Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Hospitable Society

Feasting and care for the poor have been polarized in contemporary culture. If you’re a “conservative,” you’re in favor of free trade, consumption without guilt, festivity without concern for those who can’t join you, who probably deserve their poverty anyway. If you’re a “liberal,” you renounce festivity because other people are hungry and how dare you eat when someone else isn’t.

The Biblical prophets combine a promise of festivity with severe denunciation of greed, luxury, and oppression. But they combine the two seamlessly by emphasizing hospitality. The promise is a feast like the feasts of the Pentateuch, where the widow, stranger, and Levite are not forgotten but included as welcome guests.

Against both “conservative” indifference and liberal asceticism, the Bible presents the ideal of the hospitable society.

- Peter Leithart

1 comment:

The Hedonese said...

Amen! How we need to recover the ethics of Old Testament for the people of God :) for too long its message has been obscured by misunderstanding of charges of 'legalism' and 'irrelevance' to NT believers