“Our society seems to be increasingly full of fearful, defensive, aggresive people anxiously clinging to their property and inclined to look at their surrounding world with suspicion, always expecting an enemy to suddenly appear, intrude, and do harm. But still – that is our vocation: to convert the hostis into the hospes, the enemy into a guest, and to create the free and fearless space where brotherhood and sisterhood can be formed and fully experienced.”
“The religious quest, the spiritual pilgrimage, is always taking us into new lands where we are strange to others and they are strange to us. Faith is a venture into the unknown, into the realms of mystery, away from the safe and comfortable and secure.”
In a society (faith, even) where we are told that a goal in life is to be safe and secure, and to create these sorts of environments for our families, we follow Jesus. Jesus who calls us into unknown places to enter into communion with unknown people. The life of a follower of Jesus is not a safe and secure life. Rather, it demands that we lay down our idolatrous notions of safety and security (idolatrous in that we can make these things for ourselves).
As a man I’m told that I need to provide for my wife and family. Provide for their needs. Provide a safe and secure environment for them. Essentially, to be closed to the stranger because they are unknown and, therefore, to be feared. However, these sorts of ideals are not dictated to me by Jesus. Rather, they are dictated to me by a culture that lives in fear of the stranger and the unknown and that seeks to build for itself Shalom. But I cannot build for myself Shalom. I can only receive it and it must be received and entered into with the stranger; with the enemy that becomes a guest.