Rosaria Butterfield, The Gospel Comes with a House Key (Wheaton: Crossway, 2018), 240 pp.
Reviewed by Justin Pratt (Kirkland Lake, ON)
Rosaria’s first book, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, chronicles how she came to know the Lord Jesus. As a lesbian English Literature professor at Syracuse University, her salvation was dramatic and surprising – especially to her. How the teachings of the gospel have impacted her life since is the topic of this follow-up book, approximately 15 years post-conversion. The emphasis of the book is that the gospel requires us to be hospitable. She points out that our homes should be open to all, anytime, and ideally should be the community hub. She discusses how this has played out in her family’s life to the spiritual benefit of various neighbours and to the well-being of her local church. She describes, in detail, how she has come to order her home so that she can respond flexibly to needs as they arise. This includes daily routines and responsibilities that she has developed so that she is ready for the unexpected. Her recurring comment is “radically ordinary hospitality is lived by those who see strangers as neighbours and neighbours as family of God.” This lifestyle is presented as doable and necessary in a world that, for all its social media, is often exceedingly lonely. Rosaria’s life is an inspiration and her story should be replicated in each of our communities.