“Radical” Hospitality

I just finished Rosaria Butterfield’s book, The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in our Post-Christian World.  I found the book to be extremely challenging in terms of a call to living an open and hospitable life.  Her stories of hospitality with her neighbors and unlikely friends moved me to want to be more like her.  I’m going to ask my wife to read the book to see how we can grow in this together as we lead our family.  She focused a lot of her stories of hospitality in their family’s home, which was great.  However, I think that we can also be hospitable to people wherever we encounter them as we open our lives to others everywhere.


Here’s a few quotes from the book (but the stories are really the best):

  • “We must work hard to know who our neighbors are and how they struggle.  We want to show respect and a helping hand.” (p.32)
  • “Practicing hospitality in our post-Christian world means that you develop thick skin.” (p.62)
  • “Practicing daily, ordinary, Christian hospitality doubles our grocery budget – and sometimes triples it.  There are vacations we do not take, house projects that never get started, entertainment habits that never get an open door, new cars and gadgets that we don’t even bother coveting.” (p. 63)
  • “Jesus dines with sinners so that he can get close enough to touch us, so that he can participate in the intimacy of table fellowship as a healer and a helper.  Jesus comes to change us, to transform us, so that after we have dined with Jesus, we want Jesus more than the sin that beckons our fidelity.” (p.85)
  • “Christian hospitality is not for sale.  It cannot be made into a commodity.  The gospel is free.” (p. 86)
  • “But the question is: Do Christian people practice Christian hospitality in regular, ordinary, consistent ways?  Or do we think our homes too precious for criminals and outcasts?  Our homes are not our castles.  Indeed, they are not even ours.  So where can you start?  Start where you are.” (p. 100)
  • “We live in a world that highly values functionality.  But there is such a thing as being too functional.  When we are too functional, we forget that the Christian life is a calling, not a performance.” (p.111)
  • “The Christian life isn’t a math test.  A whole lot more than the answer matters a whole lot more.  So he accompanies them in their suffering.  And we need to do the same.  When people are willing to stop and tell us where they hurt, we need to praise God for it, and we need to stop what we are doing, shut our mouths, and listen with care.” (p. 200)
  • “Imagine a world where neighbors said that Christians throw the best parties in town and are the go-to people for big problems and issues, without being invited.  Imagine if the children in the neighborhood knew that the Christians were safe people to ask for help when unthinkable agony canvassed their private or family lives.  Imagine a world where every Christian knew by name people sufficiently to be of earthly and spiritual good.  Imagine a world where every Christian knew by name people who lived in poverty or prison, felt tied to them and to their futures, and lived differently because of it.  This is the world that the Bible imagines for us.  That is the world that Jesus prays for us to create in his name.”


P.S. Vocab word of the day is: elide – omit or strike out.

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