This month's list of posts submitted for this month's synchroblog is out! I have added it to the end of this post. Please take time to read the other posts listed below?
And here's mine:
Earlier today I typed out a very long post about my last few years, and where I disappeared to. The main thing that drove my timing in that was my desire to participate in this month's synchroblog, and a sense that I had to bring my friends up to date for them to fully get what I have to say next.
There has always has been that essential human longing that drives me, as it drives you, and drove our parents ... and that is why I am joining the voices this month writing about HOME and HOMECOMING in this month's synchroblog.
Freud wrote that all other energies are really sexual energy that we "sublimate" to fuel nonsexual passions. My belief is perpendicular to his: I think we all long for HOME, and that all of our other passions - including our sexual passions - are either a sublimation of that longing or a means to anesthetize our pain at no longer believing we can meet that longing. Our deepest longings point to a desire for home that lets us rest and rejoice and dream, and that gives us the strength and resources to push out into wider territory.
We see the longing for home from early in the Bible, for instance. Adam and Eve are cast out of their home, and long to return, but the return is forbidden and the boundaries are patrolled. Abraham leaves home for a better home, and that drives much of his story and the story of his children. Later we see Naomi - a Hebrew woman in a foreign land - has done such a good job of making a home for herself, her husband, and her sons and their wives that when her husband and sons die and she tries to send away her daughters-in-law to their father's houses, she cannot talk Ruth into leaving her. Ruth's words of loyalty to Naomi in Ruth 1:16-17 show just how well her mother-in-law made a home for Ruth.
We see the same theme in the exile and return from exile, and in the Zealots' desire to wrest political power back from Rome at the time Jesus was born and lived. Jesus recognized this so-basic desire when he responded to would-be followers by saying: "Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.”
Jesus understood how easy it is for us to make the passionate profession of life-long loyalty to the person or religion or community or calling that we think will give us that true home that will soothe us and equip us for the life we want, and also how easy it is to find that even the right person or right faith or right calling is unable to provide us with that home that we need and so deeply long after.
Christmas stirs up intense emotions in this drama for people at every stage of life and in every position (in terms of their feeling as to whether they have created home where they are, or whether they can ever return home, or whether the whole concept of home is a sick joke). That is why suicide rates are so high at that time of the year, and it is also why we put so much energy into our traditions and gift-giving. We want to create home or go home or at least remember home and believe that home is possible.
If you take the time to read through my last post, you will see the way I served my own desire to create home in the last 3 years, and if you read my blog up to that point you will see much of my own journey in seeking home and in seeking to create home. If you know my story prior to starting this blog you know the ways I chased after my desire for home, and the ways I destroyed my homes myself because of that drive.
(Please read the following knowing that I am still a Christian who adheres to the tenets of the Apostle's Creed as literally true, and that that sets the context for all the rest of what I say.) What I have learned is this: good religion give us a map of reality that lets us plot a way home, and also gives us legs to walk there, and arms to carry others there with us for a ways. Good faith lets us forgive ourselves and others for the ways we have destroyed our own homes and have blocked access to home for both those we love and those we do not. And God is the teacher who helps us internalize a map that is true and cultivate the skills we need to walk and to build, and also the parent who quenches our deepest needs for connection and for understanding and approval so that we will be free to offer and accept that kind of connection and approval and understanding to others.
I have become a feminist and a progressive mainly because I no longer believe that I can enjoy my own ability to create home for myself and for those I love within a bubble. Oppression and poverty hurts my home whether I can ignore it successfully or not, and will invade my world eventually if I don't keep the whole of reality in view.
I cannot change poverty or inequality myself, of course, or right the many injustices of the world. But I can be a voice that speaks to the reality of the whole and of my own little view of that reality, and my own experience of that ... and in so doing can have an impact hand-in-hand with others.
I have had many conversations over the past few years about culture wars and about the divisions within the world-wide church and within my own denomination, and I really think that the issue of homemaking is at the root of all the issues we have discussed. We are in a finite world within the bounds of the present moment and within the bounds of our present resources and emotional and spiritual and physical energy . . . and we must make a home for ourselves here and now, together.
Those who are driven by fear think they can preserve their own worldview and their own control of their own resources at the expense of the evil masses outside their doors, and that that is righteous.
The Bible tells me that that is a lie. We are called to lay down our safety, and lay down our worldview, and lay down our control of our own resources, all in service to the HOME we are called to inhabit together.
Jesus said "There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.”
In His great commission, Jesus commanded us to be about this business exactly: bringing HOME to the masses by teaching them to live as Jesus taught His disciples to live, which was to love each other, and love the stranger, and love our enemies, and above all to love God and the reality of the world God created.
When pastors or writers or mothers or politicians or lovers or marketers or investors invest themselves in any little aspect of life as though they can amass points there (in members or dollars or distribution records or votes or donations or orgasms or hits or any other kind of number) they are just playing a game of sorts. That game can be good or neutral if it does not detract from homebuilding for themselves and for all of us. But when it is done at the expense of God's goals for all in view of God's kingdom, it is an evil game.
Just as we must pour out our lives in service to the Triune God in order to live in the salvation and healing that Jesus was born to bring to us through His life, death, and resurrection, we must not pour our lives out in service to any job or calling or lover or ideology at the expense of home for all those whom the Triune God calls "Beloved". To do so is to step over to "the other team".
Jesus' best illustration of what we need to do to live in His kingdom instead of being on "the other team" is found in His parable of the division of the sheep from the goats.
Whether female or male, whether clergy or laity or disenfranchised from any faith community, whether old or young, your primary objective should be to become a homemaker in the context of real life, not leaving out anyone or anything. There is room for disagreement over what is loving and what is effective, and what is true (as real "love covers a multitude of sins") but there is not room to make life into a competition with "winners" and "losers" for points that feed nothing but your ego or your bank account or your balance sheet or your resume.
Repentance has a bad rep among most circles these days, but sometimes the only way to go home for Christmas is to turn around and go home.
Are you making a home, or are you trying hard to be one of the "winners" instead of one of the "losers"?
Right here, right now . . . that's all any of us ever have, even in eternity. Use this minute to build a home instead of to "win".
- Christine Sine – Is There Room for Jesus to Find a Home In Your Heart?
- Jeremy Myers – It Sounds Like Christmas
- Nathan Kitchen – Coming Home
- Michelle at Moments with Michelle – Home
- Mallory Pickering – I’m Kind of Homesick
- Bobi Ann Allen – Coming Home
- J.A. Carter – Going Home
- Glenn Hager - Where the Adventure Begins
- Marta Layton – Can You Ever Come Home Again?
- Peggy at Abisomeone – Abi Has Finally Come Home For Christmas
- Amy Hetland – Coming Home
- Coffeesnob – Home
- Carol Kuniholm – Advent Three: Redefining Home
- Liz Dyer – Advent 2013 The Way Home
- Harriet Long – The Body and the Sacred: Coming Home
- Edwin Pastor Fedex Aldrich – Who I Was Made to Be
- Emkay Anderson – Homemaking
- Anita Coleman - At Home in the Kingdom of God
Thanks for this post. I had never thought about the desire for home being at the core of so much of what we do and think and feel but as I was reading what you wrote it was as if you were telling me something I already knew! May we all stay focused on homemaking!
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