List of Things That We Can and Should Do Without

Some of these may come off as ridiculous, and some of them are just that in a culture and society like ours. Some of them may come off as judgmental, but I hope you can be challenged and not offended. Here is a list, that I am sure will grow over time of some of things that we think we need to do or to have for whatever reason we come up with, I’ll post as they come to me in future posts if I come up with more. These are things that we don’t question anymore and gawk at anyone who challenges them. So I’ll do it. Here is a list of things that I think we can either do without completely or need a drastic change in how we implement them into our lives.

Shampoo
I’ll start off with a lighte-hearted one. The idea that I need multiple different products to keep my body sanitary and clean is ridiculous. I can go into the store and get different products to clean every different part of my body. When I tell people I haven’t used shampoo in a number of years I usually get either looks of disgust or shock. Shampoo has worked itself into our regular habits and we are all convinced that our hair will fall out or we aren’t being clean enough if we use regular old soap, or God forbid just water. We have many brilliant reasons on why we need shampoo (and conditioner, face cleaner, tooth paste, laundry detergent, nail polish remover, body wash and moisturizer) and we all have our own. I really don’t find it necessary for most of us and we probably don’t need to use it at all.

Second (or First) Car
This is a big one. I don’t think owning one or two cars is a necessarily evil. I do think however the fact that we “need” two cars just points to something deeper: the decline of time put into relationships. Typically we need two cars because both spouses in a marriage have two different jobs, leading two different lives. Or we have two cars because our children are so busy and their schedule overlap and we have to make sure they make everything. By intentionally using only one car, or God forbid zero cars, it is a beautiful way to slow down our lives, re-evaluate our time and hopefully put more focus on relationships and not just all the things we have to do that day.

Life Insurance
This is the one I take the most ridicule for. I do not think that life insurance is necessary in the kingdom of God. How far have we come from each other when the only thing that can give our family security if we die is lots of money? We all want to make sure our families are taken care of if anything happens to us, and let me assure you that I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that. I am saying that when we depend on money to do that, we are lying to ourselves and to them. I still can’t believe that we pay for profit companies on a monthly basis in case we die so there will be money for our family when we die. Where is the community? Where are the deep rooted relationships in love and trust when someone dies and the community surrounds them so tight and so close and meets all their needs? I want to be part of a kingdom that takes care of each other when disaster happens instead of depending on businesses to do it for us.

New Shoes
Shoes are one of the vainest things that I we can buy. We walk around in them all day long yet they have become the epitome of style and fashionable expression. Try telling someone to check out Value Village if they need a new pair of shoes and watch the reaction you get: fearful responses about disease and disgust to calm responses of justifying and style. It all doesn’t really make sense to me. While half the world walks around in bare feet we deck these parts of our body with plenty of thought and care to make sure the tools that get us from A-B are better taken care of than the thought, time and energy we put into how the poor in the world are surviving.

Home Renovations
This is a tough one to be against because everyone I know, including my closest family members that I love dearly, partake in it yearly. Everyone loves the feel of something new and fresh and more accommodating than what was there before. New floors, expanded kitchens, new rooms in the basement, new garages, take out a wall here, bigger living rooms, installing patio doors, painting, re-decorating, decks and porches, landscaping, new furniture, light fixtures….the list goes on. With the quick rise of stores like Home Depot, Ikea and television shows on the learning channel, renovations have become a necessary thing for us to do to our homes to make them “our homes” and more accommodating to “our needs.” I think now that we have been saturated with a renovating culture we find reasons in places they don’t exist to keep ourselves busy renovating and never being content. I realize that there is plenty of maintenance that goes into owning a home, and I’m starting to realize it more now that I own one. I think though that we have taken it way too far. It’s just gotten ridiculous. Are we just bored now that we can’t come up with anything better to do with our time, money and energy?

