Welcome requires preparation and decision making if it is to be “radical” and if we are to be truly inclusive. Opening the doors to everyone for everything is not hospitality but fear, perhaps even laziness.

Maybe a good rule is that welcome need not be earned but may be forfeited.

Acting abusively forfeits welcome, and that is for the sake of all the other participants as well as for the abusive actor, who is not helped by a community that enables, though enabling is the path of least resistance for the community and its leaders.

Also, declining an invitation today might forfeit a welcome in the future, though not permanently. All are welcome to join the Confirmation class, though only those who participated in the class are welcome to stand before the church on Confirmation Sunday to be celebrated. Welcoming one who did not participate into that moment would diminish the intentional work of those who did, and, again, would not serve the one welcomed, though there is less resistance there too. You’re welcome next year, though. And even the year after that. Also, youth group is in an hour; please come to that.

Radical hospitality and perpetual unconditional welcome are not the same thing.

One thought on “Hospitality

  1. Unconditional welcomes can make introverts nervous, as I know from experience. Maybe unconditional should have the condition of a time limit. I keep getting welcomed to things I do not want, and I wish those welcoming would understand better. Back in the Dark Ages when I was confirmed, having the strength to say no was rare, but chickening out was easy — and a “Come on!” welcome was less effective than “OK, we’ll be here if you change your mind.”

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