A THOUGHT on Hospitality for the Socially-Challenged Christian

Please, I beg you, don’t ask me to come over to your house. It puts me in a position of saying no. Believe me, I used to say yes, but now I come right out with it: “I’m so sorry, I don’t visit.” I might as well also admit this: I don’t entertain either.

You don’t visit? You don’t entertain? What is the matter with you? Don’t you know you’re supposed to exercise hospitality or you’re not a good Christian?

Yes, I know, and for many years this bothered me. It bothered me enough that I went places. Shopping with the girls. Dinner parties. Drop-ins. I drew the line at “Dinner Eight,” which was a program at church whereby four couples or three couples and two singles (fun!) would be all matched up and each family would host the group until everyone had had a turn.

Yes, I’m aware that most people love this sort of thing. Most people can’t wait to get together with a group of families or couples from church, the bigger the better, the more the merrier.

Go ahead, shoot me, but just thinking about this gives me hives.

No, I don’t have agoraphobia, but I want to be home most of the time. I don’t want to go out. I don’t enjoy it when I do. I come home and have to recover for a very long time, sometimes for an entire day. Ibuprofen is often indicated, certainly pillows and quiet music.

The truth is, I gave up all attempts to achieve social normalcy when I realized that Paul probably isn’t talking about “Dinner Eights” when he mentions being hospitable. Here’s the clue: “some have entertained angels.” Work it out yourself, I’m just saying, Paul isn’t telling me I have to do the American social whirl in order to meet the requirement of Christian hospitality.

Paul is telilng me to be kind to strangers, to bring orphans into my home, to give water to homeless people when it’s hot out, to send money to the Red Cross when there’s a disaster, to support a little boy named Christopher who lives in a hut with his grandpa in the Central African Republic, to go to court with my friend when her husband leaves her with four children and no money, to meet a friend at Starbucks to share our hearts and have a cup of coffee.

That’s the kind of hospitable I can be. But please don’t ask me to dinner. I’m so sorry, I just can’t make it that night.

7 thoughts on “A THOUGHT on Hospitality for the Socially-Challenged Christian”

  1. Good link, Dan. I like the distinction between shy and introversion. I am not shy, but I am an introvert. I get frustrated when I am told, “You need to come to __________ for the fellowship.” Thank you very much, but I am surrounded by fellowship from 8 to 5 daily at the very least. I don’t need more fellowship; I need to be alone. Can I come over for dinner too?

  2. Sure you can come too, Nancy. We should start an introvert club where we meet once a year, bring a book, read to ourselves, then go home. —or is once a year too often?

    1. we could meet at a local restaurant so no one has the anxiety of being at someone else’s house, and sit at separate tables. May I suggest Corona’s? Of course, I’ll bail out at the last minute with a lame excuse…

    2. Dan, I’m good with once a year, provided I can find a good coupon for ibuprofen and we meet on Friday so that I have Saturday to recuperate. You won’t mind if I read on my Kindle with earplugs for the text-to-speech feature, will you?

  3. I love this and also the articles about being an introvert. That is so me! I truly need to “recover” after parties and all those other social gatherings. I need “alone” time even though I also truly enjoy people. I love hanging out in my own home. Yesterday I spent over an hour walking in the woods. All by myself. And I truly enjoyed it. I realized long ago that for the most part I can handle having over only a family at a time or it’s just too overwhelming for me. And even then, after it’s over, and I know I truly enjoyed it, I am exhausted and need time to recover.

  4. Dan is mighty generous, then to have us to his house for Bible Study once a week!! I enjoy the moment of the hospitality but not always the anxiety (my own fault, I suppose) running up to an event. Still, I don’t mind it too much.

    You’re all welcome to come to my house to watch a movie, read a book, or use my wifi. : )

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