Who Is My Neighbor

16 posts
That Time I Thought I Was Generous

Two years ago I invited a stranger to live with us. It was a normal Saturday, and our paths crossed unexpectedly. Well, so I thought. Our conversation began at the surface but took a turn, she didn’t have to say much for me to notice the layers beneath her joyful façade. Suddenly I felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit. I tried to ignore it’s prompting, but it hijacked the...

8 3
Being a Sanctuary

“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.”  – Matthew 10:40 I took a class on Christian Spirituality at General Theological Seminary in June.  Seated in the heart of Chelsea, I got to spend two weeks in a part of Manhattan I rarely frequent. Each morning I’d ride the subway downtown with my head and heart set for an adventure in this quickly...

5 4
The Bountiful Feast

“Is anyone joining us tonight?” she asks as she counts the plates for dinner. The fact that she doesn’t know this answer points to the varying numbers that gather around our little faux wood dining set. “Just us tonight,” I say, and flip another tortilla in the cast iron pan. There’s a stack of 15 tortillas on the plate and I’ve rolled out the last one. We won’t eat 16...

1 0
Invisible Hospitality And An End-of-Summer Cake

Ten years ago, she confessed to me that hospitality wasn’t for her. The tasks that brought me life brought her only unbearable stress. She sloughed off a burden of expectation that wasn’t hers to bear. She said no to hosting friends for dinner and said yes to so many other good things. * Today, that same friend is mom to a houseful of kids. They arrived through birth and adoption...

13 1
Hospitality and the Secret Power of Weakness

When we told his older brothers that our baby had been born with Down syndrome, we explained that Ace would be more flexible than any one else in our family. Flexibility is the flip side of low muscle tone, you see. His ability to fall into the splits or fold himself in half in order to skooch under a table is remarkable. Ace is fifteen months old and is the...

9 1
Eating Simply, Eating Well

A friend and I were talking about all of the books and blogs and articles we had recently encountered whose subject was that elusive thing called simplicity. Food, we decided, must be one of the cornerstones of the so-called simple life. “But, why?” my friend burst out. “Why does it always sound so complicated?” *** Like me, you’ve probably seen the documentaries. You’ve read the books. You know that farmers...

14 0
When Love Looks A Lot Like $2

I stepped off the bus at the corner of Dundas and Richmond. A crowd of people pressed close as commuters scurried to catch their transfer, I was no exception.  The air was cold. The kind of cold that makes you imagine there are tiny icicles in your nose. The thermometer read -24 Celsius. I shrugged my shoulders up to my ears and buried my nose into the neck of my coat.  My...

18 2
To Show Mercy

Almost a year ago God had me in Ecuador with Compassion International. We were in a gorgeous town, marked with green hills and a sky that was commanded by clouds. Clouds crowding over each other, clouds coming to touch the land we walked. It was also studded with families who farmed, struggling to make it day by day. In fact, what they farmed is what they ate. And most nights...

7 1
The Lady In The White Van

Our lives looked quite different just two years ago. Living in a residential neighborhood, we resided in a brick rancher home from the 1970s on a small corner lot, with houses on all four sides. We had such a vast array of neighbors— the elderly gentlemen that drove a classic car and mowed his perfectly manicured lawn in his khaki pants, a lady who raised rather noisy chickens in a...

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Shadows and Sunlight :: Receiving Hospitality from Brokenness

Years ago while I was in college, my wife (then fiance) and I took a trip two hours south of our own campus to a large, state university where a good friend of ours was a student. We had known her for years and watched from a distance in recent years as this friend descended into a typical, party-going existence in college. Her parents divorced; she drank and did drugs;...

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