The Touchstones theme for the month of October is Radical Hospitality. Radical hospitality is a radical welcoming in of the other. It is not the hospitality of using our best china and serving fine food which the word typically calls to mind. Rather, radical hospitality requires a shifting within us; an opening of the mind and spirit which allows us to welcome in other ways of doing and being. Radical hospitality requires a receptivity to change and a willingness to do things differently than they have been done before.
While radical hospitality and anti-racism are not the same thing; I believe that creating an anti-racist/anti-oppressive congregation is impossible without a spirit of radical hospitality. In non-inclusive, non-welcoming communities, newcomers are expected to adapt to the culture which already exists within an institution. In actively anti-racist communities, members are expected to adapt and change in accordance with the cultures which are being welcomed in. Likewise, radical hospitality requires a shifting within us, the established members and friends of a community.
When we ask people to silence their phones during services, rather than prohibit their use altogether, we recognize that a younger visitor might be “checking in” to UUFD on facebook or tweeting about an insight they just experienced during the sermon or texting a friend to come on over and join them for the service. This is radical hospitality. When during the offering we ask newcomers to allow the plate to pass them by because they are our guests, we are being radically hospitable. When we encourage a newer member to be creative in designing the aesthetics of our sanctuary, we are being radically hospitable. When we open ourselves to new ways of functioning as a community, whether it be experimenting with new governance structures or using a new process to make communal decisions or trying out a new fundraiser, we are being radically hospitable. Radical hospitality requires us to change and adapt to the ways of newcomers so that their ideas and creativity and energy are fully and wholly welcomed in.
This month, we will be welcoming in some guest speakers during two of the minister-led services. Both of our speakers come from faith traditions different from our own and both of our speakers will be sharing something of their faith and how it informs who they are and what they do in this world. In the spirit of our UU principles which ask us to encourage one another to spiritual growth and to engage in a life-long quest for truth and meaning, I hope you will join me in giving our guests a radically hospitable welcome.
In faith and love,