Keeping Place: Reflections on the Meaning of Home by Jen Pollock Michel

Keeping Place: Reflections on the Meaning of Home

To be human is to long for home. Home is our most fundamental human longing. And for many of us homesickness is a nagging place of grief. This book connects that desire and disappointment with the story of the Bible, helping us to see that there is a homemaking God with wide arms of welcome―and a church commissioned with this same work. "Many of us seem to be recovering th...

Title:Keeping Place: Reflections on the Meaning of Home
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ISBN:0830844902
Format Type:Paperback

Keeping Place: Reflections on the Meaning of Home Reviews

  • Jeanie
    Mar 22, 2017

    Do you long for home? A place of peace, acceptance, purpose and calling. Jen Pollock Michel speaks in a narration that is profoundly poetic on what home really is and how we long for it. It made me think of my own short comings and disappointments that all point to my longing of home and how I fall short of being home. I have come to find out that I need a better understanding of what home is. With that understanding, I can focus on what is important and leave behind what hinders me.

    The text is done in two parts. The welcome of home - speaks to our longing, the history , the maker of home, moving from home to home, and the imperishable home.

    The 2nd part refers to the work of home that speaks to our labor of home done in love, the church, the marriage and how we continually say I do., feasting together, a place of rest and how we finally make it "home". Each of these expresses the gospel in sound ways that you are living the gospel out.

    Some of the quotes that I found encouraging that speaks of home.

    This study is upside down when it comes to our culture as it should be. It is community minded, not individualized. We were created to not be alone but to be home. One of the AHA moments for me was the discussion of the Sabbath. God created Sabbath for our good to meet our spiritual needs and our physical needs. Sabbath is shown in creation as well. Without the rest of land, we have the danger of creating what happened in the 1930's. The land requires rest just as we do. But the aha moment for me was Sabbath reflects the character of God and his goodness. When I truly practice the Sabbath, I truly experience the presence of God. Another insightful was the work of keeping house. We need housekeeping and we need to embrace it for our good. The stats that Jen shared are staggering and it made me think that any depression that I may suffer is my lack of good housekeeping. Housekeeping is not just a woman's job but as a family unit, housekeeping is living out the gospel.

    Jen also shares insightful bible study as she goes through each chapter along with her own personal journey of home. I highly recommend this book for both men and women in their desire to come home.

  • Aimee Fritz
    May 02, 2017

    Jen Pollock Michel's beautiful, thoughtful, new book is rich with profound but accessible ideas about the physical, relational, and spiritual homes we make.

    In Keeping Place we begin to understand why we long for home so deeply. Not just the houses we grew up in, the people with grew up with, but far deeper and wider, into nostalgia, grief, women's rights, church, marriage, sabbath rest, and heaven.

    I have many ideas scribbled in the margins of my copy of Keeping Place. I need to spend much more t

    Jen Pollock Michel's beautiful, thoughtful, new book is rich with profound but accessible ideas about the physical, relational, and spiritual homes we make.

    In Keeping Place we begin to understand why we long for home so deeply. Not just the houses we grew up in, the people with grew up with, but far deeper and wider, into nostalgia, grief, women's rights, church, marriage, sabbath rest, and heaven.

    I have many ideas scribbled in the margins of my copy of Keeping Place. I need to spend much more time praying and writing about them. For now I can only imagine writing them in a journal, it will be so personal:

    1. What roots have I dug up and transplanted at my 11 different addresses? What have I left behind? What have I lost? What can be found again to make my current Home thrive?

    2. Can Home be more than one place? - Will my kids say they are from Georgia when they go to college? Or will they always say they're from Wheaton, Illinois? Have I finished grieving my (almost 2 years ago) move away?

    3. Can I honestly say the Lord is my Home? That all my stuff, my identity, my love, and my service all fits into and under my relationship with the God who loves me?

