Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Study Outline of Happy Are You Poor

Posts So Far:

Gospel Poverty Part I
Gospel Poverty Part II

Five bags dropped off at the thrift store today!... bringing the total up to 16.

In this post I'm making a sort of quasi-outline of the book Happy Are You Poor hoping to fill it in as I go. One of the hard things about the book on first reading, for me, was that I didn't have a clear sense of its structure. In the first part, I was in doubt about some of his points and mentally arguing and it affected how I read the second part. This time through I did better about recognizing what he was saying. I think it would have helped to study the basic structure of the book so I would have had a better sense of how it was laid out -- but I'm a "zip through the book from front to back cover" type person and it works OK to do things like that as long as you don't expect your first reading to be comprehensive.

Note: I am writing posts out of order of the books outline so you may see things like "38 bags" coming way before things like "16 bags".

Part 1
"Problems and Presuppositions"

Questions (chapters 1-2)
Criteria for answering (chapter 3)
Premises (chapter 4)
Part 2
"Values -- What and Why"

The things Gospel Poverty is NOT (chapter 5) -- I'm just going to list them for now and fill them in as I go:

  1. Carelessness, dirt, disorder, or laziness.
  2. Destitution
  3. Miserliness
  4. Economy
  5. Detachment (merely)
  6. Availability of person, talent or time.
  7. Insensitivity to beauty or health.
  8. Respectful use of creation
  9. Amorphous sentimentalism
The attributes of Gospel Poverty he mentions (chapters 6-9 -- he explains one in each chapter):
  1. radical readiness for God's word
  2. sparing lifestyle conducive to sharing
  3. apostolic credibility
  4. pilgrim witness
Part 3
"Radicality and Superfluity"

He lists three "levels of radicality" in poverty (chapter 10) but I'm just going to mention Level One for now since it is most compatible with married life:

Elements in Level One Poverty:

  1. Correct motivation -- for the greater glory of God
  2. Working for one's living
  3. Sharing to equality
  4. Avoidance of superfluities
  5. Contentment with simplicity
  6. Avoidance of vanity

There's Level Two and Level Three as well, and a chapter on "Necessities and Superfluities"

Part 4
"States of Life"

Frugality in Marriage

Here is the outline of captions for his suggestions on married frugality (these may seem rather ambiguous but he explains them in chapter 12) :

(My post -- Frugality -- atmosphere, discipline and life)
  1. Value motivation (this is to do with the attributes of Poverty listed above)
  2. Maintaining one's state
  3. Secular signs
  4. Challenging the world
  5. Focusing on beauty
  6. Saintly radicality
There's also a chapter on The Religious Vow (13) and Clerical Poverty (14)

Part 5

Joy in Frugality (chapter 15)
An Examen (chapter 16)

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