Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Strangers At My Door

I'd read enough about this book and the author to expect that I would feel convicted, the holier-than-thou way of saying I thought I might feel guilty. You know, comparing one guy's sacrificial lifestyle to mine own, feeling that mine fell short. I do this often, in many situations, assuming that God has called all of us to do the exact same thing, even though gifting and situations are vastly different.

I suppose it's a good thing I choose to read the insides of these books as well.

Strangers At My Door by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove is a good choice for a read. You might recognize his name as being connected with Shane Claiborne as these two founded the New Monastic movement, focusing on intentional rhythms each day of prayer and community. They do this while living in hospitality houses, communities they have intentionally made to welcome anyone who might knock on the door.

And that's exactly who and what you'll find in this book. The stories of many interesting and various people who have knocked on the door of Jonathan and his wife Leah's North Carolina house. Listen to his own definition of what they have there:

We are an extended family of sorts - a broad community of married and single people with different work schedules and skill sets, all committed to sharing what we have and making a life together. We are not a shelter, maximizing our resources to most efficiently meet the pressing need. We area  community - a peculiar sort of family - that must maintain a delicate balance between guests and hosts, employed and unemployed, workers and visionaries, do-ers and be-ers. Growth requires not only more space but also more people who can be successfully integrated into our family system. (pg79)

You won't get preachy reasons from Jonathan on starting your own community. You won't even read about the nitty gritty details of how they make this lifestyle work and manage to pay all the bills.

What Jonathan offers is story after story of the people who have come and how they have changed his life and his perspective. He doesn't paint himself as a hero or a savior to this community. Showing faults along the way, he writes about the lessons learned by all in this multicultural and multiracial family, something we can all take away as lessons in getting along with our neighbors.

Like I said a few paragraphs ago, reading a book like this can cause one to feel the need to start their own hospitality house in their own town. And maybe more need to do that. But that's not the only thing one can learn from this book. Perhaps learning about a greater capacity to love one another would be a great take-away for anyone who takes the time, not just to read this book, but to consider the opportunities we have whenever we come across a stranger.

After all, it was Jesus who said that He was a stranger, and it is up to us to let Him in.

I received this book for free from my good friends at Waterbrook Multnomah. They ask that I say something about the book, but assure me it doesn't have to be nice. You can purchase this book at http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/. You can also check out more info at the following sites;


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