Nearly four years ago, for my first Christmas as a Pazdziora, my gentle and sweet new mother-in-law gave me this book ------->
Honestly, I was intimidated. If I’d known much about the Schaeffers at that point, I’d have been even more so. But what caught my heart in my throat – which you may foresee if you’ve ever been a trembling new daughter-in-law – was this word: Homemaking. Of course, I’ve long since realized that my husband’s dear mum wasn’t trying to give me any clues about the disorderliness of my home. (Please take a moment to quell any mental images of the meddling Marie Barone and, once successful, proceed.) In fact, she’s always been graciously complimentary regarding my interior décor and use of space (which I’ve not yet had much of to use). Thankfully, though, she’s never seen the cleanliness level in its normal state!
Anyway, once I finally stopped hyperventilating over this title a few
years months later, I lifted the cover and was introduced to a beautiful, brand new world of home life at its fullest and – to my surprise – a delightful book joyfully in keeping with its title. Rather than pointers on keeping the dust-bunnies out from under your bed (those little rascals!) or the kitchen floor woefully shiny, it is full of gloriously practical and practically glorious ideas you can use to bring art – all forms of it! – into your home, whether you are a full-time or only part-time homemaker. Everything from painting to music-making to gardening to dramatizing to sculpting to designing to nature-walking to sewing to writing to dancing to cooking to … well, you get the point. I haven’t yet implemented many of these ideas, but I’ve recently come to value them even more as I dream of the peaceful but lively home I hope to make of my own dwelling, especially when I have young’uns running around in need of energy outlets.
But even without a house overflowing with children, I’ve loved this book so much simply for Edith Schaeffer’s perspective on Christianity and the arts. She insists that Christians should not only appreciate the arts (which, sadly, some communities of believers reject) but should be active artists ourselves. She writes:
“A Christian, above all people, should live artistically, aesthetically, and creatively. We are supposed to be representing the Creator who is there, and whom we acknowledge to be there. It is true that all men are created in the image of God, but Christians are supposed to be conscious of that fact, and being conscious of it should recognize the importance of living artistically, aesthetically, and creatively, as creative creatures of the Creator. If we have been created in the image of an Artist, then we should look for expressions of artistry, and be sensitive to beauty, responsive to what has been created for our appreciation.”1
I love these words. Having been made in God’s creative image, we are inherently creative. This doesn’t of course mean that I am destined to, with a little practice, become the next Michelangelo or that I should praise myself as being a better tap-dancer than I actually am. What it does mean is that I should recognize the creativity I have been endowed with and tap into art that I may have distanced myself from out of fear. I think it also means that every Christian dwelling, whether a single-family home, a newlywed apartment or a bachelor pad, should be a place where art is appreciated, discussed and fostered.
So, next time you’re looking for something to read that will encourage the artist within and will help you reflect on the role of art in your home and faith, pick up this book!
As a former student majoring in “Religion and the Arts” at Belmont University (where I began my collegiate endeavors), this topic holds a lot of interest for me, so I hope to explore and discuss it further in the future… maybe even in regular installments (like that tour of Ireland I started… yeah, I kept that up pretty well, didn't I…). First, though, I’d love to hear feedback about what part the arts have played in your faith – whether Christian or not – and if / how has it shown up in your home life.
Schaeffer, Edith. The Hidden Art of Homemaking: Page 32.