Hospitality has an inescapable moral dimension to it. It is not a mere social grace; it is a spiritual and ethical issue. It is an issue involving what it means to be human. All of our talk about hospitable openness doesn't mean anything as long as some people continue to be tossed aside.

In a 1982 report, one ethicist put it this way: "the opposite of cruelty is not simply freedom from the cruel relationship, it is hospitality." Hospitality puts an end to injustice. . . . It is a spiritual practice, a way of becoming more human, a way of understanding yourself. Hospitality is both an answer to modern alienation and injustice and a path to a deeper spirituality.

As a culture, we are frightened people living behind locked doors, fashioning our homes as reclusive retreats from what we believe is a hostile world that drains us of the energies we most cherish. The world at our gate is a fearsome thing. We lock the doors, click on the security system, put on the headphones, and enter a place where we hope to be left to ourselves, but always keep an ear listening for the sound of disturbance. It's no surprise that we are lonelier than ever before.

Daniel Homan, Lonni Collins Pratt, Radical Hospitality