With headlines about police brutality, religious extremism, and police being targeted, it’s easier than ever to stay within your own circle, never branching out. More than ever, kids are growing up with a strong sense of “stranger danger.” Scripture clearly commands, “‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these” in the book of Mark, but how can we live this out today? It was on a recent Airbnb stay that my wife and I started to dig into this topic.
I’m realizing that there are people from my past that I think about often. They’d probably have been surprised to know it, but they are some of the “saints” I recall, people who in one way or another have helped me grow, helped me grow up, helped me move into being my true self, helped me know more of God.
I bet you’ve got some of those people in your life. I’d love to hear about them.
- My maternal grandmother,
Recently I sent this post out to those who subscribe to our site. I wanted to post it for others too as it’s sparked some good conversations:
I hope you didn’t take my subject line the wrong way because 34 years into my marriage, I’m sticking with my man. But like Michael Jackson sang with Paul McCartney, “I’m a lover, not a fighter!” How about you?
Our national discourse is distressing. And Christians, among whom I count myself,
Scripture says that people are the greatest manifestation of God’s glory, even more than nature, which Psalm 19 tells us reveals who God is. I love a quote by author Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York. He says that cities have the greatest concentration of the image of God per square mile by virtue of having so many people in them.
I often think of that when I’m on the subway, crammed in with many people,
Have you ever seen a stranger (or it could be a friend) doing something fun, generous, open-hearted, crazy… and it just made your day?
Maybe you thought, “I wish I could give him a gold star for that,” or “How awkward would it be if I just started clapping?”
Well, now there’s a socially acceptable way to give a shout-out to somebody who’s living spaciously. And to share with others the cool thing that made your day.
As I slowed down to make the left turn, I saw him out of the corner of my eye.
He was near Massachusetts Avenue and the entrance to 395 South here in DC. He was standing between construction cones and Jersey barricades. It was dark, and there weren’t any streetlights nearby either. He wasn’t far from several other panhandlers.
Without thinking much about it, I assumed I knew what the sign he held would say.
But it didn’t tell a sad story (“Wife died.
I love what Neighbor’s Table is doing and, especially, how they are doing it.
They say they are “a love mission of ordinary people loving extraordinarily around the table.”
They are also spreading the ethos of just going ahead and getting past the excuses, past the perfection, past whatever keeps you shy and reticent and alone, and gathering a bunch of people around a table.
And they’re also able to sell you a big old table with benches so you two can seat 20 people in one place.
The book I’ve been talking about for so long (How long? Three and a half years, seven rewrites and 25 readers’ opinions worth of “long.”) is finally out in the world.
It’s a spiritual memoir, and it’s the background story on why “spaciousness” matters to me. Yes, it’s quirky. No, it can’t be easily categorized. It’s not a tame Sunday school story, but it’s full of Jesus. It’s an exposé of my own judgmental and critical nature, racism, ethnocentrism, fears and —
I was on the subway coming home from my workplace downtown. A man changed seats mid-ride and sat unusually close to another passenger. He leaned over too far into a man’s personal space and began looking at the other’s laptop screen. My anxiety rose. We all know not to do this, don’t we? I got up and moved seats, far away.
I’m not proud of this.
In a minute or so, the man came and sat directly in front of me,
I was playing a game with two toddlers and another adult. Everybody understood the rules: walk around until you’re instructed to sit down on your choice of colorful silk scarves spread out on the ground. And then we’ll take turns telling stories based on the color we’re each sitting on.
The younger of the two little girls doesn’t yet talk much in a traditional, technically accurate way, though she has specific sounds and understands any and everything. The other three of us have quite a lot to say,