Thursday, November 24, 2005


Happy Thanksgiving all!!!
Christine on "John Wesley and Hospitality":

You see in John Wesley (who spans the 18th century) a recovering of most of the practices of hospitality—the shared meals, the activities in households, the key sites for hospitality like small groups. But he never calls it hospitality. I think it’s because the word had become so corrupted. He uses the word, but purely negatively, because it’s associated with excesses in entertainment. Also, he was working with mostly poor people—and since hospitality, for them, was associated with wealth and power, they were not going to see their own practice of it as hospitality.

The word hospitality with a moral sense attached doesn’t really appear again until people like Dorothy Day, Peter Maurin, and the Catholic Worker movement in the 1930s. They talk about “houses of hospitality” (where they cared for the poor and people off the streets) as one of the key pieces to their efforts.

They use the language of hospitality, and they don’t mean it as entertainment. One of the criticisms more recently is that hospitality is sort of “nice”—that in a world needing liberation and justice, hospitality can appear pretty tame. I think the Catholic Worker movement understood from the beginning that hospitality is not tame; it is a form of resistance. Welcoming people is a form of respect and care.

I read through an essay that Dorothy Day wrote about Hospitality Houses. I'm amazed at her dedication to serve AND stand alongside the poor and marinalized of her time. I am in awe of her ability to organize and and be a part of many of the nonviolent protests of her time to bring attention to those who were forgotten about or uncared for in American affluent society. But then she also lived among the poor in intentional communities of hospitality.

Just before reading this I happened to read my friend, Daniel Greeson's, blog about his visit to Simple Way and Camden House. I am thankful for those who in our time of great consumerism and greed respond to Christ's call to live in community among the marginalized.

In fact I'm a little envious of those who make the leap of faith toward living in intentional community. Part of me longs for that kind of lifestyle and community.


daniel greeson said...

I am envious also brother. we need to get together soon... i will email or call u soon..
im loving this series on Pohl, she is quoted in the School(s) for Conversion: 12 Marks of a New Monasticism.

word up brother

John said...

The "intentional community" concept was vague until I moved to Orlando. At my present church, this sense is clearly palpable. It has about a fourth of the attendance of my previous church, and about a twentieth of the wealth, yet does so much for the poor. It is a largely elderly population, yet it contains a sense of excitement for mission. This is a group that yearns for the Kingdom of God and lives out a sense of hospitality. I am so blessed to have a chance to learn from them.

St.Phransus said...

that's exciting john!!