If you are Mennonite, you may have noticed that my last name contains an extra “a”–it’s not “Harder,” but “Harader.” And no, I did not add an “a” for fun; it’s always been there. My extended family is not Mennonite and I did not grow up in the Mennonite tradition. Like many who have been drawn to the Mennonites, my journey began with that most radical and dangerous book, Living More with Less by Doris Janzen Longacre.
Even though Lee Hull Moses is (sadly) not a Mennonite, her new book is very much in the More with Less spirit and explores a central question that is near and dear to my Mennonite heart: What does it mean to live as a faithful follower of Jesus in our contemporary context? Her title says it nicely: More than Enough: Living Abundantly in a Culture of Excess.
As a pastor, Moses addresses this question from a theological and biblical perspective. The book brings in a range of biblical teachings from creation and Exodus, to the Psalms, to the words and actions of Jesus. And it presents insights from many contemporary theologians such as Walter Brueggemann, William J. Barber, Barbara Brown Taylor, Ellen Painter Dollar, Rebecca Todd Peters, and Marva Dawn. Despite the obvious research and scholarship that went into this book, Moses’ writing never comes across as academic or preachy.
As a parent, Moses sustains a conversational tone throughout the book as she connects our personal and family lives with larger issues such as global economic realities, systemic injustice in our communities, and globalization. In sharing concrete examples from her own life, readers are nudged to consider the decisions that we make about what to buy and where to shop and how to vacation and what to wear. I personally can relate to her angst over buying sleds as Christmas presents—we don’t want cheap plastic stuff but the quality local option is more expensive and may not be available by Christmas and do the kids really need another gift anyway? I can relate to feeling guilt about vacations and wondering if it’s really worth it to buy organic and trying to balance a faithful awareness of the injustices of the world with my own need for basic household maintenance.
More than Enough will engage and challenge readers to consider how our everyday choices can contribute to—or thwart—a more just world. The book’s brevity and thematic chapters make it particularly well-suited for use in Sunday School classes or other small group settings. Moses has created a free study guide and worship planning guide to use with this book.
Whether you read it alone or with a group, I highly recommend More than Enough.
The book does not hand out easy answers, but it does offer encouragement for those of us who want to live abundantly in a culture of excess. In my personal efforts to live more faithfully in this world, I carry with me these words from Lee Hull Moses:
God calls us to lives of enough.
Enough is not nothing.
Enough has no winners or losers.
No one goes hungry, no one gets lost.
Enough, with grace, is abundant life. (14)