Article by Malcolm Marler, Edited by Dee DeWitt

 

In my journey to live more simply is a desire to be radically generous to the poor or to those in need.  I don’t believe we can live a simplified life of faith without this foundation …

 

But man do I struggle with this.

 

So how do we exercise radical generosity with our resources, money, and everything we own materially?

 

One barrier that gets in the way for me is I think that … when I make a little more money, or when I get this month’s bills paid off … then I can be more generous to the poor.

 

Living with radical generosity seems difficult or impossible because we think of giving out of our abundance.  But this abundance never seems to be there. Read More »

Posted on 8 April, 2010 in Helping Others, Simplify
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Article by Malcolm Marler, Edited by Dee DeWitt

 

We have been taught all of our lives to tell the truth.  Sounds simple enough, right?

 

Well, not always … sometimes it is the hardest thing to do.

 

Have you ever been in a situation where you were aware of specific information about someone, and that same person you were talking to did not know that you knew?  And how did that make you feel?

 

One time a patient died unexpectedly at the hospital and I was asked as the chaplain to come and be with the family.  But when I got there, I learned they had gone home earlier in the evening, and were called to come back to the hospital because their loved one “had taken a turn for the worse.”

 

So I waited for them outside the unit, introduced myself, ushered them into the family conference room, and alerted the nurse to page the physician to come to deliver the bad news. 

 

And we waited.

 

They began to ask reasonable questions, “What is going on?”  “How was their loved one doing?”  “Has anything bad happened?”  “Why couldn’t they go into the room?”  And I found myself dancing around their questions as I stalled for time.

 

Was I lying by not telling the truth?

 

I knew what had happened.  I knew the answer to their questions.  But someone else was supposed to deliver the news.

 

We find ourselves in the “truth dilemma” every day don’t we?

 

We shade the black-and-white truth with a little gray here and there.  And before we know it, we’ve changed the entire color of the conversation.  We go from living simply to living with complexity.

 

French philosopher Blaise Paschal said, “We know the truth, not only by the reason, but by the heart.”

 

If we want to live more simply, we are drawn to the truth, however difficult that may be.

 

Telling the truth to others, and listening to the truth about ourselves … Both are steps in the journey to living more simply.

 

Malcolm

 

“In human relationships, kindness and lies are worth a thousand truths.”
-Graham Greene

 

Malcolm Marler is Director of Pastoral Care for UAB Hospital in Birmingham, AL.  In addition to his interest in spirituality and health, he loves to identify physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of persons, then design and build programs that help meet those needs.  His warmth and humor along with his powerful message of hope and grace is his greatest strength.  Malcolm grew up in Alabama and attended Clemson University (S.C.) on a football scholarship as a defensive back where he graduated with a B.A. degree in Psychology.  He is a graduate of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY with Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees.  Malcolm lives on a lake in North Alabama with the love of his life, Mary Bea Sullivan.  He has two open-hearted, loving stepchildren, Brendan and Kiki who are both freshman in college.  For more information or to contact Malcolm, please visit www.MalcolmMarler.com.

 

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Posted on 29 March, 2010 in Goals, Simplify
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Article by Malcolm Marler, Edited by Dee DeWitt

 

We are a busy people rushing through life.  And yet recently, a few people chose a different pace.

 

There was a woman in her thirties who was walking early one cold, wintry morning. You could see her breath in the air as she stopped at the corner a couple of blocks from her work waiting for the light to change.  Cars rushed by in the busy downtown city.

 

She waited until the light was red and the crosswalk signal was white, and then something happened. No one was sure if she stepped awkwardly off the curb, or if she became dizzy and just fell.

 

Regardless, the result was hard to watch.

 

She hit the pavement face first and lay motionless for a moment.  Cars hit their brakes.  A nurse was walking out of a nearby parking deck and saw the woman fall and came running to her aid.  ”Are you ok, ma’am, are you ok?!” she yelled. Read More »

Posted on 21 March, 2010 in Helping Others, Inspirational Stories, Simplify
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Article by Malcolm Marler, Edited by Dee DeWitt

 

Some of you know that I accepted a new job about five months ago.  It’s kept me busier than I have been since I was in my 20’s. And if that’s not enough, I accepted more duties within this same timetable in a “moonlighting second job” that I have had been doing for several years. 

 

This doesn’t sound like simplifying my life!

 

I am over-committed, over-promised, and overwhelmed.  Have you been there?  Do you know what this feels like?

 

When I asked my wife, Mary, if I have been like this during our whole marriage, she answered truthfully, “No, you’ve had pretty good boundaries between work and home until you started your new job, and it’s been different since then.”  And she was right.

 

I’m learning that living more simply is not about committing to do more, trying harder, or making more promises to “do better.”  Too many promises makes life complicated, not simpler.  And so I will get out my calendar tomorrow, take a hard look at my commitments in coming weeks, and start saying I’m sorry but I won’t be able to do this or that commitment.  Deep breath.  Maybe it’s time to offer grace to myself. Read More »

Posted on 12 March, 2010 in Happiness, Simplify
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Article by Malcolm Marler, Edited by Dee DeWitt

 

For those of us who are of the Christian faith, Matthew 6:19-43 is one of the clearest passages about Christian simplicity in the Bible.  Take a moment and read it through (see below).

 

The words of Jesus are radical as he instructs us to vow, “I trust that God will take care of my basic needs and I do not need to be anxious about anything.”  For me, it is an invitation to live radically different than I do.

 

I am trying to live more simply, and discovering it’s not about simple answers as much as it is about defining my priorities of what is most important.  I want to live more simply so that I can live my life with more purpose.

 

My problem is … I don’t really stop long enough to know what my priorities are for living today. Read More »

Posted on 5 March, 2010 in Happiness, Simplify
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