Next to Godliness: Finding the Sacred in Housekeeping

Through a beautiful, eclectic array of personal narratives, fiction and sacred texts, find new perspectives on ways to reach out for the Divine within simple acts like washing dishes and more daunting tasks like cleaning up the "messes" in our communities.

Edited by Alice Peck

6 x 9, 224 pp | 978-1-59473-214-0

Click below to purchase


  • Amazon
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Indie Bound

Explore the place where clean and holy meet—and chart a new course toward discovering sanctity.

“I’ve always sought solace in cleaning.... As my husband and I packed up our apartment and cleaned the profound dust of the Twin Towers from our books and pillows, we used this shared ritual as an opportunity to reflect and heal. As my neighbor once said, ‘Cleaning house is my church.’”

—from the Introduction

Be they our kitchens after a meal or our communities after a crisis, we all face the times—and opportunities—when we must clean up. Through a beautiful, diverse and eclectic array of personal narratives, fiction, sacred texts and verse, this inspiring book offers new perspectives on the unique ways we can reach out for the Divine within the simple acts of washing the dishes, doing the laundry, making a home and more. Giving the process of cleaning house depth and resonance, these writings will speak to your heart and allow you to see beyond the task at hand and into a greater undertaking—to realize the sacred in all that we do.

From sweeping the home, to organizing the office, to cleaning up the more daunting “Big Messes” in our communities, this engaging book touches upon every facet of our lives.

Named to the 2007 “Top 10 Spiritual Summer Reading List” by the Detroit Free Press

“Thoughtful, surprising ... aims to inspire us to think differently about how we keep our domestic space. The importance of loving family, self, and something transcendent ties these writings together. It's hard to resist."

Washington Post

“A timeless theme ... a cultural landmark exploring our changing attitudes about home."

Detroit Free Press

“Lovely…. Articulates what many women know but hesitate to admit: housekeeping has a unique spiritual quality, if only we will tap into it. Simply read and enjoy whenever you need to find the sacred in housekeeping once again.”

Marcia Ford, author of Finding Hope: Cultivating God’s Gift of a Hopeful Spirit

“Finds meaning in the ever-present reality of housekeeping.… It is at once lovely, inspiring and thoughtful.”

Karyn D. Kedar, author of The Bridge to Forgiveness: Stories and Prayers for Finding God and Restoring Wholeness

“Slowly shakes loose our need to constantly distinguish small from large, mundane from sacred, interior from exterior…. Uncommonly joyful in the way it affirms the simplicity we sense directly in spiritual life, while at the same time including the mysteries and intensities of the immeasurable dwelling place.”

Bonnie Myotai Treace, Hermitage Heart Zen

“An eclectic and ecumenical treasury of writings—ancient and modern, poetry and prose, secular and sacred…. Dissolves the boundaries between drudgery and dharma, celebrating the opportunities for transcendence that can be found in the everyday. Feng Shui for the heart, mind and soul.”

Arthur Goldwag, author of The Beliefnet Guide to Kabbalah

“Rich ... will amuse and edify, prompting readers to reflect on the ways that the most mundane requirements of life are inseparably bound up with the transcendent.”

Books & Culture: A Christian Review

“Bring[s] light into an often mundane subject.”

Catholic News Service

“Delightful.... Will transform the way you look at that load of laundry or broom in the corner. It may even inspire you to find sanctuary in that sink full of dirty dishes.”

Presbyterians Today

“Inspires us to see [household chores] as prayer and a doorway through which Love can enter and dwell in our homes.... Helps us see ways to begin cleaning the interior stains and grime out of our hearts and minds.”

Quaker Life

“Brings beautiful order and a sense of peace to the tasks of keeping house.... A treasure.... If [we are] to pray always, as St. Paul urges, [this book] makes it seem more possible.”

St. Anthony Messenger