Nothing Simple in a Simple Summer

Our monthly theme at Foothills is “Simplicity,” which makes a certain kind of sense.  We imagine the summertime to have an inherently slower pace, a casual ease, with an abundance of backyard barbecues, long mountain hikes, and weeks of vacation adventures here and there.  And yet, as my son wisely observed at dinner last night, “It’s no fair that grown-ups don’t get summer vacation.”

Josef was noticing the discrepancy many of us struggle to acknowledge – which is that while we may expect greater simplicity and relaxation during these few months – it doesn’t just “happen.”  It requires intentional planning, cultivating new habits and letting go of others.

By planning, I don’t just mean figuring out where you’re going to go on vacation, making all the arrangements, finding the money – anyone who has planned any significant travel adventures knows this is likely the opposite of simple.  And the new habits aren’t just staying up later because there’s more daylight.

Its Day Camp week at church this week.  This year, in line with our monthly theme, they are exploring the idea of “Simple Gifts.” On Monday, in one of their workshops, they explored the idea of “Slow Food,” which is in contrast to “Fast Food.” My kids came home telling me about how to take time with our eating, enjoying each bite, being aware of where it came from, paying attention to all the different  flavors.  It was a sweet example of one small thing we can do to claim a greater simplicity.

I’m also happy to remind you of the upcoming opportunity to “unburden” yourself from any extra stuff and to claim a greater simplicity in your home….that is, the church Rummage Sale! We’ll start receiving your treasures in mid-July – look for the notice in the “Extra.”


We’ll explore these sorts of ideas for greater simplicity in our worship service this Sunday (a service that starts with the wondering about if simplicity is actually a good thing anyways!), as well as in our after-service Faith Cafe- a new program this summer after each worship service where we’ll share in coffee and conversation around a specific question related to the service topic, or to life and our faith more generally.  All are welcome.

So much of the world conspires to add stuff to our lives, to make us want more than what we actually need, to move quickly and to get the to-do list done.  Simplicity and slower-living is counter-cultural, and requires a counter-cultural community, one that can equip and strengthen us in these new habits, and help us keep our sense of humor when things don’t go as we’d hoped.

This is our hope and mission as a religious community – to be that counter-cultural site where we learn and grow these humanizing habits, these habits that help us remember ourselves, our place in this world, and the beauty that is everywhere, and always.  And that place where we can live in gratitude, knowing we are blessed, and so we are called to be a blessing.

This summer, and all year round, I look forward to walking with you.  See you in church.


About Rev. Gretchen Haley

Gretchen Haley is relentlessly curious about most things, especially the big stuff of theology, the beauty of creation, the magic of collaboration, and the great joy of pop culture (reflected in this blog by random posts on Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Scandal, Orphan Black, or the latest Marvel movie). She has an audacious ambition for the liberal church, believing in its capacity to transform lives and our world by way of hyper-local relationships and partnerships that inspire the unleashing of courageous love. She's all in on adrienne maree brown's emergent strategy, and finds solace in the trails in and around Fort Collins Colorado where she serves with the brilliant Rev. Sean Neil-Barron as one of the ministers of the Foothills Unitarian Church. She and her amazing partner of over 20 years, Carri, have 2 children, Gracie (14) and Josef (12) who both relish and resent being PKs, and who keep her grounded, frustrated, inspired, and humbled, everyday. She is basically obsessed with her puppy, a large sized mutt, Charlie.
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