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Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life [Hardcover]

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Item description for Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life by Margaret Kim Peterson...

Overview
"Keeping house can be a very mundane activity. It is certainly repetitive, and the kinds of work that it involves are varied enough that few people enjoy all of them equally. But at the very same time, housekeeping is about practicing sacred disciplines and creating sacred space, for the sake of Christ as we encounter him in our fellow household members and in neighbors, strangers, and guests." -From the Preface Keeping House is a wide-ranging and witty exploration of the spiritual gifts that are gained when we take the time to care for hearth and home. With a fresh perspective, mother, wife, and teacher Margaret Kim Peterson examines the activities and attitudes of keeping house and making a home. Debunking the commonly held notion that keeping house is a waste of time or at best a hobby, Peterson uncovers the broader cultural and theological factors that make housekeeping an interesting and worthwhile discipline. She reveals how the seemingly ordinary tasks of folding laundry, buying groceries, cooking, making beds, and offering hospitality can be seen as spiritual practices that embody and express concrete and positive ways of living out Christian faith in relationship to others at home, in the church, and in the world. Filled with thoughtful reflection and lively anecdotes, Keeping House clearly shows that housekeeping is neither a trivial matter nor simply drudgery. People need to eat, to sleep, to have clothes to wear; they need a place to play, a place into which to welcome guests and from which to go forth into the world. When we are keeping house, we are truly keeping faith.

Publishers Description
Keeping House is a wide-ranging and witty exploration of the spiritual gifts that are gained when we take the time to care for hearth and home. With a fresh perspective, mother, wife, and teacher Margaret Kim Peterson examines the activities and attitudes of keeping house and making a home. Debunking the commonly held notion that keeping house is a waste of time or at best a hobby, Peterson uncovers the broader cultural and theological factors that make housekeeping an interesting and worthwhile discipline. She reveals how the seemingly ordinary tasks of folding laundry, buying groceries, cooking, making beds, and offering hospitality can be seen as spiritual practices that embody and express concrete and positive ways of living out Christian faith in relationship to others at home, in the church and in the world.

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Item Specifications...


Studio: Jossey-Bass
Pages   175
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.75" Height: 8.5"
Weight:   0.65 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 2007
Publisher   John Wiley And Sons
ISBN  0787976911  
ISBN13  9780787976910  


Availability  0 units.


More About Margaret Kim Peterson


Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Margaret Kim Peterson is theologian in residence at First Presbyterian Church, Norristown, Pennsylvania. She grew up in Mount Vernon, Iowa, and though now a long-time resident of the East Coast, she returns to the Midwest whenever possible. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Duke University, she now teaches theology at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. She is married to Dwight N. Peterson, who also teaches at Eastern University. Together they are the parents of a son, Mark.

Margaret Kim Peterson was born in 1961.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living


Christian Product Categories
Books > Christian Living > Practical Life > General



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Reviews - What do customers think about Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life?

Highly Recommended  May 23, 2010

This book was very helpful and refreshing. I didn't just tell about keeping house. It told why.
 
Celebrating every day  Jan 15, 2010
I enjoyed reading a few pages of this book every night before bed. It helped me to review my day, and to examine what I wanted to do differently tomorrow in how I care for my family and my home.

It's not a how-to book on how to keep house or clean the house, and it certainly is not a Martha Stewart type "perfectionist" book.

It is a thoughtful book. You can feel how very relaxed the writer is about how she keeps house. She's not in a house-beautiful competition, she's not comparing herself to others, she's not coveting more stuff. She talks about the FEELINGS OF HOME. Of feeling AT home. Of showing love and caring for others. Of being a safe house. A thankful home. All of this equals a well-kept home.

If you are feeling uptight about how to care for your home and family, just read a few pages and you'll calm down and want to dig in and bless your family with a well-kept home.




 
Every Christian Should Read This Book ...  Apr 27, 2009
... but especially Christian women burdened with guilt because their domestic achievements fall short of the standards set by most popular Christian homemaking books that come close to making an idol of domesticity. I won't offer my thoughts on the details of Peterson's book because more eloquent and insightful reviewers have already shared theirs. I will just say that if you are weary of pursuing the ever elusive "perfect Christian home" then you need to read this book. You will find heart-lightening grace and gentle encouragement here with a refreshing refocus on what our homes are supposed to be all about: loving God and loving the precious souls He brings into our lives.
 
