bis reads: theology of home + why it matters

Posted by barello at 2020-04-11

There is something magnetic and enchanting about old Italian families who for generations have produced wine, cheese, or olive oil. Whatever the endeavor, current members speak with pride of the family that handed down the trade, leaving a legacy reflected in land, cultivated crops, livestock, and a coveted product. Perhaps a great-great-great-great grandfather merely eked out a living by planting olive trees or grape vines in hopes that he could bottle enough of its fruit to feed his growing family. Today, centuries and generations later, not only is there a business, but perhaps an old manor house, majestically worn, or an ancient stone barn situated among a beautiful vista of craggy hillsides overlooking the ocean, or vines ambling up a hillside reaching up to a medieval fortified town. Some properties are sumptuous, others more modest, but there is something about these families and their lands—their legacy, their history, their striving for excellence, their sense of family—that we instinctively want to wrap our arms around. How do I get that? How do I create a legacy that hints, even in the slightest of ways, at the essence of this kind of family legacy? Legacies capture our imaginations, which is why a show like Downton Abbey was so popular. They involve a building up, a sacrificing for people not yet known, for children’s children, a gift to pass along to the future. Families like these don’t happen by chance but involve vision, trust, sacrifice, hard work, perseverance, unity, and love. As Scripture says, “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children” (Prv 13:22). Economy and Love More than three millennia ago, Aristotle spoke of the importance of community life. To liveoutside of it, the pagan Greek philosopher stated plainly, requires that one be like a god or beast. What he meant was that outside of community, we must be either very holy like the godsor the isolation will make us little more than a savage beast. This ancient idea of community was captured in the Greek wordoikos, which is where we get the English word for economy. Economies started with a household, with the community of peoplewhoworked together to not just survivebut hopefullythrive.Oikosalso refers to the idea of a legacy, to provide something for future children, future generations to receive, to give meaning to the family name, and to establish something that wasn’t there before.