Practicing Radical Hospitality

Contributed by Rev. Susan Broadhurst Goodwin.

My heart, like yours, has ached since November 2016. Values our nation stood for, particularly truth, human rights and protecting creation, have been cast aside while the raw sewage of greed, white supremacy, racism, sexism, xenophobia and homophobia coming from this president has been baked into policies that hurt people and spilled across our airwaves splattering all of us. As a progressive Christian minister in the United Church of Christ (UCC), I am horrified that #45 identifies as a Christian and profoundly shocked that evangelicals support this country’s most morally corrupt leader. My denomination’s slogan is: “No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.” Like other followers of Abrahamic tradition, welcoming the stranger is integral to my faith tradition’s path to peace. Radical hospitality is the central message of the Gospel.

Radical hospitality means that we care about one another. Jesus said: “Love one another as I have loved you.” We cannot love one another without respecting one another. To love one another fully, we must watch our words, speak our truth, and listen carefully. Radical hospitality calls us to build up families, communities and relationships; there is no room for taunts, jeers, and threats. While my faith calls me to be peace-filled, it does not encourage passivity. There can be no peace without justice and that means we understand the place of righteous anger: Jesus famously illustrated this by over-turning the tables of greedy money changers taking advantage of the poor in the Jerusalem Temple. Indivisible resisters understand righteous anger too.

In the Book of Micah, we find these words: “Do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with your God.” That is our privilege, our challenge, our mission, our path to peace. Justice, kindness and humility are of no interest to #45. Nevertheless we persist. Our path to peace is clear.

Susan B. Goodwin is a member of ILNH. She graduated from Drew Theological School (M.Div, Summa Cum Laude) and was ordained in the UCC in 2004. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Politics & Public Policy from the Eagleton Institute at Rutgers University.  She has served churches in New Jersey and current teaches, writes and preaches in Bucks County and New Jersey.

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