Joshua Becker On Christianity And Becoming Minimalist

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to talk with Joshua Becker at Becoming Minimalist. We talked about Christianity and minimalism. We talked about writing and speaking. We covered an array of topics. Today, I’ll share some of the key points of our talk with you.

Joshua Becker, Christianity, Becoming Minimalist, Minimalism: photo of latte art.First, if you’ve never read Joshua Becker’s writing, I encourage you to read this post and then go directly to www.becomingminimalist.com

A Brief Profile Of Joshua Becker’s Minimalist Journey

Joshua Becker started his minimalist journey in Vermont, in 2008, after a neighbor mentioned the term minimalism. He was intrigued. He started the blog Becoming Minimalist to journal his journey. As a pastor at the time, it was only natural that his writing include a Christian message. 

Joshua was an early blogger on the topic of minimalism. With a little help from Leo Babauta of Zen Habits, Joshua’s blog started to gain a following. It hasn’t stopped. Zen Habits and Becoming Minimalist were two of the first blogs to tackle the topic of minimalism, which is often associated with Buddhism. They’re still the two biggest blogs on the topic.

The Difference Between Two Minimalisms

When I asked Joshua about the differences between the Buddhist and Christian views on minimalism, he broke it down like this:

Buddhism is all about non-attachment which makes it right for minimalism. Christianity is all about attachment to God. As Christians, we want to become less attached to worldly things and more attached to Godly things.

It was with this Christian-based view on minimalism that Joshua started writing minimalist essays in a way that spoke to many people. He said, “Even though it’s a counter-cultural message, it’s not much of a disadvantage.” 

It’s A Message About Finding Purpose And Meaning

Joshua gave me a quick summary of the message he’s sending through his writing. He said that people want to assign meaning to their lives. We want to make a difference. Most people don’t really want more stuff. We want to find significance in our place in the world. It’s when we feel discontent that we often try to plug that hole with overconsumption. The message of minimalism can counteract that feeling of emptiness by putting more focus on the things we truly hold important: family, joy, meaning, fulfillment, love.

Of course, I had to ask the question:

Was Jesus A Minimalist?

Joshua: “Jesus taught about minimalism in regard to our possessions and money. He asked us not to sacrifice, but just to be more focused on the things that matter.”

I think Matthew 6:19-21 sums it up nicely:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Joshua added that God has bigger dreams for us than nice houses and new cars. God gives us opportunities to teach and argue against overconsumption. But even within Christianity we see a prosperity mindset. God gives us a voice to argue against that thinking.

On Speaking And Other Things In the Works

Joshua doesn’t charge for his speaking engagements. He simply requests that his travel expenses be met. He says he wants to be available to people when he sees opportunities for impact.

Joshua recently wrapped up a book tour to promote his latest book, The More Of Less.

As for new stuff happening at Becoming Minimalist, Joshua will be starting on a new book in the fall. I don’t want to give too much away, but he told me that the book will focus on the way we view money.

He’s also continuing to work on his non-profit, The Hope Effect. The Hope Effect is changing how the world cares for orphans by creating homes that work more like families than traditional orphanages.

In Closing…

I’d like to share how this conversation with Joshua Becker started. I watched a YouTube video of Joshua delivering a sermon.

Minimalism, Spirituality, And Why It Matters 

I was touched by the message and impressed with Joshua’s delivery. So I emailed him to ask if I could write a short profile piece about Becoming Minimalist, minimalism, and Christianity. He was kind enough to accept my invitation and offer his time. I’d like to wrap this post up with his sermon. I encourage you to spend half an hour to watch.

Learn more about Joshua Becker and Becoming Minimalist

If you’d like to read more posts like this one, take a moment to sign up for the Hip Diggs newsletter below:

Join Hip Diggs

Simple / Facebook / Twitter / RSS

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

10 Comments

  1. Thanks for writing this piece Dan. I’ve been reflecting on it this week. Many of the people I talk to about minimalism are focused on decluttering and condensing their possessions down to two suitcases or less. This might be because I am based in Shanghai City, where people come and go frequently. However I feel like they might be missing an important point.
    Joshua’s explanation about minimalism from a Buddhist and Christian perspective really resonated with me. Less attachment to get closer to God. That’s the journey that I am on.
    Keep writing and sharing. I look forward to reading more.

  2. I’ve been following Joshua’s writings for a few years and have downsized my home and belongings. His early writings caught my attention because I could sense the Christianity behind it without him even mentioning it. It automatically draws you closer to God as you shed layers of mindless consumption. I search my purpose more intentionally now. Thank you for continuing this ongoing conversation.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and adding to the conversation, Lucy. I agree that Joshua’s work speaks “Christian” without a word about it. He has a good spirit. And yes, living with less opens more time and space for God.

  3. Thanks for talking about the value of minimalism with out the metrics that are often imposed. (100 belongings, so many square feet, how many forks, how many items of clothing). Comparing “our” minimalism to others is a game as meaningless as collecting things to keep up with the Jones.
    Deciding to value something else (relationships with people, creation and God) more than owning material things we don’t need and that weigh us down, is what is transformative about living this way.

  4. Thank you so much for your Christian approach to our over consumption . We began our journey of simplifying several years ago after I read Jenna Hattmaker’s “7 ” and Kyle Idelman’s “No Other Gods”. We have far to go but are slowly seeing our focus and monies being kingdom directed instead of earthly.

    1. I think Jesus lived simple, but I’m also careful that we make minimalism a piece of a fundamentalist view of Christianity. We need to be free in our decisions to live simple, not do it because we feel it’s part of a set of rules.

  5. Thank you for writing this!
    Another great Christian perspective on minimalism is the book “Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger” by Ronald Sider.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *