A faithful response to Brady Hoke: Christian faith requires that we extend hospitality
It’s the talk of the town, from the regular lunch folks at Knights to the coffee hour at my church. And that’s just the locals.
ABC, CBS, and Fox Sports, ESPN, Sports talk 1050 AM, 97.1 FM, are all tuned in and offering opinions, predictions and criticisms as well. The sports world is talking about our city after yesterday’s announcement of University of Michigan’s new head football coach, Brady Hoke.
If there’s one thing Ann Arbor is passionate about, it’s U-M football, so there’s no surprise that opinions are passionate. I’ve heard accolades and accusations of David Brandon, support and skepticism for the newcomer Hoke. Tomorrow is the first press conference, his first introduction to Ann Arbor. What kind of welcome will Hoke receive?
One of the tenants of the Christian faith is hospitality. We are to model the radical hospitality that Jesus showed during his ministry. He dined with the outcast and welcomed the least, giving them seats of honor at the table. Many of them changed their ways and decided to turn their life around. Some of them didn’t, but they regardless of the outcome, they were welcomed, and that was what was important for the gospel writers to record, the hospitality Jesus proclaimed. In other words, welcome with warmth even if you don’t know how the relationship will end.
I wonder what hospitality is perceived by our new coach as he participates in a press conference tomorrow at 1 p.m. Does he feel welcome here? Does he hear our support or only our skepticism? Our opinions are not going to sway the decision of David Brandon, but they could certainly make or break how Ann Arbor is perceived in their welcoming of their new coach.
I’m a football fan, too; I know we’re battered and bruised. I know that coaches are not beloved over night that they have to prove themselves. But no one should have to earn the right to treated with hospitality. As a person of the Christian faith, I must not only believe that but practice it. Whether or not you support Brandon’s choice, Ann Arbor has invited Hoke to be a part of our family. Hopefully we can tuck our opinions in our back pockets long enough to show him the warmth we have to offer. Let us show the best of our Ann Arbor hospitality.
Darcy Crain-Polly is the Associate Minister at the First Congregational Church of Ann Arbor.