Making home is an attitude before it is ever a to-do list.
It requires humility (example of housework) and an attention to the other.
“Our culture’s ideal self, especially the accomplished, professional self, rises above necessity, the humble, everyday, ordinary tasks that are best left to unskilled labor” (Kathleen Norris, The Quotidian Mysteries, 40).
Making home is both highly a-cultural and highly cultural.
Even as we continually struggle to decontextualize our understanding of home in order to orient ourselves around a gospel sense of home, we must remember that we cannot absent ourselves from culture. We must continually enact our theological understanding of home on a diverse cultural milieu.
But don’t be afraid to ask the smallest questions first. Remember, hospitality isn’t about fixing the world’s wrongs. It’s about loving the other. Sometimes that is as simple and significant as opening your dinner table to someone.
Just this week, I finally read Rosaria Champagne Butterfield’s conversion memoir The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, and I think it is tremendous. It would not sit easily with all readers, but I recommend it highly nonetheless.
Butterfield returns often to the importance of experiencing hospitality and the occasional awkwardness and grief of having practiced it. For her, receiving hospitality meant that another family’s home became her “safe haven” (78).
Later, when she and her husband regularly host a house church and then begin to serve as foster parents, she reminds us that the regular practice of hospitality yields great joy because it requires hard work and vulnerability. “A family that never opens its heart never feels heartbroken,” she writes. “A family that never welcomes in others never misses them when they leave” (124).
Making home is a quotidian affair, but it is also a mystery.
The dailiness must, as much as is possible, always have the future in view. Remember your home—the home Jesus is preparing for those who love him. Make home now in view of that. You’ll still need to do the laundry and scrub the toilets. You and the image-bearers with whom you make home will have greater opportunity to flourish when you practice good housekeeping (that is, when you craft healthy meals, minimize concern for shelter of body and things, keep tidy spaces for conversation and creativity, and regularly shoo germs from the premises).
But if you make home here with an eye to your home in the new Jerusalem, it will only feel normal to welcome strangers into your present home.
In fact, it should feel increasingly normal to correlate “home” with “justice.” For in the broadest sense, making home is closely connected to “the heart of the biblical understanding of justice: the restoration of the human capacity to bear the image in all its fulness” (Playing God 83).