that are easily demonstrated to be false.

Do you understand that you did not demonstrate that "my use" of the word did not exist in history?

The word means what it means.

I'll quit for realsy now. I am feeling some pity for you. I think perhaps you just don't understand how "language" and "demonstration" and "words" and "definitions" work. Ask a friend for some help, Glenn. You're too old to be so obtuse.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...
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Marshall Art said...

First, I want to say that I have no problem with the use of the word "tribe" used in reference to those who share an ideology or belief. None whatsoever, though it does come off to me as a bit pretentious in its use. But that's just me.

Secondly, Dan, I find your response to what I find to be gaping inconsistency to be no better than tap-dancing and rationalization. What's more, it renders you ideology as incredibly open-ended allowing for absolutely anything with regards "consumerism".

Anonymous said...

"Pretentious..."? I'm just using it as the dictionary has always used it. How is that pretentious? Pretentious towards who? I used it to describe both liberals and conservatives.

But you are right, of course you have no problem with me using the word in one of the standard English definition ways. Why would anyone unless they're just looking to be critical over nothing?

To your second point: Inconsistent, how? Where have I ever dictated how people spend their money?

I think the problem you're having is that you are operating out of a religion of rule-following. If Dan believes that we should live simply, then surely there must be some set of rules to define living simply, right?

That might make some sense if you are operating from a place of rule-following. However, if your faith system is predicated upon a God and Way of Grace, and quite specifically NOT of rule-following, then it quickly ceases to make any sense.

Have I ever spelled out what it "should" mean to live simply?

Have I ever criticized anyone for specific expenditures?

Have I ever said that using a plane to travel is wrong?

Have I ever said that going on vacations is wrong?

Have I ever said that any expenditure beyond bare necessities is wrong?

The answer to all of these is No. So, where is the inconsistency?

Also, jumping back to the Glenn false claim thing: If you're willing to criticize me for some as-yet vague "inconsistency," are you prepared to point out to Glenn respectfully that I am using a standard English definition of the word Tribe and that he is simply mistaken to say that I/liberals are "re-defining" the word tribe to "fit agendas..."?

~Dan

Glenn E. Chatfield said...
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Anonymous said...

Glenn...

The whole use of that word in relation to factions of Christianity was started by the Left putting themselves on a "holier than thou" platform and naming their "tribe" vs rational, fundamentalists.

BS. Pure BS. You want to make a stupid charge like this, you better be prepared to back it up. Provide support, please Glenn. OR, be a man and admit that every charge you have made has been pulled entirely out of your butt and is not based on any data that you can provide.

For my part, I have never seen ANY progressive Christians use it in the manner that I'm using it. So there is ONE false charge easily dismissed ("trabue is regurgitating leftist jingoism..." And, by the way, Glenn, you almost certainly are using the word "jingoism" by mistake. It means extreme patriotism, which makes no sense in this context... Which gets back to my earlier suggestion: Maybe you just really are not educated/not familiar with words/dictionaries and how to use them?)

But I am fully prepared to apologize, kiss your feet and donate $100 to the charity of your choice IF you can support your charge that "the Left" started using "tribe" to put us on a "holier than thou platform..." (Which, again, makes no sense. How is referring to liberal and conservative "tribes" put liberals on a sanctimonious platform?)

You. Can't. Do. It.

You. Are. A. Trump-like. Liar.

Prove me wrong.

Marshall, if you are willing to question me on this whole silly vacation thing, implying I'm being inconsistent, but you aren't willing to check Glenn and this ridiculous clearly false charge on misusing/redefining the word "tribe," I'm done here. That would be actually inconsistent.

~Dan

Anonymous said...

Glenn, just by way of a fact check/reminder for you in how I used the word vs what you're suggesting, HERE are my literal quotes where the term came up...

So, in my Christian community/tribe, we all tend to believe both in simple living and in grace. What that means is that we joyfully encourage one another in living simply, but that we also joyfully allow the grace for each of us to discern what that means...

I'm wondering if this isn't one of the big differences between my tribe of progressive types and your tribe of conservative types, Marshall...


1. CLEARLY, I am using tribe as synonymous with "community" or group. Nothing sanctimonious about that and exactly in keeping with the dictionary definition of the word.

2. CLEARLY, I am speaking of "liberal tribes" or groups of Christians and "conservative tribes" or groups of Christians, so clearly, if "tribe" was intended to say "those who are holier and better..." (which clearly it wasn't) then I'm also calling conservatives "holier and better..." which undermines your false and silly charge that I/we are using it to say we're better than others.

This whole charge from Glenn is just so inane as to be painful. Funny, to be sure, but painful. It is a ridiculous false charge and adding on that "liberals" are "redefining" it (when it has always been the definition) in a scheme to suggest superiority is just a nutty conspiracy theory based on even less than Trump's nutty conspiracy theories.

At least with Marshall, I think your "vacation vs simplicity" concern is a reasonable question to ask (although not a reasonable conclusion to reach). But Glenn's thing is just entirely crazy.

Help me out, here, Marshall. Tell Glenn this is a crazy herring to chase and that he's embarrassing himself.

~Dan

Glenn E. Chatfield said...
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Dan Trabue said...

Contrary to your hunches..

1. I've been using the word tribe since before the emergent movement emerged, and

2. I've almost never read anything about or by the emergent movement, so clearly, factually I didn't pick up from them this use of the word tribe in its dictionary definition.

Strike six.

Piling more false claims up doesn't make you more believable.

Oh, and does this mean you're not going to take me up on the bet? You can't prove your claim, can you?

Of course, you can't.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...
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Anonymous said...

So, you are making an on-the-face of it false claim about a word I'm clearly using in accordance with the dictionary and you can't/won't back it up. Instead, you just keep making things up, each one more preposterous and non-factual than the last.

You are a liar, Glenn. And not a good one.

Ask Marshall, I'm relatively sure he'll back me up on this, his unsupported "pretentious" angle, notwithstanding. You've just been mistaken on nearly everything you have said here. Demonstrably so.

~Dan

Glenn E. Chatfield said...
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Anonymous said...

Glenn's misstatements of reality/facts/false claims:

1. Dan/liberals are redefining "tribe" to mean something other than standard English definition. [It IS the dictionary definition]
2. Dan/liberals' definition MAY fit with the modern definition, but not how it USED to be defined. [It has been defined this way for centuries]
3. Dan/liberals are using "tribe" in this non-standard way, not conservatives. [ultra-conservative/traditionalist Leonard Ravenhill, for example, used tribe in this manner.]
4. The whole use of tribe in relation to factions of Christianity was started by the Left putting themselves on a "holier than thou" platform. [Not one single bit of evidence for this anywhere on earth. Certainly none that Glenn has provided.]
5. Dan "picked up the liberal definition" of tribe from the Emergent church/liberals [Dan has only read ~2-3 articles from/about the Emergent church and I'm pretty sure they didn't use the word tribe, and this was only in the last 3-4 years...]

Demonstrable false claims.

Dan's facts:
A. Using Tribe to talk about a group with common interests is using the word in the standard English way.
B. It has been defined thus for hundreds of years.
C. Dan hasn't read much from the Emergent church and did not pick up on use of this word (or "flavor," or "branch" or "type") from "liberals," or the Emergent church, but just from being an educated man who is familiar with a variety of words. And by "educated," I don't mean in some ivory tower sense... I'm talking about basic grace school education... where I learned some 45 years ago that tribe has more than one definition.
D. Dan did not use the word Tribe here in some pretentious manner, but only in keeping with basic English usage of the word.

Demonstrable facts.

~Dan

Glenn E. Chatfield said...
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Marshall Art said...

Just to reiterate, I have no problem with the use of the word "tribe" in the manner Dan employs it. I don't know why I'm expected to join the fight against Glenn beyond making that statement. I'd have abandoned that insignificant point of contention long ago. I will say this, it is no more or less out of place or pretentious as the use of the word "ilk" to describe those of similar mind.

As to the point of the post, there seems a willful avoidance of specific and distinct definition of what constitutes over consuming to the leftist self-described Christian. That's part of my point as it has been, that railing against "over consumption" is rather subjective, allowing each person who cares about such a thing decide for himself when he is over consuming versus when others are over consuming. In short, it sounds like a noble position, but it means nothing without clearly set parameters. What is enough and what is too much? When is one enjoying the gifts God provides, and when is one being greedy? As thus far described, to whatever extent it has been, it's all in the eye of the leftist self-described Christian.

There's no call to poverty or "simple living". There is talk of contentment, but when does contentment become complacency while ambition might be more beneficial to others as well as to the self? More is always better...not because we need it, but because it serves us better in serving others. We can always do for others. We can do more when we have more with which to do it. I've more to say on the concept, but that'll do for now.

Anonymous said...

. I will say this, it is no more or less out of place or pretentious as the use of the word "ilk" to describe those of similar mind.

Why, at least in the case of "tribe..."? How is it "pretentious..."? It's just using it in one of the common senses of the word.

As to why should you point out to Glenn how ridiculous he's being... to show some consistency, that's why. You're exploring in some depth a problem you have with my vacation (when I have not ever condemned vacations or Europe), but here you have Glenn going on a long and protracted and idiotic rant over me using the word correctly. Why would you not tell Glenn, at the least, to stop being stupid? Why would you not point it out for the sake of showing that conservatives are not all idiots, like Glenn is being?

~Dan

Glenn E. Chatfield said...
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Dan Trabue said...

It's literally the definition, Glenn.

As the definition...

1. It's literally NOT redefining it.
2. It's literally not pretentious.
3. It's literally not a sign of any liberal conspiracy.

Saying otherwise is obviously, literally stupid.

Marshall Art said...

It's pretentious because it sounds that way. Don't you know how it sounds? Isn't how something sounds enough to cast darkness and destruction on what was said? Are you now saying that how something sounds has no value compared to what is intended, what is actually said?

So there's that.

It's pretentious because it is vague and not commonly used where something more common and specific would be better. What do you mean by "people of your tribe"? What tribe? Who is in this tribe?

As to Glenn's comments on your use of the word, consistency would demand I chastise both of you for going on as long as you both have about the word. For every comment of his, you've matched him, so how can I be truly consistent by only dealing with his comments and not each of yours that followed each of his?

As to the vacation issue, I'll have to hold off on further clarification for later.

Dan Trabue said...

Is it pretentious-sounding when Leonard Ravenhill used it? If I had used the word Flavor instead of tribe, would that be pretentious sounding?

It's the correct definition/usage of the word, so clearly Glenn is mistaken about the redefining point. This pretentious charge seems baseless.

Dan Trabue said...
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Glenn E. Chatfield said...
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Glenn E. Chatfield said...
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Dan Trabue said...

Marshall, what word(s) do you favor to describe different groups or sub-groups within Christianity? Sect is probably the most technically correct word but it also has some baggage in that many traditionalists use the word sect to mean a false religion. I could use the term, faith tradition, but that term is more typically referring to a denomination and that is not my meaning.

I believe tribe is probably about as good a word as any to talk about broad groupings like more Progressive and more traditional Christians. Do you have another word you would rather me use?

If not, perhaps you can agree that tribe is perfectly apt.

Dan Trabue said...

Glenn, by googling, in quotes, "tribes of Christianity," I had many results showing conservative Christians using tribes to describe general groups within Christianity. It's just normal, standard English usage of the word. Surrender.

The Piper's Wife said...
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Glenn E. Chatfield said...
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Dan Trabue said...

No, I don't consider myself a conservative Christian. I was raised as a Conservative Christian. I still am conservative in many ways and a progressive in many ways. For instance I still have to take all of the teachings of Jesus literally. So I am conservative in that sense. and I can read and see that James Dobson, Mark Driscoll or Al Mohler are considered conservative. That is true whether or not you think they are.

The point remains solid. I used the word in the dictionary sense. There was no read definition of the word involved. And it is not the point remains solid. I used the word and the dictionary sense. The was no read definition of the word involved. And it is not in any way pretentious.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...
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Anonymous said...

From a blog that speaks about linguistics...

"the meaning of tribe is not unique to the underdeveloped world. It is also a term which can be applied to groups in modern society in which a common bond or purpose is clear. Religious groups, for instance, can rightly claim the term “tribe“ to describe their particular bent or tradition. The Tribes of Judah were the ancient designations of the Hebrew people...

It is not unusual for scholars in the various Christian communities to describe a portion of that community as one of the Christian tribes. I heard a Priest refer recently to a specific tradition of her Episcopal Church as one of the unique characteristics of “this tribe of Christians.” There is something authentic about the term, giving credibility to its lengthy and esteemed tenure. She was referring to the election process for the selection and designation of a person as a Bishop of the Church, a process which varies among the various “tribes” of Christianity."


http://the-penultimate-word.com/2012/04/12/tribe-a-term-to-describe-a-sociological-group-usually-descended-from-a-common-ancestor-but-not-always/

And here's at least one apparently conservative blogger (he sounds a lot like you, I think, Glenn) who uses the term...

The heavy influence of the doctrine of “the Fall” doesn’t stop at the borders of Calvinism and Lutheranism. Much of the doctrines of various tribes of Christianity assume “a Fall,” even if they don’t present it in those exact terms. “The Fall” is useful as a default background of human depravity against which Jesus can be contrasted as the deliverer.

http://www.intheimageofthecreator.com/

Also, one of these people (from a website critical of "emergent churches") uses the word...

