Post Reply
Page 1 of 5  •  1 2 3 4 5 Next
Switch to Forum Live View Man Lives without Money & Lives the Teachings of Jesus
2 years ago  ::  May 04, 2012 - 6:43PM #1
costrel
Posts: 6,226

From an article on Yahoo! News, which can be read by clicking HERE

"Daniel Suelo is 51 years old and broke. Happily broke. Consciously, deliberately, blessedly broke.


Not only does he not have debt, a mortgage or rent, he does not earn a salary. Nor does he buy food or clothes, or own any product with a lower case "i" before it. Home is a cave on public land outside Moab, Utah. He scavenges for food from the garbage or off the land (fried grasshoppers, anyone?). He has been known to carve up and boil fresh road kill. He bathes, without soap, in the creek.

[...] He was born into an Evangelical Christian home in Grand Junction, Colo., and took his religion seriously. Eventually, he started wondering why 'professed Christians rarely followed the teachings of Jesus--namely the Sermon on the Mount, namely giving up possessions, living beyond credit and debt--freely giving and freely taking--giving, expecting nothing in return, forgiving all debts, owing nobody a thing, living beyond payback of either evil-for-evil or good-for-good, living and walking without guilt (debt), without grudge (debt), without judgment (credit & debt), living by Grace, by Gratis, not by our own works but by the works of the true Nature flowing through,' he said.


Although he considered himself a Christian, he discovered that the same principles applied to Taoism, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Islam, Mormonism, Shamanism, and Paganism. [...]"


One of his critics writes in the comments section of the blog that he keeps by visiting a public library, "There is no virtue in what you are doing. You are not fulfilling the mission of being a father, a husband[,] a provider[,] a lover, etc. With people like you the world will go into extinction" (source). 

So what do you think? Is there virtue in what he is doing? Is he living a Christian life? What do you think about the idea that he is not fulfilling the mission of being a father, a husband, a provider, and a lover? And should more Christians, as well as believers and practitioners of other religions and faiths, live this way? One of the things that I find interesting is that he is not Catholic or Orthodox, which means that there is a good chance that he was not raised in a form of Christianity with a living monastic tradition. Rather, he is an Evangelical Christian who was challenged by the Scriptures themselves to follow the Gospel. 

Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  May 04, 2012 - 8:49PM #2
arielg
Posts: 9,116

I have nothing to say about the path he has chosen. It is his path to follow.


But I want to make a few general comments .


There is this common belief that one who follows the spiritual path must embrace poverty Poverty has become a virtue in itself. That is a distortion of what poverty means. It has nothing to do with what one posesses in the world. It has to do with the attachment to what one has.


That  is what has to be dropped.There are people who are attached to wealth and there are people who are attached to poverty. But it is the same attachment.


It is not riches that are the problem: it is the attachment to it. Someone living in a cave can be more attached to his cave than a rich man to his palace.


Some give up the entaglements and riches of the world expecting the riches, comforts, luxuries he expects to get in the spiritual world. He is suffering now in the hope of getting something better later on. The attachment is still there.


A spiritual person is not attached to wealth or to poverty; he is not attached to anything. And when one is not attached to anything, there is no need to renounce. Renunciation is the other side of attachment.


 Those who understand live in the world but are not of the world. They can live in a cave or a palace. It makes no difference.

Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  May 05, 2012 - 11:26AM #3
Iwantamotto
Posts: 8,277

costrel:  Is there virtue in what he is doing?


I see no absolute virtue in any objective sense, but if being a bug-eating hermit is what it took to make him at peace, then whatever.  *shrugs*


Is he living a Christian life?


Christianity didn't invent bug-eating homeless people who want to make a point.


What do you think about the idea that he is not fulfilling the mission of being a father, a husband, a provider, and a lover?


He's not a productive citizen, neither, unless you count cleaning up the roads of roadkill.  What he's doing is a nice statement kind of thing, but other than giving himself a pat on the back, there's no real way he's helping others at all.


