Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Dying Art

I saw a friend's post on FaceBook yesterday, "Wondering if people having guests for dinner is a lost art?"  Lost, no.  Dying, yes.  We're actually having dinner guests this evening, but it wouldn't be my first choice.  I have to stretch outside of my comfort zone to do it. 

I imagine that my mythological reasons for not having folks over more often are similar to your reasons.  Well, since I need to psyche myself up a bit, you're welcome to listen in.

  1. Myth: My house is too small.  Debunked:  My house is quite large compared to houses around the world.  I've been around the world and I tell you I've met some great hosts.  Their houses were not large, yet they had some of the best parties gathered around a blanket on the floor with tea and bread on the menu.  Here's what's amazing: they knew I was wealty in comparison, but I didn't detect insecurity.  They shared what they had and were grateful for my company and I was grateful for theirs. 
  2. Myth:  I can't cook.  Debunked:  I can cook, but often I just don't want to.  This is selfish.  My temporary discomfort in preparing a larger meal is quickly replaced with the joy of laughter and friendship.  (By the way, if you are one of those people who burns water, pick up some fried chicken and have a good ol' time.  It's no excuse to be a hermit.)
  3. Myth:  My house is too dirty.  Debunked:  My house is not a wasteland.  I am not a hoarder.  Everyone knows that I am outnumbered by small children.  I don't have to knock down every cobweb before guests arrive, but I will at least make my bathroom less gross and my kitchen less scary.  Having a lived-in house is more comfortable for guests anyway. 
  4. Myth:  Their children will make a mess.  Debunked:  Their children will make a mess, but this is selfish too.  My temporary discomfort cleaning up after the fact is a small price to pay for the great fun that will be had under my roof or in my backyard. 
  5. Myth:  It will be awkward.  Debunked:  It might be awkward, but unless the folks coming for dinner are from another planet and refuse to play a hand of cards or knock around a croquet ball, you can find something to do instead of having deep conversation.  The bonds of fun are strong!
  6. Myth:  It's too expensive to feed another family.  Debunked:  Buy a cheaper cut of meat.  Find a recipe that's plentiful and is made with less expensive ingredients.  Have them bring the side dishes and beverages.  You have to cook for your family anyway so to add guests, you can make a little extra or water down the soup.  Better yet, have someone over for dessert.  No excuses allowed. 

Golden Rule of Hospitality:
(I just made this one up)
It's not about impressing your friends with fancy faire or an elaborate estate.  It's about fellowship and friendship in a lonely world. 

Now, what are you waiting for?  Call a neighbor.  Text a friend.  Have someone over for dinner.


  1. yea! I love this post. I'm glad Chris inspired you to write the myths and debunk them. :)

  2. To go a little further here (since I agree with all you wrote), dinner is fun with guests. But it is even more fun when done with gospel intentionality. When thinking about my dinner guests, fun questions I ask myself (and things I can pray about with my family beforehand): How can I serve this family? How can I encourage them? How can I love them best? What will make them the most comfortable so we can easily discuss matters of the heart and thus know each other more deeply?

    I think dinner parties are fun. I do. I love parties and I love people. I think one of the more tragic things thought that I've experienced in my Christian walk (which still feels new) is getting together with other believers over a meal and never discussing the beauty of Christ (however that conversation works itself out). Fun to me is the Lord. When other believers come to dinner, I hope to gather in, revel in, play in, have fun in, his sweet and precious Name.

    With gospel intentionality, dinner can be more than dinner. I love that.

    Blessings Clara. Really enjoying your blog.

  3. #4 feeds* into #3, you know: Since the kids will mess everything up, why clean beforehand? :)

    Thus endeth Hollis' manifesto on How to Justify Living in a Sty.

    * no pun intended