Okay, so I am writing a thesis, and the topic is hospitality. More on that to come, I am sure, in the next few months, but for now, I am asking my friends and acquaintances the following question:
When you think of the word hospitality and the bible, what scripture comes to mind?
And the follow up question is the following:
In terms of practicing hospitality, or practicing radical hospitality, what is the Scriptural support that you find for such practices? Where does Scripture address the call to practice radical community?
If you have time and interest, please let me know what you think. I appreciate it in advance.
It’s been an interesting/low-key week. Since A left on Labor day, i have been busying myself with feeble attempts at reading for my thesis and making contacts with various folks regarding stuff for the school year (aka: thesis advisor, potential field ed, supervisor for work, etc.). Mostly, however, I find that my comings and goings have been largely uninteresting, to say the least. Ever since preaching my first outline-based sermon last sunday, life has seemed, well, blah.
There have, however, been a few things of note that I suppose I could recount. I have, for example, acquired a new bike:
In addition, I have moved my persnickity cat from her summer residence with my good friend D to my new digs, which appears thus far to have been largely successful. The cat is not only comfortable in the house but there has been (fingers crossed) no smelly problems like last time, when she chose to pee/etc on things that I find to be valuable and important, like my bed. So hopefully that will remain unchanged in the next few days.
I have read a few books- I am currently reading “Untamed Hospitality” by Elizabeth Newman, which follows up a quick read by Lupton on Christian Development and Urban work. Lupton was an average read– I am really enjoying Newman, however. I think it is going to take a while to finish, but the prospects are good. It is helping me mostly to sort out exactly what I am getting at and moving towards when I grasp at linguistic straws in an attempt to explain my thesis’ trajectory. Hopefully when i meet with my advisor this afternoon at 2pm (!) I will have sorted that out a bit more.
What else? Watched Palin last night…. she proved to be a good speaker. I was surprised to find myself empathizing with some of her words… aside from blasting the dems, she was eloquent and even funny. Didn’t expect that. Still waiting to see what the News-y folks have to say about her (i have noticed that there is more favorable coverage of her this morning on the NYT page). We shall see how the dems respond.
Finally, A is coming back today for THIS… whoopee!
So I finished my Ord exam today (whoopeee!) and am now back in that blissful state known as pure summer… which means that i finally have time to write a bit of substance. So what has been on my mind? Lots of things, actually. Due to exegesis exam, for starters, my mind is focused quite a bit on questions of justice and fairness (which in turn makes me think of Rawl’s “Justice as Fairness,” a classic in modern philosophy which I practically inhaled in college). Also due to the exegesis exam, I have been thinking a bit about hospitality. I say this not because of the question offered in the theology exam on the christian practice of hospitality, but based upon an experience I had while turning in my exegesis exam to the Office of Ministry Studies at HDS.
The details aren’t necessarily important, but the gist of it was a question I found myself asking as I left the room- how does one minister to others in the context of work? Yes, it is indeed true that we all have bad days, or that it is difficult to come back into the bustle after a long and luxurious vacation, but the question remains: how? My experience today informed my impressions about the Office of Ministry Studies in a way that made me feel unwelcomed and uncared about. What about new people, or folks who don’t have the benefit of knowing a person well enough to see when they might be having a bad day or a rough transition back into work?
I know I was on the administration end of the same thing this summer, for it was often the case that I was tired out of my mind and conveyed precisely that message to others in my way of relating. For me, the issue is therefore one in which I am aware of how I feel when others treat me less than hospitably, paired with a desire to not induce the same feeling in others. I know that I am called to welcome others and to be a presence that reflects Christ, but it gets freakin’ hard when you are sick or exhausted or burnt out. Those are the moments when I feel my most challenged (I know I am not alone!) So how do I, as my friend Steve put it, resist the tendency to project a ministry of misery and instead maintain an air of hospitality in the face of my own demons?
It is a question I will struggle with, I am sure, my whole ministry. Still, I put it out there… how do you (whomever you are) deal with your demons?