The Accidental Green Life

How Christian Piety Can Grace the Earth

And the list goes on.

Such lists can begin to feel unwieldy, even disconnected from the work of faith. So it's perhaps helpful to revisit Colossians to remember the foundation that quietly suggests the list. "In him all things hold together." Thus to be at his side as a craftsman in a consumptive society means we affirm Christ's ongoing work of creation; our simplicity list is valuable inasmuch as it supports and shows gratitude for Christ's sustaining work.

If we have no simplicity list, we might begin to wonder, Are we grateful for his sustaining work? Or are we working against Christ, essentially tearing apart, through the spoils of our excess, the very creation he holds together? And if we're tearing apart the creation he holds together, how does that imply we're acting toward Christ himself?


Fasting can make us grateful that we're being held together and can help us appreciate the daily graces of simple food and water. Adele Calhoun adds that fasting "exposes how we try to keep empty hunger at bay and gain a sense of well-being by devouring creature comforts." Fasting, then, can be a sister practice to simplicity.

Like certain aspects of simplicity, fasting depends on embracing a limit, deciding to live with a particular hunger and putting aside the temptation to devour. Much of the dialog today about green living broaches the concept of limits. In Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, for instance, Barbara Kingsolver raises the issue. She is perhaps somewhat sensationalistic in expression, but her words nonetheless cleverly probe us.

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