    4. How can I make Homemaking more worshipful as a creative, steadfast, and welcoming woman with generous service and firm boundaries? What new things can I try? What old things could I stop?

    I enjoyed quietly reading Keeping Place by myself, carefully answering the study questions in the back, and praying through the tough answers. It also would be great for small groups, with or without the DVD.

  • Ashley
    Jun 08, 2017

    Helpful- expounds on the ideas that our longings show that we are made for another world, our homes and families here are just "inns along the way" (Keller) and cannot bear the weight of satisfying us, we are

    made in the image of a "housekeeping/homemaking" God and set here and commissioned to His work. I liked the second half of the book the best, where she outlined the shape of this work. My favorite chapter was on sabbath rest. A few of my favorite thoughts: Rest apprentices us to let God love

    Helpful- expounds on the ideas that our longings show that we are made for another world, our homes and families here are just "inns along the way" (Keller) and cannot bear the weight of satisfying us, we are

    made in the image of a "housekeeping/homemaking" God and set here and commissioned to His work. I liked the second half of the book the best, where she outlined the shape of this work. My favorite chapter was on sabbath rest. A few of my favorite thoughts: Rest apprentices us to let God love us apart from our efforts and contribution, and forces us to confront our disordered desires. And.....the benediction of home: it blesses and it SENDS.

  • Cara Meredith
    May 25, 2017

    I may not agree with everything Jen writes (or believes) theologically, but she's an outstanding writer. This story of home is well researched, well told and well worth any (Christian) reader's time.

  • Dorothy Littell
    May 26, 2017

    All of us carry a deep longing for home. Michel writes, "Home represents humanity's most visceral ache—and our oldest desire." In Keeping Place, the author explores this longing and traces it directly back to our never-quite-satisfied hunger for God. Michel is one of the smartest writers of today and has an uncanny ability to tie seemingly disparate threads together in a way that brings readers to many AHA! moments. The book is thoughtful, rich, and incredibly hopeful. (And as usual, Michel is a

    All of us carry a deep longing for home. Michel writes, "Home represents humanity's most visceral ache—and our oldest desire." In Keeping Place, the author explores this longing and traces it directly back to our never-quite-satisfied hunger for God. Michel is one of the smartest writers of today and has an uncanny ability to tie seemingly disparate threads together in a way that brings readers to many AHA! moments. The book is thoughtful, rich, and incredibly hopeful. (And as usual, Michel is an exquisite writer.)

  • Michele Morin
    Jun 13, 2017

    A Theology of Home

    Rootedness was always the thing that both repelled and intrigued me. I left my parents’ home at the age of seventeen and pictured a life unleashed — no commitments. I copied all my record albums onto small and portable cassette tapes (dinosaur alert!) and prepared for the unencumbered life. With that resolve in my rear view mirror, no one is more surprised than I am to have lived (happily) at the same address for 23 years, making a home and being re-made by the challenges and j

    A Theology of Home

    Rootedness was always the thing that both repelled and intrigued me. I left my parents’ home at the age of seventeen and pictured a life unleashed — no commitments. I copied all my record albums onto small and portable cassette tapes (dinosaur alert!) and prepared for the unencumbered life. With that resolve in my rear view mirror, no one is more surprised than I am to have lived (happily) at the same address for 23 years, making a home and being re-made by the challenges and joys of home.

    In Keeping Place, Jen Pollock Michel examines her own history of home and the continual need to cherish change which her life circumstances have fostered. She ponders the beauty of place, emphasizing that Scripture is “a home story” and that the truth of the gospel is best understood in terms of our yearning to belong, our struggle with homesickness, and the ache of all our longings.

    History and literature attest to humanity’s desire for rootedness, and even the biblical narrative opens in a garden paradise and ends with the permanence, rest, and refuge of The New Jerusalem. The journey from Genesis to Revelation is a story of wandering, of nostalgia for a settled place . . . until God enters history at a particular time in a particular place so that He could “seek and save the lost.”

