Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Voices from Across the Globe



I was pleased to come across a series on Ed Stetzer's blog interviewing an MBB leader.  Listening to these global voices will become more and more important as the "church of the south" takes on greater theological and numerical prominence in Christianity. Here are links to number 1 and number 2

It was a comment in the third post that really grabbed my attention. Here is the quote from the post (bold is Ed Stetzer's question and non-bold is the response):

Bob Roberts is a friend of mine and he recently challenged me: "If American Christians loved Muslims like Paul loved the Jews it would change the world." What do you think? It would. So much of it is hospitality toward strangers. America tends to be a very unfriendly environment for the stranger. But a huge Old Testament concept is how we relate to the stranger. If simple hospitality issues were addressed, taking the initiative is important. In my country, you ask somebody how to get somewhere and they're probably going to walk with you there, not just give you some directions. So I think that if the Christian community began taking initiative to practice hospitality toward the Muslim immigrants in their area, that would just go a long way. If we will do it, they will reciprocate. And in that context you will find it very easy then to get into gospel conversations.


What a call towards true Christ-likeness! Imagine if the American church reached out with true christian hospitality to the cultural strangers in our community?  What if we invited them in for meals, built relationships with their community leaders, or even just had a cup of tea in the name of Christ?

So what is the hardest part about all this? Compared to many other cultures, we Americans aren't really all that hospitable. We are very protective of our space.  I am sure we can all think of examples that contradict this, but our individualism bleeds in to our concept of "personal space" (which isn't even a concept in some cultures). This is an incredibly counter-cultural encouragement!

How have you seen strangers welcomed into your church community?

Photo credit: kevinrosseel from morguefile.com