The Limits of Hospitality

Jessica Wrobleski

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ISBN: 9780814657645, 5764
Details: 184 pgs, 6 x 9 x 3/8
Publication Date: 04/01/2012

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Practicing hospitality is central to building a civil society, not to mention living a Christian life. It can be enriching and joy-filled, but it can also be profoundly demanding and sometimes even dangerous. In The Limits of Hospitality, Jessica Wrobleski explores the ethical questions surrounding the practice of hospitality, particularly hospitality that is informed by Christian theological commitments.

While there is no algorithm that distinguishes between ethically "legitimate" and "illegitimate" boundaries, the variety of circumstances in which hospitality is relevant and the nature of hospitality itself make advocating firm and fixed boundaries difficult. How much more so for Christians, for whom the practice of hospitality should be a manifestation of agape, a participation in God?s eschatological welcome extended to all people through Jesus Christ!

Are limits to hospitality, then, merely a regrettable concession to our finite and fallen condition? Wrobleski offers a rich theological reflection that will interest anyone who has a role in the practice of hospitality in community?whether such communities are families, households, churches, educational institutions, or nation-states.

Jessica Wrobleski received her PhD from Yale University in 2009, with a focus on theological ethics. She has taught at Saint Mary's College in Notre Dame, Indiana, and is currently assistant professor of theology at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia.

Jessica Wrobleski is that rare kind of theologian who is a serious intellectual and a committed activist. This beautiful book is excellent both for its perceptive reflections on Christian hospitality and the personal narrative of someone who is hospitable. One should use the word edifying sparingly, but this book does indeed build up the mind and heart with its seamless blend of personal witness and its mastery of theological insights into hospitality.
Lawrence S. Cunningham, John A. O'Brien Professor of Theology (Emeritus)

Rooted in a deep desire to strengthen the practice of Christian hospitality, this book provides an insightful and incisive look at some of its limits and tensions. Jessica Wrobleski thoughtfully weaves together personal narrative, theoretical material, and practical wisdom in addressing the central challenges in offering welcome.
Christine Pohl, PhD, Professor of Church in Society, Asbury Theological Seminary

The Limits of Hospitality is an honest, beautiful, powerful, and challenging book. A thickly theological ethic rooted in and informed by the experiences of Christian communities, this is a welcome, practical, and important contribution to the recent literature on Christian hospitality and Christian practices.
M. Therese Lysaught, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Theology, Marquette University

As the title suggests, The Limits of Hospitality addresses the limits that people must place to make hospitality possible. However, the arc of Wrobleski's argument challenges the excessive limits to hospitality that the privileged erect either out of fear of for their own comfort. Through well-constructed theological arguments and compelling examples, Wrobleski gently nudges her readers beyond their limitations and into lives lived in the expansive embrace of God. Because it is laced with personal illustrations that make her theological arguments accessible, the book is well suited for undergraduates and will be a valuable resource in any academic or church library. Moreover, because it challenges the status quo while being theologically and spiritually sound, this book will be valuable to graduate and divinity students who are preparing their minds and hearts for a life better lived in Christ's hospitable grace.
Rebecca Meier-Rao, Edgewood College, Horizons: The Journal of the College Theology Society

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