I highly recommend Making Room: Recovering Hospitality As a Christian Tradition by Christine D. Pohl, Author. At the GCA conference, Martin Ban recommended this book and I see why. Simply, this is another must read. A few points:
- Christians should regard hospitality to strangers as an expression of the gospel.
- History reveals the importance of hospitality to the spread and credibility of the gospel.
- As Christians, identifying our self as strangers and sojourners is part of what it means to be the people of God.
- The New Testament portray Jesus as a gracious host, welcoming children and prostitutes, tax collectors and sinners in his presence.
Description: Although hospitality was central to Christian identity and practice in earlier centuries, our generation knows little about its life-giving character. Making Room revisits the Christian foundations of welcoming strangers and explores the necessity, difficulty, and blessing of hospitality today. Christine Pohl traces the eclipse of this significant Christian practice, showing the initial centrality of hospitality and the importance of recovering it for contemporary life. Combining rich biblical and historical research with extensive exposure to modern service communities–The Catholic Worker, L'Abri, L'Arche, and others–this book shows how understanding the key features of hospitality can better equip us to faithfully carry out the practical call of the gospel.
Making Room discusses Old Testament stories of Abraham welcoming angels, Jesus’ commandment to love those unable to reciprocate and the early church’s emphasis on sharing meals with the poor. More than a product or a service, hospitality may be a transformative spiritual practice. We are particularly encouraged to share ourselves with those not like ourselves—without requiring that they become like us to receive our attention and care.
Here is an example of the cost of community/hospitality from Francis Schaeffer:
"Don't start with a big program. Don't suddenly think you can add to your church budget and begin. Start personally and start in your home. I dare you. I dare you in the name of Jesus Christ. Do what I am going to suggest. Begin by opening your home for community…
How many times in the past year have you risked having a drunk vomit on your carpeted floor? How in the world, then, can you talk about compassion and about community – about the church's job in the inner city?
L'Abri is costly. If you think what God has done here is easy, you don't understand. It's a costly business to have a sense of community. L'Abri cannot be explained merely by the clear doctrine that is preached; it cannot be explained by the fact that God has here been giving intellectual answers to intellectual questions. I think those two things are important, but L'Abri cannot be explained if you remove the third. And that is there has been some community here. And it has been costly.
In about the first three years of L'Abri all our wedding presents were wiped out. Our sheets were torn. Holes were burned in our rugs. Indeed once a whole curtain almost burned up from somebody smoking in our living room. Blacks came to our table. Orientals came to our table. Everybody came to our table. It couldn't happen any other way. Drugs came to our place. People vomited in our rooms, in the rooms of Chalet Les Melezes which was our home, and now in the rest of the chalets of L'Abri.
How many times has this happened to you? You see, you don't need a big program. You don't have to convince your session or board. All you have to do is open your home and begin. And there is no place in God's world where there are no people who will come and share a home as long as it is a real home."