The Power of Hospitality Counters Postmodernism
- 2006 21 Aug
Social isolation is growing within the United States. Both inside and outside of the church, America is seeing dramatic effects of postmodern thinking, which is causing isolation, friendlessness, a lack in the sense of community, as well as lending credibility to cultivation of superficial relationships.
A recent study that was published by the American Sociological Review “Social Isolation in America” shows that Americans have now become more socially isolated than ever, resulting in the truth that Americans have less intimate friendships and they continue to struggle balancing home, work and social activities.
What the findings of the “Social Isolation in America” study revealed are stunning. In nearly 1,500 adults polled, a quarter of all Americans feel they have no one to share important information with. Another quarter of Americans said they have only one close friend.
In addition, The Washington Post reported that the results took researchers by surprise. “A quarter of Americans say they have no one with whom they can discuss personal troubles, more than double the number who were similarly isolated in 1985. Overall, the number of people Americans have in their closest circle of confidants has dropped from around three to about two,” stated The Washington Post article from June 23, 2006.
These kinds of statistics have sobering implications for both the nation and also for the church. In light of what’s happening in today’s postmodern culture, author and radio host Charles Crismier and his wife Kathie reveal a number of vital principals that Christians must begin to embrace in their new book The Power of Hospitality.
Crismier defined postmodern culture like this, “The postmodern culture really is a culture that has walked away from truth. It is a culture that defines truth according to one’s feelings, so it vacillates…There is no absolute truth.”
He continued, “Only four percent of our non-Christian young people believe in absolute truth. Only nine percent of Christian young people believe in absolute truth. When you look at Bible-believing evangelicals, depending on who you talk to, the figure is somewhere between fifty and sixty percent who believe in absolute truth. That means the church as we know it has virtually disintegrated as to its true ability to live the truth, walk out the truth or even believe that Jesus is the Only Way and the Only Truth and the Only Life.”
The Power of Hospitality was written out of personal experience and is based upon the primary Biblical principal of – loving one another. The couple believes wholeheartedly in the power of Christ’s statement, “Behold how they love one another,” and in light of the postmodern culture, the Crismier’s agree that Christians need to counter and address some of the destructive consequences that are resulting from an isolated culture.
“The Word made flesh among us is hospitality”, said Crismier, “and this hospitality begins when we reach out in friendship to those who are isolated and hurting.”
Similar to what other outstanding Christian leaders have experienced, the Crismier’s have seen the direct impact of postmodernism firsthand and said that churches must begin to address today’s seemingly isolated culture. “Even our church buildings are now being designed like malls, breeding grounds for artificial relationships. We belong to the club of strangers yearning desperately for fellowship,” Crismier says in his book.
Crismier said that postmodernism by its very nature presents a conflict for Christians today. However, one tangible way we can begin to get back to Biblical basics is through practicing hospitality.
“The amazing power of hospitality may well be one of the most misunderstood and under taught topics in the Church,” state the Crismier’s in the book’s preface. “The Apostle Paul stated that it is essential for all Christian living and leadership...”
The Power of Hospitality is written in a clear, step-by-step and easy-to-understand style that allows readers to embrace the experience of hospitality. Readers will explore topics including, “Whatever Happened to Hospitality,” “God’s Heart for Hospitality,” “What Is Hospitality,” “Receiving Hospitality” and many more.
The book is divided into two parts: “The Heart and Power of Hospitality” and “The Art and Practice of Hospitality.” The book also offers questions, personal planners and other helpful tools, which will allow readers to reflect and put into practice what they’ve read.
Christian leaders such as Dr. Bill Gothard, Founder of the Institute in Basic Life Principles, endorsed the book by saying, “The Power of Hospitality identifies a major but neglected strategy for reaching the lost. I am very encouraged by the depth of thinking, clarity of writing and practicality of (the) challenge to believers to demonstrate hospitality.”
Crismier gives the Christian community this advice as he encourages each of us to live out the Christian life amidst postmodernism, “The best way to give an example of that is through Daniel…he faced a number of serious obstacles while living amidst the Babylonian culture. It is very similar to what we are experiencing today. He was willing to stand alone (to stand up for what he believed in). He was willing to have a firm purpose and willing to make it known. He did not bend, he did not bow and he did not try to conform to his culture.”