We are the most technologically advanced and sophisticated people in human history. Yet, technological advances have not yet rescued us from social problems. We still suffer from isolation and estrangement; we long for home.
This human urge for home is not unique to our time. As the first disciples wrestled with the implications of following Jesus, some were misunderstood, suspected, and even ostracized by those unsympathetic to the Christian movement. They needed a physical place, "house," that was also a nurturing space, “home.”
In The Quest for Home, Michael F. Trainor unfolds how one Christian community addressed the desire for home. He offers a way of reading Mark's Gospel from the perspective of house and household. This perspective provides both the architecture and theological context for a fresh reading of the Gospel. The wisdom gleaned from Mark's Gospel community encourages us in our struggle to develop authentic Christian communities today.
The introductory chapter discusses the contemporary experience for the human need and search for real community. This moves into a brief overview of the way the New Testament seeks to respond to this search. The New Testament writings are filled with references to house and household. How relevant this is for Mark's Gospel becomes the focus of the rest of the book. Archeology and Greco- Roman literature contemporaneous to the writing of Mark's Gospel are explored to provide a cultural and social sensitivity for reading the Gospel. The cultural insights and perspective gleaned from the preceding are applied in a fresh reading of Mark's Gospel. Finally, the book draws together the main threads of Mark's presentation and presents them to Christians today who are seeking to develop community at the local level.
The book begins with an introductory chapter, "The Quest for Home." Chapters in Part One: The "House" in the Ancient World are "Mark's Social and Architectural Setting," "The 'House' from Mark's Greek Heritage," "The 'House' in Mark's Roman World," and "A Summary of Mark's Greco-Roman 'House.'" Chapters in Part Two: Reading Mark's Gospel are "An Overview," "The Homeless Wilderness," "The Gathering of the New Household," "Strengthening the Household," "The Missionary Household," "The Suffering Household," "The Household in the Temple," and "Homelessness." The final chapter in Part Three: Summary is "The Household in a Gospel Community."
Fr. Michael F. Trainor is a professor of New Testament at the Adelaide College of Divinity at Flinders University, South Australia. He is president of the Catholic Adult Faith Educator Association of Australia and has published several New Testament and religious education titles.