A Fundamentalist’s Journey Toward Simplicity
Book Club Moderator, Jana Llewellyn
Daniel Suelo, now widely known as “the man who quit money,” had a long, sometimes frustrating spiritual journey toward understanding his Christian faith. When he arrived at college in the 80s, he was still a fundamentalist, taking after his parents’ beliefs and the community in which he grew up. But conversations with people of varying faiths led him to explore alternative paths. Among his ventures, Daniel has visited different churches as well as Quaker meetings, meditated in nature with friends, studied and wrote about the Bible (stumbling upon “the feminine side of God”), and even visited a Buddhist temple and monastery in Thailand.
Daniel became convinced through his studies that it was important to be altruistic and help the poor. So he joined the Peace Corps, worked as a counselor at a homeless shelter, was a social worker for a Christian charity, and volunteered in a shelter for victims of domestic abuse.
Everywhere he turned, however, it seemed that people and organizations who said they were Christian were behaving in ways that he thought eluded Christianity’s basic tenets. There were too many barricades in his way toward doing the right thing, and money seemed to be the largest culprit. When he stopped using money and chose to live in the present moment, trusting that God would provide for him, he felt a weight lift in his soul.
Daniel does not expect everyone to renounce money as he has. What he encourages us all to do, however, is pay attention to the voice within, the voice that alerts us to the roadblocks in the way of following our true calling.
Questions for discussion:
Has your faith ever convinced you to do something that went against the norm? How did you cope with feeling like an “outsider”? Or do you regret not following that voice?
What can we do when we become frustrated with what we see as hypocrisy in our faith community?
What is your view on a literal interpretation of the Bible, as is common among Christian fundamentalists? For instance, how might a wealthy Christian resolve the following passage from the Book of Matthew?
And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
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This is a Friends Journal Book Club Installment. While you’re here, peruse our other posts about the October book club selection, The Man Who Quit Money.