At the heart of the issue seems to be an assumption on your part that
interacting with individuals on matters of mutual concern to Christ's
Church on earth (i.e., common to all the various tribes of Christianity),
is a violation of church fellowship. I hope I have shown that such is not
the case. As today's church, and the WELS in particular, seeks to find ways
to share the Gospel with a lost generation, the enemy is Satan, the world,
and our own flesh “ not other Christians from whom we might learn
something.


http://ichabodthegloryhasdeparted.blogspot.com/2009/01/actual-dialogue-church-and-chicanery.html

Among others. Clearly, other Christians, apparently conservative Christians, have and do use this term to talk about various sub-groups of Christians. But that is beside the point, Glenn. If a word is defined to mean X and somebody uses that word in a sentence about Purple Lobsters... it is NOT "redefining" the word to use it about Purple Lobsters, EVEN IF no one has ever used the word in regards to Purple Lobsters before. The MEANING of a word means what it means regardless of the context. Your argument betrays a childishly stupid dishonesty and a dangerously immature understanding of how "words" and "definitions" work.

Oh, and Jesus never ever ever in all the Bible not one time said, "Genesis is not Mythic in nature. It is, instead, factually literal history." He never said it nor did he imply it. That is YOU reading into Jesus something he never said. Careful there, bud.

~Dan

Dan Trabue said...

Re: Marshall's "lacking a specific and distinct" definition of over-consuming... As I asked earlier, perhaps one of the distinctions between conservatism and liberalism is that conservatives want and need rules to live by whereas liberals are happy to live under grace?

Certainly, in my circles (is that pretentious?) we have discussions about"How do we live out simplicity? " and similar questions, it's rarely/never about creating literal rules and binding definitions and more about generating inspiration and ideas. I might make a case for going car-less and another, a case for vegetarianism, but not from a top-down, laying down the law sorta way.

You know, I imagine, that some research backs this up, right? That conservatives instinctively want hard rules?

Glenn E. Chatfield said...
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Anonymous said...

You throw out clearly false claims and ridiculously nonsensical suggestions and I bat them back with hard data and clear definitions, facts and reality. Playing me like a fiddle, indeed.

~Dan

Glenn E. Chatfield said...
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Marshall Art said...

Are you guys done now?

Glenn E. Chatfield said...
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Dan Trabue said...

I'm waiting on any adults to step in and take on adult level conversation.

Any takers?

Dan Trabue said...

The reason I kept at Glenn is because his responses are representative of the Trump-like nonsense that is a poison to our system of representation and to adult level conversation. You can't just say clearly nonsensical claims and be taken seriously. That too many conservatives are willing to give a pass to stupidly false claims that come from other conservatives is a serious problem in our culture. I was just pointing out over and over the various ways that each time Glenn said something, it was false, stupid, unsupported, ridiculous, vapid and, by not admitting to a clear mistake, an embracing of slander, falsehoods and that which is not part of the realm of God.

IF you take that part of the Bible seriously and literally. I do.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...
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Dan Trabue said...

Patiently correcting such stupidly false claims is not that difficult, and it's not being goaded. It's being helpful. So, by saying now that you've been trying to "goad" me, does that mean you are admitting to being a troll?

Glenn E. Chatfield said...
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Marshall Art said...

Are you guys done now?

Dan Trabue said...

I'm waiting on any adults to step in and take on adult level conversation.

Any takers?

Craig said...

Art,

I know you don't like to, but this is the time to do some serious deleting, this is 50+ comments that sound like 4 year old kids.

On topic. I tend to agree that Dan definitely gives off a sense that his take on living simply and his assertion that this is a clear unambiguous teaching of Jesus definitely comes across as holier than thou, even if it's not intended to. I think it's more in terms of tone than actual word choice. I note that elsewhere I believe he's claimed that it's a sin not to "live simply", yet here he seems to be suggesting that he is perfectly fine with those who choose to ignore the clear unambiguous teachings of Jesus.

I do agree that for his kids to make the sacrifice and make the trip possible is a wonderful example, one that I hope my children emulate at some point. I'm genuinely pleased that he got this break from what's been a difficult tome of life and that he enjoyed it.

But seriously, delete...

Marshall Art said...

I dunno, Craig. I kinda like letting people make fools of themselves if they insist upon doing so. If either one wanted to, either one could simply ignore the other and get back to the issue at hand and...you know...take on adult conversation.

On topic, I haven't even dealt with the "holier than thou" tone of the "simple living" meme. I was more concerned that partaking of a European vacation seems blatantly inconsistent with it.

I can't say that I recall Dan saying that not living simply is sinful, though he hints that increasing one's wealth at least lists that way. I disagree of course, as the notion is wholly unBiblical. The teaching only involves putting wealth before God. It doesn't say that one cannot store up treasures in heaven and still become wealthy.

But to live simply simply cannot include such travel, when to be able to do so is not simple by nature...unless he's rowing there himself and then hitch-hiking and staying in hostels or a lean-to. But he expands the "definition" to rationalize taking the trip. All along I felt the philosophy was ambiguous, like so much of what Dan believes.

As to your final paragraph, I fully concur. Considering the sad times he's had to endure lately, I'm glad he was able to get away. Good for him. But clearly his kids haven't picked up on the simple living philosophy, or else that vacation might have been only to Mt. Pilot.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Craig said...

I understand your position on allowing people to make themselves look foolish, I also understand that either of them could have decided to act like an adult instead of waiting for someone else to do so. But, IMO, this is the exception to the rule. There is no value in this sort of pointless semantic arguments. There are times when definitions and semantics are critical, especially with Dan, but not here.

As to the sinful/not sinful/ holier than thou issue. I get that Dan has never really been specific about what "simple living" means. I suspect it's one of those terms (like Anabaptist) that is elastic enough to mean anything, everything, or nothing depending on circumstances. Personally, I'd suggest that a smart phone might cross the "simple living" line, but what do I know. I think it's one of those things we all do where we latch onto something and adopt it as a way to make ourselves look better (mostly to ourselves) than other people. Of course it's probably not the best thing to do, but I'm pretty sure we all have something (mine was/is foul language) and while I have no issues with the Biblical injunctions to watch our tongues, it's not something I should use to feel superior to anyone else, or to make anyone feel inferior to me. Many people treat drinking the same way.

The summary is that I don't see any Biblical mandate that prescribes "simple living" for everyone, nor do I see a blanket indictment that suggests that wealth is inherently bad, wrong or sinful. I guess, I see wealth/simplicity as two sides of the same coin. Either of the two attitudes can become an idol and it's the idolatry that becomes a problem not the simplicity or wealth.

Anonymous said...

In truth, I am always glad to have reasonable discussions about wealth, poverty, simplicity, rules and grace. Perhaps that would be helpful here. Although no one has asked me what my positions are about simplicity are, especially as it relates to travel and vacation, but allow me to add some light.

1. I do believe that living simply is a moral good and reasonable.

2. Further, I believe that living extravagantly can lead to all manner of unwanted trappings and negative consequences.

3. Folks who believe as I and my church and extended like-minded community (which I will call "tribe" here, for lack of a better word and with no offense intended... certainly not trying to be pretentious and if someone has a better word to offer, I'm glad to consider it), do not believe in a rules-based religion or life, but a grace-based way of living.

4. This is true as it relates to simplicity as in other areas of life. In our experience, perhaps even moreso in areas of simplicity vs extravagance.

5. The reality of it all is that, so far as I know, there are no clearly drawn lines - or a WAY to draw specific one-size-fits-all lines - when it comes to questions like "What is wealth? What is simplicity? How much is too much?" etc.

6. For the Grace-Way tribe (as opposed to a more rules-based religion), there are values and sometimes, those values may appear to have the potential for conflict.

A. Consider the biblical example of Pharisees. In the OT, there was the rule "Honor the Sabbath. Six days shall you work but don't work on the Sabbath, but keep it holy"

B. For the Pharisee (or Rules-Way tribe), this raises some issues immediately: If God wants us to honor/not work on the Sabbath, what does that mean? The Pharisee answer is, "Let's provide a list of defined rules to spell out specifically what Honor the Sabbath means, what one can and can't do. They then proceeded to hammer out a very specific rule-set for how to honor the sabbath, with dozens (hundreds?) of sub-rules giving specifics.

C. However, for the Grace-Way tribe, we recognize the truth that Jesus clarified: That the sabbath was made for humanity, not the other way around. The point was Rest and Grace, not a list of piddly rules requiring you count how many steps you take or how much weight you lift. The point is that it is a GUIDELINE to help us reflect upon rest, love, practices of good. Thus when the Rules-Way people said, "Hey, you can't help your neighbor with his ox!" they were misunderstanding the point of the teaching. It wasn't a Rule with hundreds of sub-rules meant to harshly follow. It was a grace.

D. So, still in the example of Sabbath, the Grace-Way tribe recognizes that there are competing moral goods to consider: Rest, yes, rest is a good. Taking a break from work is a good. BUT, helping your neighbor in need is also a good, even if it happens on the Sabbath? How do we resolve this? Where is the ruling to help us understand what to do???

There is no rule. There is Grace.

~Dan

Anonymous said...

The over-arching point is always, love, help, kindness, mercy, etc. With these over-arching values in mind, we may decide, "I really need to rest today, so that I will be in a good place to do better tomorrow, my neighbor can find help elsewhere or I'll help him tomorrow..." OR, we may decide, "This neighbor really needs help right now and I don't know how else to resolve that other than stepping up and helping him with this work, even though it is the Sabbath Rest day." and neither is wrong, necessarily. The goal is the Good. The one who decides to Rest is doing so from a place of a Good heart. The one who decides to work and help is doing so from a place of a Good heart. Grace. Not rules.

7. Given all that, in the question of "How do we live simply? Are vacations okay? Even to Europe? What of cell phones??" The point is grace, not rules. Yes, living simply can free up resources to allow us to give to those in need. Spending slightly more than we normally would to go to Europe (in this example) means slightly less to give to those in need. Also, it means flying on a plane, which is a pollution source. On the other hand, keeping in mind the notion of Competing Moral Goods, travel allows us to meet new people and new cultures, which has the potential to help us be more understanding and more informed of the world we share. This is a moral good, too. It allows us to experience things totally (literally) foreign to us and to learn/practice language and communication. This is a moral good, too. And, of course, it is an opportunity to Rest from work, which is a good.

By going to the places we specifically went to, I learned first hand about the Catalonia region of Spain, which is considering seeking independence. I learned first hand some of the issues and people involved in this conflict. I also experienced first hand some of the places where they were talking about burkini bans which has the great potential to oppress one religion over another. I learned many things, and did so first hand in a way that is difficult or impossible to experience from a distance.

So, for the Grace-Way tribe, we recognize the notion of competing values and that there is good in This but there may also be good in That and it really is best if we each decide what path to take for ourselves. Although, we are also all in this together so we may well learn from what others have to say, and seeking that input is good, but utlimately, we need to decide for ourselves.

8. If you want to know personally for me, did I even give a second thought to travel to Europe? Yes, I did. These are conversations we have at my church. For instance, we've talked about the value of traveling (as Craig does) to Latin American nations to build community, to work, to learn... these are all good things to do and some in my tribe do it, to some degree, to help build peace and community in the world and make connections from one part of the world to another. We've talked about doing this more. But there is that notion of the expense involved and, yes, we here and they, there, may/do benefit from meeting face to face and working hand in hand, side by side, but at the same time, the money spent traveling there could have been spent to do perhaps even more good.

...

Anonymous said...

Just giving money to help causes/needs can be good, but it also establishes a Us Wealthy Folk vs Those Needy Folk imbalance of power. Caution there.

Going there to do the work (build a school or dig a well) helps them have a school, BUT it also takes away jobs from people there who could have done it, too, and they need the jobs! Caution there.

And on it goes.

How do we decide? We decide, it seems to us, in grace and balance. In community and in seeking God's ways the best we can. I guess one of the main things we land on is the importance of doing things thoughtfully and with intent, with an eye to unintended consequences, learning from the anabaptists to not blindly do something just because we can and want to.

Okay, there's at least some background on what I and my tribe (again, no offense intended) have thought on in terms of simplicity and grace, as it relates to vacation and other potential excesses. Grace, grace, that is our starting and ending point. Not rules.

~Dan

Anonymous said...

I believe my responses above deal with questions/suggestions like this one...

As to the sinful/not sinful/ holier than thou issue. I get that Dan has never really been specific about what "simple living" means. I suspect it's one of those terms (like Anabaptist) that is elastic enough to mean anything, everything, or nothing depending on circumstances

It is not arrogant, it doesn't seem to me, to come to the conclusion that Jesus taught us to live simply.

It is not arrogant, it doesn't seem to me, to not live by rules, but by grace, recognizing that at least in some areas, there are no hard and fast rules that can easily be established.

The point is not to be "elastic" enough to do whatever you want in a hedonistic manner, the point is to practice that grace by which we are saved, that grace-way that Jesus taught (at least as we understand it). If you look at my community, you would be hard-pressed to say (I think) anything like "these are a hedonistic people, living however they want just to seek pleasure and ignore God!"

The point is grace.

I am curious (since for me, part of living simply is also living humbly) what it is about anything I've ever had to say about simple living that has come across as holier than thou? I mean, yes, in general terms, I have talked about how I believe that living simply is a moral good. But is my believing that somehow "holier than thou..."? If so, how? Let me know, please so I can avoid that.

I do not believe I have ever boasted about specifics about how I am living simply. Sometimes, mostly in response to questions, I have talked about some of the specifics of what simple living means in my life... but that's in response to a specific question and I don't see how that it "holier than thou..."

