I recently finished reading How to Love your Neighbor, without being weird. I had read about it on a website, and the topic was very compelling. What was Amy Lively's take on loving our neighbors? I've heard many times in churches and other places that loving our neighbors applies on a broad spectrum and virtually everyone in the world is our neighbors. We could follow Jesus's command to "love your neighbor as yourself" by loving anyway was my interpretation from listening to them and reading.
While I don't disagree that everyone should be our neighbor, Amy takes it a step more literally into our neighborhoods. And I'm not sure that isn't the intent of Jesus in his life on Earth. He loved those around him, and He moved around the land to those near him. We aren't exempt from loving our neighbors here, right next door. It's something I've longed for since we moved in to our current neighbor, sometimes more than others, but I never knew how.
This book points out the meaning of loving your neighbor, and the need for social interactions we have; especially in a digital world, people need more human connection in person. Once we get over our fears and nervousness we often find the people on the other end feel the same way we do. The book ofter methods of creating gatherings in your neighborhoods. It also offers logic and scripture to aid in getting over your fears and walking next door to doing it.
Thought this year, 2015, even before this book, I've begun trying to open my home more to connect with people. It isn't often my literal next door neighbors, but people from our community and world. We've shared many meals this year with friends, repeat visitors and made deeper connections. It has been a blessing. While there are certainly times I'm exhausted and it's hard to rush home from work and get a meal on the table for people, it's almost always worth it.
I've lowered my standards in my home and realized it's less about impressing them with my house or my house cleaning skills and more about making them feel welcome in my home. There is a section of the book that touches on this too.
Sometimes I feel like my neighborhood and community is a little different than the methods in this book. I do live in small fairly close community. It's mostly generations of people that live in this town. We moved in as outsiders and it was harder to break in at first, but we've done okay over the last 6 years. I may be less connected in this community than most, but there are still those who need connections in the community and we don't realize it.