Monday, May 7


I grew up in a transitional urban neighborhood in Denver in the 70's. If you were to paint my life in broad strokes one that would have to be included was the time I spent across the street at our Mennonite neighbors' house. B., the father, was in training for ordination and his life in Denver involved what was essentially a re-localization project for the Hispanic main street and the neighborhoods surrounding it. K., the mother, ran the home front, which included taking in me and my siblings while my mom was going through job retraining and my dad was putting in long hours starting a business.

So, for a couple of years, their home was a second home for me, and it has taken up residence in my memory as a living witness to the power to opt out.

Some of the things I remember from their home are: The huge garden they planted in the back yard; the expectation that everyone contribute combined with the gentle, personal recognition for contributions; the encouragement to play, build, explore, and discover instead of sitting in front of the TV; eating fruits and vegetables with every meal; the way they created neighborhood around them by inviting people to show up; and the Dolly Parton poster in the bathroom... but that's a story for another place and time. ;-)

I don't know, but I think that their lives were pretty good examples of Mennonite principles. I know what I saw in their home was consistent with the More with Less cookbook. And I think, given that, the whole Mennonite culture of living simply and putting people before stuff is a light on the path of lower-carbon living.

1 comment:

P~ said...

You remind me of the vacation that My family and I took this last summer. While visiting family in Ohio, we spent a day in the Amish country, something I have always wanted to do. I came away with such a respect and admiration for these people for there simple pleasures, work ethic, and family bonds. They, along with the Menninites are certaily a beakon to be looked to for inspiration on some basic principles that could bring us all to greater happiness.
P.S.You will notice the picture on my profile is one of an amish farmer and his plow being pulled by a team of horses that I took in West Virginia. My wife routinely jokes that I would probably be amish/mennonite if she would follow me.

Unbox Videos


NotSoBigLiving is the story of a woman inspired by Sarah Susanka, Bill McKibben, Airstreams, Tumbleweed houses, Mennonites, Jimmy Carter, hippies, survivalists, Anasazi, Pema Chodron and Joko Beck, Scott Peck, Buckminster Fuller, and Al Gore to see what she can do to reduce her carbon footprint in her mid-80's suburban townhome. Strategies include roommates, alternative travel, organic eating, planting a victory garden, mindfulness, and a belly full of laughter.