The Practice of Radical Hospitality

As I’ve been at the Indiana United Methodist Church Annual Conference at Ball State University this week, I have noticed some displays of radical hospitality. At the same time, I have noticed some displays of radical rudeness.

When I arrived at the registration tables, I was warmly welcomed and given clear instructions on where to go and what to do. The friendly nature of those working the various tables helped me relax and feel a bit more comfortable being at this conference.

When I came into Emens Auditorium, I was greeted by name by one of the Ball State employed ushers. He took time to ask how I was doing, to ask about my family, and to show genuine care and concern. Of course, he also had to do his job and gently remind me that I had to finish my coffee in the lobby! Come on, Ball State, the carpet and chairs in Emens are so out-dated…they are older than me…let us bring in some freaking coffee!

This morning, I was greeted like a long-lost friend at a coffee shop when the barista said, “Hey, how are you doing? We haven’t seen you around here for a while.” So, it made it a bit easier to forgive the fact that they prepared my blueberry bagel in a manner that made it taste like an onion bagel.

At the same time, I have experienced some acts of radical rudeness.

I recall the way observing a pastor talking down to a BSU dining services employee at a dinner.

I recall the way a colleague (within ministry, not at my specific church) continually treats me as a second class citizen.

I recall the way a layperson spoke to me before she found out that I was here as a part of the annual conference and not as a Ball State student (however, I was flattered that she actually thought I could have been a student). It was odd, she was rude…sort of spoke in a demeaning manner, and I’m not sure why. Then, when she asked if I was student and I explained that I was here for the Annual Conference, she pulled one of those, “Oh, I’m so glad to have met you.”

Then, I recall all the ways I have failed to show hospitality to those around me. I recall all the ways in which I have ignored those who just need a simple act of kindness…a smile…a door held…a kind word. I recall the ways I have overlooked people in order to get to those who “really matter.”

I recall the fact that I need to not simply point the finger at others…I need to do more than grow indignant when I see others treated poorly…I need to make sure I grow and practice hospitality.

May we all grow in and practice hospitality. May we become known for the way we love, care, and treat others…in a positive way!

Romans 12:13- “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

Hebrews 13:2“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”

1 Peter 4:9- Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”

3 John 1:8“We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth.”