‘Theology of Home’ collection tells how God should be found in places we dwell
Reviewed by Katie Bogner
“Love, by nature, is meant to be shared. Like a light coming on in the darkness, it isn’t contained but rather spreads and beckons others to come. Our homes can be reflections of, and participants in, this light the more we mirror God’s brilliance.”
While having dinner with friends recently, one of them mentioned the Incarnational nature of beautiful books. Crisp binding, gilded edges, glossy photos, and heavy pages seem to add weight to the words between the covers. Christ took on flesh, redeeming us body and soul, and therefore allows all of creation to be used in worship of Him. From cathedrals that take centuries to build to the books that brighten the shelves of our living room libraries, beauty matters and always points us back to Him.
The new “Theology of Home — Finding the Eternal in the Everyday” from Tan Books is truly a beautiful book. Full page photos, lovely symbolic end papers, and quality binding complement the rich and thoughtful writing. While easy to pick up and read any section individually, all together it presents a well organized study of a Catholic home, helping the reader to understand how the physical aspects of our homes point directly to our spiritual understanding of Christ.
Touching on themes of home such as doors, light, order, and hospitality, the word theology in the title is accurate. This is a collection of writings that teach about how God can and should be found in the places we dwell. The rich tradition and teachings of our Catholic faith are presented in a way that is both relatable and inspirational. The reader is reminded that the beliefs heard in our churches are not meant to be separated from the truth shared in our homes.
Coauthored by Carrie Gress, Noelle Mering, and Megan Schriber, the writing style is unique in that although the examples are pulled from their personal experiences, the authors are not identified in the various sections and chapters. This “anonymity” makes it easier to relate the content to universal themes that apply to everyone.
“Theology of Home” shows, in both word and photo, the understanding of what home is and why it matters so much. There is plenty of inspiration for the taking whether you live alone or have a houseful of people under your roof, but it’s not typical DIY advice like how to hang a gallery wall or the perfect cocktail for your Advent party. Instead this book shares the very important why behind it all — how home forms us, welcomes us, and allows us to bring others together, giving us a space to find Christ present within the walls that surround us.
MORE ON HOME, HOSPITALITY
If you are interested in other titles that support the beauty and wonder that can be developed in home and hospitality, I’d recommend the following:
- “The Catholic Table,” Emily Stimpson Chapman, Emmaus Road Publishing — A beautifully written book on the many connections between faith and food. Weaving together hospitality, food, home, and Theology of the Body, Emily shows how the everyday act of eating helps us to understand the profound gift of the Eucharist.
- “The Catholic All Year Compendium,” Kendra Tierney, Ignatius Press — This text is a handbook for all things Liturgical Living from popular blogger Kendra Tierney. See a full review from Catholic Post Book Team writer Bonnie Engstrom.
- “Around the Year” with the VonTrapp Family, Maria Von Trapp, Sophia Institute Press — Beyond the story we know from “The Sound of Music,” Maria narrates how her family lived out the liturgical year, keeping traditions that reflected their Catholic faith, as well as favorite Austrian customs. She gives ideas for decorating, teaching, and prayer for all the holidays and holy days, complete with recipes and music. A master at weaving Catholicism into everyday life, this book chronicles the collective memory of the iconic Von Trapp family, inspiring you to create a family culture of your own.
KATIE BOGNER is the junior high faith formation teacher at St. Philomena School in Peoria and a member of The Catholic Post’s new six-member book review team.