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 up your home and your life to neighbors, friends, and strangers and intentionally share your faith.
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.
But one couple was willing to talk with her instead of at her. Ken and Floy Smith, a local pastor and his wife, 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.
“Radically ordinary hospitality” means consistently pursuing one of the primary objectives of the Christian life: to seek out strangers and introduce them to Christ. On a practical level, it means making your home a place where the family of God regularly gathers, by invitation as well as organically.
Dr. Rosaria Butterfield is with us on our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Sharing the Gospel Through Hospitality” to explain why “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.” She’ll also answer questions from our live studio audience.
I 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.
In the meantime, think of somebody in your life that you think is so beyond God’s reach that they could never come to Christ, and start praying for them. Then tune in on your local radio station, online, on iTunes, via Podcast, or on our free phone app, or watch the full program on our YouTube channel.