Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Sufficient Is Beautiful ; A Christian Science Perspective on Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Sufficient Is Beautiful ; A Christian Science Perspective on Daily Life

Article excerpt

When our family decided to move from a bigger house to a smaller house, it was with the idea that we weren't giving up space; instead, we were freeing ourselves to make different choices.

This verse from the Bible came to mind: "God can give you more than you can ever need so that you may always have sufficient for yourselves and enough left over to give to every good cause" (II Cor. 9:8, J.B. Phillips).

Our street had been around for 20 years, and its houses reflected the average size for that time. Taking my new, more pleasant route to work, I passed construction sites where much larger houses were being built. Clearly the families living in these "McMansions" had substantial material success, and I assumed they also had success in their spiritual pursuits.

But I've found insight in the work of Marianne Cusato. When she designed one of the first "Katrina Cottages," an option to the FEMA trailers used immediately after the hurricane, she did so from the practical experience of living in a 300-square-foot apartment and with the desire that a home, even a temporary one, would express dignity, friendliness, and grace.

Yet at the same time, one of my concerns, having consciously purchased a smaller house and a smaller car, was whether I'd be sending a misleading signal to friends and co-workers.

A colleague from our corporate office was visiting, and when we'd finished lunch at a restaurant near my home, he suggested we drive past the new place. "Yup," he said when he saw it, "that's a tear- down." He was referring to the practice in his part of the country of demolishing perfectly good smaller houses to make way for bigger houses, sometimes really big houses (see "McMansions migrate from 'burb to city," The Christian Science Monitor, Jan. 2).

Mentally I was sputtering. I couldn't even respond to his casual dismissal of our little house. …

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