|By Elizabeth Oldfield
I have been reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Letters and Papers in Prison in lockdown. Imprisoned by the Nazis for taking part in a plot to assassinate Hitler, the great theologian had time to process how much the world had changed since his childhood. Many of his urgent reflections on how to live resonate with this moment, not least the theme of home.
The centrality of the home in a time when we’re all confined to it is obvious, but it’s also part of a longer trend. I wrote last year about the “pivot to burnout” that saw branding companies and marketers focus on the “domestic cosy” trend — even before it was enforced, we were spending more time in (and more money on) our living spaces.
Bonhoeffer got me pondering whether there might be something else significant that could change underneath the consumer led-rush. After the birth of his nephew, he wrote:
In the revolutionary times ahead the greatest gift will be to know the security of a good home. It will be a bulwark against all dangers from within and without…In the general impoverishment of intellectual life you will find your parents’ home a storehouse of spiritual values and a source of intellectual stimulation - Dietrich Bonhoeffer Letters and Papers in Prison
This crisis has reminded us that not everyone has access to a stable or safe home.
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