Less is MoreI want it, I need it, I have to have MORE of it!  MORE everything. We operate in a fast-paced society where you must have more: money, fame, food, people in your circle, and the list continues. Here at Candler “it” may not be more money or more fame (or maybe it is), but “it” may be that others want more of YOU. Other people want more of your time, more of your gifts, more of your mind, more of your energy, and this list continues as well. You are pulled in several directions and often are not sure where to turn or what to do except comply and give more. Rarely do we think in terms of less being more; however, this is exactly what the Lenten small group experience, “Less is More,” sponsored by Candler’s Office of Student Programming (OSP), is encouraging.

During Lent, students from Candler have committed to come together for four weeks to explore a simpler way of living. Through engaging the book Longing for Enough in a Culture of More by Paul L. Escamilla, we’re exploring such ideas as: what it means to be enough and not having to feel as if you have to prove something by giving too much of yourself; how to effectively say “NO”; and how to honor God and yourself by observing the Sabbath and simply resting.

Life as a seminarian can be demanding with classes, papers, projects, contextual education internships, and church obligations. For an hour and a half once a week, the group participants slow down to participate in a prayer practice (iconic prayer, labyrinth prayer, centering prayer, or writing as prayer), discuss our individual Lenten practice (what we have decided to sacrifice/give up or what positive/affirming actions we have taken on in our lives), read and discuss a short chapter from Escamilla’s book, support each other emotionally and spiritually, and meditate.

This small group experience, like others sponsored by the OSP, has benefited my own spiritual formation because I have a space where my spiritual needs are the focus. Additionally, the intimate group fosters community with individuals also desiring a simpler way of living. My time with the “Less Is More” group is exposing me to practices that will serve my spiritual growth well beyond the Lenten season.