Strangers at My Door

What would happen if we took seriously the command of Jesus to welcome the strangers who might come to our door? Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove and his wife decided to find out–and Strangers at My Door is their story.

Their story begins with an experience they had in Baghdad in 2003 when they were there with a Christian peacemaker delegation. There was a severe car accident and three of their friends were badly injured. In a situation reminiscent of the story of the Good Samaritan, some Iraqis stopped and took them to a hospital where they were treated, despite the fact that the US had bombed the hospital three days earlier.

As they returned to the United States and told their story, they realized they had been challenged to live out what they believed, and so they moved to Durham, North Carolina, and founded Rutba House, named after the town where the incident occurred. They said that they would welcome any and all who came to their door.

Looking back, they acknowledge that they didn’t really know what they were doing. They were a white family in a primarily black neighborhood, and there was a lot of learning and trust that had to develop on both sides.

There are many success stories from Rutba House, but not everything was a success. However, they learned that while they couldn’t fix everyone and everything, they could love everyone…see everyone as a human being.

It’s a terrifying concept, but it’s also a challenge to live out what those of us who are Christian say we believe. It’s not easy…but given the divide in our world today, it is a challenge that we desperately need to take.

I received this book without charge from Multnomah Publishing in exchange for writing a review.


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