Welcoming the Stranger and Entertaining Angels

A recent sermon I delivered at the Highland church on hospitality, Rublev's icon, and welcoming God in the stranger.

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8 thoughts on “Welcoming the Stranger and Entertaining Angels”

  1. Richard, I wanted to say congratulations on being selected Teacher of the Year at ACU.

    Out of all the honors and awards of the weekend, that one is the highest in my opinion. I am thankful there are spiritual leaders like yourself making an impact on our youth.

  2. Thanks for the link. I enjoyed listening to it, especially your reference to Kenneson's point of the speed of love at the end. I read the book for several ACU professors, and find that his book continues to mean more to me every time I read it. I'm not sure that I've come across a more practical book on Christian living than his.

  3. Amy,
    Thanks. Funny story about my boys on the way home after I was given the award:

    Youngest Son: "Daddy, what does a 'Teacher of the Year' award mean?"

    Me: "Well, its a way of someone saying you did a good job."

    Youngest Son: "But what does it mean? I dont' understand."

    Oldest Son (stepping in to explain): "Well, you know how Sponge Bob got an award from Mr. Crab for being employee of the month? It is kind of like that."

    Youngest Son (light bulb going off): "Oh, I see! Thanks!"

    So, basically, my son thinks I won an employee of the month award from the school...like Sponge Bob...

    Keeneson's book is great. I come back to it over and over.

    (I'm honored you listened to the podcast. I'm always alarmed by the amount of "ummmm", "kind of" and "like" I sprinkle in my speech. Hearing an audio tape of yourself talking is a quick route to humility...)

  4. I have trouble with those too... however, I didn't notice it as a problem with your sermon. You definitely notice it on your own speeches, but unless it's really bad, most people don't notice. Mike is lucky to have so many qualified backup preachers at Highland.

    I've been trying to pass the book around to my friends here in St. Louis -- hoping our small group will use it as a study at some point.

  5. Truly revelatory insights are rare for me (and as I push 50, they are becoming rarer). But your trio does it!--that (1) the nature of God, (2) the central act of worship, and (3) the core of Christian practice all point to community and relationality.


    Since you also said that "We become recipients [of God's fellowship] only when we become agents," I immediately wondered whether you intentionally pared a quartet down to a trio to avoid a sticky problem for Christian universalism: Doesn't (and this would be "4") "the criterion" of Christian salvation come down to "hospitality" too as related in the parable of the sheep and goats? (Mt 25--"For I was hungry and you gave me...") If you take the parable to be strictly heuristic, I won't argue, since it always rivets my attention...

    BTW: I now see why you asked the question you did of me following my last post. How does one open oneself to the stranger without that becoming the equivalent of inviting the fox into the chicken coop? A possible source of insight, the Jesus portrayed in Mark is FAST paced--which I have always read as necessary to avoid entrapments on the way to the cross. If so, sometimes love can be fast--and people can be put off. Understanding that "sometimes" would be interesting as a rejoinder to the fox in the coop problem.

    I look forward to any further posts/sermons on this topic.

    Many thanks,


  6. I listened to your sermon, Dr. Beck. You are on the right track. Keep asking the hard questions; don't settle for the fad of Emergent-ness; search for what has been believed everywhere, always, and by all.

  7. Dr. Beck, I found that same icon used by Fr. Stephen Freeman in a post about Images in the Modern World. Though you'd enjoy. The URL is too long, so you'll have to cut and paste the following two lines together--


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