I haven't been blogging enough and think I need to get back to doing so. Bear with me.
I have been working on a sabbatical grant proposal through Lilly. The process has been really good for me. I determined I wanted to develop a them of hospitality and spirituality. My goal is to visit several Benedictine monasteries and spend time there learning about their hospitality and spirituality. St. Benedict saw a great spiritual benefit in hospitality and the monasteries all extend hospitality to visitors----and have done so since their inception.
Churches ought to be places of hospitality. Sometimes we do so by providing nice places to sit, some places offer coffee or snacks, the temperature is comfortable, and the bulletins are readable. All good things. Oh, and someone shakes your hand and says, "Hi! Welcome!"
But do we really welcome people? I have been told that my church is RADIAL and that I belong to a RADICAL denomination and that RADICAL label is usually always about one thing. We welcome everyone. Period. Slam dunk. And some of the 'everyone's' happen to be gay. This makes us radical and unusual because we accept everyone as they are and don't feel a need to 'fix' people who really don't have any desire or reason to be fixed. We accept people as they are and extend radical hospitality to everyone.
This is what makes us radical or odd or unusual. I wonder why, however, we are so unusual. I have been lectured, over the years, by people angry that we, I, am promoting sinful behavior. Of course, all the lecturers were, like me, sinful people also. I never felt and do not feel we promote sinful behavior. We simply promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ which embraces and loves everyone. We extend radical hospitality even though it's really not all that radical. We are simply doing what Jesus asked us to do.