Some of the Bible’s strangers have slipped into our common consciousness. The Good Samaritan shows up at mass shootings and hurricanes. Ruth’s vows of love ring out at wedding ceremonies. Wise men trek across our Christmas traditions.
But what do we really know about those wise men? Or the foreign harlot who lived inside the walls of Jericho? Or the enemy general who held out for a handful of dirt? Or the slave who named God when no one used her own? Or the woman who endured the heat of the day to hold up her end of Jesus’ longest recorded conversation? Or the mother who chose her words carefully so that her single sentence reminded Jesus of his own identity?
The Bible is full of strangers, whose examples we often overlook. Our own lives are full of strangers, too: Outsiders that we suspect, ignore or condemn. How might the strangers of the Bible move us past our own fear of outsiders?
Check out my new book, Sacred Strangers: What the Bible’s Outsiders Can Teach Christians. See what I’m up to, sample my writing and read what critics think at Liturgical Press or Amazon. And then, consider ordering a copy, organizing a group of friends to read it, too, suggesting it to an existing reading group. Consider reading it even if you don't know the Bible or think of yourself as a religious person. We live in a time when our fear of strangers can make us or break us.