Almost Amish: Nature

Some people, in order to discover God, read books. But there is a great book: the very appearance of created things. Look above you! Look below you! Read it. God, whom you want to discover, never wrote that book with ink. Instead He set before your eyes the things that He has made. Can you ask for a louder voice than that?    — St. Augustine

I am currently reading Nancy Sleeth’s Almost Amish. Sleeth is a pioneer in “simple living”– which seems to be all the rage these days, and I have to admit that it’s a book genre that has intrigued me lately. She and her husband are living an “almost amish” lifestyle– investing locally, using as little electricity as possible, and living simply. She covers many different topics in her book, and most have the underlying theme of acting LOCALLY and engaging with PEOPLE. And so far, I like it. But I LOVED this chapter: “Nature: Time spent in God’s creation reveals the face of God.”

The title explains it all, right? I find this an all to often overlooked topic in the Christian world. I am not going to get political, or even theological (or sociological? or biological?), but lets just say that we should all get outside. And here are some of her tips for doing it:

  1. Grow a garden
  2. Pack a picnic
  3. Pick up trash
  4. Plant a tree
  5. Work outdoors
  6. Play outdoors

(Sleeth actually has a tree planting project through her non-profit, Blessed Earth. Check it out.)

The item on this list that challenged me particularly was picking up trash. I am outside often, and yet as I pass by garbage I usually leave it be. How humbling to think of it as an act of love for God and community to pick it up– over and over again.

We had church outside today. A local church hosts an gathering at a park in conjunction with the annual Mushroom Festival in Kennett Square (Mushroom Capital of the World– don’t judge the country, people!). I think having church outside occasionally should be added to this list.

I recommend this book already, though I haven’t finished it. And I recommend getting outside in this beautiful fall weather– 76 degrees! Yay!


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