If you have some answer to this, I'd appreciate the clarification. Perhaps I am doing something that is not in keeping with humility. But I don't see how using the word "tribe" or saying "I think living simply" comes across as pretentious or holier than thou... If you all don't have specifics, perhaps it's the case that you were looking to hard to be offended? I don't know. I'm sure it's on me and if you can help me, it would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Dan

Craig said...

As I've said, the tone you take when you talk about this gives the appearance of a "holier than thou" attitude. I think it's the whole "Jesus clearly taught..." statements that give this attitude.

The funny thing is that the point of this post was the appearance of inconsistency between your stated beliefs and your actions. No one but you has brought this rules/grace false dichotomy to the discussion. Personally I'm quite sure that you have come up with a justification that bridges the gap, and that's fine. It's just about the appearance.

Personally, I've never really been to Latin America, and when I've traveled to Haiti the group is very sensitive to not doing things that locals could be hired to do.

Craig said...

Just to be very clear, no one here is suggesting that travel for pleasure, or smart phones, or even simplicity is wrong or against any rules. Quite the contrary, I think it's been clear that, if anything, we're somewhat envious.

So please don't feel the need to justify anything.

Anonymous said...

Just to be very clear, no one here is suggesting that travel for pleasure, or smart phones, or even simplicity is wrong or against any rules.

I agree. No one is saying that nor has anyone ever said that. Including me. Thus, why would Marshall question whether I am being inconsistent in avoiding something I never claimed was wrong?

Apparently, it seems like he is misunderstanding what I mean by living simply and/or how my tribe goes about sorting moral decisions out.

As to this...

As I've said, the tone you take when you talk about this gives the appearance of a "holier than thou" attitude. I think it's the whole "Jesus clearly taught..." statements that give this attitude.

Let me see if I am understanding you correctly: If someone reads the words of Jesus and comes to the conclusion that "Jesus clearly taught something..." AND then they proceed to say that out loud/in print that "I believe Jesus clearly teaches...," you think that presents a holier than thou attitude?

If so, does that mean that if someone says "I think Jesus was clearly against gay folks getting married," or "I think Jesus clearly endorsed the notion of Sola Scriptura..." etc, that for them to offer that opinion publicly makes them appear holier than thou?

What if they say, "NO! I'm not saying 'I THINK Jesus taught that...' I'm saying Jesus DID literally teach that (not in so many words, but still, without any doubt he taught it!) and I can't be mistaken," is that even more arrogant/holier than thou?

Or, if they're suggesting Jesus taught something and you agree with that human opinion, is that not holier than thou, it's only when you disagree?

Those are questions I'm asking, not claims I'm making about your views. I'm seeking understanding.

Thanks,

Dan

Anonymous said...

The funny thing is that the point of this post was the appearance of inconsistency between your stated beliefs and your actions.

1. But clearly, I have never taught against taking vacations or going to Europe.
2. So, there is literally no inconsistency between my stated beliefs and my actions.
3. What is happening then, is that Marshall (and you?) are taking my belief that we ought to live simply, and then, YOU are defining what that means TO YOU, and then saying that it is inconsistent to not live simply as you understand it... is that what you're saying?

If so, do you think that makes sense?

~Dan

Craig said...

No, what is happening is that we are looking at your words and comparing them to your actions.

Anonymous said...

I believe in living simply.

You and I agree that taking vacations is not a sign of not living simply.

Do you think one vacation (in a lifetime, thus far) to Europe is a sign of not living simply?

Do you think most other people would agree with you?

I do not think a vacation to Europe once in a lifetime is a sign of extravagance, and i rather doubt most people would.

You are free to think that a vacation to Europe is wrong (you've already said it isn't) or extravagant (I guess that's what you're saying.) If so and you value simplicity, you should not take a vacation to Europe. But if that's your opinion, then I don't agree with your personal opinion about simplicity, though. Are you suggesting I should be held accountable to your views of simplicity?

That's what your last statement sounds like you're suggesting, but please clarify.

~Dan

Craig said...

Re "holier than thou", personality I think it's more tone than anything. But I see a difference between someone repeating the commands of Jesus and believing that they should be obeyed based on His authority and the "In my opinion Jesus clearly taught something and I'm going to follow it (as I define it), but it's not a rule or anything.". I have problems with this.

1. Authority
2. The implication that others who don't hold whatever minority belief are somehow just not as in tune with Jesus.
3. Claiming it's grace to blithely ignore the clear teaching of Jesus.
4. Because the term "simple living" is so undefined it can mean anything or nothing. I understand that you aren't willing to quantify the term and expect to apply it to others, but the fact that I haven't seen you define it for yourself in anything but vague and general terms.

So you and your tribe go right ahead and justify those things that you do that go beyond a simple lifestyle.

Craig said...

1. But you have taught that Jesus "clearly" taught that a "simple lifestyle" is expected for all who follow Him. I don't see how flying to Europe is in any way "simple ".

2. I believe I've suggested that there appears to be a disconnect, not that there is one. Maybe that's too subtle of a difference.

3. In the absence of a definition from you, all we can do is try the glean clues from your previous comments. But that's the point, in the absence of specifics we're left with the appearances.

Craig said...

What has you so confused is that I don't share your obsession with this amorphous "living simply" concept. By my standards, I applaud the opportunity for you to travel. I don't think that one trip to Europe per year is a problem. But I'm not claiming that Jesus mandated some undefined "simple living" standards.

I don't know that I particularly care if other people agree with me. I've never thought that that's a particularly compelling standard.

I've never suggested that a vacation to Europe is either extravagant or wrong. I've said so clearly and often which makes me wonder why you keep making assumptions and responding to those assumptions rather than to the clear text.

No, I'm wondering if your being consistent with your opinion on simplicity. Again, when you argue against things that I have specifically and clearly not said, it raises questions about your ability to discern the teaching of Jesus.



Dan Trabue said...

1. So. If someone says "I am telling you what Jesus' teaching is and I speak with God's authority on this, therefore it is not my opinion but what Jesus is clearly teaching..." That is not holier than thou or arrogant?

Again, I'm asking, trying to understand.

And related...

3. I am literally not claiming it's Grace to ignore Jesus' clear teaching. Never said it, don't believe it. That I disagree with another human's interpretations is not disagreeing with Jesus. Indeed, I am saying it is Jesus' clear teaching to embrace simplicity. This seems contradictory.

Care to explain?

Dan Trabue said...

1. So. If someone says "I am telling you what Jesus' teaching is and I speak with God's authority on this, therefore it is not my opinion but what Jesus is clearly teaching..." That is not holier than thou or arrogant?

Again, I'm asking, trying to understand.

And related...

3. I am literally not claiming it's Grace to ignore Jesus' clear teaching. Never said it, don't believe it. That I disagree with another human's interpretations is not disagreeing with Jesus. Indeed, I am saying it is Jesus' clear teaching to embrace simplicity. This seems contradictory.

Care to explain?

Craig said...

If some was was claiming to speak with the authority of God, holier than thou would be the least of my concerns.

3. I have no idea how your #3 relates to anything I've actually claimed.

I did say that allowing someone to ignore the "clear teaching of Jesus" by passing it off as grace doesn't seem particularly loving.

How about trying to understand my clear words and dealing with your assumptions.

Marshall Art said...

I recall a conversation about how one dresses for Sunday service. Dan claimed, as one of his arguments, that dressing too well would make the poor folk uncomfortable and embarrassed. I hope and pray they never come upon Dan or his family members speaking fondly of their European vacation. It might kill 'em.

In the meantime, the problem is that in the course of pontificating about "simple living", Dan has spoken of "over-consuming", or words to that effect. What constitutes over-consumption was never cleared up. But certainly, a European vacation must indeed fall outside even those ambiguous parameters. The rationalizations given so far are rather cheap. To learn of other cultures? No need for the expenditures necessary for foreign travel for that. Especially with the extravagance of his home computer at hand. (Oh, how the poor folk would wither in humiliation at the knowledge that Dan has a computer!!)

As Craig alludes, the conclusions about simple living drawn from Dan's words do not in any way support the notion of overseas travel (for vacation purposes) as within the boundaries of simple living. Indeed, there's little that is simple about it.

It may all seem like mockery to Dan. It should. It is. The concept is rather quite worthy if behaviors by proponents seem more than "simple". Doing the Francis of Assisi thing is noble and a great sign of devotion. But then departing from that vow in any way belies one's claim to be devoted. There is no way to make a European vacation a part of living simply.

Thus, with all that in mind, one needn't broach the subject of whether or not vacations of any kind are in any way sinful, immoral or less than glorifying to God. The question revolves solely around the claim to favor living simply and how one can then square the extravagance of foreign travel for pleasure into that equation.

Marshall Art said...

Oh, wait!! Maybe it's the "grace, not rules" thing. Of course this misinterprets Christ's view of rules in a very convenient way. It is as Craig says...it means anything and nothing due to its ambiguity. Today it means I wear sackcloth. Tomorrow it means I'm jetting off to the Bahamas. But the "holier than thou" part comes at the mere mention that one favors this philosophy. It sounds so holy. Yet how does it play out in practice? No worries. I'm not a rules guy.

Marshall Art said...

Gotta go. Missing Game 1.

Craig said...

"Of course this misinterprets Christ's view of rules in a very convenient way. It is as Craig says...it means anything and nothing due to its ambiguity. Today it means I wear sackcloth. Tomorrow it means I'm jetting off to the Bahamas. But the "holier than thou" part comes at the mere mention that one favors this philosophy. It sounds so holy. Yet how does it play out in practice? No worries. I'm not a rules guy."

This.

It's the I'm going to imply that "living simply" is a rule by referring to it as a direct "clear teaching" of Jesus, and I'm going to arrange my life as if it's a rule, but I'm not going to have the guts to come right out and say that it's a rule. Because once I say it's a rule, then it stops being amorphous and elastic. If I say it's a rule, then I contradict the false "Grace not rules" dichotomy I've come up with. But mostly it's a way to very subtly and in a kind of passive aggressive way say "Look at me. Look at what a great job I do following this one particular clear teaching of Jesus.", without really actually saying it. Of course that also means without really defining it so anything can be justified as "simple". The kicker is, that because it's not defined or quantified, it's possible to claim with a perfectly straight face (and technically correctly) "I've never said...". Which is true because the term "living simply" (or it's permutations) have so little actual meaning that no one has to say anything specific.

It's kind of like a car guy justifying his purchase of a Caterham 7 instead of a Ferrari because the 7 is a much more "simple" car than the Ferrari.

Anyway, I think you nailed it.

Anonymous said...

It's the I'm going to imply that "living simply" is a rule by referring to it as a direct "clear teaching" of Jesus, and I'm going to arrange my life as if it's a rule, but I'm not going to have the guts to come right out and say that it's a rule.

Look, it appears that neither of you all agree that Jesus taught the idea of simple living. Fine, you don't have to believe it. I do.

It further appears that, even though you don't embrace simple living, you have some ideas about what it means to you, personally. That's fine. If you ever embrace simple living, then you can opt for the rules you want to apply to it for you, personally.

I hold many views about living life well and in the steps of Jesus. It includes the ideas of living peacefully, living simply, living wisely, living morally and living life to the fullest. For me, it's not about rules (ie, here are the 10 rules for what it means to live simply and they apply not only to me, but to everyone), but about a Way and living life in balance. Thus, for me, I do not find anything controversial or immoral about going to Europe, even for people who believe in simple living. I have never condemned travel to other nations, I have never said that's not part of simple living and I don't find anything wrong with it. Thus, there is nothing inconsistent in choosing to go to Europe.

Now, apparently for you two, IF you ever embraced simple living, then FOR YOU TWO, it would be wrong to go to Europe because that is what "simple living" means TO YOU TWO, personally. That's fine.

The thing is, you all don't get to decide for others what it means to live simply, any more than you get to decide for others what it means to live as a Christian.

This seems fair to me.

Peace,

Dan

Craig said...

I tend to believe that because there is nothing remotely explicit that indicates any sort of universal command, rule, or suggestion, also because the early church clearly includes people of all economic levels.

Craig said...

Ultimately, here are my problems with your "I live a simple life mantra.

1. If you would just say it's a choice you decided to make instead of "It's a clear unambiguous universal teaching of Jesus.", then I wouldn't care.
2. I know people who live simple lives, I doubt they'd agree that you live a simple life.
3. The fluid, ambiguous, self serving non definition which allows you to justify virtually anything as being part of this "simple " life.
4. If you really wanted to pattern your simple life after Jesus wouldn't you be living at something closer to a 1st century standard of living?
5. The richest person in Jesus time probably lived a simpler life than you.
6. In essence, you don't actually live a "simple" life, you just live more simply than whoever you choose to compare yourself to.
7. Pursuit of the trappings of simplicity seems like it has just as much (if not more) potential to fall into idolatry as pursuing wealth.

Beyond that, as we've said we're not comparing you to our version of simple, but to the tiny little bits that sneak out about your definition of simple. I can speak with some authority on where I'm coming from, quite possibly more than you can.

You know what's really a good thing, neither on of us has any desire to decide anything about anyone, so you could stop acting as if we do.

If you'd just be specific and define what you mean, that would stop some of the confusion, but as long as all you have is ambiguous platitudes, it's hard to understand.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps this will help. Six posts where I speak specifically about what I mean by simplicity and why? What the Bible reasoning is for it (abundant from front to back, I'd say)....

http://throughthesewoods.blogspot.com/2008/01/why-simplicity.html?showComment=1201284480000

Since most of your complaints in this post are about what you two think I mean or ought to mean by simplicity rather than what I've actually said (for instance, I rather doubt that I have ever said I'm living simply, just that it is a goal, an ideal...), perhaps you should remind yourselves of what I have and haven't said about the topic.

