You don’t have to love or forgive or feel compassion to extend hospitality. But it’s more than an invitation. It is the creation of a safe, inviting, trustworthy space — an atmosphere as much as a place. ~ Krista Tippet, Civil Conversation Project
In her Civil Conversation Project, Krista Tippet posits that hospitality is the “bridge to all the great virtues” because it is immediately accessibly. We “don’t have to love or forgive or feel compassion to extend hospitality.”
I must admit that the idea of hospitality without compassion initially strikes me as phony. Isn’t the human “radar” refined enough to detect what lies behind the welcoming surface of hospitality that lacks real warmth? Would I feel truly safe, welcome, and trusting if I had any inkling that compassion was lacking?
As I move toward implementation of the Civil Conversation Project in my own life, these questions will inspire me to move forward with careful intentionality. Says Tippet, “[hospitality] creates the intention, the spirit, and the boundaries for what is possible.” In an existential version of “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” we must trust that sincere intention will engender sincere hospitality and vice versa.
What ideas do you have for how to create a welcoming space — whether face-to-face or virtual — in which to engage with someone whose views challenge yours?