And to help others, you need to have resources, whether monetary, service, or whatever.  All I see is just a guy wanting to camp out and avoid dealing with living in a society.


And should more Christians, as well as believers and practitioners of other religions and faiths, live this way?


It's impractical.  If Jesus had only spoken to poor people, there'd be no one to feed Him and His posse.  SOMEBODY has to be making a paycheck somewhere.


arielg:  It has to do with the attachment to what one has.


Indeed.


Those who understand live in the world but are not of the world. They can live in a cave or a palace. It makes no difference.


That's how I try to roll.

Knock and the door shall open.  It's not my fault if you don't like the decor.
Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  May 05, 2012 - 12:41PM #4
farragut
Posts: 4,042

"SOMEBODY has to be making a paycheck somewhere"


 


At some point it is likely that he will be hurt or sick and will need to be fetched to the hospital to receive its gentle ministrations, a hospital provided by some mix of taxes, philanthropy, capitalism, and market economics, to none of which has he contributed.

Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  May 05, 2012 - 5:08PM #5
MysticWanderer
Posts: 1,328

One point in the gentleman's favor.  He is just quietly living his life in the way he sees fit being a minimal parasite on society.  This is unlike good ole Henry David Thoreau who went to live the "simple life" at Walden pond and pressing it as the perfect lifestyle, while being wined and dined by his friends who lived the "complicated life."  I have more acceptance of the Amos and Mennonites and tis guy than hypocrites like Thoreau.

"Not all who wander are lost" J.R.R.Tolkein
You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do. ~Anne Lamott
"Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain."
Friedrich von Schiller
Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  May 05, 2012 - 10:38PM #6
solfeggio
Posts: 9,352

The guy is a bum.


I see nothing 'spiritual' about living out of trash cans and catching grasshoppers for dinner.


Truly great people spend their lives doing worthy deeds (mitzvahs), and I have not read anything about this fellow doing good works.

Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  May 06, 2012 - 10:40AM #7
costrel
Posts: 6,226

May 4, 2012 -- 8:49PM, arielg wrote:

I have nothing to say about the path he has chosen. It is his path to follow.


But I want to make a few general comments .


There is this common belief that one who follows the spiritual path must embrace poverty Poverty has become a virtue in itself. That is a distortion of what poverty means. It has nothing to do with what one posesses in the world. It has to do with the attachment to what one has.


That  is what has to be dropped.There are people who are attached to wealth and there are people who are attached to poverty. But it is the same attachment.


It is not riches that are the problem: it is the attachment to it. Someone living in a cave can be more attached to his cave than a rich man to his palace.


Some give up the entaglements and riches of the world expecting the riches, comforts, luxuries he expects to get in the spiritual world. He is suffering now in the hope of getting something better later on. The attachment is still there.


A spiritual person is not attached to wealth or to poverty; he is not attached to anything. And when one is not attached to anything, there is no need to renounce. Renunciation is the other side of attachment.


 Those who understand live in the world but are not of the world. They can live in a cave or a palace. It makes no difference.


I agree with you. As we can easily see with so-called "hoarders" who keep everything, including in extreme cases even their own bodily wastes, attachment is one of the major dilemmas concerning possessions. Another dilemma is grasping, the idea that a person never has enough and always wants more. 


I also like what you say about some people giving up "the entaglements and riches of the world expecting the riches, comforts, luxuries he expects to get in the spiritual world. He is suffering now in the hope of getting something better later on. The attachment is still there." Both the Christian Gospel and the Islamic Koran are explicit that the reasons one should take care of the needy is for the purposes of spiritual riches in the world to come.


For instance, the Markan (10:21), the Matthean (19:21), and the Lukan (18:22) versions of Jesus's advice to the rich young man/ruler includes Jesus's assertion that if the man sells his possessions and gives the money to the poor, he "will have treasure in heaven." All three of these versions then continue with the idea that it is hard for rich people to enter the Kingdom of Heaven and be saved. As Jesus declares in the Lukan version (18:29-30), "Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not get back very much more in this age, and in the age to come eternal life." So why should people give up their possessions, as well as their family members? Not for compassionate reasons of helping the poor, but for spiritual riches, salvation, and eternal life.