NOTE: I never said it was wrong or lacking in simplicity to go on vacations or to go to Europe. Carry on.

~Dan

Dan Trabue said...

One problem you are having and your concerns about Simplicity, is you appear to be thinking about it as if it were one thing... One action.

"Look at him. He simpled today."

The thing is it's a goal and a way of life and an attitude. It's like if I had as a goal to be healthy and exercise and you complain, "but he went to work 5 days this week instead of exercising, when he got home he rested and then did chores instead of exercising and went the church four times all instead of exercising!

It is not mutually exclusive to do all of the above?

So again, should you all embrace simplicity then you can define what that means for you. I'll pass on letting you define what it means for me. This seems reasonable to me. If you don't like it, well you'll have to find a way to go on living with that disappointment.

Dan Trabue said...

As to your request to justify what I mean, I have offered a series of reflections about it for you to consider. The thing is, there's not 1 definition for what it means practically to live simply. This is why it's not reasonable for you say, "but you have a cell phone therefore you do not live simply."

Understand?

Dan Trabue said...

...to "just define" what I mean, that first sentence should have read...

Dan Trabue said...

Are you two aware that it is not unheard of for the Amish and Mennonites to fly on planes, even to Europe? It's pretty rare, I believe, but not unheard of. By your random and graceless measure, it appears you would say they don't believe in simplicity, is that right?

Craig said...

Dan

Are you aware that neither Marshall nor I have any problem with vacationins, planes, or Europe?

Thank you so much for finally offering an 8 year old series of blog posts to explain what you mean. I'm sure it will be very helpful and informative with many specifics.

I completely understand that by offering "live simply" as a meaning, you leave open your options to define "simply" to include anything you want it to. In the same way when you make it a goal or ideal, instead of a practice you allow yourself this loophole that allows you to justify anything because "It's just a goal.".

Again, because I know that accuracy is more important to you that attempting to score rhetorical points, I never said that "owning a cell phone" is the problem. I know plenty of people who actually do live a much more simple life than you who own cell phones out of necessity. If you're going to try to take shots, at least be accurate. I could point out more of your inaccuracies, but my point is made.

Dan Trabue said...

You spent three paragraphs addressing points I am not making and never touched on any points I am making. Care to try again?

Dan Trabue said...

To help, let me repeat myself. My points...

1. Simple living is not defined, does not have universal rules.

2. If you want to embrace a more simple lifestyle, you can define what that means for you. You don't get to tell others what it means for them (see 1.)

3. Simplicity is a Way, not a rule set. And it is, for many, part of a larger Way, with competing interests.

4. For many who embrace simplicity, it is beneath the umbrella of Grace, so trying to force universal rules on it is missing the point.

Those are some of my actual main points. Any response to what I'm actually saying?

Dan Trabue said...

To address your point, where you suggested that leaving it at "live simply" is a way to make it mean "anything you want..." That could be true if one is assuming base, selfish motives of the Other. But, if we're starting from a place of trust and grace, there is no reason to assume evil motives.

So, in my community, we're starting from a place of trust and grace... We know each other and are familiar with our general motives. We're starting with the recognition that in the US, we hyper-consume... It's how our system is set up. If everyone tried to use up as many resources as the average US citizen, we'd need 4, 5 or so earths-worth of material. That's living beyond our means. So the ultimate goal is to live within our collective means.

With me so far? Does that sound reasonable?

So, with simplicity as a goal, the point would be to reduce our environmental footprint. If we reduce our consumption from needing "4 earths-worth" to 3, well that is a step in the right direction. Not where we need to be, but in the right direction.

The point being, in recognizing there is no definition with spelled out rules on living simply and allowing Grace in letting others sort it out, that isn't some hedonistic dodge to avoid improving, it's just embracing Grace.

Craig said...

Thank you so much for offering three comments that simply re stated my contention that you don't define "simple living" because it allows you to make the term mean anything, everything, or nothing depending on the circumstances.

The problem you have to live with given this lack of definition is that when others use your words to reach conclusions about what you mean, then you should respond in grace understanding that the lack of anything definitive allows for much latitude and that you can't expect others to read your mind.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for offering three comments that simply re stated my contention that you don't define "simple living" because it allows you to make the term mean anything

? I did not do this. That is, I did not point out the REALITY that "simple living" has no static definition in real life "BECAUSE it allows me" to make it mean anything. I pointed out that REALITY because, well, it's reality. Do you understand what I'm saying?

Or, tell you what: YOU TELL ME, what is the definition of simplicity and where in that definition does it preclude flights to Europe? If you think there are rules associated with simple living, please provide the source for those rules.

You can't.

The problem you all are having is that YOU are bringing rules to what YOU THINK, in your own heads, what simplicity must mean, but that random rules and definition in your heads does not conform with reality. Do you understand this?

~Dan

Dan Trabue said...

The question I'm asking you is why the assumption of some negative motive? You tell me that you go to Haiti to do some helping work there, what I think is "How very cool! good for you! keep up the good work!" I don't think, "ya know, he probably does that because he wants to lord his wealth over pitiful Haitians and it gives some good feelings to be a do-gooder or other purely selfish motives..."

Why out of nowhere assume something negative? This is just weird, at least in my circles.

Marshall Art said...

First off, Dan's last comment of October 12, 2016 at 2:27 PM is just plain goofy and in no way can legitimately be inferred from any comments Craig has made. What's more, there's a VAST difference between going abroad for the purpose of service versus a European vacation, that to even attempt to compare the two is absurd beyond belief.

Secondly, as point of clarification that I'm certain I've already made, my post speaks more specifically than merely Dan's ambiguous descriptions of what constitutes "simple living". He's made references to "over-consumerism", or words to that effect. Regardless of who Dan defines "simple living", it is hard to pretend that a European vacation does not fall under the heading of "over-consumerism". There's simply nothing "simple" about such an expenditure, nor anything even "moderately 'consumeristic'".

Carry on.

Craig said...

I think your problem is that you are assuming negative meaning when there is none.

The simple fact is that you have been quite clear that there is no definition to the term and that it can mean whatever you want it too.

I think I mentioned this earlier, but the reality is that the only way to define or measure or assess the simplicity of ones lift is to compare it to others. Given that how does one avoid becoming judgemental.

It's interesting that we keep repeating the we are trying to asses things using the hints and clues you drop along the way, you keep insisting there is no definition, yet you keep demanding that we define this for you. That's just strange.

Dan Trabue said...

If you fellas ever want to talk about what I've actually said, let me know. I don't know how else to say it but you're not speaking of what I've said.

The summary:

You all think that it is not simple living to have a once in a life time trip to Europe. If you all want to embrace simple living and that is what you all think it entails, I encourage you not to go to Europe.

I do not define simple living the way you do.

You do not get to define simplicity for other people or enforce rules on others that fit what you think is in fitting with simplicity.

There is no rule in simple living that says You can't go to Europe.

I've never said that one can't embrace simplicity and go to Europe, so Marshall is incorrect when he thinks that it is contradictory to anything I have said. No pretending necessary.

Peace out, fellas.

Craig said...

It's amazing how you can summarize something and get virtually everything we've said wrong. It seems that more and more often you just default into turning what has actually been said into something else entirely in order to justify you leaving the conversation.

Dan Trabue said...

I made precisely one claim about what you all think in my summary above. One thing. That is...

You all think that it is not simple living to have a once in a life time trip to Europe.

I even made it easy to find what I'm claiming about what you all claim by using the introductory words "YOU ALL THINK."

Now, please tell me, did I make a mistake in summarizing what you think? Do you actually think it is completely possible to be one who embraces simplicity AND to make a trip across the ocean on a plane for vacation?

So, when Marshall asked, "How is this remarkable good fortune [going to Europe] not an example of "over-consumerism" against which Dan so often preaches?"

and said this...

" it is hard to pretend that a European vacation does not fall under the heading of "over-consumerism". There's simply nothing "simple" about such an expenditure"

and this...

"There is no way to make a European vacation a part of living simply."

Or where you said this...

" I don't see how flying to Europe is in any way "simple ".

...that you all did not mean to suggest that going to Europe IS an example of the sort of over-consumism I've warned against, or that it one can't make it part of living simply?

If so, please tell me and I will apologize. But if so, do you understand my confusion, since that is precisely what your words are saying?

Craig said...

Yes, you made a mistake. That is exactly what I pointed out in my comment. The words you expressly attributed to us do not summarize our opinions nor do they accurately reflect anything we've actually said.

What we've been saying is that it's hard to square what you have said about over consumerism and living simply with a European vacation.

We've both been clear that we have no problem with travel for pleasure, in fact I'm looking forward do doing more as my kids get older. As we've said, in the absence of specifics, we just have to try to glean things from what you say.

Anonymous said...

Okay, so YOU think IN YOUR OPINION that it is hard to square living simply and going to Europe. That is precisely what I said you said.

"You all think that it is not simple living to have a once in a life time trip to Europe."

"Hard to square"
"It is not simple living"
"No way to make European vacation a part of living simply..."

Those are all expressing the same idea.

I did not say that you have a problem with traveling for pleasure. Never said it.

I hope you can understand how weird this is. Sorta like the conversation with Glenn. It's appearing deeply irrational, as if you all are hearing me say things I haven't said.

~Dan

Craig said...

Once again, no. What has been said is that given what you've said about living simply and over consuming, it's hard to see how a European vacation fits with what tidbits you've left regarding what you feel to be a simple life.

It's simply about trying to reconcile your previous words with your actions.

You're right in that part of the problem is your lack of specificity in terms of what you believe constitutes and appropriately simple life. So, I'm glad you acknowledge how difficult it can be to gain specific understanding without specific details.

But that explains why you're showing so much Grace and trying so hard in such a winsome and Grace filled manner to patiently explain the nuances involved.

Dan Trabue said...

"Given what I have said..." Okay, here's your chance. Tell me what I have said. Clearly, I literally have never said anything against foreign trips nor do I think anything against a foreign trip, so what have I said that made you reach the mistaken conclusion that I would be against it?

Dan Trabue said...

And, by the way, at least Marshals comment had nothing to do with what I said. He just flatly said there's no way to square a European vacation with simple living. Period.

Which is literally what I said you all said.

Craig said...

Except "we all" didn't say it.

At the risk of repeating myself, when all we have to go on are hints and vague comments, it's difficult to pin you down on many topics, this one included. I've been clear about the issues I have with both the specifics of the European vacation as well as the general concept. I think the fact that you admitted that you had to think about whether or not this trip was consistent with your ideals, says that if you (who presumably know what you mean) had to think about it, then it'd be logical that those of us who aren't quite sure might have questions. Ultimately it's not about the trip, it's about your general lack of consistency on various topics.

For example, you take me to task for asking reasonable questions about why people in certain communities vote certain ways (the race thing is your inference, because when I look around I don't see just one race), you start with the racism talk. Yet when Hillary and her campaign staff talk about their belief that Blacks and others are incapable of success (words to that effect), you are silent except for your continued support of that sort of racist attitude.

I've pointed out numerous times the fact that you have one standard for you and your tribe and another for your enemies. I've pointed out the numerous times you've prayed about Grace in a most graceless manner.

So travel, don't travel, I don't care. I just am hoping for honesty and consistency between what you say and what you do.

That seem like a reasonable expectation.

Craig said...

Seems

Anonymous said...

At the risk of repeating myself, when all we have to go on are hints and vague comments, it's difficult to pin you down on many topics, this one included.

SO, you have NO quotes of mine that offer any reason to think that I would be opposed to a European vacation for reasons of simplicity, just you "think" I have "hints" (but nothing you can cite) that I might be opposed to it. You apparently came into this conversation with this mindset, so anything I said here didn't contribute to this erroneous preconception you had.

But regardless, now that I have clarified for you that I do not think that a European trip is counter to simplicity, do you understand that this is not what I'm saying?

I rather doubt that you do.

~Dan

Marshall Art said...

We have no quotes that would lead us to reasonably believe that a European vacation is not inconsistent with your preaching about over-consumption. That is to say, that your words thus far only provokes an understanding that what constitutes over-consuming is based upon your own choices regarding spending. Even more precisely, if you want it, it is not over-consuming. Personally, I've seen no other basis for determining over-consumption...none for you, though it is OK to look at the spending choices of others and proclaim over-consumption.

Anonymous said...

The summary (edited for clarity):

1. You all (or at least Marshall) think that it is not simple living to have a once in a life time trip to Europe. If you all want to embrace simple living and that is what you all think it entails, I encourage you not to go to Europe.

2. I do not define simple living the way you do.

3. You do not get to define simplicity for other people or enforce rules on others that fit what you think is in fitting with simplicity.

4. There is no rule in simple living that says You can't go to Europe.

5. I've never said that one can't embrace simplicity and go to Europe, so Marshall is incorrect when he thinks that it is contradictory to anything I have said. No pretending necessary.

6. I've never said that I don't "believe we're to have more than we need," so Marshall's theory is built upon false/mistaken assumptions.

