So, THE FINAL class of my undergraduate career revolves around an interesting topic: Hospitality. My professor brought asked us in our last session where we were with our understand in light of our readings* and I had to address my status as one at the bottom wrung... I am not getting this. Because you know what is conjured up in my mind when I think of "hospitality"? The Cafeteria. And all the green shirts running around last year, setting out food in large quantities, bearing identical baseball caps labeling them as "Hospitality Services", i.e. the department that provides the campus with banquets and snacks and meals and Dinner Rally. When I think of hospitality, I think of being served and catered to.
This is not the hospitality that we are speaking of in class. In fact, our senior thesis is designed to revolve around the discovery and practice of our personal ethic of hospitality to our "stranger."
I can tell this is going to be interesting, but I have no idea what such an exploration will yield- I still have no idea what hospitality means. But I have begun to make some connections...
*-The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life
-Economy of Grace
-Disruptive Christian Ethics: When Racism And Women's Lives Matter
-Radical Hospitality: Benedict's Way Of Love
-Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future
Oh! I published, but then I returned to edit because I didn't post anything about the conversation!
I was explaining to a friend the sort of tongue-in-cheek blog I posted earlier this month referencing the narcissistic nature of blogging (hey hey now! don't get huffy, I'm blogging, too!) when I realized, in the context of my process of redefining "hospitality" that immersion of blogs is, perhaps, a response to the lack of understanding of a concept of hospitality. It probably goes without saying that this is because of an underdeveloped or lack of encouragement in the practice of community- the root of hospitality.
I came to this conclusion in a funny way. Recently my aunt & uncle and some friends of mine were going to BlogWorld where these very topics were explored; conversations borne out of this trip gave me some language and context in which to express my own, personally felt violations of internet/blog community. After all, who doesn't hate flippin' spam. I mean, yea, these social networks are an obvious way to quantify and reach specified demographics but... I mean come on, I do NOT have a facebook account because I want to know how I can drop 20 lbs. And I actually got RID of my myspace account because I was tired of seeing my boyfriend's log-in page first direct him to a scantily clad lady shaking it for a mortgage company. Ugh.
Being targeted is hardly the issue, though. The fact of the matter is that I don't like uninvited guests. And I might make the argument that these are not event guests, but intruders who leave their ads all over my page or send me ridiculous messages for products and what not. And it is this idea, that was discussed at BlogWorld and amidst my facebook friends (who.. I really do see and call in real life) that inspired a hope in me for hospitality in the modern world. Because in these pseudo-social contexts, these very real values are obviously shared. The community, regardless of the fact that it is the greater Internet which hosts my blogs as opposed to, say my youth group or classmates, is being defended, protected from predictors. It is an indignation for others (as well as ourselves) that is being rebuked- if it was about us only, we wouldn't participate in such networks, and when spam hit, I might argue we'd simply change our identities/profiles or delete it over and over. But instead, we are finding a common ground to resist such violations and abuses to our community!
I think we are beginning to miss each other.