To welcome someone into your home is to show them what you think’s important. Remember the first friend-date you had as an adult? For mine, I was staging my coffee table with smart books and a candle (I should’ve dusted the dust jackets first for maximum credibility).

Now, you know you’re my friend if you walk into the space now occupied by Lego, library books, and eleven hundred little scraps of paper Louisa tells me are “bookmarks.” (I love you and I can’t keep up with my many, many children, is what my living room says.)

But to welcome someone to your hometown is to show them something deeper, something maybe mitochondrial. Ah yes, I’ve said when I see friends’ hometowns. I can see this place in you. 

So, that’s happening next week at a book event in the place where I graduated, got married, and flee to when I need my mom.

My coauthor & friend, Sarah, and her boys are coming with me next week to be introduced to Columbus Grove, a village you’ve never heard of in the northwest corner of Ohio (unless you live in the northwest corner of Ohio).

When we speak at our book event at the same library where I worked when I was 14 or 15, I hope the strands of DNA that originated with that place and the people who live there will be obvious. And I hope we can encourage our listeners and readers that Small Things are not City Things or Suburbia Things.

Small Things are Everywhere Things.

Poverty exists in rural places; so does injustice. What does it look like to be in relationship with those in those tough spots? Isolation exists in rural places. What does it mean to love your neighbor when they’re a mile away?

When it seems half the county is Schroeders and the other half are Nieses or Schnipkes or Schumakers, what does it mean to love family well? To love others like family? Even to love others who look, live, worship, eat, dress, or work in a way that’s just plain not your thing? We have no answers, but we love to talk these things through and see what God does with our wondering.

I can’t wait to talk about Small Things in a small-town place. (And then take Sarah and the boys to the Dairy Whip, my first job and the place where I learned I have a lactose intolerance.)

Join us! Grill us with questions!

  • What: Author event with Sarah Arthur, Erin Wasinger (me), & our sundry children.
  • When: Monday, July 24 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Where: Columbus Grove branch of the Putnam County District Library.
  • Books: Copies of The Year of Small Things: Radical Faith for the Rest of Us will be available for $15 (cash or card); Sarah will also bring a few copies of some of her other titles, too.
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