Life on the front porch

Faith, life, kids & bikes


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Stories that inspire Radical Hospitality

Last weekend I led a couple of seminars titled Radical Hospitality. As I prepared I began to feel that I don’t know nearly as much about hospitality as the people who will want to come to my seminar – I may have a few stories and I may know the Bible stories that inspire hospitality, but today I feel like just a writer.Love note

I asked my groups, what stories of hospitality do you have? When have you either experienced hospitality or extended hospitality? In asking this I was looking for stories that Jesus seemed to enter into or that we had climbed into his story and experienced God’s blessings. Continue reading


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Jesus became poor: Hospitality #3

Tonight I’m putting the final touches on my presentation on Radical Hospitality.  Funny thing is, I never offered to do this seminar – I was going to talk about Hospitality as Salvation in the context of inner city church work, but this thing has taken on a life of its own.

Last week, my boss Shaila talked about Radical Hospitality being one of our key values at Alpha Canada and that we were going to put this front and center in our training this spring.  So, I’ve got my juices running.
One of the most interesting point on hospitality for me came from Micheal Frost in a little video he did on The Work of

becoming the poor

Micheal Frost on becoming the poor

the People (a website of video resources I highly recommend).  In this clip he talks about the story from Luke 7 where Jesus is invited to a party at Simon’s house.  He’s a bit of celebrity but as the story moves along, we find out that the host is actually trying to impress everyone else.  Jesus isn’t welcomed properly and is actually insulted.  Then a beautiful thing happens when a working girl (prostitute) drops behind him, at his feet, pours expensive perfume on his feet and then washes his feet with her tears and hair.

Frost points out a beautiful Palestinian tradition of the hombre or shadow people.  These hombres were the people who were able to sneak into a party (uninvited).  Once in, they were entitled to be fed, but not given a place at the table.  I imagine that if a man wanted to show off his wealth and care for the poor, he’d let in many hombres.  It would be a good business or political move to be seen as compassionate and wealthy.
At this point I just want to consider, how often had Jesus been an hombre?  How many times had he and his brothers snuck into a party just to be fed.  The children of a carpenter would not have been wealthy or privileged.  And after the death of their dad, it may have become necessary to sneak out food to other family members.
In this story we’re reminded that Jesus was never a man of earthly means.  Though he generously fed 5000 with just a few loaves and fish, he seemed to require the hospitality of people more than he could offer it.  Christian hospitality therefore is not primarily following the example of Christ but rather an opportunity to show hospitality to Jesus.  Matthew 25 confirms with the teaching on caring for the poor being the same as caring for Jesus himself.
So, how have I shown mercy to Jesus today?  Will I see him tomorrow when he comes across my path as hungry, thirsty, in bondage, beat down or neglected?


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Radical Hospitality Part 2

Sometimes there are stories in your history that you’ve forgotten. Here’s a gem from my mom that left an impression on her.  Undoubtably, it shaped my story too.

Radical Hospitality…Good term.

Let me remind you of an instance of that for your Dad and me.
We stopped in Red Deer to see some old friends from my high school days. I called from a pay phone in town to say we were there and would love to see them. My friend’s husband then asked if we knew the way to their place and did we want supper and to spend the night? He drove over to guide us home and his first words were,”Oh. It’s you folks! Good.” He had missed hearing our name and didn’t know who he was asking over! I always thought that was amazing hospitality!

What would your first reaction be if you got that phone call?

How would you feel if you were the ones escorted in?

What difference does it make to be brought to, rather than just sent to?

#radhospitality – what are your stories and quotes on hospitality?


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Radical Hospitality Part 1

DSC_7469Our journey to the west coast started at noon and while I meant to head south through the International Peace Gardens but instead we found our way south into the US just past Morden. Our first rest stop came at Cando where people have a real “can-do” mentality. Lots of pretty houses and I’m quite sure that we were greeted by everyone we met – in the grocery store, on the street, even interrupting their own conversations to say hello.

Our camping spot came at Berthold. We pulled in looking for a school ground or park to camp when we found the campground. The campground was a gravel lot and we nearly left town but on a whim I stopped and asked a man in a golf cart. Now I was talking to a guy who gets things done in town! He directed us to a nice little picnic spot where we could camp for free.

Later, as we set up camp, Steve (from across the street) came to introduce himself and make his home available to us should we need it.

Now there’s lots more we could say about North Dakota – the massive road construction and the race to extract oil from the earth and of course the villages of temporary housing.  All this is very interesting but not nearly as special as the homegrown ND hospitality.

#radhospitality – what are your stories and quotes on hospitality?


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A book review of “Playground Prayers and Monkey Bar Meditations” by Rob Low

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We’ve been reading the prayers in this little treasure of prayerful reflections. My children are drawn to the pictures and themes and I’m gently challenged to be playful in prayer. I’d say it’s like a devotional book but in the style of a prayer book. The style is very poetic.

Rob Low is a camp friend I grew up with. He has always been a quiet leader and here is an outpouring of his quiet soul and meditations with Jesus. It’s so fun to look at things I see every day with the question, “Lord, what do you want to show me about me today?” Bubble Gum Prayers and Bike Riding Prayers caught our attention to start and then off to PAC man and Lego prayers! I find myself curious about the curious way that Rob will hear God talking.

You can pick this up at Friesen Publishing or Amazon.

A little bonus in my copy were the Prayers at Gull Lake Camp. I loved Rob’s prayerful reminiscing about the camp hall and the swing set. Let me close with a little portion that I loved:

This is a place where you dwell, Lord.
I know this because so many have turned to you here.
So many have cried out to You and surrendered to You.
You have faithfully met thousands of your children on these swings,
Answering their questions and stirring up even more.
Your hands have enveloped many people here, Lord,
As they swung in the shadow of Your wings and swayed to the winds of Your Spirit.
Lives have been changed and this place has been changed.
This holy place where people have been encountering You for nearly 100 years.