Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Radical Hospitality: Benedict's Way of Love

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Radical Hospitality: Benedict's Way of Love

Article excerpt

Radical Hospitality: Benedict's Way of Love. By Daniel Homan and Lonni Collins Pratt. Brewster, Mass.: Paraclete Press, 2002. xxxviii + 233 pp. $16.95 (paper).

In conversation with a post-9/11 America overcome with fear and increasingly wary of the stranger, Daniel Homan and Lonni Collins Pratt offer an alternative response rooted in Benedictine monasticism. Homan, a Benedictine monk of St. Benedict's Monastery in Oxford, Michigan, and Collins Pratt, a friend of the monastery, propose that hospitality is ground zero in the struggle for our post-modern, post-9/11, post-post souls. Their invitation to undertake this way promises not the quick fixes of a "Chocolate Jesus" (p. 34) who satisfies our every craving, but a life rooted in the difficult and rewarding practice of greeting the strangers among us and embracing the foreign places residing in our own hearts.

Hospitality might seem a weak, even quirky recommendation for spiritual renewal in a world beset by uncertainty, tumult, and terror. After all, in American society hospitality has come to mean mints on pillows and instant customer satisfaction. As Homan and Collins Pratt comment, "the missing virtue of our era has been turned into a social grace that neither disturbs nor transforms" (p. 13). Far more than proper table manners or correct dining attire, Homan and Collins Pratt remind us that hospitality rests at the heart of Jesus' command to love one another and his practice of table-fellowship. They offer not a new spirituality, a new practice, to assuage our consumer passions, but the same old challenge of the gospel to break every barrier down by choosing to relate to those God brings into our daily lives. "Here is the core of hospitality: May I know you better? …

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