Exploring the hospitality of God, and its implications for human thought and action, this book examines the concepts of hospitality as cognitive tools for reframing our thinking about God, divine action, and human response in discipleship. Hospitality is imagined as an interactive symbol, changing perspectives and encouraging stable environments of compassionate construction in society. Human rights are of crucial importance to the wellbeing of the people of our planet. But there is a sense in which they will always be an emergency measure, a response to evils as they are happening. The authors argue that a hospitable comparative theology reaches out to bring Christian hospitality into the dialogue of world religions and cultures. It will respect the identity of particular groups and yet will strive for a cosmopolitan sharing of common values. It will respect tradition but also openness to reform and re-imagining. It will encourage convergence and development in a fluid stream of committed hospitalities.
George Newlands is Professor Emeritus of Divinity in the University of Glasgow. His publications include The Transformative Imagination (Ashgate, 2004) and Christ and Human Rights (Ashgate, 2006). Allen Smith is a post-doctoral research scholar in the University of Glasgow and Minister of Kenilworth Presbyterian Church, Asheville, North Carolina. His publications include From Pulpit to Fiction: Sermonic Texts and Fictive Transformations (Peter Lang, 2007) and, with David Jasper, A Reader in Christian Theology and Literature (SCM Press, 2010).
'If grace is an inexhaustible and unexpectedly benevolent action, then hospitality is a form of grace. The practice of costly grace, in the name of Jesus, is the vocation of all Christian people. George Newlands and Allen Smith provide a fluent and perceptive account of hospitality as an embodied practice rather than as an abstract "good in itself". This is not only a study in the fine tradition of generous orthodoxy, but is an immensely helpful contribution to the vexed issue of Christian formation today. They are witty, literate and always wise. I thoroughly commend their new book.' Iain Torrance, Princeton Theological Seminary, USA 'If globalization is characterized by increasing movement across borders, it has served paradoxically to underscore and widen divisions. In Hospitable God, George Newlands and Allen Smith develop a robust theology of hospitality, grounded in a conception of God as unconditional love, and explore its ethical, political, and economic implications for a world fractured by privilege and exclusion. The concept of hospitality which they develop takes difference seriously, even as it continually calls into question the bases on which all such distinctions are constituted.' Richard Amesbury, Claremont School of Theology, USA ’There are many superb insights in this book. There is much to commend this book especially its emphasis on the reframing of theology through the lens of unconditional hospitality, its readiness to confront and deal with contemporary issues and the authors’ desire to place hospitality within the widest possible context of our present social, economic and political reality.’ Regent's Review '... George Newlands and Allen Smith have produced a wide-ranging study that aims to critically reflect upon the political ecology and global economy of the present. ... a provocative aid whose explication in local contexts could prove fecund.' Theological Book Review ’... this book makes an important contribution to theology