I have agreed to facilitate a Round Table at the Global Conference of Tertiary Chaplains in Boston in June. Radical Hospitality is one of the four themes of the conference, so here is what I’m proposing. I’d appreciate your help in sharpening up the questions, which are meant to promote discussion.
Radical Hospitality as the Core Value of Chaplaincy in an Age of Pluralism
The legend of the life of St Martin of Tours defines the underlying values of chaplaincy, in particular, unconditional hospitality. Nouwen’s conception of hospitality as ‘making space’ overlays a powerful image on this myth.
The practice of hospitality is found within the traditions of most, if not all, indigenous cultures and world religions and is therefore a common value for multifaith chaplaincy – a response to the pluralist context.
Radical hospitality is becoming increasingly countercultural and prophetic as universities adopt a consumer-business model.
1. What are our experiences of the transformative dynamic of hospitality that convince us of its centrality to the practice of chaplaincy?
2. What barriers have we experienced to its flourishing?
3. If radical hospitality is unconditional, what issues have you experienced among sponsors or other stakeholders, who may have conditional expectations of chaplaincy?
4. What protections are at the disposal of the host, while still making hospitable space for the guest?