Refreshing, hopeful, transformative  Apr 26, 2009
As I read this book, I found myself thinking about the gift of home in a whole new way. I was able to see that the basic tasks of maintaining a home--the dishes, the laundry, the cooking--these simple acts can take on a sacramental quality when they are infused with love.

I loved Margaret Kim Peterson's tone--she writes with humility (she's quick to admit that cleaning is not her forte) and yet she is full of wisdom about the value of keeping a home. She believes that those who do it with care are imitating God, because in the Scriptures He is always sheltering, feeding, and clothing his people. She believes that God is the ultimate home-maker.

I think about "Keeping House" as I wash the dishes and fold the clothes--my house has been cleaner and more orderly, better meals on the table, ever since I read this book. It helped me to realize how valuable these little things are, how we cheat ourselves and those we live with when we neglect them. I was especially intrigued by her chapter on food. This line stays with me: "Whatever we eat, we need to consider where it comes from, and how the animals--and people--involved in its production were treated. Could we look them in the eye and say thank you without feeling ashamed?"

Margaret Kim Peterson recognizes what a struggle home can be, and how many of us take a long time to develop routines that work. She writes, "If we persevere in our domestic liturgies we will figure them out too. There is no substitute for simply entering into the tasks involved in making a home...The work itself will shape us as we discover what it requires of us and what rewards it returns."
 
Asks and answers stimulating questions about why we do what we do  Aug 18, 2008
I read a lot of books, and few of them prompt immediate or tangible change in my life or environment. But Margaret Kim Peterson inspired me to make one specific adjustment to my home (and contemplate more). This morning, from a closet, I brought out a right-fine aunt-made quilt and placed it on my bed, replacing its overused, tattered, similarly vintaged cousin.

KEEPING HOUSE asks and answers stimulating questions about why we do what we do. An example: "Putting away things that get daily or weekly use is a way to exercise a kind of providential foresight...Having clothes ready to wear in the drawer or in the closet is part of creating an expectation that in this home we care for one another. Our needs are not a perpetual emergency but are anticipated and provided for ahead of time."

A theology professor at Eastern University, Peterson has written a book for intelligent readers. On the other hand, as a church "theologian in residence," she has written in a pastoral voice that is accessible to any reader. She has done a masterful job of encouraging anyone who has home-keeping responsibilities. She neither romanticizes domesticity (like Martha Stewart --- aren't we having fun?) nor denigrates it.

And her book isn't a guilt trip. The burdened perfectionist? Peterson calmly convinces that "a well-kept house is a means to an end, not an end in itself." Her target is "`good enough' housekeeping." The shopper who can't manage purchased possessions? She digs deeper than what she calls the "secular gospel of decluttering"; ultimately there's a gentleness in her nudge to control one's habits and square-footage. Peterson, who shares a modest, two-bedroom house with a husband confined to a wheelchair and a son, writes: "Instead of nurturing dissatisfaction with the shortcomings of our present home...perhaps we can turn our energies toward receiving as gifts the homes we have and to creating in them enough order and tidiness to promote convenience and peace and hospitality." There's such grace in her words: "perhaps we can," rather than "we should"; "enough order...to promote convenience."

Sandwiched between an introductory chapter ("What's Christian about Housework?") and a closing summary, Peterson writes two chapters each on three aspects of keeping a household: sheltering, clothing and feeding. One chapter discusses the issue in terms of a noun --- for example, "Clothes to Wear"; the subsequent chapter discusses the act of "Clothing a Household." (It does seem that she rather glosses over the not-insignificant act of "cleaning a house.")

In several chapters Peterson points out fallacies in some fantasies our culture promotes. I especially like the kitchen analysis: people buying better and bigger cookware and doo-dads while all the while cooking less frequently and complexly. "The fantasy of cooking is more visibly popular than cooking itself."

Especially in terms of clothing and feeding, Peterson relies on liturgical themes, as suggested in the subtitle, "A Litany of Everyday Life." The rhythm of the church calendar --- the pattern of daily prayers and stretches of ordinary days punctuated by feast days both weekly (Sunday) and annually --- mirrors our home making. "We fix lunch because it is lunchtime...We pack away coats and boots...because winter is over and summer is coming. As we engage with the litany of everyday life, we engage with life itself, with our fellow human beings, with the world in which God has set us all, and thus with God himself."

I don't think Margaret Kim Peterson quotes the following verse, but her writing warmly reminds me of an old favorite, in an old translation: "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord" (Colossians 3:23). Even, or especially, keeping house.

--- Reviewed by Evelyn Bence


 

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