This book is filled with anecdotes which are used to teach eternal truths from Scripture. The stories don’t go in order, but are weaved together in the same way ingredients are pulled together in a meal. This book is like a great meal.
It challenges me in every chapter. Do I live out radical ordinary hospitality? Surely I am excused from doing this, right? Shouldn’t I be exempt from this practice because I am a single man who rents a room and struggles with pornography addiction and same-sex attraction?
No, I am not exempt. Whether I am receiving hospitality as the guest, or I am giving hospitality as the host, I must be practicing hospitality.
Page after page of this book had me laughing at the hilarity that comes from the Butterfield home. I’ve been so blessed to be the recipient of Rosaria and her family’s hospitality on more than one occasion. Reading these stories of neighbors using exercise balls in lieu of chairs and salty-sweaty kid’s socks littering the school room floor doesn’t evoke images of Southern Living magazine, but it reminds me of the down-to-earth hospitality Rosaria provides.
When I first heard about the plan for this book, I was eager to use it as a weapon in convincing others to practice radically ordinary hospitality for my sake. Now that I’ve read the book, I am far more convicted about the ways that I am not practicing the very thing I want to preach.
There is always a way to be practicing radically ordinary hospitality. Those ways are often very hard. Rosaria’s stories often left me in tears as I sympathized with the pain being suffered by those in her life. I praise God for the times tears of sympathy turned to tears of joy as those who were suffering found eternal comfort through the mercy of Jesus Christ.
Mercy is demonstrated here on earth through radically ordinary hospitality. I must practice this Christian principle. Jesus commands us to do this very thing. He tells us to visit those who are sick or in prison. He tells us to love our neighbor and to welcome the stranger. He tells us to give water to those who are thirsty and to clothe the naked.
These things are hard, but they are life-giving and good. Loneliness is crushing. Isolation destroys. Radically ordinary hospitality from my Christian neighbors has been life-saving for me.
Imagine what the world would look like if every Christian would practice radically ordinary hospitality? Taking on this practice will be hard for all, and harder for those who have many idols. Beginning a practice of radically ordinary hospitality will be difficult, but begin we must. We must begin somewhere. I recommend we begin by reading this book, and by reading the Book of all books, which inspires the Butterfields, and calls all Christians to this practice of radically ordinary hospitality.