Thursday, April 10, 2008

Dinner Invitations

...'the next time you
put on a dinner,
don’t just invite your

friends and family
and rich neighbors,

the kind of people
who will return the favor.
Invite some people

who never get
invited out, the misfits

from the wrong side of the tracks.
You’ll be–and experience–a blessing.

Luke 14:12-13 (The Message)

It’s comfortable living in a religious bubble, socially. Within its confines everyone "fits" theologically with people that "look" familiar in an environment that "feels" good. Settling into this cozy spiritual cocoon one is tempted to believe that all that is needed is provided. And above all, one feels "safe". There is no one to disrupt this comfortable spiritual existence.

It is a luxury to be able to choose "safe", like-minded friends. My own social religious bubble popped when I was living in a small, alternative life-style community several years ago. Very few people "looked" like me! Frantically casting about for someone who "fit" I found myself empty handed. It wasn’t until I opened myself to the misfits that lived in our community that I began to see what I was missing. Friends became individuals that absolutely would not have crossed my path if we had been living in a more populated area. My life, however, was richer for their misfit involvement.

Jesus didn’t seek out "safe" people. He intentionally looked for the misfits in the community. While others attempted to blow a protective religious bubble around him, he’d burst it every time. Jesus wanted to talk, eat, socialize with the people who didn’t "fit." What difference would he have made if he had stuck with people who thought like him?

For every time you invite a "safe" friend over think about the misfit, the individual who doesn’t "fit" you that could be invited as well. You’ll be–and experience–a blessing.

Jesus, I want to live
like You lived, outside the bubble.
Help me to stop looking at
who "fits" with me, looking instead
for unexpected friends

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