home connected

At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson.

whoa, it was like the book that would never end.  but don’t let that comment deter you from getting it or checking it out for the maximum allowed 5 time library renewal.  it is one of those books that is enjoyable to pick up and put down over a few weeks.  bryson uses the rooms of his home in england (a church rectory from the 1800s) as a guide to discuss…well, everything.  his chapter “the kitchen” describes everything from a short history of ice to what the average londoner consumed in the 1850s.  the chapter on “the dressing room” details the history of cotton and the insane 1700s trend of wig-wearing (including a story of a woman who discovered there were mice(!) living in her towering wig).  i love this kind of stuff.

Xeriscaping For Florida Homes by Monica Moran Brandies.

lawns.  i don’t like them.  i love bushes and trees and gardens, but i have little love for something that doesn’t thrive easily or naturally in south florida.  the only lawns that look great down here seem to be the ones that use crazy amounts of water (thus disregarding the extreme water restrictions) and chemicals.  so after a bit more planning and research we hope to remove some (most? all?) of our small and weed-ridden lawn and replace it with plants that can better tolerate the heat and drought-like conditions we’ve had recently.  finding brandies’ book was timely and is helping me navigate the world of ground-covers, drought-tolerance, irrigation, etc.

Family Worship in the Bible, in History, and in Your Home by Donald S. Whitney.

i began this book with a bit of hesitation and when i finished it i was disappointed.  but it took me a couple of days to put my finger on it.  i admire whitney’s love for God and the bible, but his language on what “family worship” must be falls in the territory of legalism. whitney argues that biblically we must have a daily structured family worship time that consists of bible, prayer, and singing.  i do not see the command for a structured time spelled out in scripture.

here he writes about starting up a tradition of family worship with less-than-thrilled kids:

Your children may or may not be as enthusiastic, but that does not really matter.  The less interested they are, the more your family needs family worship. pp54-55

i am not saying reading the bible and teaching your children about what you believe is an optional thing as a christian, but i do not at all believe that family worship, as described by whitney, is a ticket to righting my kids’ spiritual health.  we spend a great deal of time reading and singing and praying and talking and catechizing our kids.  some days it looks formal.  some days it doesn’t.  and all of it almost never happens every day at the same time or in the same place.  i have seen healthy families do a formal set-time family worship and that is wonderful.  i have also known unhealthy families who were rigid and unyielding in their style of family worship and yet didn’t seem to care that it was driving their kids away from and not to them and God.

as i was thinking through all of this, i came across the article “Second Thoughts on Family Worship” and was thankful he was able to put words to many of my thoughts.  here is a quote that will perhaps give some of you pause and lead others to breathe a sigh of relief (wink):

Family Worship Isn’t Required by the Bible: This might seem impious, but it’s really only impietistic. We simply are not required to have a set, formal, liturgical time of worship as families. I’m glad some people do this and benefit from it, and as far as they do, I’m for it, but no one should feel it is something they ought to do.

now go read the rest.

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3 thoughts on “home connected

  1. Let me know sometime what they ate in England in the 1850’s…
    Don’t forget about maintenance. Grass with it ever-present weeds is a lot easier and faster to cut than weeding a bed or weed-eating groundcover.
    I know and like Whitney personally. The way he says things can sound legalistic, but his life show otherwise. The tradition he is trying to bring back is out of the Reformed Baptist who put great stress on gathering the family and servants together (usually before or after a meal) under the teaching of the father as head of home. It doesn’t work nearly as well today where we eat on the go and father’s frequently are still at work when kids tire out.

  2. I appreciate your thoughts on family worship. We tried various things throughout the years, and a majority of the time, our attempts to have a formal, set time of family worship fell flat on its everloving face. So we chucked it. Instead, we continued to pray with and for our children, trying to teach them God’s ways through his work and presence in our daily lives. I am sure that we did not do all that we could or should have, but God was and is faithful, even with our puny efforts. Our adult children have genuine faith and love for Christ–and it’s all due to his grace.

    I also appreciated the statement in the article that “other things are practice; corporate worship is game day.” 🙂

  3. I cannot speak to Whitney’s book exactly, b/c i’ve only read excerpts. perhaps what sounds like legalism though is actually urgency?? scripture does not (to my limited knowledge) command that we have a daily “quiet time” or whatever you call it, but many spiritually mature believers will say we MUST be in the Word everyday, not b/c it is required for salvation, but b/c it’s life and nourishment to the believer. it’s urgent for spiritual health.

    b/c of sin, laziness, over filled schedules and many other not so terrible sounding things (like taking care of little ones, cooking dinner and cleaning up afterwards…. you name it) it is very likely that any kind of reading, praying or singing as a family will be neglected unless it is made a habit, or a priority…. a discipline. nasty sounding word to some – me included, b/c it sounds like such hard work!!

    i’m glad for your post b/c it’s gotten me thinking about it. i’ve never been one for a structured, formal time of anything, be it school, family worship, chores, or whatever. but i’ve always wished my parents had included me more in worship in the house. to make it more of a part of life, not something forced and awkward. whether our kids come to genuine faith is out of our hands, but we are commanded to make disciples, and a good place to start is in the home.

    my next thought is “now i have to DO better with this!!!”…. ah, love it…. when am i going to learn. 🙂

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