In this, her last book, theologian Letty Russell redefines the commonly held notion of hospitality as she challenges her readers to consider what it means to welcome the stranger. In doing so, she implores persons of faith to join the struggles for justice.
Rather than an act of limited, charitable welcome, Russell maintains that true hospitality is a process that requires partnership with the other in our divided world. The goal is just hospitality, that is, hospitality with justice.
Russell draws on feminist and postcolonial thinking to show how we are colonized and colonizing, each of us bearing the marks of the history that formed us. With an insightful analysis of the power dynamics that stem from our differences and a constructive theological theory of difference itself, Russell proposes concrete strategies to create a more just practice of hospitality.
With careful attention, she writes, we can build a network of hospitality that is truthful about our mistakes and inequities, yet determined to resist the contradictions that drive us apart. This kind of genuine solidarity requires us to cast off oppression and domination in order to truly welcome the stranger. Russells lasting message is a highly practical theology for both the academy and the church. The book contains questions for study and reflection.
Letty M. Russell was one of the worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s foremost feminist theologians and a longtime member of the Yale Divinity School faculty. She published numerous influential books, including Church in the Round: Feminist Interpretation of the Church, and served as coeditor of Hagar, Sarah, and Their Children, Dictionary of Feminist Theologies, and Inheriting Our MothersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Gardens: Feminist Theology in Third World Perspective, all from Westminster John Knox Press.