Although hospitality was central to Christian identity and practice in earlier centuries, our generation knows little about its life-giving character. Over the past three hundred years, understandings of hospitality have shrunk to entertainment at home and to the hospitality industry's provision of service through hotels and restaurants. But for most of the history of the church, hospitality was central to the gospel and a crucial practical expression of care, relationship, and respect.
This penetrating new work by Christine Pohl revisits the Christian foundations of welcoming strangers and explores the necessity, difficulty, and blessing of hospitality today. The book offers an original argument that traces the eclipse of this significant Christian practice, showing the initial centrality of hospitality and the importance of recovering it for contemporary life.
Combining rich biblical and historical research with extensive interviewing of contemporary service communities -- the Catholic Worker, L'Abri, L'Arche, Good Works, Annunciation House, St. John's Abbey, and others -- this book shows how understanding the key features of hospitality can better equip us to respond faithfully to contemporary needs and challenges.