The old saying goes, “a man’s home is his castle.” While there is some comfort in this, it is worth remembering that the primary architectural goal of a castle is to keep others out. Castles have walls with battlements from which projectiles can be hurled and pots of boiling oil dumped on the heads of those who seek to gain entry. A castle’s windows are designed for archers, not effective lighting. And castles have moats – a feature that unequivocally says, “keep out, or else.” Castles were not built for hospitality. Castles were built to clearly draw the line between us and them.
The architecture of 1970’s Americana had an answer to this kind of bunker mentality. It was called, the Living Room. Not to be confused with the den, which was the private gathering spot for the nuclear family, the living room was a separate room designed and decorated for the reception of strangers. This was the place where guests were received, where daughters were courted, and where outsiders became, for a brief time, insiders. The Living Room served as a stone of remembrance that we lived in a world larger than just “us.”
Our society has grown increasingly divided, however. We have our church groups, school groups, and various other groups. And rarely do they cross-pollinate. But this is not the normative expression of the Christian life. Our faith must permeate, flavor and unite every realm of life. We don’t hang up our Christianity on a hook at the back door of the church as we leave worship each week and only put it on again as we arrive the following Sunday. The life of faith, modeled through our worship, is to be lived out in every sphere – our vocations, our avocations, and our families. Like a living room, our faith forms the meeting place, the intersection, of all our little worlds.
In the New Testament, Paul wrote two letters to his young friend, Timothy, to instruct him in pastoral care. To be sure, many of these instructions regarded doctrine, worship and organization within the local congregation. But Paul also gave eminently practical instructions on questions of communication and family life, reminding Timothy and us that the gospel defines who we are, and what we are, everywhere that we are.
Join us this Lord’s Day, February 24, as we examine 1 Timothy 5:1-8 and consider how our faith informs some very practical matters of communication and family life. We meet on the square in Pottsville, right next to historic Potts’ Inn at 10:45 am for worship. Get directions here or contact us for more info. We look forward to seeing you.