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.”

One thought on “The Practice of Radical Hospitality

  1. To successfully practice radical hospitality, one should serve diced carrots and turnips.

    ….because, of course, those are “square roots”… 🙂


    P.S. For you mathematicians out there, I recognize the radical in this case is actually a cube root, but square roots looks funnier and quartic roots are too hard to visualize. 🙂 G.

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