Sunday, April 12, 2015
Offering "radical hospitality" can generate suspicion, and it's hard to avoid
One of the most challenging circumstances in life can be sheltering and providing for someone else, other than one’s own child (when one has “chosen” to have children conventionally or by adoption). In the real world, there are all kinds of ways this may happen, including the possibility of being expected to raise a sibling’s children after a family tragedy, and, practically speaking, caring for one’s parents, especially in situations like Alzheimers. There are times that this requirement can come with inheritance. That did not happen in my case, but the idea makes sense: you have to “provide” for something that brought a benefit.
Another scenario could be taking care of refugees, as I have discussed in other pages. The idea came up in 1980 with the Cuban refugees in the gay community in some southern cities, including Dallas (where I lived then). It has not been mentioned this time directly (by the administration or by “gay leadership”) with respect to gay “persecution” in countries like Russia, Uganda, Nigeria, and many Muslim countries, but it is natural to wonder if some potential people seeking asylum would be allowed to stay if they did not have “sponsors”. The issue could come up suddenly.
Another issue that often comes up is the need for both foster and adoptive parents. In many communities, like church fellowships, social cohesion builds around this common experience (the “lots of helping hands” idea, and the possibility of “radical hospitality”).
When someone in my situation is “approached” with regard to an issue like this, there is always some unfortunate “suspicion”. If I were to initiate interest in offering such hospitality, I can imagine the “suspicion” that could arise --- I don’t need to be more graphic than just to acknowledge what seems “obvious”. It’s natural to become cynical about the motives of others, too. A good example is the movie “The Overnighters” (Movies, Nov. 15, 2014), my review, and a helpful comment that I processed today. I guess I could fall into the trap of that kind of perception myself.
I’ve talked about the “hospitality” need on the Wordpress blog before, here. There was some experience with volunteerism reported today on my Issues blog, too.
But the “suspicion” can indeed get in the way of extending helping hands to others when it really si necessary to do so.