7. Having, as a goal, to live simply is

a. not to say that one has achieved a state of perfection in the realm of simplicity

b. comparable to saying, "I want to exercise more and be healthier..." which does not assume that ALL one does is exercise, just that it is a goal to keep in mind and strive for.

c. possible to measure in many ways, if one wishes to measure it. For instance, one could say, "to that end, I hope to consume less than the average American..." would be one goal and, achieving that, one would be moving in an improved direction. Or, one could say, "therefore, I won't own ANYTHING," and live under a rock in the desert and die an early death, and that would be another approach, perhaps less healthy.

I will let you know that, for my part, I wish to consume less than the average US citizen (and I believe I do), but that is a baby step in the right direction, as I see simplicity. Keeping in mind that there is no one set of rules that authoritatively dictates what "living simply" MUST look like.

I hope to move towards a more sustainable place eventually than merely consuming less than the average person in one of the most consumptive societies in the world, but I am not there, yet. I strive for general downward mobility at this point and succeed, at least modestly, if imperfectly.

Peace.

~Dan

Craig said...

I'm going to start this by pointing out that when I think of people living a simple life, I think of people who actually do live a simple life. People who live life without things like electricity running water and indoor plumbing. So when I hear some relatively rich white liberal talking about how amazing it is that he lives a simple life, I look at it much the same way I look at Al Gore flying alone on a private jet to speak about the evils of global warming and pollution. Going from his 20,000 square-foot mansion to the airport in a large SUV before he gets on the private plane. Ultimately, the reason why we have no quotes is because for whatever reason you've chosen not to define what you mean by a simple life. If you were able to do that, and we were intentionally ignoring your specific definitions, you would have a point. Unfortunately all you've managed to do is to assert that simple living means what do you want it to mean when you want it to mean it. Given that context, of course you would define a trip to Europe as falling within your elastic parameters for a simple life. You just went to Europe why wouldn't you define it as fitting into your simple lifestyle I suspect that, much like Al Gore, have you flown there on a G5 and reading around Europe in private armored limousines, you would still be able to somehow expand the definition of simple living to include your trip. So please trust me when I tell you this I completely understand that your definition of simple life is elastic enough to accommodate whatever it is you choose to do without problems.

Marshall Art said...

You've succeeded in maintaining the very ambiguity that confounds understanding on the part of others. Nothing has been clarified in your last comment other than the ongoing assertion that we misunderstand.

I would note, however, that despite my repeated clarification that I have been focusing specifically on the notion of what constitutes over-consumption, nothing you have said brings about any greater understanding with regards when one is over-consuming and when one isn't.

You attempt to use as "living healthy" analogy, but as usual, fail to do so effectively. So we'll go with a "simple living"/"healthy living" parallel nonetheless. If I say I wish to "live healthy", it would not be unreasonable to balk at my indulgence in Cheetos. In the same way, to travel overseas for pleasure, even if only once, cannot be consistent with either living simply, since overseas travel cannot in any way be regarded as "simple" given the cost and such of overseas travel...and certainly NOT consistent with seeking to live a life without unnecessary consumerism. It would at least be honest to admit it is not consistent, but hey, it's freakin' Europe and I'd love to indulge in the experience, rather than to pretend that one can do so and not be indulging in over-consuming.

The problem, as Craig as alluded, is that for us, there is no contradiction in living a "Christian" life with enjoying as much as life can provide, including the frivolous, so long as in doing so one does not engage in non-Christian behavior. Craig and I can travel anywhere at any time as often as we like without conflicting with Biblical principles. We can indulge in fine dining, five-star hotels, jamming threads and Lamborghinis...doing so openly...and there is no Biblical dictate or admonition to desist so long as we don't lose sight of what is really important in life. OR, we can live quietly in a little cottage on a small plot of land just working and existing...so long as we don't lose sight of what is really important in life. Neither existence has any importance at all, as neither means anything in the grand scheme of things. There's no "clear teaching" either way except that we don't lose sight of what's important in life.

Anonymous said...

So when I hear some relatively rich white liberal talking about how amazing it is that he lives a simple life

I have never "talked about" how "amazing it is that I live a simple life." Hasn't happened. Understand the mistake you've made?

I'm going to start this by pointing out that when I think of people living a simple life, I think of people who actually do live a simple life.

This is your assessment of what it means to "live a simple life." And you are welcome to your assessment. But, it is not a universal rule. It's something you've randomly made up, based on nothing but an ideal you have in your head. Just to be clear.

Marshall...

If I say I wish to "live healthy", it would not be unreasonable to balk at my indulgence in Cheetos.

No. No, Marshall, it wouldn't. IF one said, "I want to live healthy" and then they ONLY ate Cheetos and did no exercise, to boot, THEN you could balk. One bag of Cheetos does not nullify an otherwise reasonable attempt to want to live healthy. Similarly, one extravagant trip (relatively extravagant, keeping in mind) does not nullify an otherwise reasonable attempt to live simply. You see, the analogy works perfectly.

As with Craig's imagined "THIS is what simple living looks like" opinion, created from nothing more than an image in his mind, your arbitrary rule that no international travel is possible with a goal of simple living.

Are you all not seeing the problem in your rigid fundamentalist approach to Simplicity? I can't tell you how strange this is.

Craig...

Ultimately, the reason why we have no quotes is because for whatever reason you've chosen not to define what you mean by a simple life.

Why? WHY would you say "for whatever reason..."? I've explicitly told you the reason and it is the only real reason one needs: THERE IS NO ONE AUTHORITATIVE DEFINITION OF WHAT IT MEANS TO LIVE A SIMPLE LIFE. It doesn't exist. What do you want me to make up something that doesn't exist?

And, as a point of fact, in our conversations over the years, I HAVE given you a general hint as to my motives in wanting to live simply and what it means to me in my particular context (which is NOT the same as a definition). It means that I'm striving to consume less than the average US citizen.

So, given that there is no authoritative definition and given that I have explained what it means to me (which is not the same as an authoritative definition, which doesn't exist in the real world) AND given that I've never said "Look at me! I've achieved a simple lifestyle! Observe and learn!!" and it is a general goal, not something I have achieved, why would you say "for whatever reason..."? The question has been answered directly, clearly, without stutters. Is it the case that you're just not understanding my words?

Marshall...

there is no contradiction in living a "Christian" life with enjoying as much as life can provide, including the frivolous, so long as in doing so one does not engage in non-Christian behavior.

SIMILARLY, there is no contradiction in having as a goal to live more simply with enjoying a trip to Europe. If a contradiction exists, there must be some source with which to be contradicted. What is that source? Your random and whimsical decision that simply "can't" possibly include a trip overseas? No. There is no contradiction. There is no dictate that says "Here's what it means to live simply or to have simplicity as a goal..." No contradiction.

I can't tell you how deeply weird this whole conversation has been, starting with Glenn's disagreement with the dictionary, to this who whimsical objection you all have to me not living up to your standards of simplicity, IF you thought simplicity was important, which you apparently don't.

Peace,

~Dan

Craig said...

Dan, you are somewhat correct. I have developed some ideas about what simple living in tales by spending time around people who truly live simple lives. Now you may consider the situation of people who truly lives simple to not be important In terms of defining what simple life means. I disagree. I would argue that any efforts at simplicity should be measured against those who truly live in simplicity not against those in the richest 5% in the world as you are.

Craig said...

You still don't seem to understand the concept. That if you will not provide an exclamation that includes details and specifics then the only thing we have to assess is what you said, what you've alluded to, and what you've hinted at. Given the fact that none of those things Have actually provided much insight about what you think, and you have been quite upfront about the elasticity of your definition, I don't see where you have room to complain that we don't understand what you mean. We don't understand it because you haven't communicated it.

Dan Trabue said...

If the post begin with a respectful question, this conversation may have gone differently. consider...

Q: Dan, as one who says he lives simply, do you find it in keeping with simple living to take a trip to Europe?

A:

1. Let me clarify, I never said I live simply. Rather, I have it as one of my goals to live more simply. Understand the difference?

2. No, I do not find any contradiction in desiring to live more simply and flying overseas.

Q: Well, to me personally it seems rather extravagant to take a trip overseas... At least if one's goal is to live simply. What do you mean by living simply?

A: It can mean many things. There are no set rules for what it means to live simply. Living simply is probably generally a relative term. Living simply as compared to what? What are your goals?

Personally, I am usually speaking of consuming less than the average US citizen. At least as a starting point. As you perhaps remember, this is because this is a finite world with finite resources. If I consume too much it is possible to the deplete resources leaving not enough for others. Depending on how one measures, if everyone consumed as much as the average US citizen consumes, it will take 4 or 5 or 10 planets to have enough resources for everybody at that rate. That is not a sustainable rate. Therefore at a minimum, I want to consume less than the average US citizen.

This, of course is not the only way to think about Simplicity. It is one way.

Q: But, don't we need a definition to know what Simplicity means? Don't we need rules so you can know if we are living simply or not?

A: Whether or not we "need" them is irrelevant. The fact is irrelevant. The fast is there simply are no rules on what it means to live simply. How can there be? What would be the authoritative source to give those rules?

It's very much like the desire to live more healthy... having that as one of your goals. It just means living in a more healthy way... perhaps compared to how you are living or compared to other nations or other people. But you gotta keep in mind it is also not the one and only.

Etc. That conversation would have been reasonable and perhaps helpful. Starting out with an attack based on false assumptions and whimsical rules, less so.

Dan Trabue said...

Sorry for typos... trying to work from my phone.

Craig said...

1. So
2. To be clear you don't define it at all
3. Apparently you just made up the hunch that anyone wants to or is trying to do this.
4. Never said there was
5/6

Craig said...

5/6. Ok
7. Which fits with several things I've said. That this is all about measuring your self compared to others, which I believe is not biblically encouraged and being able to stretch the definition far enough to allow pretty much anything as long as it's less than someone else.

Craig said...

The one thing you have said repeatedly is that living simply is an obvious, clear teaching of Jesus, do how does Jesus define it, and where does he make simple living a blanket lifestyle for all?

Dan Trabue said...

I'm not at all sure what your numbered points are addressing, but let me address this one that I do understand...

2. To be clear you don't define it at all

To be clear: I am saying that there ARE NO DEFINITIVE RULES on what it means to live simply. THAT is what I'm saying, as a simple point of fact.

Do you understand that this is what I'm saying?

Do you understand that this is reality?

Craig said...

Nicely done on the fake Q&A, it's always so much more effective when you take care of both sides of the conversation.

If this is an obvious clear teaching of Jesus, then why are you not striving to live as simply as He did? Why such low and flexible standards?

Craig said...

My numbered points correspond to yours.

2. I understand that no matter how you choose the phrase it, the fact remains that you don't/won't/can't /choose not to define this particular term. Except in the sense that you compare yourself to some other people.

Dan Trabue said...

If this is an obvious clear teaching of Jesus, then why are you not striving to live as simply as He did? Why such low and flexible standards?

Because Jesus taught us a way of Grace, not Rules.

2. I understand that no matter how you choose the phrase it, the fact remains that you don't/won't/can't /choose not to define this particular term. Except in the sense that you compare yourself to some other people.

Would you answer the questions asked of you, please?

Dan Trabue said...

hat this is all about measuring your self compared to others

Just to help you understand: The point is NOT to measure myself to others. The point is to live sustainably. One way of gauging that, if one is on a hopefully downwardly mobile trajectory, is by consumption. The point is living within our means.

Do you think that living within our means is a good thing to do? If so, then perhaps you can understand the reason for measuring. The difficulty in measuring sustainability is scale. If I knew, definitively, "A person can consume 3 boxes of cereal, two chickens, 2 gallons of milk, ten apples and oranges, etc and still leave enough for everyone else to have something..." then I could measure by specifically the things I've consumed. In a world-sized measuring bowl, that's difficult to do, so in the meantime, if one knows US citizens consume more than 5 earths' worth of materials, then knowing that one is consuming less than an average citizen is helpful.

One need not find something sinister in everything a fella says.

There are precisely zero teachings in the Bible that criticize this attempt to measure one's consumption, contrary to what you may opine.

Marshall Art said...

"IF one said, "I want to live healthy" and then they ONLY ate Cheetos and did no exercise, to boot, THEN you could balk. One bag of Cheetos does not nullify an otherwise reasonable attempt to want to live healthy. Similarly, one extravagant trip (relatively extravagant, keeping in mind) does not nullify an otherwise reasonable attempt to live simply. You see, the analogy works perfectly."

Aside from the fact that you've just changed the goal posts from "simple living" to a "reasonable attempt to live simply", this equivocation on confirms our suspicion that your ideology is purposely ambiguous so as to provide liberty to shape it as your desires provoke. Again, it would be far more honest to do no more than say, "While I enjoy putting on the Ritz now and again, I strive to live simply most of the time." Then you'd be relieved of the necessity of tap dancing around your contradictory behavior. Because my correction of your bad analogy is spot on...when you preach "simple living" or preach against "over-consumerism", a European vacation is indeed not only an extravagance ("relatively" extravagance="kinda" pregnant), but as unnecessary as a Maserati. Thus, to balk at hearing of such indulgence is reasonable.

"Are you all not seeing the problem in your rigid fundamentalist approach to Simplicity? I can't tell you how strange this is."

First, we don't have a "rigid fundamentalist approach" simply because, as if pulling teeth, we're trying to get you to resolve the blatant inconsistency between your words and your actions. You've thus far failed to do so. But Gregory Hines had nothing on you.

Secondly, you can't tell us how strange this is because it isn't strange to wonder about the inconsistency.

