In our series on peacebuilding, we have talked about the characteristics of a peacebuilder and concepts that are important for peacebuilders to think about. Now it is time to think about some more practical approaches to peacebuilding. Tearfund’s theological framework for peacebuilding has identified three approaches that can help people move from brokenness to restoration, from conflict to peace. The first of these is hospitality.
In this short clip, Ramy Taleb, who works with the Foundation for Forgiveness and Reconciliation in Lebanon (FFRL), explains how his organisation identifies a hospitable place and helps people find common ground.
In an earlier blog, I wrote about hospitality as a characteristic of a peacebuilder. In this post, I’m going to look at how the creation of a hospitable space can be a positive contribution to peace.
Our thinking about hospitality is inspired by the ideas of Henri Nouwen, especially in his book Reaching Out. In exploring what it means to live a life in the Spirit of Jesus Christ, Nouwen described three journeys that Christians take as their faith grows and deepens. The last of these is the journey from hostility to hospitality.
Our world is full of strangers, estranged from their past, culture, country, friends, neighbours, God and themselves. They are searching for a hospitable place where life can be lived without fear and where community can be found. Society is growing more fearful of the stranger and the harm he or she may do. It is obligatory for Christians to offer an open and hospitable space where strangers cast off strangeness. According to Nouwen, we need to convert the hostis into a hospes.