I’m tired of living part of the status quo, and doing things just because everyone else does them or it’s assumed that it’s right. There is so much more joy in seeking truth in the things we do every day and not just going with what others are doing. I hope we can learn to think for ourselves instead of letting culture doing the thinking for us. I hope we can allow our communities and Jesus to shape us rather than media and culture. I hope we can rid ourselves of the time wasters, money wasters, mental wasters and soul wasters and take part in a kingdom that beckons us to live so radically that we won’t even know what normal is anymore.

Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for – in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.
Ellen Goodman

8 Comments

  • Nathan, I can identify with your thoughts here and find myself wrestling with similar thoughts at times. I think the motivation and convictions behind the post are good and valid, however, I’m wondering if the putting together of some sort of list is missing the point (and could potentially distract from the heart of the issue)?

    Paul seems eager to remind the church in Colossae that all they need is found in Christ and ought not get caught up in lists comprised of human regulations.

    Grace and peace,

    JT

  • Sweet. Haven’t used shampoo in five years. Don’t own a car. Don’t have any kind of insurance. Wear work boots, and only buy a new pair about every two years. Don’t have a home to renovate. Do I win a prize??

  • I shampoo but I don’t have insurance. I buy shoes once every couple of years as well (not work boots though) and don’t own a home… but i do own a car.

    Dan totally kills me on this. Oudshoorn!!!!!

    Am I on the right track at least?

    Or… do you mean that these things can be used for good and bad and that we should try to discern the reasons behind why we do or don’t use them..

    I’m sure you’re not saying this is the new benchmark for good kingdom people… or are they all pretty much bad and should have no place in our lives…?

  • I’m only realizing now that titling the post using words like “should” automatically comes off as some legalistic list of things that we need to do, or not do to be righteous or something like that.

    The post was originally intended to vent my frustrations with some of the things that we as a culture, and specifically Christians inside our culture do without thinking about and assume that they are needed, right and important. So it is much more the things that were bouncing around in my mind on my way home that night then they are a well thought out list of all the horrible things that are keeping us away from the kingdom.

    But, Dan does win a prize actually….when you stop wearing shoes all together.

  • Ha!

    Well, in the spirit of my last remark, it’s worth pointing out that I once gave my shoes and socks away to a person who did not have any… and then had to return home barefoot. Does that count? Dammit, I want that prize!

  • As I drove to my summer home in my SUV I was frustrated with the way my life insurance meeting went. The only thing that got me through the drive was thinking about the smell of my wifes beautiful shampood hair. We both pulled into the driveway together, getting out of our separate cars at almost the same time. I opened the front door and way angered to see that my wife still hadn’t put away all of our shoes. We spent the next hour of the night sorting through the pile of shoes at our feet.

  • Wow! Kick ass man. I just read this now.

    I prefer “should” more. It makes people squirm and it’s interesting to watch them justify habits that you are not actually attacking.

    Dave

  • The shampoo issue disturbs me. I guess it’s different for guys, but I know I need shampoo. You have to be completely nasty if your a girl and don’t use it. Only using conditional will make your hair over done in it and give it a nasty slick look. I thought I’d go without shampoo for a bit and just condition it- and no, that’s nasty. And okay, maybe not the most expensive shampoo, but those cheap shampoos like V5 are not that good for your hair, it will dry it out worse. After running out of the shampoo I usually use, I started using a bottle of my dad’s V5 and about a month later went for a haircut- the woman there told me she could tell I’ve been using a cheap shampoo, and guess what? She was right. There’s reasons why these things are cheap.. And secondly. The shoe thing. Yeah, maybe you don’t need new shoes, but atlest keep them clean. We need less greasy haired, nasty shoed people in the world. (hehe) So coming from a girl that shampoos, buys shoes, is still a teen and is on her third car- Yes you can do without these things (It shouldnt kill you) but I would not agree with you saying you should do without them. Do what makes you happy, if you like to be extra clean, than be clean.

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