Christian Minimalism

What is Christian Minimalism? [Book Review]

Christian Minimalism by Becca Ehrlich is a wonderful primer covering basic Christianity and the minimalistic lifestyle. It offers readers a contemplative look into a simpler way of life. Ehrlich notices that Jesus was minimalistic. We too can look to our Savior as a guide for help in striping down the consumeristic impediments that keep us from a deeper relationship with God and uncomplicated Christian life.

Tone: Casual
Reader Level: Easy
Length: 154 pages

MAIN IDEA

Christian minimalism aims to connect a minimalistic lifestyle to one’s Christian faith. By identifying core Christian values that include lessening the grips of consumption, Christians can find new satisfaction and peace in a minimalistic lifestyle that reflects their core Christian values.

If you can imagine a marriage of the basics of the Christian faith together with a guidebook on what a minimalistic lifestyle is with Christian glasses on, you’ll highly value this book. A number of years ago I read, 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker. It sparked my own interest in decluttering, paring down, and inching away from consumerism. While Ehrlich doesn’t discuss moving into a tiny house or going to ridiculously extreme measures to get her points across, I very much appreciated this because it made her book that much more approachable. Not all of us are going to give away our expensive cowboy boots as Hatmaker did in her book, but we do want to pause, reflect, and redefine our lives post-covid in a way that glorifies God.

I’m trying something new for these book reviews, and I’d love your feedback. Take a moment to click on the book review PDF, then print (if you have a printer) selecting two-sided printing. I absolutely love taking lots of notes when I review a new book. I use one sheet of blank paper and end up covering it with my notes on the front and back. I’ve shared my typed-up version with you now. Consider it a kind of Cliff Notes for books that will help you decide if you want to purchase the book for yourself. (You might even hang onto the PDF while you read the book yourself, adding your own notes as you go.) Let me know what you think.

Here is my outline of the first three chapters (see below for PDF printable for chapters 1-8):

CH. 1 [MINIMALISM AND THE CHRISTIAN LIFE]

Christian minimalism defined is summarized as a focus on the aspects of life that matter and intentionally removing everything else.

  • Avoid mindless consumption
  • Refocus to gain freedom
  • Focus on what matters and God’s call (p. 11)
  • Increase prayer with partner or alone (pg. 5)
  • Aim to intentionally live with less (p. 11)
  • Intentional Sabbath time for rest and renewal (p. 11)
  • Be open to the “freedom of less” – process is individual

“We are called to live differently than society’s accepted lifestyle driven by consumption.” (p. 11)

CH. 2 – [STOCKPILING, SINS, AND FORGIVENESS]

“Consumer culture perpetuates dissatisfaction (p. 17). “

  • We have an innate need to stockpile
  • Manna in Old Testament—we struggle to trust God w/needs
  • God calls us to serve, not stockpile (p. 19)
  • Ask God to forgive sinful urges to acquire more stuff (p. 19)
  • We look for acceptance, contentment, security, and love everywhere except God (p. 22)

CH. 3 [FELLOWSHIP]

We need others to stay on fire for God.

  • Body of Christ and fellowship is essential for our faith (p. 35)
  • Prioritize being connected to other believers
  • Avoid toxic people, be open to healthy community (p. 50)

If you read this book or would like to start a discussion about Christian minimalism, feel free to leave a comment below.