    “According to Scripture, home is shared human work.”

    Church leaders, then, become the managers of God’s household. Both male and female parents are given a role in the hard work of child rearing. Routine chores become an offering and a valued means to the greater end of fostering a sense of security and belonging.

    God’s work in creation and in redemption is clearly housekeeping. He finds lost things, He prepares tables of abundance and blessing in hard places, He kills the fatted calf and invites the neighborhood to a party. Therefore, engineering the comforts of home, taking on the mess in the bottom of the refrigerator, performing the domestic routines that preserve order and hold chaos at bay create a feeling of home wherever they are performed with love, and they pre-figure God in His role as Homemaker.

    Homemaking is a work of welcoming and provision.

    Just as the incarnation brought dignity to the mortal body and to the notion of occupying a particular time and space, God’s compassionate homemaking sets the standard for the work of His women and men who long to create safe and welcoming spaces for His glory.

    “Stability” is a term that occurs early and often in Keeping Place. Presenting as a spiritual discipline and as an opposite to rootlessness, it signifies a commitment to make a difference in a specific place and time. The paradox of the Christian life is this need for full investment, wherever we are, whatever our calling — in stark contrast to the need to also hold it all loosely.

    “There is no controlling what we keep or for how long, and an earthly home is no measure of stability and safety, not really — not when lurking in the background of every day is the possibility that the phone will ring and life will lurch toward death.”

    To be human is to long for home.

    To be mortal is to be plagued by the impermanence of all that we hold dear.

    The truth of resurrection, expressed in the language of Home, is that all the perished things will one day be restored, our need for belonging will be fulfilled at long last, and, in the meantime, the Word of God speaks truth into all of our longings and our losses, into all of our dreams of Home.

    //

    This book was provided by InterVarsity Press in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

  • Katherine Pershey
    Jun 25, 2017

    Jen Pollock Michel is an incredibly gifted writer. Her theology continues to be somewhat right of my own mainline tradition, but her work inspires, instructs, and challenges me in so many ways. Lots to treasure in this book. She's particularly skilled at weaving her own reflections in with varied voices from literature and theology. Best chapter was on the "unyielding obligations of love's housekeeping." "It is a logical impossibility to love my children and refuse to provide them lunch. To love

    Jen Pollock Michel is an incredibly gifted writer. Her theology continues to be somewhat right of my own mainline tradition, but her work inspires, instructs, and challenges me in so many ways. Lots to treasure in this book. She's particularly skilled at weaving her own reflections in with varied voices from literature and theology. Best chapter was on the "unyielding obligations of love's housekeeping." "It is a logical impossibility to love my children and refuse to provide them lunch. To love is to labor."

    But my favorite line in the whole book? "The feast preaches."

  • Amanda Rogozinski
    Jun 27, 2017

    If you like a book that is relatable but also meaty, one that will challenge as well as encourage you, I highly recommend this read. Michel brings together so many different voices into this dialogue and together they come to an understanding both our longing for home and how to be instruments in creating it. She includes psychological, theological, and literary perspectives and her own well-thought-through exegesis of the theme of "home" throughout scripture. I wish I could have a dialogue with

    If you like a book that is relatable but also meaty, one that will challenge as well as encourage you, I highly recommend this read. Michel brings together so many different voices into this dialogue and together they come to an understanding both our longing for home and how to be instruments in creating it. She includes psychological, theological, and literary perspectives and her own well-thought-through exegesis of the theme of "home" throughout scripture. I wish I could have a dialogue with Michel because though I don't always agree with her perspective (or at least the emphasis of it), she points the discussion right where it matters. I would recommend this to any follower of Christ in any season--Michel's idea of home goes deeper than the lines between married or single, home-body or traveler. I will be sending this along to bless other people in my life. It's the kind of book that needs to be shared and bonds people together.

    You are invited to

    for a full review.

    *review copy courtesy of IVP Books*

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