My Review of Enough: Contentment in an Age of Excess by Will Samson

Finally here’s my review of Enough: Contentment in an Age of Excess by Will Samson

I started reading Enough while vacationing in Aruba.  Shut up, it was our first vacation in years ;-)  Of course, I knew the irony before I began reading it but fortunately, Shane Claiborne wrote in the foreword that this book is not a guilt trip.   Then I lost it for a few months and found it under the passenger seat in my Jaguar (ok, I drive a Mazda but lies sound better) and finally finished it while I was in the Bahamas.  (Shut up, I was on a mission trip … rebuilding an AIDS Camp ;-)

Seriously speaking, most who read books like Tom Sine’s New Conspirators and quote Wendell Berry the way wanna-be mega church pastors quote Bill Hybels  will know a great deal of the content.  However for those conservative evangelicals (like me) and find themselves frustrated in a post-Jabez world (or were raised in these homes/churches quoting Paul and the Fox News Channel), this book is helpful.

The introduction to the chapters are great like:

“One day Jesus was walking down Main Street on his way of town, and a rich and influential young lawyer came up to him and asked him; “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  Give what you can to the synagogue.  Ten percent is a good rule of thumb, but whatever you don, don’t be a legalist about it.  And make sure you have enough left over to contribute to the economy.  You know ‘Give to Caesar ….'”  And the man went away very happy, because that was exactly what he was already doing (p.29).”

Will gives some excellent statistics regarding consumption like – “In 2003 nearly 50 percent of American household expenditures were for non-necessity” items.  Compare this to the 21 percent of non-necessity  spending in 1901 and 35 percent in 1960.  In 2004 American consumers spent $2.2 trillion on entertainment and $782 billion of that on televisions, radios, and sound equipment (p.33).”  Throughout the book he gives some practical suggestions like the encouragement to bike more, to plant a garden (not just to grow food but to experience the process of planting food), to spend money locally, etc.

As I was reading, I could not help but compare this to Shane Claiborne’s Irresistible Revolution.  Shane’s work is extremely inspiring, like a Braveheart-esque speech.  The problem for some is that it’s so radical that they would find themselves picking up a sword and learning Scottish so they could fight the Brits again then moving to co-op in Kensington.  While the Samsons also live in a similar intentional community, their story is more accessible and, I think, more “user-friendly” to  most suburbanites.  Married couples with children helps temper the comment, “Well Shane’s young, single, and makes his own clothes so it’s more realistic for him …”  (And for the record, Shane feels called to his way of life, I’ve never heard him say, “True Christians live like me …”

I like the option of handing out either book now.  It’s yet another topic that small groups would find very valuable because it is a fantastic introduction to the idea of excess, consumption and the Christian’s call to living lives of faithfulness and stewardship.  Will argues that living out the truth of the Eucharist, the sharing of the presence of Christ, is the key to overcoming our materialist lusts, our over-consumption and our general self-absorption.


  1. I have a sneaking suspicion that Wendell Berry comment was directed at me…

  2. Yeah it’s true. Btw, I’m glad it inspired that tweet.

Speak Your Mind