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About the Author

Christine D. Pohl is associate provost and professor of Christian social ethics at Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky, and the author of Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition.

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Works by Christine D. Pohl

Associated Works

Dictionary of Scripture and Ethics (2011) — Contributor — 149 copies
Ancient Faith for the Church's Future (2008) — Contributor — 66 copies


Common Knowledge



To the early Christians, hospitality was central to the gospel mission. This hospitality did not consist of entertaining neighbors, but welcoming the stranger, especially those who could not return the favor. Yet despite urgent need, hospitality has fallen by the wayside.

Christine Pohl’s classic work, Making Room, first spoke to this issue in 1999. And it is just as relevant today, with the refugee crisis, the rise in homelessness, and growing loneliness and isolation. This revitalized edition, with a new foreword and afterword by the author, introduces the theology of hospitality to a new generation. Pohl combines rich biblical and historical research with experience in contemporary Christian communities, including the Catholic Worker, L’Abri, Good Works, Inc., and others.
Pragmatic and thoughtful, Pohl deals frankly with both the blessings and the boundaries of hospitality. Readers will find a wealth of wisdom to revive authentic hospitality in their ministry. (Pub

Author Bio
Christine D. Pohl (1950–2023) was professor emerita of Christian ethics at Asbury Theological Seminary. She authored numerous articles and books, most notably Living into Community: Cultivating Practices That Sustain Us and (with Keith Wasserman) Good Works: Hospitality and Faithful Discipleship.
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staylorlib | 4 other reviews | Jan 16, 2024 |
"To provide significant household-based hospitality, someone has to be home." p 58

I love this book! I read it for the first time in junior high or high school, and though I liked it then, parts of it were a bit above my comprehension level. Reading it again while in a very different place in life was even better.

Pohl describes the history of hospitality, particularly in the Church, and focuses on true hospitality, which is a welcoming of the stranger versus entertaining friends or family. She explores how the meaning/perception of hospitality changed over the years and became disconnected from its original manifestation of personal welcome of unknown strangers, situated within a particular community.

The author stresses that hospitality is about more than food, drink, and a place to sleep. It's about a place of belonging; human connections. She talks about the great need for humility on the part of hosts in order to keep from further grieving the stranger.
The most transformative expressions of hospitality, both historically and in our own time, are associated with hosts who are liminal, marginal, or at the lower end of the social order. Theses hosts are essentially threshold or bridge people, connected in some ways to the larger society but distinct from it either in actual social situation or in self-imposed distance. Without these crucial dimensions of marginality and liminality, the relations between hosts and guests often serve the more conservative function of reinforcing existing social relations and status hierarchies. pp 106-107
She also delves into what a return to biblical hospitality could look like, focusing on 8 intentional Christian communities, including the famous L'Abri Fellowship, L'Arche, and The Catholic Worker Movement.

This is not a fluffy book; there are no recipes here for readers to prepare; there are no housecleaning tips. This is a thought-provoking read that will hopefully lead readers to action, but Pohl leaves readers in the hands of the Holy Spirit for detailed instructions.
Many persons who are not valued by the larger community are essentially invisible to it. When people are socially invisible, their needs and concerns are not acknowledged and no one even notices the injustices they suffer. Hospitality can begin a journey toward visibility and respect." p 62

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RachelRachelRachel | 4 other reviews | Nov 21, 2023 |
revbill1961 | 1 other review | May 11, 2023 |
Really interesting look at hospitality. Historically practising hospitality was central to Christian identity but it began to be lost from C17, So what is it? - more than showing hospitality to friends and family - and how can we rediscover it?
cbinstead | 4 other reviews | Dec 16, 2020 |

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