While you might have been following the U.S. Olympic trials, Carrie-Anne and I were following our very own Evie Granado as she dominated again at the Team USA Gymnastics Championships. Evie, whom I’ve nicknamed “Three Events, Three Gold Medals,” won the Youth Elite 11-12-year-old trampoline championships at the trials in Minneapolis. She’s too young to go to Paris this time around, but she’s in the same gym as the ones who are, and completely blowing away those her own age and a little bit older. Man, you should see these videos of Evie flying and twisting around the rafters of that convention center!

Evie and her parents were part of our wonderful small group at the Central Church in Amarillo and we miss them dearly. But it’s so much fun to keep rooting her on from long distance. At the Olympic Trials this weekend, Evie won the national championship in trampoline, took second place in double-mini trampoline, and finished first in overall points–good enough to earn a top spot on the Junior National Team. Evie competes in the Portugal Cup this fall and, I’m assuming, will keep winning and winning and winning until she makes the USA Olympics Gymnastics team for the 2028 summer games in L.A.


Dr. Keith Stanglin (some relation) was in Midland this past weekend, putting on a church leadership seminar at the Downtown Church of Christ. Keith is the executive director of Center for Christian Studies in Austin and the preacher at University Avenue Church of Christ right there in front of the U.T. campus. He came in Thursday evening, his colleague Todd Hall and his wife Cara joined him Friday morning, and we had an absolute blast just hanging out with them all weekend. The seminar, “Leading Through Cultural Change,” was excellent. The ping-pong was exhilarating. We laughed a ton. And my claim when it comes to my brother and me is still true: I got the looks, he got the brains.



I’ve been posting very slowly in this space my thoughts on Josh Ross’ new book Coreology: Six Principles for Navigating an Election Season without Losing Our Witness. Today, I want to share with you this fifth core principle that helps us keep the Gospel story straight and the roles we play as followers of Christ during a heated national political season.

#5 – I will practice hospitality as a way to learn, grow, and invest in other people.

Near the end of his book here, Josh reminds us that the local church should be the place where people can talk about anything. “There should be no issue or topic,” he says, “that the church can’t provide space for as we attempt to navigate faith and culture. We would like to think,” he continues, “that the waters of baptism and the bread and cup hold the power to keep us united through it all.”

Josh asserts that disciples of Jesus should be Gospel-driven, and not issue-driven. This is why it is essential, he writes, that we develop principles in our lives that keep us rooted in the heart and mission of Jesus. And this fifth one, hospitality, is a big one.

In the Greek language of the New Testament, hospitality is philoxenias. Philos means “love” and xenos means “stranger.” So, to be hospitable is to be a friend to a stranger, or maybe even to make a friend out of stranger.

You already know my table theology. I believe that our God intends for meals around a table to be the way we both experience and express the Good News of his salvation. You know that more than 70% of Jesus’ parables are about food. In the Gospels, especially in Luke, Jesus is either talking about a meal, on his way to a meal, eating a meal, or just leaving a meal. And followers of Christ should be intentional about these meals in our contexts today. As Hirsch and Ford say in their book Right Here, Right Now:

“If every Christian family in the world simply offered good conversational hospitality around a table once a week to neighbors, we could all eat our way into the Kingdom of God.”

Nowadays, opening our homes and/or spreading a table in an act of Gospel hospitality is difficult even with our friends. But what about the strangers? What about for our neighbors or other people we don’t know very well? Josh claims that our culture has messed up the way we think about strangers. Instead of seeing people as a gift to the world, we see people as a threat. So, your circle of who you count as friends is going to shrink. And that means those people outside of your bounds get less empathy and fewer resources.”

To help support his point, Josh quotes from “Reaching Out” by the great Henri Nouwen:

“Our society seems to be increasingly full of fearful, defensive, aggressive people anxiously clinging to their property and inclined to look at the surrounding world with suspicion, always expecting an enemy to suddenly appear, intrude, and do harm. But still–that is our vocation: to convert the enemy into a guest and to create the free and fearless space where brotherhood and sisterhood can be formed and fully experienced.”

When we lower our defenses, when we remove our facades and peepholes, when we begin to be truly present with one another, then the healing power of the Gospel can begin its work. Take the risk, expand your table. You have more to offer the world than you think. You have more to receive from the world than you think. What do you have to lose? As a Christian, a citizen of a different Kingdom, choose the table over the comments section. You may not leave the table of hospitality in total agreement on every issue, but you can leave knowing you have more in common than you at first thought. You have more space for empathy, compassion, and service than you had when you were still hungry.