Tuesday, November 28, 2006

On Hospitality


The Hospitality of God


God welcomes exiles, and creates places of safety and care for those who are lost. God provides a home. Canaan was the first promised land, and now it is and will be the whole earth. Hospitality isn’t just about parties (though parties are important signs of the Kingdom), but about reconciling with enemies and creating safe spaces for those who have none. Being a community of safety and real life restoration is the primary way the Church should understand evangelism, because it is as such a community that it embodies the news about Jesus.

The Hospitality of the Church

What does it mean to be a community? What are the best books about contemporary appropriations of the Benedictine traditions? What do the Benedictines have to teach the Church about showing hospitality? Who are the people for whom the Church is called to make safe spaces?

5 comments:

Chris T. said...

Do you read Bending the Rule? *Christopher always has interesting things to stay about Benedictine spirituality.

Young and Aspiring said...

Have you looked into Christine Pohl's works at Asbury?

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything you say, Kyle, except for one thing. As you already know, I'm exploring the issue of hospitality on my blog, too, but I'm looking at it in conjunction with incarnation. The thing I don't agree with is that "Being a community of safety and real life restoration is the primary way the Church should understand evangelism...."

I would say that it is "a" primary way of understanding evangelism. I think incarnation--the flipside of hospitality--is another primary way of understanding evangelism.

Hospitality and incarnation are not particularly different from one another--they are both sides of the same coin: God's compassion. Hospitality welcomes in and incarnation reaches out. Both express the compassion of God.

+ Alan said...

Who are the people for whom the Church is called to make safe spaces?

I'll only touch very briefly on this question.

Everyone.

Is that brief enough? There is not special class of people for whom Christ died and rose and lives. There aren't some whom He doesn't like and to whom He does not want to show hospitality through His Body the Church.

Kyle said...

Thanks, Chris, I'll check Christopher's blog.

Cheers, Jeremy, I've read Pohl's book. Love it. Hey, there's a copy of it at Half Price Books in Hamburg right now for 6.50. You should get it, if you don't have it. :0)

Markus, I always enjoy your comments. Might I suggest that both of our statements are correct? I would say that "Incarnation" is a theological notion, and not a specific practice as such. Hospitality is a framework for understanding a lot of practices and working out that theology. I would say that if you want to see Incarnational ministry enacted by the Christian community at its best, it looks like hospitality.

You have a good point about outreach, and I think of hospitality in that way too; it was Nouwen's Reaching Out that got me thinking of hospitality in terms of going out and creating safe space where people are, instead of getting them to come to us in some way.

Alan, I agree. I think that's what it means to be a "catholic" church - making room for anybody and everyone in our culture, acting in such a way as to show that everyone is meant to receive God's care. Thanks.