You’re off toward the edge of the bell curve when you tell strangers about your life and they say you remind them of anti-money crusaders living in caves. So it happened to me on Saturday night, when I was told to investigate a Moab man who calls himself Suelo (article in the link). I am impressed. The article managed to leave out his website, which is very interesting. I haven’t met him personally, but these are certainly the trappings of a prophet. Look especially at the quotation from St. Augustine:
For, on account of the things which each one of us possesses singly, there exist wars, hatreds, discords, conflicts between people, tumults, dissensions, scandals, sins, injustices, and murders. On what account? On account of those things which each of us possesses singly. Do we fight over the things we possess in common? We inhale this air in common with others, we all see the sun in common. Blessed therefore are those who make room for the Lord, so as not to take pleasure in private property. Let us therefore abstain from the possessions of private property—or from the love of it, if we cannot abstain from possession—and let us make room for the Lord.
Not what you hear every Sunday, I’ll wager.
This has certainly been a recurrent interest in my life. I am currently very solidly middle-class, a property owner, a car driver, and the like. But my life is simpler than others’ and I think this is a good path for more people to follow. I was very affected by meeting on my cross-country bike trip a man in Eugene, Oregon who had explored this path quite fully. He and I spent an afternoon together, sitting on the riverbank he mentioned as he lay dying. He made it clear to me that there is a great margin of waste in our society, broad enough for many people to live comfortably at little ecological cost. Why not have more people – desert fathers and mothers – in that margin?