About the political stunt, well said. It was a horrible thing to do to anyone, let alone people in the fragile and traumatized state of the immigrants.
About Hospitality, even more well said. Wouldn’t it be great to require every person in any elected office, at every level, to serve meals at a shelter 1x week, to pass out sandwiches to the homeless huddled in tent “sanctuaries” (a tent is a poor excuse for even an occasional overnight stay let alone a sanctuary), or visit those without surviving families in nursing homes and other forms of institutional living every week. I could not agree more with your statement that those who call themselves Christians (Christ bearers) are false christian’s, a spiritual sham if they do not practice hospitality.
I have been struggling to put something like this in words for my own blog, but I will share this on Facebook. Now, I think I need to read the book. I am a recently retired UM Pastor and think sadly the connections and understanding of the importance of Hospitality stressed in the Hebrew Scriptures have not always made it through the pipeline to the contemporary Christian Church. Thank you for making these connections. Michele Somerville
Yes indeed, hospitality is a common religious value, older than the biblical traditions and operating well outside them. Among the Greeks, the divine patriarch Zeus was given the epithet Xenios, to designate his role as protector of strangers and guests. And one of the principal themes of The Odyssey is proper conduct in receiving strangers: the Lotus Eaters and the Cyclops get failing grades, but the Phaiacians do everything very well.
The complicating consideration is that in some cases, allowing strangers to settle alongside established residents might force the latter to deal with competition for earthly goods, and sometimes even with threats of criminal activity and violence. How seriously such considerations need to be taken up is not altogether clear; I guess it depends a lot on circumstances. But to be sure, right-wing nativist politicians have exaggerated their importance, in order to make them a selling point for the GOP anti-immigrant agenda. Needless to say, it takes a lot of theological shiftiness and trickery to make this way of thinking compatible with Christianity.
Thank you for this musing. This helps me to understand why I am so agitated by this political prank. It goes against one of my deepest moral values, but I had subconsciously buried where it had come from for me.
The day your wonderfully inspiring article on radical hospitality arrived in my email in box, this article appeared in the Guardian Australia newspaper… (see below).
Looking from the outside, it seems that USA governance is in severe, toxic meltdown.
Advocacy and the spread of concepts and ideas wrapped in centuries old Christian practices in articles such as yours about radical hospitality offer deep wisdom and practical methods to build a commonwealth and collaborative belonging.
Here in Australia, as Australian people face yet another extension of the damaging divisions and harms of continued colonialism under a new / replacement head of State, King Charles - we too do well to remember, revive, and renew the radical hospitality to which the Christ calls and commissions us.
Thank you, blessings and peace to you.
Thank you, Diana, for your powerful witness to what it means to be a Christian in these times. As a retired Latin teacher I have always found the word "hospes" interesting. You are absolutely correct that it is the root of all those words, but I love that the word meant both "host" & "guest." Perhaps it's a good reminder that this is both sides of the same "coin," as it were, & in fact perhaps it is the same entity. After all, at various times during our lives we are both givers & receivers of hospitality.
Thank you, Diana, for going straight to the heart of Christianity in such a decisive way. Very akin to the examples of radical hospitality you mention here, is Jesus' parable of the estranged son returning to his father. The father did not question the returning son about his sincerity, his squandering ways. The father embraced him with radical hospitality. Too often, we Christians may be more like the elder son, very full of our own righteousness and critically examining the worthiness of those whom we should be embracing with our "abundant love."
So central, takes us back to the table as the central symbol and practice of our faith. My grandmother never handed food out the door during the depression, she invited people in...
Jesus modeled radical hospitality when he washed the feet of his friends on that we remember on Maundy Thursday. I think that perhaps this act of humility and kindness is also a great commandment.
PS I love your musings…
Thank you, thank you for profiling this especially in the light of hospitality. I moved from Massachusetts to Florida about 16 mos. ago.
I’m so upset to be living in a state with this governor. Having spent a lot of years visiting family & friend on M.V. I was not surprised at all of the kindness given to the immigrants.
It’s a magical place with generous & genuine people. It’s a teachable moment and I will strive to focus on finding opportunities to be more kind, more giving.
Thanks for sharing this history,
Ambrose (ca. 339-397) wrote, “Love hospitality, whereby holy Abraham found favor, and received Christ as his guest…You too can receive Angels if you offer hospitality to strangers.” Or as Lucian (c. 160), a pagan critic of Christianity, wrote of the lavish hospitality offered a local prisoner: “The efficiency the Christians show whenever matters of community interest like this happen is unbelievable; they literally spare nothing.” For all these people, from Paul to Ambrose to pagan reporters, practicing hospitality equaled Christianity.
Hope everyone reads the CNN interview with Philip Yancey today. Really interesting take on racism, Christian Nationalism and Evangelicals. He talks about the universality of fear as the basis for making “others” to feel superior to. And made me consider what he strives to do in looking for ways to be the bridge back from the racist fear mongering to hospitality, as Diana puts it. So much of what he says strikes tones from multiple musings Diana has touched on! Thank you for your discernment, Diana!
Good Morning, Diana. I comment as a Pagan Druid, decidedly ex-Christian, and what I see here is beautiful, wonderful, and very heartening. Thank you for sharing this!
Thank you for sharing this. The actions of the governor of Florida are cruel and shamefully exploitive. My first thoughts are with the migrants . But thank you to the residents of Martha’s Vineyard who pitched in to greet and assist the newcomers. I read that students from the high school Spanish class were recruited to translate. How appropriate that this act of hospitality happened during Welcoming Week in America. I still believe this is the true spirit of Americans snd certainly reflects the call to welcome the stranger and love our neighbors.
You always provide me with something to ponder. Concerning the problem of immigration I would like to hear you say something about the people on the border who are overwhelmed rather than criticism of attempts to ease the problem by passing on some of the people in need.