Measuring out a Table in the Wilderness

Measuring out a Table in the Wilderness April 26, 2018

I got to be on the Ride Home With John and Kathy yesterday, talking about hospitality and whether you can do it if you don’t have the hat and heels of Melania Trump–probably not, not even worth trying…just kidding, anyone can be hospitable. You can jump to the 35:40 mark but better yet listen to the whole program because John and Kathy are the best.

I said this to a beloved friend, a little bit ago. ‘John and Kathy are the best Christians in the entire country.’ My friend seemed surprised. I mean, have I met all the Christians? And also, I am given over to some habit of hyperbolism. ‘Really, ‘ I said, doubling down, because that’s what I do, ‘they are the best because they are smart and funny, and that’s a rare and delicate combination.’

Not that it’s good to go around rating Christians, one against another. I mean, I would never actually do that. Not even using myself as the standard. All of you people over here are not quite as good in your Christianity as I am, and all of you other people over there are slightly better. I stand at the midpoint, measuring the created order by myself. It’s the best way to orient oneself in the cosmos and on the internet.

The point being that I myself can never be wrong, but most other people are occasionally. And that’s bad for them, so I should magnanimously go in and correct the errant pilgrim, the wanderer in the tribal wastelands of internet discourse. I am never wrong, and if I am, it is over something minor. Whereas you, you are probably wrong and it is over something major.

In this way, I can elevate minor points of doctrine and disagreement into major unforgivable sins, being careful to categorize the position of the other person as a gospel-destroying offense, worthy of mob-driven excoriation, and being willing, for Jesus, to leave actual relationships behind.

It’s a curious exercise, in the midst of such a world, to try to think of the word ‘hospitality.’ It’s a good word, an important one, and right and proper that I’m running into it everywhere. It might be said to be the very heart of the gospel itself. When we were wrong, when we had wandered away into the wasteland of our own true goodness, a goodness that shuts people out and occasionally shuts them up, God, in his compassionate mercy, thought of us one by one, and prepared a table, yea, even in midst of our enemies, even as we were enemies of him. When I say ‘we’ I mean all those who come to that mercy and accept it on it’s own terms, who agree with God that he is the measure, the plumb line of goodness. Some won’t be able to accept it and will walk away. But for those who do, they have the right to sit, to eat and drink, to forgive as Jesus himself forgives, to let go of the self as measuring stick.

Better to do it in heels, of course, with an elegant tablescape. But if you don’t have those, it’ll be ok. God set a table in the wilderness, indeed, you yourself were one such wilderness, so maybe you could give it a go.

"It's the age of the #wokescold, so we'd better buckle up."

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