"SIMILARLY, there is no contradiction in having as a goal to live more simply with enjoying a trip to Europe. If a contradiction exists, there must be some source with which to be contradicted. What is that source? Your random and whimsical decision that simply "can't" possibly include a trip overseas? No. There is no contradiction. There is no dictate that says "Here's what it means to live simply or to have simplicity as a goal..." No contradiction"

Oh, but there is. There's nothing whatsoever "simple" about a European vacation. There just isn't, UNLESS you're comparing it to first class accommodations from start to finish, with the finish being later than what yours was. But compared to the Dan Trabue pictured in the woods, walking to work, little store front church Dan Trabue, then jetting off to Europe? "Over-consuming" means whatever you need it to mean when the mood strikes you. A one-time trip? How about a one-time purchase of a yacht? Does that remain within the "less consumptive" ideology?

Thus, "this who whimsical objection you all have to me not living up to your standards of simplicity"...doesn't exist. It's not a matter of you not living up to OUR standards, but merely that you haven't laid out YOUR standards. What remains is the only conclusion your few words on the details can compel, which is what Craig continues to affirm.

Marshall Art said...

So after 100+ comments, it all could have been resolved by saying:

Yeah, I know I talk about living simply, but I just couldn't resist the offer of a free trip to Europe on my kids' dime. Sue me.

But trying to pretend it's consistent with your preaching? Don't insult me.

Craig said...

I do understand what you've been saying. No matter how you spin it, it boils down to you don't have a definition and can make anything fit as long as you compare to someone who is more extravagant.

Had you simply said, it's about living within your means, instead of this living simply/more simply mumbo jumbo, that would have made so much more sense.

Dan Trabue said...

So no,you're not going to answer the question?

OK.

Craig said...

I already did answer the question. I still understand that you are saying that there is no definition, or that you won't provide one. I understand that you want to spin things to suggest something else, but...

Dan Trabue said...

That is not an answer to the question I asked. No spin. I'm trying to understand if you recognize reality or not.

I'm relatively sure you do recognize reality (in spite of your non-answers), so the question is why would you be so deliberately obtuse and evasive?

I don't know the answer to that one.

Let me know if you want to dialog and, you know, admit to reality.

Dan Trabue said...

trying to pretend it's consistent with your preaching?

By all means. Cite EVEN ONE place where I "preached" anything like "it's not okay to go to Europe if you're trying to embrace simplicity."

You all appear to be so used to a rule-based life that you can't imagine anyone else embracing grace, even when they've never said anything about rules, you're suggesting we "must have" implied it.

As a point of fact: I have never said anything that suggests my ideals/opinions about simplicity are inconsistent with going to Europe. You absolutely can not cite a single word where I suggested this. How about just admitting you've made a mistake?

Craig said...

Dan
I've answered your question twice, just because you don't like the answer doesn't mean it's not an answer.

I understand what you are saying and I understand that you have some need to phrase it in a way that you feel helps your case.

It's amusing that in a thread that hinges of your lack of specificity and evasiveness, this is the only thing you have left is complaining that I'm not answering the way you want.

Dan Trabue said...

I am being exactly precise. There are literally zero authoritative rules spelling out what simple living means. Can you stop being evasive and literally and specifically acknowledge reality?

Craig said...

No evasion on my part at all. I acknowledge the reality that when it comes to simple living you have absolutely no definition of what that means in an objective sense. Given that you are free to justify pretty much anything as simple living. It's what I've been saying for quite some time. Like so much in your worldview it's subjective.

Dan Trabue said...

I'm done. Feel free to read what I've actually said on the topic.

Dan Trabue said...

Or here, let me try it this way... Do you think there are definitive authoritative rules 4 simple living? If so, please list them. If not, would you then agree with me and acknowledge it's not just me thinking there is no definitive list or definition that spells out any such rules.

Craig said...

Shocking, you've played exactly to type. You've found some little thing that you can gin up some feigned outrage over and justify you leaving the conversation.

"If you want to know personally for me, did I even give a second thought to travel to Europe? Yes, I did."

Just to clarify, Dan had "second thoughts" about whether or not this European Vacation was appropriate for one who claims to live a "simple life", yet is surprised when others raise questions.

"Do you understand that this is what I'm saying?"

Once again, yes I understand the English words you are using.

"Do you understand that this is reality?"

This more challenging. Do you mean that your version of events is objective reality? Or are you saying that it is your subjective reality?

I understand that when asked for specifics about what constitutes "simple living" for you, you have been vague and nonspecific. When asked what guidelines one finds in the explicit "clear teachings" of Jesus on the subject, you've offered nothing. So, one could accurately say that the "reality" is that you have not offered any specifics regarding what constitutes a simple life. You have offered some ways to compare your life to others, making subjective judgements of how you perceive the comparison. You've offered this new "living within your means" term as an alternative. But no specifics.

Since you enjoy made up fake conversations so much, let's try this one.

Dan, "I really strive to live within my means in all aspects of life."
Us, "OK, that makes sense."

But no, we have to get "Jesus teaches simple living....".

The sad part is that you don't see the difference.

Dan Trabue said...

No, the sad part, Craig, is that you have difficulty reading and understanding basic English words. Understand the Bible? Understand Dan? Heck, y'all can't even understand a dictionary.

Good luck.

If you ever want to admit you aren't understanding words correctly and want to talk about my actual points, let me know.

Craig said...

Unfortunately, I have no trouble understanding either you or the dictionary. The Bible is sometimes a little more challenging, but I get by there also.

It's interesting how predictable you are, first it's "Why don't you answer questions?", then it's you repeating one thing over and over, then finally it's "If you can't understand...?". It's old, it's predictable, and it may be the most consistent thing you do.

"Do you think there are definitive authoritative rules 4 simple living?"

I don't know, that's why I've been trying to get you to elaborate. I don't see an explicit universally applicable teaching of Jesus. I don't see anything in the Gospels or in the early Church that indicates that this is some sort of expectation. So, by all means, give me some help here.

I would say that if the goal is "simple" living then it seems that pretty much no one in the United States could claim "simple". If you mean "simpler" living then that's just choosing who you compare yourself to. If you mean "living within your means", then no one would argue against that. But, I just don't know which one you mean.

"If so, please list them. If not, would you then agree with me and acknowledge it's not just me thinking there is no definitive list or definition that spells out any such rules."

I've acknowledged that I know of no such rules, that's why I've been trying to understand what you mean when you use the terms. Given what you've said so far, this lack of rules can mean anything, everything, or nothing. But, I'm just trying to understand.

Anonymous said...

I don't know, that's why I've been trying to get you to elaborate.

No, Craig, there are not. That is my precise and exactly correct answer. And yet, so far, you've kept responding with snarky skeptical answers, as if it were only my self-serving answer and not a simple observable reality.

NOW do you know? Or are you harboring a suspicion that they exist somewhere, somehow?

~Dan

Craig said...

That's exactly my point you have no rules, hints, guidelines, or anything that would be used to determine if your doing it right.

The actual fact of the matter is that in the absence of any specific guidelines or parameters you do decide for yourself what constitutes an adequate level of simplicity. So despite your mis characterization of the tone of my comments, the fact is that you define and redefine what simplicity means to suit the circumstances.

That's what I've thought, thanks.

Dan Trabue said...

But, whatever you may, in complete ignorance, "think," you are simply mistaken in the real world.

Craig said...

So, in the absence of rules, suggestions, or guidelines, if you aren't the person who determines the adequacy of your efforts, then who does?

Thank you for such Grace filled responses, it's clear that you have chosen to embrace fully the way of grace.

Marshall Art said...

Been away...

I don't see how Craig is missing anything, Dan. It is clear that you are insisting you have not any hard, fast rules with regard to "simple living". That would absolutely indicate subjectivity in determining whether or not one is living simply enough. Donald Trump can call his life "living simply" by that standard.

It is the same problem with your "embrace grace" concept, which also is ambiguous. To reject "rules" means anything goes. One cannot insist on measuring good vs. evil without some semblance of hard and fast notions of what constitutes either.

What's more, we're still nowhere closer to understanding how a European vacation can NOT be regarded as "over-consuming", as there is no reason one needs to vacation in Europe when far less extravagant options are available.

You've put yourself in this position by insisting that your self-satisfying talk of living simply and humbly, "embracing grace" is a standard that has any specific basis in Scripture...that measuring one's own "Christianity" is based upon one's economic existence. There is no such teaching in Scripture.

Craig said...

Good point, while I agree with Dan that there is value in experiencing other cultures and learning about ones roots, this can certainly be accomplished by means other than travel if one chooses to do so.

Dan Trabue said...

What Craig says:

"The actual fact of the matter is that in the absence of any specific guidelines or parameters you do decide for yourself what constitutes an adequate level of simplicity."

What reality is:

This is not something unique to me. The reality is that there ARE NO "rules for simple living" that definitively spell out what is and isn't simple living.

The implication Craig is making is that I'm saying there are no rules so I can make up whatever rules I want, as if my goal is to claim simplicity but shirk any simple living.

If that is what you and Craig are trying to say, that is simply false.

The point is: There are no definitive rules for simple living.

Do you recognize that this is reality, Marshall?

If you don't recognize reality - even after it is pointed out repeatedly, there's no point in having a conversation, because you would be delusional.

And where you say: "To reject rules means anything goes," no. To acknowledge that there ARE no definitive rules for simplicity is to recognize reality. It absolutely does not mean "anything goes."

What it means, for people who wish to live more simply is that they have to figure out what that means for themselves. But the point is NOT to do so to avoid simplicity, it's just a recognition of reality.

Do you recognize that reality, Marshall?

Marshall...

What's more, we're still nowhere closer to understanding how a European vacation can NOT be regarded as "over-consuming",

As I have pointed out in multiple places, including in my links to what I have actually said on simplicity is I have simplicity as one life goal. One goal among others. As we noted in our analogy on exercise/healthy living, a ONE TIME (or even a once a week) gorging of cheetoh's does not mean that one is not living in a healthy manner.

Likewise, a one time "extravagance" does not mean that one does not have simplicity as a goal.

Since the reality is that there are no rules for simple living, I've decided as at least a starting place, to consume less than the average US citizen. Which isn't to say I don't go out and have a $15 meal on occasion OR that I don't make a one time trip to Europe. It means simply that, all in all, I'm striving to consume less than the average US citizen. And not only that, but I am consuming less than average. To that end, I've specifically spelled out at least one of my goals and demonstrated that I have met that goal.

Now, I have future goals to simplify further. I'm not there, yet. But I have never said I was. I have never said I would not take a trip to Europe or that doing so is not within the goal of living simply. Thus, I've not been hypocritical or whatever it is you're trying to imply.

Do you understand that reality?

Marshall Art said...

The reality, Dan, is that the trip does not constitute a one-time extravagance until you've died and no other such extravagance has been enjoyed. Thus, the reality is that you can only honestly describe it as a "this time" extravagance, as in, "well, 'this time' we'll go to Europe". Even if you swear that you will never again partake of such an extravagance, that can only be proven by you never having actually partaken again before your death.

Reality also demonstrates that having a goal is meaningless if one doesn't stick to that which results in the goal having been achieved. It is not "my goal" to remain faithful to my wife. It is what I do because I have chosen to take that vow. Until one commits to a goal, it is nothing more than talk. It is just a desire...a whim, really.

The reality is that rules dictate whether or not one is truly committed to anything. One doesn't show commitment, devotion or conviction with a willy-nilly "that's my goal" attitude. Avoidance in describing what constitutes over-consumption means one is merely dealing in cheap rhetoric designed to impress. And I'm not impressed.

The reality is that Craig nails it when he says that you've left yourself with incredible liberty to alter what "living simply" or "over-consumption" means based on your situation at any given moment of your life. Very convenient, to be sure.

Craig said...

The reality that is that I've never said what you've inferred. I've never implied it. I've pointed out the fact that since you are adamant about there being no rules, then the reality is that you make up your case wn. That those rules are subjective and flexible goes without saying. Your problem is that neither of us has asked for any official rules, we've asked for your personal definition and you won't provide one, you just repeat yourself. So when you can't provide a personal definition, and display as much elasticity as you do, we're left with exactly what you've given which is nothing specific.

Craig said...

It's interesting that Dan chose to define his European vacation as an "extravagance", it seems more clear than it did before that he is acknowledging that this trip doesn't appear to fit with the lifestyle he proclaims, yet still wants to justify it as s "one time" event.

It's also telling that the term has changed from "living a simple lifestyle", to having a "goal" to live a "simpler lifestyle". Just one more instance where specificity earlier would have precluded confusion now.

Dan Trabue said...

So, no, neither of you understand or accept reality. Got it.

Craig said...

Now I'm confused, you demand that we accept the fact that there are no rules, we accept that fact, now you claim that acceding to your demand is not reality.

I'd say that accusing people of things that they haven't done is kind of the definition of not accepting reality.

Anonymous said...

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that you're just confused about what I'm saying, not that you're delusional, Craig. Let me repeat what you've said and what I've said.

But first, let me back up. Here's the literal definition of simplicity, from MW:

1: the state of being simple, uncomplicated, or uncompounded

And of course, we are familiar with these type definitions. Of course, one can strve to lie an uncomplicated life, but that isn't spelled out in such a way that precludes air travel overseas.

When one is speaking of simplicity in terms of "simple living," there is no one single defintion. There are no set of rules. As a point of fact in the real world.

Please answer: Do you understand this reality?

If you look up "simple living" in wikipedia, this is what you find:

Simple living encompasses a number of different voluntary practices to simplify one's lifestyle. These MAY include reducing one's possessions, generally referred to as Minimalism, or increasing self-sufficiency, for example. Simple living MAY be characterized by individuals being satisfied with what they have rather than want. Although asceticism generally promotes living simply and refraining from luxury and indulgence, not all proponents of simple living are ascetics.