Even in the Koran the believers take care of the poor and the needy not out of a genuine sense of compassion or empathy for alleviating the sufferings and poverty of others, but because of a fear of God and the promises of happiness, riches, a leisure in Paradise: "We feed you for the sake of God, desiring neither recompense nor thanks. We fear the dismal day calamitous from our Lord" (76:9-10). As a result, God will "reward them [the believers] for their perseverence" of feeding the needy with "Paradise and silken robes, where they will recline on couches feeling neither heat of the sun nor intense cold" (76:12). In addition, they will sit around in the shadows of the trees eating grapes, drinking from containers made of silver and glass, and attended by "boys of everlasting youth" (76:14-19). 

Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  May 06, 2012 - 11:12AM #8
costrel
Posts: 6,226

May 5, 2012 -- 10:38PM, solfeggio wrote:

The guy is a bum.


I see nothing 'spiritual' about living out of trash cans and catching grasshoppers for dinner.


Truly great people spend their lives doing worthy deeds (mitzvahs), and I have not read anything about this fellow doing good works.


I like the idea of good deeds, but then, I was raised Catholic. Of course, as Catholic contemplatives understand, their prayers can be just as valuable and beneficial as performing active works. Though you, like me, probably have a difficult time accepting that praying for a starving person can be just as beneficial as giving that starving person some food.

May 5, 2012 -- 11:26AM, Iwantamotto wrote:

I see no absolute virtue in any objective sense, but if being a bug-eating hermit is what it took to make him at peace, then whatever.  *shrugs*


Christianity didn't invent bug-eating homeless people who want to make a point.


He's not a productive citizen, neither, unless you count cleaning up the roads of roadkill.  What he's doing is a nice statement kind of thing, but other than giving himself a pat on the back, there's no real way he's helping others at all.


And to help others, you need to have resources, whether monetary, service, or whatever.  All I see is just a guy wanting to camp out and avoid dealing with living in a society.


One of the things that immediately came to my mind when I read the article about this man were the Late Antique Christian hermits known as the Boskoi, or Grazers, who lived in Palestine, Syria, and Mesopotamia. They generally went naked (though we have evidence that some of the women probably wore clothes and dressed like men), lived in caves or out in the open among the herds of gazelle, and foraged roots and other plants for their food. When they were approached by what we today would term "spiritual seekers," they would flee deeper into the wilderness. Yet according to Late Antique testimony, even catching a glimpse of a Boskoi was beneficial for a "spiritual seeker."


We generally do think of resources -- monetary, service, etc. -- and people with resources (even if that resources is, as you point out, service and volunteerism) as being what is of most benefit to people in need, but perhaps there might also be something beneficial about a person being a "witness." But I remain skeptical about this, just as I remain skeptical about the beneficialness of prayer. 

It's impractical.  If Jesus had only spoken to poor people, there'd be no one to feed Him and His posse.  SOMEBODY has to be making a paycheck somewhere.


May 5, 2012 -- 12:41PM, farragut wrote:

"SOMEBODY has to be making a paycheck somewhere"


At some point it is likely that he will be hurt or sick and will need to be fetched to the hospital to receive its gentle ministrations, a hospital provided by some mix of taxes, philanthropy, capitalism, and market economics, to none of which has he contributed.


I do agree about the need for a paycheck somewhere. As the early Christian monks knew well, one could live a life of prayer and work while living in a cave and sell the baskets one makes. Or, as the Didache (the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles) memorably commands, "Let your alms sweat in your hands, until you know to whom you should give" (1.23).

Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  May 06, 2012 - 12:08PM #9
costrel
Posts: 6,226

May 5, 2012 -- 5:08PM, MysticWanderer wrote:


One point in the gentleman's favor.  He is just quietly living his life in the way he sees fit being a minimal parasite on society.  This is unlike good ole Henry David Thoreau who went to live the "simple life" at Walden pond and pressing it as the perfect lifestyle, while being wined and dined by his friends who lived the "complicated life."  I have more acceptance of the Amos and Mennonites and tis guy than hypocrites like Thoreau.



