Downward Mobility Series

The Downward Mobility series was born out of a desire to work through the implications of what it means to not follow the American Dream. As someone in a Christian order among the poor who has taken on a voluntary vow of simplicity, the theological underpinnings of what it means to not keep grasping for more, more, more are of great consequence to me.

For this series, a wide variety of people and opinions weighed in on the subject. Talking about money and privilege, as always, can be quite divisive, and this series was no different. Although I started the series with the intention of helping the practitioners of downward mobility find encouragement and solace, it quickly morphed into something else altogether: a discussion on the validity of the topic. The hands-down most popular pieces were the ones on how Downward Mobility wasn’t enough, or from people who had tried to live in this lifestyle and failed.

For me, I came out of this experience of hosting the discussion with wider eyes. I understand now that talking about this brings up feelings of shame and confusion, guilt and fear. I understand that unless spoken with grace, this sort of conversation can prove alienating to those who feel like they aren’t in a place to pursue simplicity, or who feel stuck in their current life situation, or who do not have the luxury of “choosing” downward mobility. Even in the past few months I am learning that downward mobility is not a linear continuum, but it is a helpful framework for a life lived for reconciliation. Because we live in an unequal world, folks, and many of us reading these here words are at the top of the pole. One of the many things we can do to pursue loving God and loving our neighbor is to put ourselves in a more equal setting with our neighbors–both globally and locally.

I’m more convinced than ever that you can sell all that you have and give it to the poor and still not have love. And I am more convinced than ever that if you start sloughing off, little by little, the lies of consumerism and consumption, if you start moving downwards–you might find your cup of love increasing. Even to the point of overflowing.





Posts in the Downward Mobility Series:

Intro Post: Downward Mobility

Low, Low Prices

You See Flowers In these Weeds

Kids On The Block: Guest Post by Craig Greenfield

Torn Between Two Kingdoms: Guest Post by Dane Johnson

Thinking About Robbers

Imagine: Guest Post by Leah Eads

The Rocky Road: Guest Post by Christiana

Where Do We Draw The Lines? Guest Post by Abby Norman

Image Bearers: Guest Post by Meg Hers

Talking About Writing (Or How Much I Love Myself)

Runaway Life: And Interview with Shawn Smucker


The Baby Boomer’s Inadequate Gift to Us: Guest Post by Shawn Smucker

Authentic Mobility: Guest Post by Rachel Pieh Jones

Who Are My Brothers and Sisters? Guest Post by Heather Caliri

Choosing a Different Dream: Guest Post by Diane Miller

Seeds of Incarnation: Guest Post by Daniel Karistai

Accidental Simplicity: Guest Post by Micha Boyett

Remember You Will Die: Guest Post by Jenny Stockton

Silver and Gold: Guest Post by Ben Bishop

Downward Mobility: Guest Post by Jenny Flanagan

Re-Neighboring and Staying: Guest Post by Deanna Martinez

Preservation as Gratitude: Guest Post by Lindsay Strannigan

The Powers of Addiction, The Honesty of Our Neighborhood: Guest Post by Exile Fertility

If You Knew Me, You Would Care

Mammon: Guest Post by Kevin Hargaden

E-Mails From the Frontlines

On Food Stamps, Local Schools, and All My White Friends: Guest Post by Alissa BC

Blurring the Lines: Guest Post by Trudy

Downward Mobility as Reconciliation: Guest Post by Krispin Mayfield

I’m a Downward Mobility Drop-Out: Guest Post by Stina KC

A Few Words on Downward Mobility

12 Disciples for Every Rich Young Ruler

The Long Haul: Guest Post by Sandy Fox

Living More With Less

Downward Mobility Interview: Suburban Edition

Am I Going to be a Giver Today? Guest Post by Haley Baker

Missionary Kids, Downward Mobility, and my Friend Sarah: Guest Post by Brianna Meade

A Fight For Beauty: Guest Post by Marilyn Gardner

Moving Downward, In Spite of the Safety Net: Guest Post by Annie


Upward Mobility 





Thanks for reading.


4 thoughts on “Downward Mobility Series

  1. […] Downward Mobility Series […]

  2. […] Downward mobility series […]

  3. […] Mobility (for D.L Mayfield) – How I discovered downward by finding where I […]

  4. […] us. That’s why I like them. They’re one of us.” It was a moment that validated our efforts of downward mobility. The immigrant experience is often marked by feelings of being unwanted, second-class, and […]

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