Although attempts at minimalism have much to offer Christians (and living with less predates 20th century Christianity, such as John Wesley's financial advice: "Make all you can. Save all you can. Give all you can"), minimalism can become its own form of idolatry - simply a replacement for the idol of consumerism. Remember, Paul tells us not to pursue contentment alone, but "Godliness with contentment." And even that contentment must be tempered with Jesus' pronouncement that blessed are those who "hunger and thirst" for righteousness. In other words, it is OK to have a void. But neither excessive consumerism will fill it, nor will diligent minimalism pacify it. So for now I'm trying to curb my consumer hunger in hopes that a holier hunger will take its place.

Stanley J. Ward serves as the Biblical Worldview Director at The Brook Hill School ( and frequently speaks at conferences ( He is also a PhD candidate and napkin theologian (

Publication date: January 13, 2011