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The word hospitality often invokes a scene of a gracious, impeccably fashioned host welcoming guests into a beautifully appointed home prepared with perfectly-presented meals. However, the biblical call to hospitality is a call to much more. In this book, Rosaria Butterfield invites readers into her home and shows from her own life and experience how "radically ordinary hospitality" can be a bridge for bringing the gospel to lost friends and neighbors—something that she experienced herself on her journey to Christ. Such hospitality welcomes those who look, think, believe, and act differently from us into our own everyday, sometimes messy lives. Christians will be inspired and equipped to use their homes and tables as a way of showing a skeptical, unbelieving world what love and authentic faith really look like.
“Artfully woven into the fabric of who we are, each of us possesses an urgency to be included, an ache to be known, and a longing to be welcomed. In this book, Rosaria describes how the good news of the gospel not only meets our deepest needs but transforms us into cohosts who invite others to meet Jesus. Rosaria Butterfield’s enthusiasm for the unparalleled expression of hospitality—the Son of God on the cross drawing all men to himself—is what energizes her to practice radically ordinary hospitality and invite us all to do the same. This book will stir your imagination to generate creative ways to incorporate radically ordinary hospitality into your own life as well.”
Gloria Furman, author, Missional Motherhood and Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full
“God strongly advances his cause by raising up prophetic voices of fresh insight, bold words, and powerful impact. Rosaria Butterfield is just such a voice for God in our time. The Gospel Comes with a House Key is Rosaria’s heart reaching out to our hearts, calling us to love our neighbors with sacrificial hospitality. This book is going to shake us all up in the most wonderfully destabilizing way.”
Ray Ortlund, Lead Pastor, Immanuel Church, Nashville, Tennessee
“This book isn’t for those who want to live the comfortable Christian life. Rosaria proves there is no such thing. She has a unique way of blending personal story and theological teaching that challenges the reader to engage in areas of both agreement and disagreement. I was sharpened well in both cases.”
Aimee Byrd, author, Why Can’t We Be Friends? and No Little Women
The driving principle of this book is Butterfield’s biblical conviction that as you love your neighbours, and share your life with them, they may well become part of the family of God. In her articulate and unique style, Butterfield holds no punches as she outlines how if we accept the gospel, we should be prepared to practise ‘radically ordinary hospitality’. Throughout the explanations and persuasions she has threaded autobiographical illustrations. As with her previous two books, the springboard of it all is how the God of the Bible has been at work in and through her in remarkable ways. I was struck by the deliberate and devoted way in which Butterfield and her family go about this radical hospitality, and loved the encouraging stories of fruitful results for the Lord’s glory. It really challenged me regarding my own relationships – or lack of – with my neighbours. I love the truth that God works through the most ordinary things of family life, whether it be eating together or walking a dog, for His glory and loves to welcome people into His family. As I began reading the book, I found myself slightly in awe of the life the Butterfields are leading. That kind of awe that made me think I couldn’t possibly do what they are doing. But as I read on, I was relieved to hear her encouragements in the practical out–workings of all this and it began to feel a little more do–able, even just in a few small ways to begin with. As with her previous two books, I found it a little frustrating that Butterfield champions her denominational ways of going about gospel living. I think this book is less dominated by the Presbyterian quirks than others, although it does rear it’s head every now and then. Butterfield’s autobiography is inescapable in all her writing, and that’s true of this book as well. I think her insightful and challenging comments regarding how Christians relate to the gay community were helpful as well as reminding us of the remarkable way in which God worked in her through others offering her radical, loving hospitality. I found this book compelling and I was challenged in so many ways to open up my home and share life, and so share the gospel with people.
This book is an invitation to practise hospitality in a post–Christian world. But it is far from a how–to–do–it manual. Its core takes the surprising form of a personal account of an individual’s journey from a radical lesbian position to an equally thoroughgoing Christian lifestyle. Born into a talented but dysfunctional family, Butterfield shone at Catholic school and university, becoming a professor of English and women’s studies in her 30s. Setting out to write a book demolishing the Religious Right, she accepted the invitation of a visit to a Presbyterian pastor in order to get Christian background and material. What she got was Christian hospitality and acceptance, with no holds barred. Under that exposure her prejudices crumbled and she became an exponent of the faith she had sought to destroy. So the book is an ode to Christian hospitality, not a prescription or an autobiography. A good part of it consists of a series of vividly painted episodes involving (among others) the author, her mother, a stray dog and a hopeless drug addict. These are frustratingly scattered throughout the book, so that the only way to get a coherent picture of any of the characters is to consult the index. The vignettes are interspersed between passages of Biblical exposition and illustrations of the do’s and don’ts of good Biblical hospitality, American–style. The essence of that is total acceptance and self–giving, to a degree that is deeply humbling to the reader. The book is a feast of good things. It is the work of an excellent stylist, incisive or expansive as the need arises. It articulates Reformed theology attractively in an applied setting. It searches and uplifts in equal measure, and hopefully inspires as well.
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