Christians should embrace and embody God’s hospitality, the seventh Congress of Asian Theologians declared following a meeting in Seoul, South Korea, from July 1-6.
“We affirm our belief that God is the ultimate host of the whole creation, and we are the recipients and agents of God’s hospitality through Jesus Christ, churches, religions and creation,” said the participants, including 26 women and 46 men. Their message, they said, related particularly to Asia but also beyond, especially in view of the 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches meeting next year in Busan, South Korea.
“We also affirm that our hospitality is simply an overflowing of God’s abundant hospitality and our joyful and thankful response to it,” they said. “We speak of hospitality in a theological and moral sense, which does not assume any return or profit, and not in a commercialized and commodified sense.”
In the message, they proposed recommendations to be considered, made concrete and translated into action by Christians “in order to witness to God’s hospitality.” These include advocating for justice of migrants, aboriginals and indigenous peoples for a multi-cultural society, Christian unity by moving beyond doctrinal differences and the practice of competitive proselytizing.
The recommendations also include forming and nurturing Christian identity by being the guests and humble learners in interreligious relations, peace and conflict resolution in Asia such as North/South Korea and Pakistan/India, ecological justice in post-Fukushima alternatives to nuclear power, climate refugees and environmental theology at seminaries, and sexual minorities and women in Asia.
“Hospitality has...progressively been domesticated to simply mean a courteous welcome of visitors in the context of a private household,” the organizer, the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA), had noted before the meeting.
The CATS is a bi-/tri-annual conference of theologians throughout Asia, founded in 1997.