Thursday, December 1, 2011

"Keeping House" Read-along, Chapter 2

In this chapter, entitled "A Place to Live", Peterson begins by talking about the tenant in Christian spirituality that we are to struggle against feeling at home in the world. She talks about how we are to remember that "God's people are always to be 'resident aliens', people who yearn for the fulfillment of all things in God and cannot feel themselves at home until that day has come."

It reminds me of Screwtape saying that he wants his "patient" to feel that he is "finding his place in the world" when really the world is finding its place in him. (Shiver.)

And yet we only understand things by metaphor and simile. Whenever one human tries to explain something to another human, he ends up saying, "It's like when" or "you know when you do X? It's like that." We always explain using comparisons. And I think the experience of a good earthly home sets up the metaphor that allows us to conceptualize and understand the idea of a heavenly home.

And, as Peterson points out, our earthly homes are places where we can practice the very virtues that will be required of any citizen of heaven. Our daily routine is the daily stage for the process of sanctification.

A few other quotations from the chapter, points that I really appreciated:

". . . parents may spend the preschool years waiting for things to 'get back to normal.' But young childhood is just as normal a state of life as adulthood; we just tend to forget that, in our age-segregated society." - page 32.

"Precisely because housework is necessary, it is not contemptible." - page 35.

"Housework is all about bringing order out of chaos." - page 38.

"Housework and gardening and God's providence itself are exercises not in futility but in faithfulness . . ." - page 39.

"If in Jesus God himself could take up a towel and wash other people's feet, surely we, as Jesus' adopted brothers and sisters, can find it in us to wash one another's dirty clothes and dirty dishes and dirty floors." - page 39.

More on this book to be found here, at the Quotidian Reader.

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell


charlotte bondoc said...

Love this post! What book are the quotes from? Might have to get a copy for my own!

Jessica Snell said...

Hi Charlotte!

They're from "Keeping House: a Litany of Everyday Life" by Margaret Peterson. It's a really neat little book. You can find it here: