But unfortunately, her besetting sin is sloth. Either that, or she’s a Platonist. The Platonic House! Cleaner than any house could ever be in reality!

Meanwhile, the cave is set to receive more out-of-town company today . . .

Jody’s brush posts remind me that we have here, at this blog, two distinct concepts at work. One is the concept of what people think that religious people, especially Christians, will buy. That Christians are antiaesthetic morons with money to burn is not exactly a universal assumption, but it’s not exactly a non-assumption, either.

The other is the concept of what religious people, especially Christians, actually do buy. What Christians actually buy — and this makes our job difficult — is frequently not a lot. At least, not a lot that’s explicitly Christian, unless you consider that things like groceries are automatically baptized because you, the Christian, have bought them.

There are certain patterns of consumption which seem to line up with religious identification, and one of them, ironically, is frugality. Google “frugal” (and then write a poem about it), and you’ll turn up a seemingly inexhaustible listing of blogs by Christian homeschooling mothers, all devoted to making the family project work on one income.

Of these, my hands-down long-time favorite is The Common Room, over which the Deputy Headmistress presides. “Blogging About Cabbages and Kings,” the blog’s header reads; in the last year the DHM has taken on, among other things, the Texas FLDS debacle and the Consumer Product Safety Information Act, as well as posting frugal recipes and gift ideas, book reviews, and hymns every Sunday. The DHM, I am fairly sure, would not feel compelled to buy one of these cruciform cleaning brushes. She’d just tell you how to make your own out of things you already have lying around the house.

Meanwhile, here’s a motley little miscellany of links which a Google search on “christian cleaning supplies” turned up. I guess this is what I get for trying to outdo my brother in Christ.

Natural Cleaning Products from the Green Christian Network. Another variation on the “make it, don’t buy it” theme, baptizing things like vinegar and baking soda under the rubric of Christian stewardship. I’m not knocking that (not too far, anyway), either, Jody’s reservations notwithstanding, being about to arise from this desk to get down to business with those very cleaning agents. I’m Christian; I use ‘em; ergo . . .

And then there is this book, on the subject of keeping your home free of “spiritual pollution.” I haven’t read it, but it comes highly recommended by four or five people, including one who describes him- or herself as “spiritually sensative.”

Menachem Wecker at Iconia asks whether religious art is “simply cleaning material.”

There’s something about blogs like this that makes my teeth hurt a little (see “Mrs. Clean,” “sloth,” and “Platonic House,” above), but in all honesty, this kind of thing is helpful to those of us who are slogging along in the mire of our own homes, with our own children, trying to make order out of it all. Actually, what I think I’m doing is trying to make culture, but it occurs to me that there’s a kind of hierarchy of needs operating here. Can you make a culture if you haven’t first imposed some semblance of order?

Anyway, the breakfasts she’s feeding her kids look a lot better than the breakfasts I frequently feed my kids. Toast, anyone? Make it yourself; I’m working . . .

Here is a business opportunity which at first glance seems to fall into the category of baptizing the groceries. Why do you need a “Christian” reason to learn valuable home-organizational skills? Then again, no other reason has ever worked for me . . .

Finally, I haven’t forgotten Jody’s interest in churches, both beautiful ones and ones which must have really, really great personalities. As soon as I wrest my camera back from the teenager, I’m going to take a walking tour of my little town, which boasts a surprising number of lovely churches, excluding my own, which really does have a great personality.

Now for the vinegar and the baking soda. And maybe I’ll make my kids some scones for breakfast, too. Order, then culture . . .

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