When I am speaking of simple living, this is closer to what I'm speaking of. I should think this is fairly clear to most educated adults living in our culture, but there's that explanation, if that helps.

Please answer: Do you understand this explanation is what people today are generally speaking of when talking about simple living?

Do you understand that there is no rule against overseas travel in this explanation?

Do you understand that I never said that one should not travel overseas?


So, when you say things like this (in response to my question)...

"Do you think there are definitive authoritative rules for simple living?"

I don't know, that's why I've been trying to get you to elaborate.


You say, "YOU DON'T KNOW...." if there are definitive rules. I've pointed out to you now, multiple times, what should be fairly obvious: THERE ARE NO DEFINITIVE RULES.

Now, please answer: Do you understand this reality? That there are no definitive rules?

Further, do you recognize this is not something I say to avoid living simply, but simply because it is reality?


And when you say...

So when I hear some relatively rich white liberal talking about how amazing it is that he lives a simple life

Please answer the question: Do you understand that I have never "talked about" how "amazing it is that I live a simple life."?

Marshall said...

[Dan] doesn't believe we're to have more than we need...
by his own beliefs, shouldn't he be ashamed?


I never said we should not have more than we need.

Do you understand this reality?

By my own beliefs, I never said one should not travel overseas if one is hoping to live simply (or more simply, if you prefer).

Do you understand this reality?

Please answer my questions directly and clearly. I truly don't know if you all are understanding words correctly, since you keep reaching odd conclusions about what I have never said and appear to be wanting to define rules for something which has no rules.

~Dan

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall, you actually offered an analogy that might be helpful. You cited a marriage where one was assumed to be faithful and not cheat on their wives. It's not a goal you said it is implied, it is expected. And you are correct. Marriages generally have that assumption. Being faithful is not a goal, but an expectation. A rule, one might say.

The difference is, simple living is not like that. There are no definitive rules akin to the fidelity rule in marriage.

Now, this may be helpful if it's always good to see that you appear to have in your head this way or associated with a living and it's just not a real big test in the real world. Hope you have a very happy that at least explain why you're thinking this. The difference is and what you need to accept it is that is not a universal rule.

So the more apt analogy would be in a marriage where one assumes the wife is not going to work for instance. That is not a universal expectation or rule associated with marriage. That's something maybe somebody might have that in their head and be confused then when a wife starts working. But that confusion is on them not the rest of the world.

Is that where your confusion lies? Do you hold that unfounded assumption and, if so, do you now recognize that it's unfounded?

Dan Trabue said...

Sorry for the nutty paragraphs. That happens sometimes when working from my phone...

Marshall Art said...

There's no confusion on our part that is not the result of your own ambiguity. You can cite outside definitions all you like, but none of that clears up our lack of understanding with regard to YOUR definition, which you have still avoided providing.

As to my marriage analogy, it is clear you don't like it because it imposes reality upon you. I never said that "simple living" involves a distinct vow. My purpose was to relate that words mean things. Marriage requires fidelity because that's what marriage is...the commitment between two people.

But simple living has its own requirements or it is not simple living. It can't be simple if it includes that which is complicated or extravagant. One doesn't "seek" to be faithful and still claim to be so. One either is or isn't faithful. In the same way, one either lives simply or one doesn't.

Again, you could have spared yourself the keystrokes by simply saying that you strive to live simply but aren't opposed to the occasional indulgence now and then. That would be more honest, particularly with your European vacation in mind. But you insist on having your cake and eating it, too. The result is no definition at all for simple living, but only the claim that you favor it...whatever the hell it might be. I suspect you fear you'll not be able to claim your self-satisfying position of piety if you allow yourself an extravagance, as if there actually IS some rule in Christianity against doing so.

That's the trouble with making Christianity something it isn't. You commit yourself to your own foolish constructs or risk being exposed as a fraud.

Craig said...

As I've said many times before I understand that there are no rules for simple living, that in point of fact, simple living means different things to different people. That you define simple living for yourself. This is not what I'm confused about.

Craig said...

Again, I understand that the Wiki definition comes closer to your definition, but is not actually your definition. Unfortunately what I think I'm looking for, and have asked for, is your definition. Not wiki.


Now, had you read my earlier comments you would know the answers to your questions about overseas travel.

But, I do understand that being able to define your own rules allows you to define overseas travel as "simple" if you choose to. I also understand that your absence of detail about specifically what simple living means to you, means that you have not previously specifically addressed overseas travel.

Craig said...

I do understand that there are no definitive rules, but that simply means that you define the rules for yourself, which is what I've been hoping for some clarity on.

Again, i still understand the reality that in the absence of definitive rules, that you set your own definitions and standards. It's those that I'm hoping to gain insight into. So when you keep repeating what I've acknowledged instead of giving insight into what I'm asking it's confusing. I've never thought you used the lack of rules/lack of clarity to avoid living simply. I've simply pointed out the reality that in the absence of anything definitive, that it's possible to define anything as living simply.

I understand that you have spoken about your commitment to this lifestyle in terms that indicate it's importance to you as well as your pride in maintaining this lifestyle. So, while you may not agree with my terminology, I think I captured your attitude.


I I understand the reality that you dispute that you don't believe that Marshall has adequately summarized what you've said about over consumption and living beyond your means. In the absence of specifics I can't really asses how accurate his characterization is.

I've repeatedly addressed the fact that you haven't specifically addressed overseas travel prior to this thread, do I really need to do so again?

Questions answered. Will you now answer mine?




Anonymous said...

Dan:

"Do you think there are definitive authoritative rules for simple living?"

Craig (earlier):

"I don't know, that's why I've been trying to get you to elaborate."

Craig (now):

I do understand that there are no definitive rules

Okay, so we now AGREE there are no definitive rules. Good. (Perhaps you can understand my confusion when you said you didn't know if there were rules earlier). You went on to say...

but that simply means that you define the rules for yourself, which is what I've been hoping for some clarity on.

Again, i still understand the reality that in the absence of definitive rules,
that you set your own definitions and standards.


I. If there are no definitive rules, there are no definitive rules. Period.

So, when you say "you define the rules for yourself..." you don't mean that DAN defines the rules for himself, but that anyone who is trying to live simply defines the rules for themselves.

Is that what you're saying?

I ask, because it sounds rather pointed towards me.

II. For myself, I am not setting rules (as there are no rules). I don't think "rules" is the right word, since there literally are no rules. But as one person among many who values living simply, do I have an idea of what that means for me? Yes.

It means, among other things, that I'm striving to consume less than the average US citizen. As I've said repeatedly. That IS a general goal and thus, an answer that I've provided repeatedly.

Do you understand that I've addressed this question repeatedly, giving you at least that one general goal?

III. In case you're confused as to my meaning: The difference between a rule and a general goal is that rules imply failing to heed or reach the rule is a moral failure. If I have a goal and don't reach it, it's not a moral failure, necessarily, just not reaching a point I'd like to reach.

The reason I point it out is because at least Marshall (and maybe you) are acting like failing to "live simply" by some standard that Marshall (and maybe you) are setting is a hypocrisy, a moral failing, a not living by the rules. That is not the case, as there are no rules.

Does this distinction between rules and goals make sense?

Marshall says...

But simple living has its own requirements or it is not simple living. It can't be simple if it includes that which is complicated or extravagant.

Craig, do you understand the rational problem Marshall is having? Do you recognize that he is striving to insist upon "requirements" or rules when, as you and I agree, none exist?

I address this question to you because I'm striving to see if it's just my misunderstanding on Marshall's point or if you and I both agree, he's insisting upon rules where none exist.

Also, because earlier, you said "I know people who live simple lives" in contrast to what you said about folk like me... "when I hear some relatively rich white liberal talking about how amazing it is that he lives a simple life," it sounds like you are assigning moral rulings to me personally on simplicity, when you and I agree there are no definitive rules for simple living.

~Dan

Anonymous said...

Craig...

I understand that you have spoken about your commitment to this lifestyle in terms that indicate it's importance to you as well as your pride in maintaining this lifestyle.

That sounds like a judgmental accusation, that I have "pride" in a simple lifestyle. That's a serious accusation and something I would be concerned about if it were true. Do you have ANY quotes from me that make you think I'm prideful (in a negative way) about the idea and goal of living simply? ANY OF MY ACTUAL WORDS? If so, please share them so I can learn.

If not, perhaps the better part of wisdom would be to retract the claim.

~Dan

Dan Trabue said...

To give you more info on what it means to me to embrace simple living in a more succinct manner than the multiple posts I've pointed you to...

To be satisfied with what you have, not always seeking to accumulate more;

Specifically, not accumulating extravagant, expensive stuff and when such purchases are made, doing so deliberately, in a measured manner;

To not seek worldly wealth/Mammon;

To have living by grace as a goal, not living by piddly and numerous rules;

To spend time in nature and enjoying natural gifts (hikes, live music and singing, reading and writing, poetry, games with friends, etc);

Being downwardly mobile, not upwardly;

For starters. With the reminder that these are not rules, just what it means to me, for me.

Dan Trabue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan Trabue said...

More on what it means to me...

To embrace and seek out and support quiet, peaceful times... Creeks running, birds singing, flora an fauna flourishing;

To avoid and discourage loud, noxious settings... Cars rumbling, planes roaring, boomboxes blaring, etc;

To avoid and discourage pollutants and toxins and harmful or less healthy situations;

To embrace good, healthy work and avoid work that causes harm;

For some more examples.

Dan Trabue said...

More on what it means to me...

To embrace and seek out and support quiet, peaceful times... Creeks running, birds singing, flora an fauna flourishing;

To avoid and discourage loud, noxious settings... Cars rumbling, planes roaring, boomboxes blaring, etc;

To avoid and discourage pollutants and toxins and harmful or less healthy situations;

To embrace good, healthy work and avoid work that causes harm;

For some more examples.

Craig said...

"Is that what you're saying?"

Yes, I'm saying that in the absence of any externally defined rules then you (I'm speaking specifically of you because I am not having this conversation with anyone else) establish some sort of self definition of what it means for you personally. In theory, this means that everyone who claims to live simply comes up with their own subjective standard of what constitutes simple to them. In this case, there no one involved in this conversation but you and therefore when I say you, I mean you (Dan) because you (Dan) are the one participating. It would be silly and irrational for me to ask you about what someone else might conclude "simple living" means.

"I ask, because it sounds rather pointed towards me."

Of course it's pointed at you. You are the one involved in the conversation. You are the one making claims about your simple lifestyle. Who else would I be pointing toward for clues about what you believe?

"...do I have an idea of what that means for me? Yes."

Thank the Lord, now perhaps we're getting somewhere. You're the one who's hung up on the term "rules", I've used various other terms to try to get you to shed some light on what your standards are. Perhaps we'll finally see.

"Do you understand that I've addressed this question repeatedly, giving you at least that one general goal?"

Yes, I understand that in response to my requests for "specifics" (plural), you've offered one (singular) generality.

"If I have a goal and don't reach it, it's not a moral failure, necessarily, just not reaching a point I'd like to reach."

Of course, when you have such an ill defined and subjective goal, then you can pretty much do whatever you want and claim you've met your amorphous, subjective goal.

I'll give you an example. For the past several years my family has made it a goal to consistently reduce the size trash can we use (obviously the smaller can means less trash and more recycling), while increasing the size of our recycling container. While that was a goal, not a rule, it is a measurable goal. It is one that can be (has been) achieved and maintained. It's objective and not amorphous. Do you see that there is a difference between a subjective, non measurable, amorphous goal and an objectively measurable and achievable goal?

Craig said...

"The reason I point it out is because at least Marshall (and maybe you) are acting like failing to "live simply" by some standard that Marshall (and maybe you) are setting is a hypocrisy, a moral failing, a not living by the rules. That is not the case, as there are no rules."

You continue to make this false assertion even though it's been repeatedly pointed out to you as false. In fact, the opposite is true, we are trying to ascertain what you personally believe constitute a simple life because some of your actions do not seem to align with things you've said. Had you simply explained what you mean by the term, instead of invoking all this nonsense about "rules", and how (for example) your European vacation fits your standards you could have quickly and easily demonstrated where we were wrong. Instead, we're 150 comments in, and you're still throwing out this false statement.

"Does this distinction between rules and goals make sense?"

Sure, although it doesn't address many of the things I've brought up as being problematic with this subjective amorphous standard. But, addressing my issues and concerns clearly isn't the point here.

"Craig, do you understand the rational problem Marshall is having?"
I don;t see it as a rational problem, so much as a semantic problem. I would argue that if one claims to live a "simple" lifestyle, then the definition of the word "simple" implies at least a modicum of limitations.

For example. If Al Gore announced that he lived a "simple" life, while still owning his multiple large homes, traveling in SUV's and private planes, etc; we would be safe to argue that the very presence of those things contradicts the most basic meaning of the word simple. So, from a purely rational standpoint the term "simple" actually has a literal meaning and if one claims a "simple" lifestyle while going beyond the parameters inherent in the definition of the word "simple", I see that as a discontinuity.

I've repeatedly said that if you consistently used the term "simpler" instead of "simple" or simply said "I strive to live within my means.", that we would not have nearly the amount of confusion. It's as if you don't understand that the word "simple" has a meaning.


"Do you recognize that he is striving to insist upon "requirements" or rules when, as you and I agree, none exist?"

