The House That Was Always Open

With all the talk of refugees and who our country will and won’t welcome, I can’t help thinking about the Rev. Dr. Jim Mosley (whose name graces the tabernacle at Ferncliff Camp and Conference Center, affectionately know as the J-Mo) and his saint-on-earth of a wife, Joanne.

Jim was my pastor growing up. Back in the day, Westminster Presbyterian Church in Hot Springs provided a nice home in a rather well-heeled neighborhood for the pastor of the church.  It was always a treat to get to go there for some party or gathering when I was a kid. It seemed incredibly grand to me at the time.

But the couch of that elegant home (and probably a spare bedroom once some of the kids left home) was always open for whoever needed a place to stay. Dr. Mosley had a habit of picking up strangers and inviting them to stay. Not too many years ago, I asked his wife if she could count the number of times she woke up to a stranger sleeping on her couch, and she just rolled her eyes at me as if to see, “like I could have possibly kept count!”

It wasn’t terribly smart of him. Inviting down-and-out and down-on-their-luck and drunk-off-their-you-know-what people to stay in his home. With his family. But he did it. And they all survived (while not always being thrilled about the situations).

Jim Mosley was one of those rare people who really did lean on the promises God. He actually went out and lived what he believed. He sang really loudly, too… but that’s another story.

As more and more people in our world are having to leave the place they call home because home has become to dangerous a place to warrant that designation, I hope we can all tap in to our inner Jim Mosley. And may those who have to live with us be as gracious as the woman who lived with him.

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