Bringing Light into Darkness: The Call for Radical Ordinary Hospitality

“Hospitality conjures up a scene of Victorian tea, with crocheted doilies and China-inspired blue and white paisley-patterned teacups. Radical means “change from the root” and conjures up political and social upheaval and the kind of change that normally scares the pants off conservative Christians. Ordinary means “everyday,” “commonplace” . . . . Only in the Jesus paradox do these incongruous ideas come together. And come together they must.” Rosaria Butterfield~

The days were dark because the age was dark. But a small light was shining to preserve and pass along once more the vestiges of civilization.

Thomas E. Woods writes about men who lived selfless lives and strived to teach people how to live in community–how to best live out the scriptures.

Woods sums up their life goals in this passage: “Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven, and all these things shall be added unto you.” That’s what the Benedictine monks did during the Dark Ages, and Western Civilization resulted.

Our first step, Woods tells us, is to establish a place of peace. “During a period of great turmoil, the Benedictine tradition endured, and its houses remained oases of order and peace.”

Some of the most effective ministries in my community are places of peace for young people–after school or on Friday evenings.

Our homes can be places of peace and welcome. But that’s harder today. We come home from work hoping for solitude. Hoping for our own singular moments of peace.

And sometimes when we reach out to others, they are too busy to come to our home or to open their own homes.

Rosaria Butterfield opens her house every day. She cooks a big but simple meal. Every. Day.

Her neighbors and fellow church members come. Her husband, a pastor, teaches.

She reaches neighbors. She makes a difference.

I’d like to say I can’t do that. Certainly not every day. No one can.

Even Butterfield took time off from her daily neighborhood meal preparation when her mother was dying. Ministry to family comes first.

But life gives us seasons of different ministries. And that season of time off from neighborly meal making made a difference in her mother’s life–changing her mother’s eternity.

Hospitality might be opening your home to neighbors in a radical but ordinary way. But most of the time, hospitality has more to do with availability.

We can carry our places of peace to others. We can be a place of peace wherever we are.

Some of us can pick up Butterfield’s model and become a beacon of light, providing food and hope to a community of neighbors daily.

Some of us can shine a light to a neighboring family less often yet still regularly. To a newcomer just arriving in town. To a child after school.

Butterfield and others living out a season of radical ministry cast a long shadow. Their commitment is large.

But we should not shy away from hospitality because the task seems too big.

We just need to be willing to take on our own task–no matter how big–no matter how small.

As Butterfield tells us: “Start somewhere. Start today.”

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Hospitality Overcomes Hostility

It was 2017. Donald Trump had just been inaugurated. The president’s bad behavior of the past frustrated many women. They decided to march on Washington in protest. But pro-life women were not welcome.

This event was exclusive to a particular mindset–one that viewed the sanctity of human life stance with hostility.

But not all the women shared hostility for all things pro-life.

And that some women learned more about the pro-life perspective that day may simply be due to an aversion to the porta-potty.

if you’ve ever marched in Washington, you are either acquainted with the porta-potty, aka porta-john, or you strategically plan your bathroom breaks. If you are marching in the cold of January, you work harder at the strategic plan of finding bathroom facilities.

In Building the Benedict Option, Leah Libresco tells the story of the Dominican friars of Washington, DC, who welcomed pro-choice protesters to use their bathroom facilities in 2017. They opened their doors to women protesting the election of Donald Trump–protesting the rise to office of a president whose past behavior had been unsavory–a president who claimed to be pro-life.

At first, it was only 12 women seeking to use the facilities; then it became more than 100. Libresco quotes the account of Brother Martin Davis:

“The peculiar situation of some people wearing ‘Get your rosaries off my ovaries’ next to men wearing rosaries on their belts did not stop many [of the women] from inquiring into what brings us to live lives dedicated to Christ” (105-06).

Libresco explains that the friars answered the women’s questions about their work and their beliefs about abortion and unborn life, among other topics. The grateful women then passed a hat collecting over $100 for the church.

They warned Brother Martin to avoid reading the text on the hat they passed.

It was an unlikely encounter and yet a profound one. The friars may have found the march discouraging. They might have withdrawn and stayed behind closed doors. They might have lost hope.

Libresco: “To be a Christian means to believe that hopelessness is always a misapprehension at best, and, at worst, a form of spiritual attack” (158).

More than 100 women saw the beauty of Christ that day and heard the message of life. The march’s organizers tried to shut out that message. But a simple act of hospitality on a cold day shut the door against hostility. And it didn’t take much.

From Libresco: “[T]he friars weren’t engaging in traditional witness. They weren’t preaching or participating in a street prayer vigil” (106-07).

They were just being hospitable Christians. They obeyed a calling from God and opened a door where minds and hearts had been closed.

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”