I don't see him insisting on any sort of external rules (beyond those inherent in the definition of the word "simple"), so much as he is trying to get you to enumerate what the therm means to you. Maybe he's doing that poorly, or being less precise than he could, but that's what I'm seeing.

"Also, because earlier, you said "I know people who live simple lives" in contrast to what you said about folk like me... "when I hear some relatively rich white liberal talking about how amazing it is that he lives a simple life," it sounds like you are assigning moral rulings to me personally on simplicity, when you and I agree there are no definitive rules for simple living."

That's not at all what I'm saying. What I'm literally saying is that I literally know people who live literally simple lives. They are not in the top 5% of the richest people on this planet (as you and I are), they do not have the luxuries and conveniences that you and I have. They literally live a life that cannot be confused with any adjective other than simple. So yes, when I hear a rich white liberal talking about how simple his life is (in comments posted VIA his smartphone over wireless internet access or cellular data) I compare that to folks I know and it doesn't necessarily compare particularly well. It's just one of those facts of life.

Craig said...

"That sounds like a judgmental accusation, that I have "pride" in a simple lifestyle. That's a serious accusation and something I would be concerned about if it were true."

Fortunately for us all, it's simply a statement of opinion not an accusation.

"If not, perhaps the better part of wisdom would be to retract the claim."

Since it's a statement of opinion, not a claim, I guess I'm safe then.

Unless you are saying that you have not spoken of your "simple lifestyle" in terms that indicate some level of satisfaction with your attempts to meet your goals, as well as some sense of success in meeting your goals.

It's interesting that in one instance you engage in a rather strenuous defense of the appropriateness of the use of the word "pride" and how affirming and healthy it is, but continue to make (negative) assumptions about how I'm using the word.

Craig said...

"To give you more info on what it means to me to embrace simple living in a more succinct manner than the multiple posts I've pointed you to..."

"More on what it means to me..."

I'm not going to deal with your lists. However, had you simply given this list of specifics 50 comments ago, how much of this could have been avoided?

As to your list, is just as amorphous, subjective and banal as I though it would be. But if it makes you happy, then go for it. Just don't get so defensive when people call you on instances where you do things that don't seem to mesh with your goals.


Dan Trabue said...

Shame on you.

Marshall Art said...

"Specifically, not accumulating extravagant, expensive stuff and when such purchases are made, doing so deliberately, in a measured manner;"

So, not accumulating but doing so in a "measured" manner? Seems totally subjective and ambiguous to me...just as we feared it would. And what constitutes "measured" in the manner in which one accumulated extravagant, expensive stuff?

If there are no rules governing what is extravagant, then any extravagant purchase can be made as it pleases on to do so. Once done, one can insist the purchase was made in a "measured" manner, which means squat.

As to accumulating more, how did your computer and cell phone fall outside that rule (yes, you have rules whether you list them distinctly or not...it's just so...nothing to be ashamed of, even after having embarrassed yourself by the foolish claim that you have none)? Must have been "measured" purchases, right?

more later

Craig said...

So now telling the truth and expressing my opinion is shameful. I guess that's how things go when you run out of anything else.

Craig said...

MA

Of course that's how normal people would look at this.

Dan Trabue said...

The problem, Craig, is your "opinion" (IE, the charge of pride about simplicity against me) is entirely baseless. You can't point to a single sentence I've said to support such a charge. That would be like me saying, nothing personal, Craig, I just hold an opinion that you advocate child molesting... Even though you've never said anything to support such a charge. It would be an idiotic and slanderous thing to say, and trying to hide behind "It's only an opinion" is just weaselly.

Marshall, by all means, provide your list of rules for simplicity and their authoritative source. Failing that, embrace reality and acknowledge no such ruleset exists.

Craig said...

MA,

Let's give Dan some credit. He did finally come up with some of the ideals that guide his quest for simplicity. I agree with you about the nature of the list, but he did finally do what we wanted. I also realize the we could get into a semantics discussion about whether or not his list is "rules", aspirations, guidelines, or hopes, but whatever you call them they are a faint outline of what simplicity means to Dan.

Craig said...

The problem Dan, is that it's not a "charge", an "accusation", "idiotic" or "slanderous", it's simply an opinion based one an accumulation of hints you've dropped about your "simple" lifestyle. The other problem Dan, is that your misinterpretation of my statement of opinion, is based on your subjective, prejudiced, unsupported opinion, of what you think I meant when I used the word "pride". The final problem Dan, is that you are unable to demonstrate that your hunch about my use of the word pride is the only one, let alone the correct one.

Ultimately, I realize that this is the point that seems to arise in any discussion with you where you latch on to one small word, phrase, or sentence; make it into a something that it is not which then you use to justify your escape from a conversation. So, if you want to leave leave, just save the histrionics and name calling.

I can only presume that this prelude to your leaving has something to do with my request that you do what you demanded I do. I could be wrong, but only you can demonstrate that I am.

Anonymous said...

Well Craig, then I believe (that is, it is my opinion) that you go to Haiti to molest children. I hold that opinion based upon an accumulation of hints you've dropped about your "trips" to Haiti.

~Dan

Craig said...

Dan, I'm impressed with this new tactic. I thought this was just more of the same old "I need an excuse to avoid answering questions or because things were getting difficult.", but this is great. It's clearly you just getting delusional based or your biased misinterpretation, and simply lashing out in fits of pique.

Either that or it's one more manifestation of this bizarre thing you try to pass off as Grace.

Whatever makes you feel happy and safe you go right ahead and throw those delusions up against the wall and see what sticks.

On a serious note, one of the reasons I don't spend a lot of time talking about what I do wither in Haiti or in my full time job, is that it's not about me. I don't want to appear to have inappropriate pride in what I do. But if it helps you to engage in personal character attacks because you can't accept that your prejudice driven conclusion could possibly be wrong, go right ahead. Fling that Grace right on out there. It's not the first time you've spewed vile lies about me, I'm sure it won't be the last. I guess desperation makes people do strange things, like accusing people of crimes.

This a is a new level of pathetic and sad even for you. All I can do is pray for you.

Dan Trabue said...

To sum up, again:

1. Dan has said he values the notion of simple living

2. One of the realities of simple living is there are no definitive rules laid out for those millions who embrace it as a general goal;

3. Dan never said that simple living rules out going to Europe or owning a computer;

4. Nonetheless, Marshall and maybe others think the idea of simple living precludes a trip to Europe. He does so whimsically, with nothing to support his baseless imposition of this rule... Which is fine if he wants to embrace it as a rule for himself, but he has no basis to insist on it for others;

5. Craig holds an opinion that Dan is pride-full on his thoughts on simple living. Craig thinks this in spite of his complete inability to point to a single thing Dan has said that indicates pride. Indeed, Dan has not ever even said that he lives simply, just that it is a value he believes in;

6. Dan holds the opinion that Craig goes to Haiti to molest children..Dan holds this opinion based on the exact same amount of data that Craig holds his opinion upon;

Craig, as to what you're requesting of me, I have no idea. Feel free to clarify.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig, about this "new level of pathetic...," the point of the baseless Haiti charge is it's an object lesson to help you recognize your pathetic and baseless "opinion." Instead of getting defensive that I did the exact same thing you did, perhaps you could humble yourself and learn.

In the words of the prophet to King David, "You are that man!"

Craig said...

"The over-arching point is always, love, help, kindness, mercy, etc."

Really? Accusing me of molesting children is any of the above? "Grace Way tribe my ass.

Craig said...

It's interesting that you don't think it demonstrates even the tiniest bit of pride (in any sense you want to use the word), to write a series of 6 blog posts about how YOU and how and why YOU live a simple life.

Craig said...

1. Yes, he has. Yet, he's not proud of it.
2. So he makes up his own "rules" (or guidelines, or standards, or hints, or whatever) and defines it for himself.
3. So. One could argue that the very definition of simple suggests otherwise, but since (see#2) you make your own rules it's all good.
4. Again, you can conclude this if you choose to ignore what Marshall has actually said.
5. As if a 6 post blog series about why DAN chooses to live a simple life isn't enough. Would anyone really write 6 blog posts about why they choose to embrace something if they didn't have at least a tiny bit of pride in their choice?
6. Really, I've written extensively about my travel to Haiti and why I go? Really?

"Craig, as to what you're requesting of me, I have no idea. Feel free to clarify."

"Questions answered. Will you now answer mine?
October 21, 2016 at 2:17 PM"

It doesn't surprise me, that you'd miss this among all of your demands that I answer your questions and repeat my answers multiple times. FYI, obviously this is rhetorical since I have no illusions about you actually holding yourself to what you demand of others. Just pointing out the obvious.

"In the words of the prophet to King David, "You are that man!""

Except you're not a prophet, and I haven't actually done anything wrong.

But, pathetic and deserving of pity, most definitely.

Dan Trabue said...

You object to someone reaching an "opinion" that slanders you when you've never said anything to justify that opinion. By YOUR measure, YOU think doing what you did was wrong. You'll have to take that up with yourself.

As to my blog posts where I answered questions about simplicity by talking about what others have said on the topic, along with my reasoned opinions,... How is offering opinions (mine and others) on a topic "prideful?" By that measure, every writer who offers opinions on any topic is proud. That's not rational.

By and large, I don't believe I talked about what I specifically was doing, I just answered questions that were asked of me.

Wanna try again?

Craig said...

I don't object to your made up "opinion" in a vain attempt to paint yourself as some sort of Biblical prophet. I find it pathetic and childish, but I don't have a problem with it.

Again, if you want to try to say that your motivation in writing a 6 part blog post about what YOU think about YOUR choice to live a "simple" lifestyle shows absolutely zero pride, I'll by that.

Of course, you are still left with your false assumption about my use of the word "pride" in a negative sense.

It's strange that you have been so vociferous in defending "pride" and talking about how "pride" is "healthy" and "positive", yet now you choose to run from a "healthy" and "positive" pride in your lifestyle choice.

"Wanna try again?"

No need to. I'm not the one embracing the double standard.

Marshall Art said...

"Well Craig, then I believe (that is, it is my opinion) that you go to Haiti to molest children. I hold that opinion based upon an accumulation of hints you've dropped about your "trips" to Haiti."

Wow. Just...Wow.

The above quote is typical in several ways:

1. It demonstrates Dan's legendary problem with inventing a legitimate, rational and logical analogy to make his point.

2. It demonstrates the typical dishonesty inherent in leftist/progressive methods. It's really quite S.O.P.

3. It demonstrates a desire to do whatever is necessary, routinely contradicting stated claims to "embrace grace" and other such marketing rhetoric.

4. It demonstrates the willingness to say anything as if it is true, without any evidence possibly to back it up. What "hints" could provoke such a heinous suggestion? There are none and I defy Dan to provide just one.

5. It demonstrates the unwillingness to concede that the lefty/progressive is speaking in a manner that leads to conclusions with which he does not wish to project. Too freaking bad. We provide nearly unlimited opportunity for clarification. It's not our fault that you continue to describe yourself and your views in a manner that compels the conclusions we draw. The irony in all this is that when we speak, you whine about "how it sounds". Yet, when you speak, you whine about it doesn't sound to us the way you'd like it to sound.

6. It demonstrates that whining about "how it sounds" is in Dan's case a matter of projection, as nothing in Craig's comments even so much as "hints" at the "conclusion" Dan pretends to draw. In the same way, nothing in anything I've ever said "sounds" like racism, hate or bigotry, unless Dan needs it to sound that way.

Craig said...

Oh cmon Art, Dan is just relishing his presumed role of OT prophet. Even though all that OT prophecy stuff was really just mythic revenge fantasies, not anything that we should take seriously.

Dan Trabue said...

As usual, you two are not understanding my actual words or intent. Almost to a word, you have completely misunderstood what I've said, often reaching a conclusion completely opposite of what I've said, even when I've clarified.

I don't know what else to tell you but to re-read my summaries and take them to mean just what I said (with the exception of the analogy... Take that as an analogy...)

Good luck.

Craig said...

?

Craig said...

Ok now Dan expects us to understand his intent. That's not unreasonable.

Dan Trabue said...

I expect you to, when I offer an analogy and even explain the analogy for you, for you to understand the very clear analogy. Not get all emotional and strangely accuse me of thinking I'm an OT prophet.

You know, I expect you to understand my clear words which express my intent. In almost every case, you all are reading my words, assigning OTHER meanings to them, then criticizing what I have not said.

How rational is that?

Dan Trabue said...

I don't know what else to tell you but to re-read my summaries and take them to mean just what I said (with the exception of the analogy... Take that as an analogy...)

Craig said...

Whatever you say Dan, I feel quite confident that both MA and I have a reasonably accurate grasp on your philosophy such as it is.

Dan Trabue said...

Yes, I'm sure you do think that when I say X, you are quite correct to assume I mean "turtle pig," no matter if I assure you that I actually meant X, not turtle pig. After all, who knows better what I mean and say than you two?

Dan Trabue said...

Yes, I'm sure you do think that when I say X, you are quite correct to assume I mean "turtle pig," no matter if I assure you that I actually meant X, not turtle pig. After all, who knows better what I mean and say than you two?

Craig said...

Once again, you'd be right had I actually used the term turtle pig, unfortunately I haven't done so.

What's really happening is you say "There are no rules.", and I say "In the absence of rules you decide for yourself what constitutes "simple".".

So we're both saying essentially the same thing, you've just chosen to make inferences based on what you imagine is the secret meaning behind my plain words.

But if you want to blow it out of proportion, I can't stop you.

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