taking the words of Jesus seriously

cialis orderg” alt=”” width=”240″ height=”200″ />I’m just back from the in Chatham County, NC. Camp meetings like this have a history in American religion. Like Cane Ridge in the early 19th century, we had communion. Like Finney’s open air revivals in the late 19th century, we had some spit-fire preaching and calls to action. Like any camp out, there was lots of food and fellowship, catching up and having a good time while trying to stay cool in a North Carolina summer.

But my favorite part was getting to share stories of good news like the stories we share here at Red Letter Christians.

If you read my post on the Gospel of Rutba a couple of weeks back, you heard about our plans to share about the radical hospitality of Rutba, Iraq in 2003 and all that’s come of that. Greg Barrett, who wrote the fine book documenting all of this, brought his momma along. She caught a bit of out story-telling on her flip camera.

After we shared about the doctor who saved our friends’ lives and told us, “You don’t owe us anything. Please just go and tell people what’s happening in Rutba, ” we reflected for moment on how we had lived the Good Samaritan story, learning what God’s love looks like from the good Iraqis. At the end of that story in Luke’s gospel, Jesus says, “Go and do likewise.”

It’s an invitation to take the gospel of Rutba with us and live it wherever we are.

We shared this invitation with the crowd that gathered at the Goose. We recalled how, 50 years ago in the South, the Spirit moved in Montgomery and in Birmingham, at the lunch counter in Greensboro and on the bridge in Selma. Those stories were told and they went around the world as people learned to sing with black Americans, “We Shall Overcome.” We told folks how, when we were in Baghdad, living with people there under the bombs, we met some kids who knew the song and sang it in Arabic. Then we played a clip of those kids singing, joining them in singing and committing together to take the gospel of Rutba home with us–to spread the story far and wide.

I’m back at Rutba House today, working with a friend who just got out of prison and some kids in the neighborhood–trying to figure out what radical hospitality and the transformative power of love look like here today.

I hope you’re doing the same where you are. At we’ve put together a list of ways you might get started today.

There is a particular magic about taking the Gospel of Rutba and acting on the unthinkable and the practical. This little list is simply designed to spark your imagination with ideas for how you can take this gospel and go and do likewise.

  1. use the equity in your home to help someone who’s considered “illegal” buy a home
  2. host a dinner once a week for people who aren’t like you
  3. visit a church, mosque, or synagogue outside of your own faith tradition
  4. visit your local prison (invite someone who’s getting out soon to come and stay with you for a while)
  5. pray for your enemy
  6. ask your government to stop funding wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; when it’s time to pay taxes, consider direct action to cut defense spending (see War Tax Resisters League)
  7. write someone on death row
  8. the next time someone asks you for money, ask them to tell you their story
  9. read a book by a Muslim author
  10. read the Bible with someone who’s not like you
  11. add to the list on Facebook or twitter .

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove is the author of The Wisdom of Stability: Rooting Faith in a Mobile Culture and . He is an author, speaker, and activist who currently resides in Durham, NC at the Rutba House. You can reach him at his website, www.jonathanwilsonhartgrove.com

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About The Author


Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove is a celebrated spiritual writer and speaker. Together with his wife, Leah, he co-founded the Rutba House in Durham, NC, where he also directs the School for Conversion (www.schoolforconversion.org). Jonathan works closely with the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II to spearhead The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. Jonathan's newest book is "Reconstructing the Gospel: Finding Freedom from Slaveholder Religion" (InterVarsity Press).

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