The call of hospitality is for every neighborhood. We are called to move toward the rich and powerful and the poor and needy. We are called to offer our bodies, to see and to notice, and to move toward others in welcome. God may be calling you to move from your picket fence to advocate for the voiceless, to find friendship and solidarity by life lived alongside the poor. These are not better or worse callings. As the suburbs grow increasingly diverse, we will likely find our suburbs looking more like cities.
No matter the demographic makeup of our neighborhoods, God invites us to stay put. Staying put is not based on permanence: it is a call of presence. We can’t withdraw into “gated-thought-enclaves” of sameness. In an article called “The Virtue of Staying Put,” Gerald Schlabach writes that, instead, “what is countercultural in the United States [and much of the world] is attempting to stay in relationship with people who don’t share our views.” No matter where we live, staying put means staying rooted in place and extending ourselves to others in acts of service and presence, even when there’s tension and disagreement.
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