Desiring the Kingdom: The Home Shapes Bodies and Souls

posted in: blogger | 7

Although the primary point of this final section of chapter 1 was a critique and expanding of the concept of worldview, replacing it with the term social imaginaries, it was these few lines further developing how what we do, what we know, and what we love are all tied up together and interdependent.

Desiring the Kingdom Book Club

An ancient wisdom in the Christian tradition […] might be formulated as an axiom: “desire forms knowledge.” What we do (practices) is intimately linked to what we desire (love), so what we do determines whether, how, and what we can know. […] Desire shapes how one sees and understands the world, and so the key question for the Christian in pursuit of knowledge is first to consider the shape and “aim” of one’s desire, and to specifically seek to increase one’s desire for God. How does that happen? […] the key to direction and increasing one’s desire for God is the acquisition of the virtues […] acquired through practices. So how does one acquire such virtues, such dispositions of desire? Through participation in concrete Christian practices like confession.

desiring the kingdom social imaginaries

So, we have something sort of like a love triangle here. None of these goes one way, but each of them builds and forms and shapes the others: desire (love), knowledge, and practices.

I have experienced this sort of thing myself.

I am not a naturally tidy and clean person. I am, by nature and inclination, a Messie. I have tried over the years and still do try to reform myself in this, because I have been convinced that Messiness is not next to godliness. When I finally stopped fighting the clear truth that order and cleanliness were Good and True and Beautiful, and started actually applying myself to pursue them, however haphazard, incomplete, and pathetic my attempts, something strange happened: my feelings toward cleanliness softened, and whereas I had at first been merely intellectually convinced against my inclinations, it was acting on that, changing, practicing cleaning habits that changed my disposition. I cleaned my room today and I felt better and more like myself with a clean room, whereas a mere three or four years ago, if my room was clean I felt alien and uncomfortable in the space. It was the doing that spurred the desire, not the intellectual assent (though in this case I did begin there).

We are fundamentally creatures of desire who crave particular visions of the kingdom – the good life – and our desire is shaped and directed by practices that point the heart.

The daily things we do in our family – our family culture, our family practices – are what are forming the desires, cravings, visions of ourselves as well as our children. This sort of formation knows no bounds such as school hours or planned activities. It encompasses everything from how breakfast goes down, to how chores are parceled out, to the expressions on people’s faces during math or Circle Time or whatever. It includes how we say good morning, hello, goodbye, and good night. It includes what we prioritize not in our written plan, but in our acted practice. These are the things, repeated over and over and over again during the course of a life, that form and shape how we all (not only our children, but ourselves as well) see the world and our place in it.

A homeschool life offers a wealth of such identity-giving opportunities and also a wealth of temptations to “skip it” and to sigh and just plow, head down, through the day. Let us see how we are living and giving life in our homes, with every meal served, with every smile shared, with every book read, with every math page completed.

7 Responses

  1. Lisa
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    I love how you are always able to tie things in to what happens in the home. I have been thinking about Brandy’s recent post on habit training and being deliberate about choosing habits to work on…. trying to work on forming godly habits with the purpose of bringing life really makes the job of a mother even more significant.

  2. Ginger
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    Hi Mystie,
    Although I am not reading the book, and have read enough of his stuff to comment on the triangle. My comment is too long for your com box so I posted on my blog.

    https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=7003868241831138646#editor/target=post;postID=6271777797938394463

    These are great conversations and I am glad that people are having them.

    Ginger

    • Mystie Winckler
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      I’d love to see your thoughts, Ginger, but the link says I don’t have permission to view the site.

      • Ginger
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        it’s open to the public, and I verified it again.

        • Mystie Winckler
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          The link above must not be formatted correctly, then, because it doesn’t work. Can you try linking to it again?

  3. Ginger
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    Ok, I am not a very good blogger…

    http://rightnowwrongnow.blogspot.com/2014/01/response-life-in-tension.html

    • Ginger
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      Hi Mystie,
      I got your email, and certainly enjoy the exchange. We are smack in the middle of selling our home and getting the new house fixed up before we move….I havn’t even begun pack….Yikes
      And I am painting our cabinets in the kitchen myself. And Dear Husband has a Colonoscopy today. Is that TMI.
      I hate the word busy, but today it seems to fit. Di I mention still trying to homeschool?
      Anyway, I wasn’t satisfied with what I wrote, quite frankly a post isn’t enough, by a long shot to discuss Kingdom Theology. And no I am not radical by any stretch, but of course with any theology there is a radical camp, two in each doctrine to be sure.
      Anyway, read the Van Drunen’s Book, Living in God’s Two Kingdoms and then let’s talk.
      Hope you have great day.

      Ginger