Hi there! I’m Becca Ehrlich, AKA The Christian Minimalist. I’m excited that you’ve found your way to this blog and that you’re interested in learning more about Christian Minimalism!
My journey to minimalism was a gradual one. I remember over 10 years ago attending a weekend retreat, and looking in my suitcase. “This is so much simpler, just having the right amount of clothes and what I need for the weekend,” I thought. “I wish I could live like this all the time.” In the years following that retreat, I found myself trying to get rid of some things over and over, but never really kicking my attachment to stuff and my habit of online shopping when I was bored or not feeling well.
Over the last decade, I’ve gone through some really rough stuff—my infant son died in 2014, and shortly after that I became very ill and no doctor my husband Will and I went to could figure out what was wrong with me. After years of medical testing, a surgery, and bouncing from doctor to doctor, we are finally figuring out how to manage my chronic illness (MCAS). Due to the loss of our son, my health, and starting a new job after leaving a work situation that was making me unhappy and stressed, we have moved multiple times in 7 years, accumulating stuff along the way.
We moved in August of 2017 from a 3,000-square foot home in western New York that we owned (and eventually sold), to a small three-bedroom apartment in Pennsylvania. Most of our stuff ended up in a storage unit outside of town, and we shoved the rest of our stuff in every nook and cranny of the apartment. I felt like we were drowning in stuff. I was also figuring out that stress and emotional upset was a big trigger for my chronic illness, and I was struggling to find the best way to manage the stress in my life of changing jobs, moving, and managing my chronic illness.
A few months after the move, while browsing Netflix, I found and watched The Minimalists’ (Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus’) documentary Minimalism: A Documentary, and I knew right away that the Holy Spirit was speaking to me and that minimalism would be beneficial for both myself and my husband. I showed the documentary to Will, and he agreed and was immediately on board.
On the second viewing with Will, it struck me that that both Joshua and Ryan talked about how people come to minimalism because they are looking for meaning in their lives. I remember turning to Will and saying: “Well, Christians know what that meaning is, it’s Jesus! I wonder if anyone is writing about minimalism from a deep Christian perspective that we can read?”
Turns out, no one really was. The closest I could find was Joshua Becker, an amazing writer and blogger (and fellow pastor, actually!) who uses Biblical passages in his books, but most of his writing about minimalism is secular. I was craving more in-depth information about minimalism through a Christian lens, and it really didn’t exist.
Thus, the existence of this blog. I knew I couldn’t be the only one who wanted to talk about the intersection of minimalism and the Christian faith—and I wanted to share our Christian minimalism journey so that it could help others on their own journey. So, here we are!
Will and I started our minimalism journey at the beginning of 2018, and we are definitely a work in process. We are figuring out this minimalism thing as we go, and when I told Will about my blog idea, right away he offered to help me. So although I write all the content, he is the technological mastermind behind the running of the blog itself.
My hope is that this blog will help you as you refocus your life on what matters most. What is most important in your own life? How can you best use your time, energy, and resources to live the abundant life Jesus wants you to live? And what can you remove from your life that is holding you back from living that abundant life?
A little more info about me:
I am an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), one of the Lutheran denominations in the United States.
In the past, I have served as Associate Dean for Community Life at a seminary, as Interim Director for Evangelical Mission/Assistant to the Bishop in two synods of the ELCA, in seminary admissions, and as parish pastor at two Lutheran congregations in western New York State (one as solo pastor, one as co-pastor). I have three theological degrees—a doctorate (DMin) from United Lutheran Seminary in Gettysburg and Philadelphia, a Master of Divinity (MDiv) from The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, and a Master of Arts (MA) in Theology and Ministry from LaSalle University in Philadelphia. I also double-majored in Dance and Dramatic Arts Criticism (self-designed) in my Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA– so music and the arts are a major way I tend to experience God’s presence.
I grew up near Albany, NY in an interfaith household (my mom is Roman Catholic and my dad is Jewish), and I currently live in Upstate New York with my husband Will. Will and I have been married since 2012, and I’m grateful to God every day for bringing us together.