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rutba house

October 31st, 2003 by isaac · 4 Comments

So i few weeks ago i wrote about my intentional Christian community here in Durham and said that soon i will explain our name: Rutba House. Well, here is the explanation. This piece appeared in our recent newsletter.

Our house is called Rutba because of the hospitality Leah and Jonathan received in a town by that name while in Iraq with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Leaving Iraq through the western desert, their caravan lost one car. When they turned back to find it, their search led them to Rutba. The car had wrecked close to the town and some passers-by had taken the injured team members to town. When the injured arrived, they were greeted by the town’s doctor: “Three days ago your country bombed our hospital,” he said. “But we will take care of you. Christian or Muslim, Iraqi or American—we take care of everyone.” That he did, saving at least two of the team members’ lives. When Leah and Jonathan asked the doctor what they owed him for his wonderful care he calmly replied, “You don’t owe us anything. Please just tell the world what has happened in Rutba.”

What happened in Rutba was a tragic result of the violence of our time. But what happened in Rutba was also radical hospitality—the kind that Jesus taught his disciples when he said to “give to whoever asks.” That’s the kind of house we want to be.

So why you? Why tell you about Rutba House? For one, it’s good news to us—the kind of news that you want to share with people you know… or anyone who’ll listen. More than that, however, it’s something that we’d like to invite you into. Discipleship is the name that Christians give to the adventure of following Jesus into his kingdom. We’d like to share with you the thoughts we have when we stop to catch our breath. If you’d like to receive them, send us a note at
UPDATE : 9.20.05
You can get an outsider’s perspective on the Rutba House from this year-old article: News & Observer . I wrote something with a Mikael Broadway, professor of theology and ethics at Shaw Divinity School, about the New Monasticism conference we at the Rutba House put together last year. The piece just appeared in volume 31, issue 4 of Radix Magazine. You can also check out the feature article Rob Moll wrote for the September issue of Christianity Today: New Monasticism. For more information about Christian communities exploring a New Monasticism, check out the “official” website Here. Also, there is a book that I worked on that outlines what this new monasticism is all about: School(s) for Conversion: 12 Marks of a New Monasticism (order it from Cascade or Amazon ). If you want a short review of the book, check out this link to Sojourners Magazine. You can also read an excerpt from the book Here .

Tags: life

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Carla Sanow // Feb 7, 2008 at 8:12 am

    Reading Shane Claiborne’s book, saw and heard him in Atlanta and myself along with alot of other Christian friends desire to be different in our work for the Kingdom. I read about you in the book and very interested in you.

  • 2 Back! « zoecarnate // Dec 3, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    [...] Fuller on John Dominic Crossan, Englewood Review of Books and their Christmas Book Giveaway, the Rutba House, and – oh yes – an update on the ROM [...]

  • 3 2008 New Friars Forum Overview « Word Made Flesh // May 11, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    [...] Among the more notable “new monastic” communities were the Simple Way (Shane Claiborne) and the Rutba House (Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove). You may remember seeing the book, “School(s) for Conversion: 12 [...]

  • 4 A Rusty Swords Piece on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Finkenwalde and the Usefulness of the Psalms « bonhoefferblog // Jan 27, 2010 at 11:22 am

    [...] is helping me figure out some spiritual practices for us at the Rutba house . I figure his work would be a great place to learn how to do this intentional Christian community [...]