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Article Title

Toward Just Hospitality

Abstract

The ministry of Jesus moved through times of seeking justice, sharing hospitality, and withdrawing for prayer. Though inescapably “other” because of his divine identity, he sought solidarity with humans by becoming human and interacting with humanity through hospitable practices. The Ancient Mediterranean customs of hospitality were well-defined, but Jesus took this powerful cultural framework and changed its practice so that it produced reconciliation and justice.

This work briefly reviews the practice of hospitality in the time of Jesus. It also presents the work of scholars identifying linguistic markers that would have cued readers in the Ancient Mediterranean to recognize a story as a hospitality narrative. Using biblical, theological, and philosophical materials, I construct a hermeneutic that equips readers of these narratives to see how Jesus brought justice through his practice of hospitality. When that hermeneutic is applied to our contemporary life narratives, it empowers us as the disciples of Jesus to work alongside God in acting justly in this world.

Author Bio

Ron Bruner is the editor of Discernment: Theology and the Practice of Ministry. He has served as the executive director of the Westview Boys’ Home in Hollis, Oklahoma since 1999. He has a scholarly interest in practical theology, especially in the areas of intergenerational, student, and children’s ministry. Bruner has co-edited two books: Along the Way: Conversations about Children and Faith (ACU Press, 2015) alongside Dr. Dana Kennamer Pemberton and Owning Faith: Reimagining the Role of Church and Family in the Faith Journey of Teenagers (Leafwood, 2017) with Dr. Dudley Chancey. Bruner completed his DMin at Abilene Christian University in 2010.