The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Soul searching?

“Faith, hope and love” — and organization? Did Paul forget a fourth great spiritual gift when he wrote his first letter to the Corinthians?

You might think so if you've browsed the self-help aisles of bookstores or flipped through women's magazines this spring to find authors knee deep in stuff, wringing their hands about how to clear out clutter and get organized for the sake of our spiritual well-being. Seems we've misplaced our very souls in our mess.

"The problem has 'spiritual issues' written all over it," summed up Kayla Williams of the Organizer Group in Dallas, a business that has the Christian fish symbol on its home page (www.theorganizergroup.com). "What I do is a ministry," she said about helping clients deal with their stuff.

Rochelle Melander, an ELCA pastor and life coach (www.liferhymecoaching.com) agrees — to a point. "Clearing out clutter can be a helpful spiritual practice," she said. "We spend less time searching for life's essential items, so we have more time for our relationships with people and with God."

But just getting your stuff sorted is not the whole answer, she said. In fact, it's part of a bigger problem she sees in a culture increasingly concerned with stuff. "Any kind of obsession with stuff can be sinful when it pulls us away from the core of our faith — loving God and one another," Melander said.


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