Encountering Strangeness on Spring Break

Many members of our Creighton Community have embarked on Spring Break service trips across the country. I am actually stranded due to a snowstorm at a McDonald’s in the middle of Nebraska. But, we’ll get to Denver, never fear!

As we anticipate our time hanging out with people living on the streets of Denver, I am thinking of this quote from Parker Palmer’s “To Know as We Are Known.” It is a beautifully worded reminder to be open to everything–especially the difficult–and to respond with our lives. Travel safely friends, and know that if we encounter things well, we’ll be changed:

“Hospitality is a central virtue of the…biblical tradition itself, where God is always using the stranger to introduce us to strangeness of truth. To be inhospitable to strangers or strange ideas, however unsettling they may be, is to be hostile to the possibility of truth; hospitality is not only an ethical virtue but an epistemological one as well…Hospitality is not an end in itself. It is offered for the sake of what it can allow, permit, encourage, and yield. A learning space needs to be hospitable not to make learning painless, but to make the painful things possible, things without which no learning can occur—things like exposing ignorance, testing tentative hypotheses, challenging false or partial information, and mutual criticism of thought. Each of these is essential to obedience to truth. But none of them can happen in an atmosphere where people feel threatened and judged.”
-Parker J. Palmer, To Know as We Are Known

One thought on “Encountering Strangeness on Spring Break

  1. Pingback: an open letter to my students who live in a scary world | The Cortina Community

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