A couple of years ago, we shared Dr. Rosaria Butterfield’s dramatic conversion testimony. In the late ‘90s, she was professor of English and queer theory at Syracuse University in New York. She was living proudly as a lesbian and feminist and was an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ rights.
Her turn to faith came about from what she calls “radically ordinary hospitality.” That’s where you open your home and your life to neighbors, friends, and strangers and intentionally share your faith.
She believes in “radically ordinary hospitality” because she’s lived “radically ordinary hospitality.”
In 1999, she took leave from her professorship to do research for a book she intended to write as a rebuke of religion from a lesbian feminist point of view. Most of the Christians she met used the Bible to win arguments against her rather than to deepen their conversations with her.
Except one couple. Ken and Floy Smith, a local pastor and his wife, talked with her instead of at her. They offered to help Rosaria with her book research and to help her understand Christianity. They treated Rosaria with unconditional love and respect – not as a project, but as their friend. They met with her. They invested in her. They brought God’s grace to her by valuing her as a person, not as a potential convert to the Christian faith. Yet, convert she did. With joy and gratitude to God.
“Radically ordinary hospitality” is a powerful way to live out one of Christ’s greatest commissions for each of us: to introduce people to Christ (Mark 16:15). On a practical level, that can be as simple as opening your home as a place where the family of God can regularly gather, sometimes by invitation, sometimes.
Rosaria says, “If we’re going to be agents of grace, then we need to get close enough to put the hand of the stranger into the hand of the Savior.”
Hear her Dr. Rosaria Butterfield’s story and her ideas about “radically ordinary hospitality” on our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Sharing the Gospel Through Hospitality.” Dr. Butterfield also answered questions from our live studio audience.
Think of somebody in your life who seems so beyond God’s reach that they could never come to Christ. Pray for them. Then tune in to our program on your local radio station, online, on iTunes, via Podcast, or on our free phone app. You’ll walk away inspired.
I also encourage you to get her book The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in our Post-Christian World. I’d like to offer it to you for a gift of any amount. Visit our website or give us a call at 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459). If you can’t afford it, we’ll find a way to get it to you.