Radical Hospitality

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

{Affiliate links used.}

I have to admit. Community scares me. Life experience has taught me to fear those around me. You don't get pummeled by those that were supposed to love you and come out unscathed. It leaves a mark that takes years to erase. Actually, come to think of it, certain aspects may never go away. I will always have to fight myself to be open to others. Yet, God has wired me to want to connect, to desire to be involved in the lives of others as scary and unsafe as it may be. I may cringe at community, but it is community that cares for me and aids in creating who I am today.

Reading Radical Hospitality: Benedict's Way of Love: Benedict's Way of Love pierced my heart because of my experiences with community: the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. Not since reading One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are have I come to a book that so impacted my way of thinking. With One Thousand Gifts it was all about gratitude, but Radical Hospitality has shaped my views on community and the value of people. Granted Radical Hospitality is a different type of book. First of all, it is written from a Catholic perspective {A Benedictine monk's perspective to be exact}. I am not Catholic so its approach is different from what I am used to.  Second of all, this is not a how-to book, but more of a "way of being" book. There are no set rules or ideas on how to go about "hospitality" {read: community}. And finally, there are no easy answers given, because community is just plain messy. Yet, I loved what Lonni Collins Pratt had to say on the subject...

Here are just a few quotes from the book that made me think...

Instead, Benedict tells us to offer an open heart, a stance of availability, and to look for God lurking in every single person who comes through the door.

There is a lot of pain that goes with relationships and we never quite recover from some of it, but the pain you're carrying around is not needless or pointless. It can be used to save a life. No, you would not have volunteered for it. But in could save a life, and that's worth it.

Sometimes it is the one who is most difficult to be around that we need the most.

The real meaning of "boundaries" is the insistence that I will not be violated by your selfishness.

God's wide shoulders can handle anything I dish up.

Radical Hospitality covers opening our hearts to others, living with boundaries, trusting an unfathomable God, and dealing with suffering. It is about so much more than just community. A must-read if you are struggling with people and want to learn how to open your heart to them.

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