Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Christine Pohl on "What is Hospitality":

Hospitality in Greek is "love of strangers." That is the first thing we have to get our heads around. Welcoming strangers had great significance for the early church. Hospitality meant welcoming outsiders into personal space, mostly a home, and offering them food, shelter, and protection. For Christians, hospitality always had physical, social and spiritual dimensions. It had a strong component of recognition and respect—which was most characteristically expressed through shared meals. They understood that who you eat with says a lot about who you respect and value.

I think that maybe hospitality is the most needed spiritual discipline that the church could practice in the 21st century.

The central idea of hospitality is the idea that God is wholly "Other" to us. We find in welcoming those who are "other" to us- the poor, the marginalized, those who are the "untouchables" of society into our midst and serving them that we welcome Christ into our lives.


Zoomdaddy said...

Fascinating, because hospitality is listed as a "spiritual gift" in popular curricula (e.g. Network, via Willow Creek). This is the first time I have heard it referred to as a spiritual discipline. Spiritual gift language tends to isolate its practice to "specialists," whereas if hospitality is a discipline, it puts the onus on everyone to practice it. I wonder which conception is more biblically accurate.

St.Phransus said...

biblically speaking it would seem that hospitality as a practice is the more biblical view.

throughout the hebrew scriptures (o.t.) God and the prophets are constantly reminding the israelites to "welcome the stranger" and take care of widows and orphans because they (the israelites) where once strangers in a foreign land.

it is a theme that occurs over and over again. in the new testament we find hospitality as a practice once again with jesus welcoming "the other" in those outside of religion- the sick, the lame, tax collectors, etc... etc...

and the early church struggles with how "welcoming" it ought to be- in allowing a place for the new gentile converts.

it seems to me that it's not a matter of being "gift" that some have. God is continually having to remind us to include the "stranger", it seems to not come real natural for any of us.

thinking off the top of my head,