Home sweet home. Home is where the heart is. Human beings have crafted a multitude of expressions that testify to an innate desire for rootedness, comfort, and belonging. In Keeping Place: Reflections on the Meaning of Home, writer Jen Pollock Michel (also the author of Teach Us to Want, CT’s 2015 Book of the Year) explores this universal longing through biblical, theological, and practical lenses. A. J. Swoboda, author of The Dusty Ones: Why Wandering Deepens Your Faith, spoke with Michel about our “spiritual homelessness” and the God who prepares a place for us (John 14:3).
Why do you argue that all human beings are spiritually homeless?
It is easy for us to say that those inside the church are spiritually “homed,” while those outside the church are spiritually homeless. I see us all as spiritually homeless in this world. The home that God wants us to have is not fully realized. We may gloss over spiritual homelessness by saying that we have God and then moving on. But we are not home yet. We live in a broken, inhospitable world. I believe the church can do a better job of sympathizing with the condition of homelessness in our world, particularly among our neighbors, but we also need to identify it in ourselves.
You write at length about the “spirituality of housekeeping.” I was reminded of Brother Lawrence’s description of “the God of the pots and pans.” Can we find Jesus while doing the dishes?
It means demolishing the divide between the sacred and the secular. Even just last evening, around the dinner table, my family and I were talking about Christ’s call to serve in John 13: How do you serve? Whom do you serve? What are the qualities of Christian ...1