It's not uncommon today to linger after a church service for a cup of coffee, perhaps a doughnut and a little time to chat with fellow worshipers. The days of get-in-and-get-out might just be behind us.
Indeed, churches are rediscovering the power of hospitality, which goes back thousands of years — think of Jesus feeding 5,000 people by the
Sea of Galilee.
What happened along the way? Christianity suddenly became a much more intellectual enterprise after the
Protestant Reformation, when churches split into different denominations over theological ideas. Preachers and teachers tried to attract followers with compelling insights and ideas. The focus of the faith shifted from the heart to the head, leaving the stomach behind.
Today, congregations are trying to provide more than intellectual nourishment by putting restaurants and coffee bars in their buildings.In our polarized and fractured society, people of different backgrounds are invited to come together in these houses of God to have conversation over a meal or a drink — in spite of their differences.
"Through hospitality, we discover the ways we are both alike and different," says Christine Pohl, author of Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition. "When we welcome other people into our lives, we create space in which each person's gifts and insights can be shared."
Read it all here.