Yes, Thoreau desired to live a simple life as well as a life that provided him with the space and time to think (as the Hermit states in the dialogue between the Hermit and the Poet in Chapter 12 of Walden: "Who would live there where a body can never think for the barking of Bose [a common dog's name]?"). Thoreau, though, in spite of his infamous use of "Hermit" for himself in the dialogue between him and his friend W. Ellery Channing (the Poet) in Walden, Chapter 12, was not an ascetic or a monk, nor was he a pioneer, a mountain man, or even an environmentalist. He was a thinker and a reader. I suspect he might have agreed with Annie Dillard, who is often compared to him, when she told a group of young writers that authors should not be vegetarians, because preparing vegatarian meals takes up too much of their time, time that they could devote to writing. 


Unfortunately, Thoreau's friends and later biographers tended to see him differently. According to Mabel Collins in her 1877 essay "Thoreau: Hermit and Thinker," "Thoreau, born 1817, died 1862, is much too modern to have been a prophet." Yet as Lawrence Buell explains, in the poetry of Thoreau's friend Channing, Thoreau becomes "a holy hermit, a beneficial spiritual influence," and that Thoreau's second biographer, A. H. Japp, compared Thoreau to St. Francis of Assisi (The Environmental Imagination: Thoreau, Nature Writing, and the Formation of American Culture [Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1995], p. 331). Thoreau was also not a Misanthrope like Shakespeare's Timon of Athens. After all, his famous arrest and night in jail that led him to formulate his concepts of civil disobedience that ended up influencing Gandhi and Martin Luther King happened because he was in town to visit the shoemaker's to have one of his shoes repaired. And immediately after he was freed, he  "joined a huckleberry party" ("Civil Disobedience"). So I think that Thoreau only becomes a hypocrite if we try to force him into the roles and identities of prophet, holy hermit (as opposed to just "hermit"), ascetic, monk, pioneer, mountain man, or our contemporary concept of environmentalist. 


As far as the Amish (I assume that your "Amos" is a typo for "Amish"), their uniquely pre-modern lifestyle grew out of deliberate criticial responses to  technological advances and the urbanization of the United States during the first 40 years of the 20th century. Back in the 19th century, they were not all that different from other U.S. farmers. Another Anabaptist group, the Hutterian Brethren, did not decide to sweepingly reject technology and modern conveniences as the Amish did (apparently, the Amish also generally reject bicycles). Hutterian Brethren use telephones, electricity, tractors, cars, etc., though they generally reject technology that is used for entertainment and leisurely purposes (TVs, computers, the Internet, radios, stereos, DVD players, etc.). 

Quick Reply
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  May 06, 2012 - 12:28PM #10
costrel
Posts: 6,226

Thinking of Thoreau and Daniel Suelo, the Christian in the opening post who lives in a cave, reminded me of the lifestlye of the French existential philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. As Stephen Priest explains, "Sartre never owned a house or an apartment. For long stretches he would rent rooms in hotels. Indeed, his personal possesions were few: modest clothes, cigarettes, writing materials. When money came [...] he would carry all of it as a wad of banknotes in his wallet donating it copiously to friends or worthy causes" (Jean-Paul Sartre: Basic Writings [London: Routledge, 2001], page 6). 


Sartre is an example of someone who did not try to live without money or live without possessions. He owned only what he really needed or wanted (clothes, cigarettes, writing materials), and rather than live in a house, an apartment, or a cave, he lived in rented motel rooms. He also seems to have been quite generous with his money when he had money. 

Quick Reply
Cancel
Page 1 of 5  •  1 2 3 4 5 Next
 
    Viewing this thread :: 0 registered and 1 guest
    No registered users viewing
    Advertisement

    Beliefnet On Facebook